French retro gaming publisher DotEmu capped off the summer with the release of Windjammers—a classic game that was originally made by SNK for its Neo Geo console in 1994—in August for the PlayStation 4 and Vita consoles. The company’s stated goal is to bring back the classics of yesteryear so that a new generation of gamers can rediscover them as gems on modern gaming systems, and the fast-paced arcade sports game fits the goal nicely.
But DotEmu doesn’t just want players to play the classic game, it wants them to live it like it’s 1994. To that end, the game publisher has partnered with Wham-O, creators of the original frisbee, hula hoop, hacky sack, slip ‘n slide and more, to bring the game to life with a real power disc—an authentic Windjammers-branded frisbee for sale exclusively on Fangamer alongside other Windjammers products.
In Windjammers, players hurl power discs into each other’s goal zones to score points, kind of like air hockey but with special moves. Although the gameplay is relatively simple (it only supports two players, and controls only require two buttons), the disc-throwing game’s challenge has won over the hearts of many classic game fans.
“Windjammers is remembered by many as one of the greatest ‘versus’ games of all time,” Arnaud De Sousa, marketing and communication manager at DotEmu, told AListDaily. “Originally released on the Neo Geo arcade system, Windjammers perfectly blends sports and fighting games.”
De Sousa explained how the project to bring Windjammers to modern systems started two years ago, as it’s a game that DotEmu keeps close to its heart. Even though the team plays a lot of classic games at the office, Windjammers turned out to be the one that they played the most.
Given how the game features flying discs, it was only natural for DotEmu extend Windjammers into using frisbees. So, it contacted Wham-O to turn the idea into a reality.
“Wham-O is all about being active, going outside, having fun and enjoying time with your friends and family,” said a Wham-O representative. “We are super excited to be partnering with DotEmu at their relaunch of everyone’s favorite arcade games. Now, fans of the game can enjoy Windjammers both on the screen and with their friends and family in a backyard or on the beach.”
However, special moves are not included with the Windjammers frisbee. DotEmu worked with Wham-O to create an exact replica of the flying power disc from the game, meaning that it doesn’t glow in the dark, nor are there any lights or sounds built into the disc.
“We tried to preserve the key design features and patterns in order to appeal to the fans and frisbee enthusiasts,” said De Sousa, who is happy that the Windjammers disc has a place alongside Wham-O’s large variety of frisbee products.
DotEmu is working closely with social media influencers in the gaming community along with both professional and ameteur frisbee players to get spread the word about the real-life power disc. Furthermore, the company has been working with professional WWE SmackDown wrestler Austin Creed (Xavier Woods) as a brand ambassador for the Windjammers relaunch in addition to offering products such as t-shirts, pins and hats.
We're happy to announce with @Fangamer & @whamoofficial that official @Windjammers merchs are coming! https://t.co/eIhyjYmm9N pic.twitter.com/9hMPVFqIUa
— DotEmu (@DotEmu) July 18, 2017
De Sousa recounted how, back in the 90s, the Neo Geo was a legendary platform that every kid wanted to own, calling it the “Rolls Royce of gaming.” Although the console didn’t sell well at the time because of a high price, fans still regard the console with fondness today. This sense of nostalgia, what De Sousa calls an “aura of fun,” is what DotEmu is looking to leverage as it promotes the relaunch of a 23-year-old game.
“There’s still a great fanbase that knows Windjammers and Neo Geo and knows what those names mean in terms of fun and a gaming experience,” said De Sousa. “Even though the game was first released in 1994, Windjammers is still been played today all around the world, from France to Japan and the US. There’s an amazing community of passionate gamers that keep the fire burning at the highest level.”
The game’s complexity and nostalgia factor has made Windjammers a longtime fan favorite in the fighting game community.
“Our goal is to help those various communities grow, have fun and push them to enjoy the game as much as possible,” said De Sousa. “Of course, we also want to bring a new generation to play Windjammers, but we think that the game speaks for itself. Play it once and you’re hooked!”