Classic Gaming Volume 2 Features The Dreamcast

The latest instalment of Future Publishing's retro gaming bookazine has hit the shops, and this time it features our beloved Dreamcast. Gamesradar Classic Gaming Volume 2 is 144 pages of retro loveliness, and it contains sections focusing on five different consoles plus a selection of the best games for each platform. The Commodore 64, Atari ST, Super Nintendo, Neo Geo AES and (of course) the Dreamcast are all included, and each chapter gives an overview of the hardware, a selection of peripherals and console variants. As a nice extra touch, contemporary magazines covering each platform are also mentioned, meaning classic mags like Commodore Format, Super Play and DC-UK are all given a shout out.
The games sections aren't exhaustive, but they do cover the best titles for each system, most of them with huge full-page images. The Dreamcast section in particular features games such as Sonic Adventure, Shenmue, Rez, Resident Evil Code Veronica and Soul Calibur; and there's a double page feature on the output of Capcom in general. There are a lot of other bookazines of this type also available from rival (well, former rival) publisher Imagine, and of course there's the monthly magazine Retro Gamer which consistently produces high quality articles on a range of retro topics.

A Closer Look At The Dreamcast Memory Card 4X

There are tonnes of third party memory cards for the Dreamcast, almost all of which don't feature the same monochrome LCD display and internal wizardry of the official VMU. There are also a plethora of third party cards that offer an advantage over the official memory unit in that they contain more storage space, and multiple 'pages' that can be switched between using a little button. I have several of these made by Joytech and while they look a bit garish with their blue/green plastic shells, they do the job just fine. Offering four times the capacity of a regular VMU but omitting a screen and face buttons, they are cheap and cheerful alternatives.
What you may not know, is that Sega actually released their own official multi-page non-visual VMU in late 2000, imaginatively titled the Dreamcast Memory Card 4X. This multi card was only released in Japan and the US (in the US, it was called the 4x Memory Card), and never made its way to Europe, like so many other cool devices for the Dreamcast. Anyway, I recently saw one of these Memory Card 4X things on eBay for the bargain price of £20, and having never seen one in the flesh (plastic) I snapped it up. A few days later it found its way through my letterbox in a scrunched up brown envelope and here for your delectation are my thoughts and closer inspection of the thing.

Resurrecting DcVD: Dreamcast Video Disc

What if DVDs never existed? Maybe Sega would have followed through with their speculated plans for a Dreamcast Video Disc (DcVD) - an alternative video format similar to Video CD, but one which exploits the Dreamcast's natural affinity with the Sofdec video and ADX audio codecs and the extra capacity of the proprietary GD-rom format.
Scott 'DocEggfan' Marley recently looked into the history of DcVD here at the Junkyard and he's been eagerly working away behind the scenes to bring the dead format back to life. Now, for your enjoyment we are proud to present the teaser trailer for Scott's endeavours. Turn the lights down, the volume up and prepare to be wowed by the dulcet tones of our very own Caleb in the trailer for the upcoming DcVD Dreamcast Video format!

We hope to release several copyright free movies using this resurrected format in the near future, movies that can be played directly in a Dreamcast GD-rom drive with no extra hardware required. Watch this space!

DreamPod - Episode 40

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

You can find all of our previous episodes of DreamPod here, and there's more information regarding our exploits at Play Expo Manchester 2016 here. If you'd like to grab HankyAlienDC and play it using your SD card reader, be sure to head over to Simian Zombie and click the download link. Further information on In The Line Of Fire can be found here, and below you'll find me (Tom) and Rob in Maych TV's YouTube video which we took part in during Play Expo. Finally, if you like what you've heard on this episode of DreamPod (or not - we know the sound quality was a bit shit due to using Skype and a free recording app I found literally 5 minutes before starting the podcast); please feel free to leave us a rating or review on iTunes. Cheers!

A Quick Look At Former Managing Director Yukawa's Treasure Hunt

Mr Yukawa. The man, the myth, the legend. But who was he, really? Well, Hidekazu Yukawa was the  senior managing director of Sega Japan during the early part of the Dreamcast's reign, and he was used as the main character in a fairly successful series of TV adverts. You can find them all on YouTube, but the TV commercials in question tell the story of Sega's boss on the eve of the Dreamcast's launch, where he is besieged by thoughts of self doubt and nightmares of the console's failure. He is harassed by children who want PlayStations instead of Dreamcasts, and even gets beaten up at one point.
Naturally, Mr Yukawa's fears are allayed when the Dreamcast becomes a success and everybody lives happily ever after. The series of TV ads catapulted Yukawa into semi-stardom in his native land, and his image was used on Dreamcast console boxes and in print adverts, such was his popularity. What you may not know is that he also starred in his very own game on the Dreamcast - Former Managing Director Yukawa's Treasure Hunt.

