Saber Rider and the Star Sheriffs Playable Demo Available Now

Work on the Kickstarter-funded 2D side-scroller Saber Rider and the Star Sheriffs has been trundling on behind the scenes, and the latest update gives us a glimpse at how the game is shaping up. Based on a fairly obscure animated series of the same name, Saber Rider is planned for several platforms including the Dreamcast and now there's a playable demo available. Head over to the Kickstarter page here and grab the files, or alternatively click here to get the Dreamcast image and burn it to a CD to play in your console.
This demo represents the first mission of the game and let you try the Hero Mode. The mission in this demo has some changes, so that the game's story won't be spoiled. The first mission in general is based upon the two Saber Rider series episodes 'Wild Horses Couldn't Drag Me Away' and 'Little Pardner.' In the final version, this level will have a few more story driven events and a different end boss. The current boss in the demo will later be a mini boss.
- Saber Rider Kickstarter Update 40

In light of this new demo, we reached out to lead developer Chris Straß for further info on the progress the game is making and he told us:

"The development of our game is challenging but we've made very good progress. I am very happy with the results and also with the great feedback so far. A big thank you goes to my small but fine team - without them it would not be possible. There is still a lot of work ahead but I am looking forward to a great game!"
- Chris Straß

So what do you think of the demo, or Saber Rider in general? Let us know in the comments or join the discussion in our Facebook group. You can also follow the game's development in the Saber Rider Facebook group here.

Review: Alice Dreams Tournament

In recent times, the rise of online gaming has all but phased out the local multi-player experiences of yore. I'm sure I'm not alone when I reminisce about hours spent playing Golden Eye or Mario Kart 64 on the Nintendo 64; or long periods taking turns on PGA Tour Golf on the Mega Drive. As a kid growing up through the 16, 32 and 64-bit eras, multi-player gaming was all about getting together with a group of friends or siblings and battling it out in front of one TV with a single console and multiple controllers plugged in.

The Dreamcast represents one of the last major consoles to feature four controller ports as standard, and the inclusion of a modem makes it a system that truly straddled the eras where playing with others became an oxymoronic experience with gamers connected via the internet as opposed to being sat on the same couch. Obviously, there are still plenty of games that offer local multi-player play modes but these days it's seen as a unique selling point or gimmick rather than a standard feature. Enter Alice Dreams Tournament, an independently developed Dreamcast exclusive that borrows heavily from the Bomberman series and is all about recreating the local multi-player sessions of old, but with a modern twist.
The final look of Alice Dreams Tournament.
Alice Dreams Tournament has a pretty interesting development history, so we'll start there. The game we see today actually started life as an end of level mini-game in a totally different project, titled simply Alice Dreams. Entering development back in 2003, Alice Dreams was a 2D side scrolling platformer based loosely on the Lewis Carrol novel Alice in Wonderland, and at the end of each stage the player could unlock a short bonus game if certain parameters were met. One of these bonus stages involved a simple Bomberman-like multi-player stage that was only ever intended to be a hidden extra, but it quickly proved popular and was turned into its own game - Dynamite Dreams.

It was with this blueprint that developers Julien Desquenne and Nicolas Pochet launched a Kickstarter to get Alice Dreams Tournament turned into a reality; and the project quickly reached its meagre €8,000 target, finishing with a total of €28,000 from 374 backers (full disclosure - one of those 374 backers was me, along with several others from the Junkyard team).
How the earlier Alice Dreams game looked.
It's a great story and you can read the full history of the game here and the find the Kickstarter project page here; but let's get down to business. Alice Dreams Tournament is finally finished and many backers now have the game in their hands, so how does the Dreamcast's latest new release measure up? Let's go through the looking glass and find out...

