(Thanks to Nick Dobkin for the info)
One of the negatives of any video game that relies on internet functionality for any major feature is that one day, that service will be shut off, leaving fans of the particular game in the wind. It is worse if it makes the game unplayable; bearable if it is only one portion of the game affected while the core game remains.
Such was the case with DJ Max Technika, by Neowiz and later supported in the West by PentaVision Global. We ran quite a few stories about the game over the 3 iterations of it along the years and it did gain a solid following of followers along the way but not enough sales to keep trucking along. I recall playing it at various tradeshows and hearing that sales of the first were somewhere in the range of 30-40 units (as a comparison, games like Big Buck can push out a few thousand cabinets in a short amount of time). Unfortunately sales in the double digits isn’t good for long term viability on any game. They did try things like kits and they had a great idea with DJ Max Technika 2 Solo but for some reason they did not release that cheaper version of the game. It did reach a 3rd version with DJ Max Technika 3 but at the end of the day, it wasn’t enough to keep it going. The online servers for it were shut down in 2013.
Despite the challenges the game faced on the market, it did create the aforementioned loyal fanbase. Among those fans are people who wish to spread the word about the game, the history behind it as well as fan efforts to keep the online services unofficially going. That is happening with a Kickstarter project called Touching Sound – The Technika Documentary. As of this writing, the project is $2124 short of their goal, which ends in 9 days. You can check out that project here and back it if you would like; here is the trailer for the project along with a press release.
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Touching Sound: The Technika Documentary
For Immediate Publication:
When developer Neowiz shut down the servers of cult-classic arcade rhythm game DJMAX Technika, its tight-knit fans were left out in the cold with little hope of a revival and minimal media coverage of the end of their favorite niche game. Now, a Kickstarter project is giving a voice to the community by chronicling its tumultuous history in the form of a documentary film.
The first iPads hadn’t even been announced when DJMAX Technika first hit arcades in 2009. The Korean rhythm game stood out primarily for its use of a 27” touchscreen, and its catchy music and intuitive gameplay lured in players from a variety of backgrounds. Bonding while they waited in line to play the game, they formed a close community that stretched across coasts and over seas, leading some to travel hundreds of miles, find new jobs, and even get married because of the people they’d met through the game.
Developer Neowiz’ shutdown of the game servers in 2013 took many in the community by surprise, as most were expecting the release of a new game in the Technika franchise (3 strong when the shutdown occurred), and the announcement occurred with little fanfare or conversation from the developer. The lack of online support left more than half the game’s content inaccessible, and the game’s players went their separate ways – their days as a community soon forgotten.
In mid 2014 however, fans held a tournament in which the ‘dead’ game featured. Filmmaker and community member Nick Dobkin took the opportunity to start interviewing and compiling the never-before-told stories of the players and the unsung history of their game into a cohesive film dubbed Touching Sound. Over 20 interviews were conducted with a wide variety of community members, from top-tier players who followed the game since its inception, to casual players whose time with the game was cut short by the end of online support. Tournament organizers, the manager of the one of the game’s main arcades, and the creator of the game’s wiki also feature. The film aims to examine the causes of the game’s fall from grace and how it left such a devoted community in its wake.
Earlier this month, the project hit crowdfunding site Kickstarter, where it became a Kickstarter Staff Pick in less than a day. Over its duration, the project has become a beacon for members of the community from Los Angeles to London and even former members of the Technika development team in Seoul. Despite wide fan support however, the team hopes to reach past the fan base and convey this untold side of the well-known fall of arcades to all gamers, particularly those unaware of the game’s storied history.
The project seeks $6500 to complete transcribing, editing, and filming of interviews for the film. It has raised over $4000, with only one week remaining [as of February 7th] to achieve its goal.
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