HankyAlienDC: A New Homebrew Space Invaders Clone

This one kinda came out of nowhere, but there's a new Space Invaders clone available for the Dreamcast and it can be downloaded for free. The work of a lone hobbyist coder known as ant512 on the DC Emulation forums, HankyAlienDC is available as a free file that can be run on either your choice of Dreamcast emulator, on Dreamcast hardware using an SD card reader, or burnt to a CD and played in the Dreamcast's GD drive. It's a pretty accurate recreation of the Atari original and is also available for Nintendo DS, should you have an R4 card to play it through.

"The archive contains a .elf version that will run in lxdreams, and presumably other emulators, and a .bin version that will run via an SD adaptor and DreamShell RC4. It will presumably run if you somehow burn it to a CD, but it’s been so long since I’ve made a CD of Dreamcast homebrew that I’ve completely forgotten how to do it. Plus I’m on a different OS and don’t have an optical drive any more."
- ant512

Having recently got a new MacBook, I know exactly how ant512 feels! Anyhow, before this becomes an Apple-bashing humblebrag circle jerk, check out VasiliyDC's video of HankyAlienDC in action:

And once you've finished, be sure to head over to Simian Zombie to download the HankyAlienDC game files for free. Thanks to VasiliyDC for sharing this information with us.

Play Expo Manchester 2016 Show Report

The weekend of the 8th and 9th of October 2016 saw Replay Events' huge Play Expo gaming event return to the north west of England, with Play Expo Manchester. The event has been a staple of the gaming calendar for many people in the UK and European gaming communities for the last few years as it blends retro, current, PC, console and board gaming; and supplements them with cosplay competitions, indie game showcases and more arcade and pinball machines than you can shake a stick at - all set to free play. Oh, and there are hundreds of sellers on hand to offer event goers the opportunity to pick up all kinds of gaming paraphernalia, should their budgets stretch to it.
Naturally, The Dreamcast Junkyard was there and our booth in the community zone was the biggest one we've put on yet, featuring 8 Dreamcast systems of all different flavours and a whole range of games and peripherals for the public to experience. The turn out at Play Expo was stunning and was quite possibly the largest and busiest to date, with thousands upon thousands of gamers and collectors flooding the Event City venue over the course of the two days.
As exhibitors, it was amazing to see so much appreciation and love for the Dreamcast, and our little corner of the event hall was barely ever empty and on more than one occasion it was absolutely teeming with people keen to play on the games we had on offer.

The DCJY Top 200 Games 2016: Your Vote Counts!

It's that time again folks. As the DCJY family has grown in the past few years, with listeners to the DreamPod, members of a Facebook group and new Twitter followers coming onboard to enjoy the tripe we concoct; we thought it was about time that we updated our Dreamcast Junkyard Top 200 games list, and allow all of our readers and listeners, new and old alike to have another say in the endless question of just what the very best titles on our beloved little console really are. Aaron 'Gagaman' Foster did a fantastic job on our last Top 200, but in the fast-moving world of the Dreamcast, we've seen many new titles, new found appreciation for old classics, and old friends falling out of favor. Plus, who doesn't like a shiny new list?

So what do we want you to do? Simple! Simply scroll to the bottom of this article and click on the voting link. You'll then be whisked away to our sparkly form, where you can enter up to a maximum of 20 of your favourite game titles (in no particular order) and then we will get our hired team of professional stat bods/shaven monkeys to do the hard part.

Someone is turning the Dreamcast version of Re-Volt into Mario Kart

There's not really much more to add. There's a guy, and he's modding the Dreamcast version of Acclaim's radio controlled racer Re-Volt to look and play like Nintendo's flagship kart 'em up. It's early days at present, and only runs on NullDC thus far but this could be worth keeping an eye on. Thanks must go to our pal Pcwzrd for alerting me to this brilliantly bizarre fan project.