New Projects Archive Dreamcast DLC & VMU Files

We're big fans of digital preservation here at the Junkyard (we've even been preserved ourselves, by The British Library no less), and hopefully with all of these articles, podcasts and other such nonsense we're helping the legacy of the Dreamcast survive in our own little way. Others with far more technical nous are going a step further though, and are creating online repositories for Dreamcast-related digital files that could very well slide into obscurity and vanish altogether in time.
Not a digital archive.
I've touched on the subject of digital preservation several times in the past here, and it's a topic I'm very passionate about - I even worked for the UK National Archives in the field back in 2013. This gave me a great insight into the very real issue of preserving digital files and bespoke media formats and the Dreamcast is a console with its fair share of these. Happily, two separate projects have been brought to my attention that aim to address the somewhat scattered nature of Dreamcast digital files and bring them together in one (well, two) definitive libraries that are open and free for all Dreamcast fans to access.
Sites like Blue Swirl list fan-made VMU games.
The first aims to preserve DLC files for all manner of games; while the other is dedicated to archiving VMU mini-games. And while there are many sites currently online (or accessible via Wayback Machine) that offer similar services already; many offer incomplete lists, are plagued with broken links or only offer homebrew and fan-made mini-games.

DreamPod - Episode 49

[iTunes][Stitcher][Buzzsprout][UK Podcast Directory][YouTube]

Music in this episode is from Alice Dreams Tournament, and the AGES II disc we recently looked at. Find out more about the Shenmue bomber jacket here, the Pix ’N Love book here and the new game from Orion here. Feel free to join our Facebook group, like our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter; and if you’re feeling flush and/or generous our Patreon is here. Oh, and one last thing - give us an iTunes review if you can be bothered. Cheers!

Check Out Peter Moore's Fascinating Interview With Glixel

Peter Moore has become something of a hate figure in certain Dreamcast circles. He's (incorrectly) credited as the guy who pulled the curtain down on the Dreamcast, and also accused of jumping ship and taking the US version of Shenmue II with him to Microsoft when Sega hit the rocks in the early 2000s. Whatever you think about Mr Moore though, you can't deny that he's had an amazing career in the video games industry; and now on the eve of his departure from Electronic Arts to take up a position at Liverpool FC, Peter Moore has spoken candidly to Glixel.
In the revealing interview, Peter speaks openly about his time at the head of Sega America and also the tough decisions he had to make when it came to pulling the plug on the whole Dreamcast project. There's also a really fascinating recollection of the time he told Yuji Naka (through an interpretor) to "fuck off," and how he believes Naka and Yu Suzuki were actually holding Sega back during the Dreamcast era. Again, it's a mesmerising trip down memory lane and gives some hitherto undocumented snapshots of what it must have been like to have the weight of an entire floundering gaming giant resting on his shoulders.

Head over to Glixel and read the full interview here.

Shenmue Bomber Jackets Now Available

Veteran games merchandise store Insert Coin has launched a new Shenmue-related product, and fans of Ryo Hazuki's adventures are likely to be lapping it up in droves. If you've already used your eyes to look at the images below, you'll no doubt be able to tell that it's a bomber jacket fashioned after the attire sported by Ryo as he traverses the back streets of Dobuita and Hong Kong in Yu Suzuki's as-yet-unfinished magnum opus.
In this day and age it's all too easy to just froth about anything Dreamcast related, but I'm going to give my honest opinion here: I think this jacket looks bloody awful.

It appears to be made of bargain-basement nylon and while the patches on the chest and arm are embroidered, the one on the back is screen printed. I suppose this is to be expected of a jacket that costs £60, but that doesn't explain why the colours are way off the mark. Yes, Ryo's jacket was leather in the game and leather replicas do exist...but this is just a cynical example of big businesses churning out shite to fleece (heh!) fans of a franchise. Again, I've got nothing against Insert Coin - they do some really top quality stuff and I own several t-shirts by them. But this Shenmue jacket is an affront to the Hazuki family name. Interestingly, Insert Coin did have a slightly more accurate Ryo Hazuki jacket for sale in the past (check it out here), but even that still looked a bit on the cheap side.

Check out the Shenmue bomber jacket here. If you must.

Pix 'N Love Editions Announce Dreamcast History Book

A couple of years ago, we humble bloggers at The Dreamcast Junkyard released a physical collector's guide for the Dreamcast. It wasn't much - basically a 'trainspotter's guide' to the Dreamcast library that featured no images or any Sega or Dreamcast logos and which was intended as a handy chaperone for Dreamcast fans to keep a physical track of their collecting. It went down quite well, and we still get emails to this day asking if the book is available. It isn't (at least in physical form), because Sega Europe told us to stop selling it.
We were a little confused at the time, as to why a behemoth like Sega would care about something that amounted to little more than a printed list of Dreamcast games (the PDF is still available here). We asked about working with them to produce an official guide, but they simply ignored us...and now we know why. They had commissioned French publisher Pix 'N Love Editions to create an officially licensed Dreamcast history book...

