A few years ago, M2 announced a new sequel to the Aleste series, GG Alesta 3. The game would only be accessible via the white edition of the Game Gear Micro toy, as well as the PS4 and Switch editions of the Aleste Collection. Unfortunately, people who legally purchased those games discovered the GG Aleste 3 ROM was encrypted in a way that wouldn’t allow it to run on a real Game Gear via Everdrive. Lucky for us, a new version of that ROM was found without protection and people used it to create a patch that lets you “unlock” the PS4 & Switch edition roms. You’ll still need to get the rom from your game, but now running a simple patch allows it to be compatible with original hardware and emulation – Although the game was designed to run in an overclocked emulator, so you might hit some points of slowdown on original hardware.
Due to the odd backlash, I decided not to post a link to the patch, however it’ll be easy to find. I really hope the backlash is just a misunderstanding and that people who were angry – Especially and including M2’s President – will be patient and take the time to see it from a different perspective. While we have this discussion often on this site, let’s go through it again in the context of GG Aleste 3, just to help people understand…
First and foremost, if you purchased the game legally, you own the game and have supported the original developers. And the PS4 and Switch versions of the Aleste Collection were never released outside of Japan, meaning people who are fans of the series would have to import them. While that doesn’t add any legal precedence to this argument, morally speaking, you’ve gone above and beyond to support M2’s work.
And yes, a ROM leaking always has the potential to hurt game sales, however this patch was released three years after the game went on sale. I’m sure there’s a few people out there who might find the working ROM and run it on an emulator instead of buying it, but what percentage of people are that? And think about the people running it on original hardware: First you need to have a working Game Gear, that you’ve probably paid someone to replace all the failing capacitors. Then you need a ROM Cart. So, not exactly a high percentage of people, compared to Switch-owning shmups fans who’d just want to buy it.
I’m sure some morally-inept people will take this opportunity to make and sell CIB Game Gear carts out of this for their own profit…but what if they included a copy of the Switch or PS4 versions with it? Wouldn’t that actually make it both legal AND fun? And even if they just scumbagged it and sold carts, are those really taking away from Switch game sales? To be clear, I’m NOT condoning this, I’m just pointing out: Who’s buying those repro’s? Most likely fans of the series who’ve already bought the game.
My advice to the community who’s been upset over this patch is this: Look at this as a sign that more people around the world want to experience the game in different ways. While the potential for loosing money is always upsetting, try and see the other side of things and maybe even try to make a Game Gear version yourselves? I’m positive companies like Limited Run Games would be willing to help secure the licensing and manufacturing. And myself and other members of the community would help get the word out to sell copies.