I think you guys are way off base dissing the GOAT store name. There's a reason why so many independent movie and music industry companies have quirky names, it makes you more memorable and generally speaking indie audiences like that sort of thing. Bland corporate names like Sony and Columbia might work if you have massive advertising departments and a target audience that shops at Walmart, but indie is different. Besides, who doesn't like goats? Y'all's crazy.
I also think it's a mistake to target stores like EB and Gamestop for carrying GOAT releases as a couple people have suggested. That's just not likely to get very far, I know that local managers have some say what their stores carry, but I don't think most of them will go for indpendent homebrew stuff, they're too corporate.
The game plan should be to maximize the underground nature, we (that is, us ordinary schlubs, not just people officially associated with th eGOAT Store or the games) should all be going to whatever indpendent game shops we have in our area and trying to get them to carry the game. Online distribution ought to be more widespread, too. Lik-Sang seems to be carrying the releases, but what about Play-Asia or NCS or any of the other smaller online shops (maybe they've already been contacted and weren't interested, but that doesn't mean we stop trying, and I do mean we, not just the GOAT store as an official distributor, it's all about the grassroots)?
Because the target audience is most definitely serious gamers. It's absolutely false that all of the hardcore Dreamcast people already buy the GOAT releases, I actually know of only one person who doesn't follow the homebrew scene who's bought Feet Of Fury and no one who's bought Inhabitants or Mapiquai. There's a large number of Dreamcast fanboys in all sorts of online communities that simply don't follow the homebrew stuff and so they haven't gotten excited about these commercial releases. Getting coverage place like IGN would be good, sure, and GameFAQs, but I think mid-level and more targeted sites like Insert Credit and The Magicbox should actually be the primary goal and really, we should all just be going to message boards and newsgroups and talking things up as much as we can. And not just among Dreamcast fans, either; what about the whole retro community for one thing? I know you know what I'm talking about, Dan. The Dreamcast has a lot of respect in the classic gaming community and they're also already very familiar with the whole concept of commercial homebrews and indie releases. In fact, I'd be willing to wager that retro-gamers already make up a larger portion of the GOAT Store's DC sales than the hardcore Dreamcast fans who don't follow homebrew.
Anyway, this is all just what kingbuzzo was talking about. It's called street teams and it's huge in the musice industry not just among independents, but even the majors are catching on. Thing is, your street teams need some guidance, there should be a section on the GOAT site (or as someone else suggested, individual game sites) with downloadable media and info about the games that we canuse and the we can direct people to.
Plus there's more, you could have some sort of prize system for people that managed to rustle up a lot of sales for the games. There should also be more coordination and cooperation with the various like-minded groups such as Lik-Sang and Dreamcast-Scene and Dream On magazine (if MetaFox *EVER* gets that off the ground...you're too much of a perfectionist and an idealist, man, I can see it because I have the same problem, but there's people here who will bring all these ideas of yours into the real world, you really ought to get some of them involved so that it's not such a one-man thing, even if the first few issues looks more like a zine than the professional dealie you have in mind, you really need to get the project going and then you can worry about making it better and better like a rolling snowball; the Dreamcast scene totally *NEEDS* a magazine like what you've described). And blah blah blah, there's a thousand ideas in this vein and they're all ripped wholesale form the independant wing of the music industry.
Then there is the question of the games themselves that people have brought up. Not so much their quality as I don't think anyone can dispute the quality of game like Feet of Fury and Inhabitants, but the concepts themselves really aren't the best for generating excitement. I don't want to offend anyone here, but I mean, another Shanghai clone and a generic puzzler don't really create buzz especially among hardcore fanboys. Feet Of Fury was closer to the mark, but still not quite there I don't think. What would be? Well, something like Noiz2sa for sure or Beats Of Rage or maybe Super Mario War with some improvements...these are all ports, though. Where's the killer, well-polished DC homebrews? Personally, I think the closest currently is DRxLax (now that's a name that would have to change for marketability...I think just "Rx" would be cool). I was planning on taking up the source and working on it now that Danial Fairchild has abandoned it, I was gonna add an MP3 player with visualizations that interacted with the gameplay, but I don't have the time (or computer) to do that these days and besides, it also really needs Ai and I wouldn't know where to begin with coding good AI, online play would also be keen if KOS could support it in the future.
This is all to say that the Dreamcast homebrew scene doesn't have it's killer app yet and like others have said, I really think that could do wonders wonders WONDERS to push things along. And keep in mind that such a killer app doesn't necessarily need to be anothing hugely original, it just needs to be addicting and satisfying and polished and most of all have really good and catchy design (look at Rez for the paradigm example). This is what Feet Of Fury almost did right, but they should have taken the kitsche theme further, had a totally over-the-top announcer doing like at the title screen doing play-by-play, invlovled the characters and storyline more and made them even wierder, etc. That would have caught people's attention more and got them interested.
I don't know how we're supposed to bring about those sorts of killer app games, there's probably no way to intentionally do it. It'll happen eventually more or less on its own, I'm positive. Having more contests is probably a good idea, especially themed contests. And the benefit of that is that you can produce a compilation disc at the end like the upcoming retro remake compilation and in this period while we're waiting for the killer app to show up, I think compilations are a good idea, not that you shouldn't realese anything but compilations, but I have a feeling that they'll generate more interest than most single game releases (and since the coding labor is free or nearly free...which is the real key to homebrew commercial success, it won't cost any more to produce a compilation than it would a single game disc).
One more thing on anoth note, I remember Dan Potter talking a while back about the possibility of moving towards some sort fo shareware-esque form of distribution for the future. I don't think anything definite came out of that discussion, but I think it could be a very interesting idea if the kinks were be worked out. Like the street team marketing comes form the music industry, the shareware idea comes from the PC gaming industry and so you can end up copying all sorts of ideas from them, too, once you start thinking about it. It's like they say, there's no need to re-invent the wheel. Indie production and distribution has arisen in other industries (where were of course never perfect parallels to the current console game industry, which is a pretty unique iron-grip monopoly by a very few companies) and I think we may be right on the verge of seeing the same thing happen right here in Rapid City.
Okay. Damn. That's my two long, rambling and probably incoherant cents.
...word is bondage...