Dreamcast Streaming Service DreamStream Announced For Nintendo Switch

People with only a passing interest in research and development processes, business procedures and manufacturing fundamentals have been calling for a sequel to the Sega Dreamcast for some time now; but the desire for a bonafide 'Dreamcast 2' has fallen on deaf ears for the most part. However, it now looks like Sega is ready to give the notion at least a slight nudge in the right direction. This week, Sega announced a new partnership with old rival Nintendo which will bring Dreamcast games to the new handheld hybrid system Switch.
The service, tentatively titled 'DreamStream' will allow Switch owners to connect to a cyber razor-powered service that will initially offer a handful of HD remasters of popular Dreamcast titles like Jet Set Radio, Sonic Adventure, Spirit of Speed 1937 and Space Channel 5. Details on further games, and just how the service will work are sketchy at best right now, but this information has literally only just leaked through this article on art and tech website Art News. Quick to capitalize on the leak, Sega Europe spokesperson Avril Tonto responded to the claims:

"Sega Europe and Nintendo have a long and storied history. With this new partnership, we hope to bring much-loved franchises to a new audience."

As stated, details are thin on the ground at the moment, but we hope to bring more details as they emerge. With the strong initial sales of the Switch, and the heavy leanings toward retro emulation and classic gaming experiences, we think this can only add another string to Nintendo's bow in the fight against Sony and Microsoft.

Source: Art News

DreamPod - Episode 48 Featuring DC Gaga

[iTunes][Stitcher][Buzzsprout][UK Podcast Directory][YouTube]

If you'd like to know more about DC Gaga, you can find the main site here, and also find Jamie on Twitter and Facebook. The article on the Dream Library download service is located here, and you can find our previous articles on the Dreameye, Dreamcast karaoke unit and the DC-Free service by clicking on/tapping the various inline links. If you like what you've heard, please consider leaving us an iTune review and as ever, thanks to everyone who donates to our Patreon.

New Xenocider Footage Released By Retro Sumus

Xenocider is a game we've been keeping a close eye on here at the Junkyard, ever since it was first announced by Spanish developer Retro Sumus back in 2015. Initially a Kickstarter-funded Dreamcast title, the Space Harrier/Sin & Punishment homage has gone from strength to strength and lead developer Carlos Oliveros and his highly talented team have been hard at work behind the scenes working on new enemies, levels and boss characters.
Xenocider is rapidly becoming one of the most hotly anticipated new IPs for the Dreamcast, and the latest development diary video dropped recently. In it, Retro Sumus give us a glimpse of a new stage (called Transistor Highway); and a new boss, inspired by none other than Dreamcast classic Rez. Here's the video:

You can still pre-order Xenocider here, and the recent announcement that the game will ship with artwork by DC Comics artist Agustín Padilla makes it an even more enticing prospect than ever.

Readers Share Their Rare & Unusual Dreamcast Items

A couple of years ago, we the writers of this blog shared our collections with the readership and allowed the internet at large to bask in the fuzzy glow of the weird and wonderful items of Dreamcast-related tat we have all accumulated over the years. With that in mind, we thought it was about time that we turned the tables and asked our lovely readers - namely the members of our awesome Facebook group - which odd, strange and unique items they had acquired and added to their Dreamcast collections over the years. And they didn't disappoint.
No, they answered the call with gusto, and I was quite literally flabbergasted at the range of the unique and lesser-spotted items of Dreamcast hardware, software and merchandise (both official and third party) which was offered up for others to gawk at. Some of these items I had no prior knowledge of, and some of them are just downright weird. Others are completely unique and one-of-a-kind pieces of Dreamcast-related history. Forget your standard 'L@@K! R@RE!' eBay listings for copies of Buggy Heat. These items are the real Dreamcast crown jewels. So, without further ado let's embark on a journey into the more obscure annals of Dreamcast collecting...

Quick Look Video: Alice Dreams Tournament

Some of you out there may have started to receive your copy of successful Kickstarter game Alice Dreams Tournament. We'll have a full review coming soon (well, as soon as all of the Dreamcast Junkyard team receive their copies); but in the meantime I decided to take a quick look at the game dropping into mailboxes as I type:

Have you got yours yet? If so, what do you think of this new game? Let us know in the comments or over in our Facebook group.

Review & Emulation Analysis: Breakers

Until very recently, I'd never heard of Breakers. A game that was solely the preserve of Neo-Geo aficionados - and even then those who tended to walk on the more obscure side of the tracks - Breakers is a game that very few outside of the more niche corners of the gaming fraternity will have much affinity with. Released by Visco Games in 1996, the game remained in its native Japan and was never given a western airing, even when the home conversions for the Neo-Geo AES and Neo-Geo CD came around. Breakers is one of those games that unless you know about it, will pass you by.
That's about to change though, as French publishers JoshProd and Rush On Game launch a joint assault on the Dreamcast library with a collection of 5 new or re-issued titles; and the crowning glory amongst this lineup (along with Rush Rush Rally Reloaded) is considered to be Visco's obscure 2D fighter. With little prior knowledge of Breakers on a personal level (a boat I'm sure I crew with plenty of other people), I decided to approach this upcoming release with a three-pronged attack. First, I wanted to give my own opinions on it as somebody who is not au fait with the original games in the Breakers series; to review the sum of the game's parts from the point of view of a newbie to the series with no prior experiences to compare it to. Second, I wanted to get an unbiased opinion on how well the emulation holds up; and third I wanted to get a comparison between this Dreamcast iteration and the original 1996 version of Breakers running on genuine SNK hardware of the era. With this in mind, it's time to settle down with a mug of tea/coffee/vodka for a bloody long article...
Before I continue with this review though, allow me to address the elephant in the room. I'm not an expert when it comes to fighting games, and even less so when it comes to rare and obscure NTSC-J exclusive 2D fighting games for the Neo-Geo. Sure, I own the majority of the King of Fighters series and many, many other Capcom and SNK 2D fighters for the Dreamcast and beyond...but I'm not an expert in the genre. That said, I do enjoy the odd round of digital fisticuffs and I know what makes for a fun and enjoyable gaming experience.
I can clearly appreciate the comical gulf in quality between things like Double Dragon V, Rise of the Robots and Shaq Fu; and games like Marvel Vs Capcom, X-Men: Children of the Atom and Vampire Hunter D. I've sampled the delights of BlazBlue, JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, innumerable Street Fighter titles and even stuff like Groove on Fight, Garou and Samurai Shodown. Even though I'm no expert, I feel I'm pretty well versed in the genre and I know what differentiates the wheat from the chaff. So with that in mind, let's jump in and give this Breakers thing a good seeing to...

Metropolis Street Racer: The Development Diaries

I do occasionally find myself browsing old websites via the Wayback Machine, and they usually tend to be websites linked in some way to the Dreamcast. Whenever I flick through the manual of an old game and spot a URL, I have an urge to just go and have a look at the contemporary online presence the developer or publisher had. I know I've waffled on about my affection for the Wayback Machine on multiple occasions but there's just something so fascinating about trawling the long forgotten sites of old, sites that date from before the internet was as ubiquitous as it is today. I mean, even fridges and dishwashers can connect to the internet these days, but back in the early 2000s just getting online was an arduous process - even if you had a Dreamcast. 
Anyway, due to my insatiable thirst for the widely forgotten, I found myself looking at the Bizarre Creations website when I noticed a tab for a development diary. Weirdly, it is now only accessible by using the 'console friendly' (read: Dreamcast compatible) version of the site, but upon clicking it I was met with a fascinating insight into the development process of one of my favourite Dreamcast games. Here, buried in time being read by precisely nobody was a glimpse into the past. Anecdotes about nights out on the town with other Dreamcast developers of the era, office politics and even some fascinating tales of pranks played in the MSR engine by the programmers (I'd kill to see the 'MSR with rabbits' that's referred to!). I had never read any of this before, and I thought it was worth preserving and sharing with like minded fans of Metropolis Street Racer. 
Naturally, what makes this even more poignant is that Bizarre Creations, even after the critical and commercial success of later titles such as Project Gotham, no longer exists. So, read on and get ready to be whisked back to 1998 and the inner sanctum of Bizarre Creations' Liverpool offices...

Expanding the Dreamcast Collection Part 5: The Sega System SP

It’s been an interesting journey, and one that I for one have certainly learnt a lot from, but unfortunately this won’t quite be the send off befitting a series of systems that once dominated the arcade scene for over a decade. You see, rather than going out with a bang, the Dreamcast family of hardware ended with a silent wet fart - a shart, even -  from a once great arcade behemoth. Hardly riveting stuff, but for the sake of completion and bringing this barrel-scraping topic to a close, let’s take a quick look at the not-so-almighty System SP.
The System SP. Picture taken from - a great resource for
all things arcade related, so check it out.
Now how’s that for an opening to get your attention? How could you possibly resist the temptation to expand your ever increasing knowledge of pointless Dreamcast trivia? So gather round and prepare to be bored to death! You - yes you, the person whose time would be far better spent learning to play an instrument or practicing that language you’ve intended to learn for the past decade.
This is how the Dreamcast ended up. A sad/hilarious sight indeed.
Where was I again? Oh yes, the System SP. Time to share a few useless tidbits about the most boring, pointless and least interesting system in the Dreamcast family. Well, we had to wrap it up somehow...

Video Review: Millennium Racer: Y2K Fighters

At the risk of this becoming the Millennium Racer Junkyard, I've put together a shortish video review of the recently discovered futuristic racing game. Hopefully you'll find the video informative and it'll give you a taste of what to expect before you head over to the original reveal article, where download links and the full story of the discovery are detailed. Enjoy!

Thanks to Kuririn84, japanese_cake and Eric Fradella for their various work in getting Millennium Racer: Y2K Fighters out into the hands of Dreamcast gamers everywhere; and thanks to Eurogamer for giving this story a bit of exposure and giving the old Junkyard a mention. If you download the game and want a CD inlay for it, here's one courtesy of Facebook group member Larkos McEnroe:
Once again, the Dreamcast community can be utterly awesome at times. I need to lie down.

Previously Unknown Dreamcast Game Millennium Racer: Y2K Fighters Discovered

This is pretty damn cool. Ever heard of Millennium Racer: Y2K Fighters? Not many people have. It was developed by Creat Studio and released on the PC back in 1999 and it appears that a Dreamcast port was in the works. For whatever reason it was never shown to the public, the press...or anyone outside of Creat Studios by the looks of things. This is particularly odd because the game was recently discovered on a Dreamcast dev kit and it appears to be fully playable and complete!
Millennium Racer is a futuristic racer with combat elements in the same vein as Extreme G or WipEout, and looks as though it could have given the genre a shot in the arm as the only other titles in this style are limp to say the least. Pod 2 and Magforce Racing are the only true attempts at this style of game on the Dreamcast (I'm not counting Episode 1: Racer) and they're both pants.
Anyway, back to Millennium Racer. I was contacted a few weeks ago by the owner of the dev kit, a Dreamcast aficionado known as Kuririn84 and he told me the following:

"Hi, I just wanted to give you a heads up that I have found an unreleased Dreamcast game called Millenium Racer: Y2K Fighters. 

"I am working with another member of the community to get it running, and I do plan on releasing the game and files to the community. I know the PC version was released, but there was never an announcement of a Dreamcast port. The files I found are on the HD of my Dev kit, so certainly Dreamcast files. I'm working with another member of the community to get it running.

"I have sent the game to two people, one of them was unable to do anything with it, the other person is very well known in the Dreamcast scene and seems confident they can get it running. If he can get it running I will put the game out there for the community, if not I will post the files for people to look at. I've been a Dreamcast fan and a member of the community since 1998, I hope this can be my contribution."
- Kuririn84
Since then, it appears that Millennium Racer has indeed been extracted from the dev kit on which it has been hiding for all these years, and the best bit is that it's 100% playable...