I wonder if this is even worth Nintendo slapping a cease and desist on, as the only people it will likely appeal to is sad sacks like me and you reading this now. Yes you. That said, you only have to look at Pokemon Uranium and the Metroid project from a few months ago to see how Nintendo reacts to even the most harmless of fan projects.

One thing is certain though: Acclaim won't be making any noise.

New Dreamcast Game Revealed: In The Line Of Fire

A few months ago we showed off some images of a brand new first person shooter that didn't actually have a name. If you don't know what I'm talking about, cast your mind back to those pictures of the clowns holding invisible guns. If you still don't know what I'm blathering on about, simply cast your peepers downward a few pixels and refresh your memory:
Remember now? Excellent. The guys behind the 'unnamed shooter' have been hard at work behind the scenes, it seems and have finally put together a fully playable build of the game. Oh, and it has a name now too: In The Line Of Fire. I'm not usually one to blow my own trumpet (much), but I thought I should mention that I had a small hand in choosing that name...but this isn't about me. It's about a brand new story-driven first person shooter coming exclusively to the Dreamcast...and we've played the alpha build!

Time for some Grandia II...nes

To say I've been putting off playing Grandia II would be an understatement - the game's sat on my shelf for upward of a year now, with only a few plays on it so far. The idea of playing a JRPG on the Dreamcast is still an odd one to me, having grown up playing most of my RPGs on Nintendo consoles (or that time I binged a bunch of Skyrim on my bro's PS3).

But I'm not here to commiserate about video game backlogs. Rather, let us look to a particularly nifty feature of the Dreamcast release of Grandia II: the bonus "Music Selections" CD included. With a total of 12 pieces coming in at 50 minutes of music, it's a nice sampling of the game's soundtrack, with what appear to be a few remixes thrown in for good measure. Thankfully, no jingles or short sounds are included, so the CD works as a standalone listen.
My own personal copy
Oddly enough, the album begins with a remix. Both "Cançäo do povo (Little Shelter MIX)" and the last song, "Cançäo do povo," feature the vocal talents of Kaori Kawasumi. The song and its remix provide nice bookends for the whole affair, as the remix opens up with a catchy dance-like beat, and the original ends it on a more mellow, longing note.

A Closer Look At The Dreamcast MP3 Player

By now, it's common knowledge (well, in the Dreamcast community - probably not down the local pub) that Sega was planning some kind of Dreamcast MP3 player. The device would likely have connected to the system via the VMU slot and shared a form factor with the aforementioned memory device. Indeed, if you do a quick search on the worlds most popular search engine Lycos, you'll no doubt come across this image:
Cheers, IGN.
This whole subject seems to have become quite popular again in recent times, as evidenced by the sheer number of memes and videos showing people fitting iPod Nanos into VMU shells. To be honest, that whole thing isn't really new - we did a little article on potentially fitting a no-brand MP3 player into a VMU shell back in 2006, back when nobody gave a flying turd about the Dreamcast and this was a personal blog where I told fanciful tales about buying tins of beans and cans of Carlsberg with money I found in the street (that hasn't changed in the intervening decade, by the way).

How Genuine is the Henshin Engine Kickstarter?

Here at The Dreamcast Junkyard, we've always been one of the first to support funding for indie Dreamcast developers, with both our own hard earned cash and publicity via our website, Twitter account, Facebook group, Facebook page and even occasionally our YouTube channel. You may have noticed that we've been reluctant to do the same for the recent Henshin Engine project, which some of you have championed vigorously through our various channels, both publicly and in private messages. Well today, we'd like to take the chance to explain our various reasons for being less than enthusiastic in our support for the project. Take a look at our reasoning for yourselves and come to your own conclusions.
When one considers giving money to a Kickstarter, in what basically equates to a loan to a third party, it would be hoped that said party could be trusted to be decent enough to represent themselves honestly and in a transparent manner, helping backers to make an informed decision regarding whether their investment is safe in the hands of a team they deem trustworthy. Here is where we come to our issues with the Henshin Engine Kickstarter project...

King of Fighters 2000 now on EU PlayStation Store

Forgive me if this is old news, but I only discovered it today...and that was purely because I was furiously combing the PlayStation Store to see if anything new had been added in the three weeks that I've been offline. Well, not totally offline...I've still been able to use my iPhone to annoy people, lose followers and start arguments on Twitter/Facebook; but I've had no broadband as I recently moved and had to wait for EE to switch the fibre service on. But you don't care about my trials and telecommunication-based tribulations! You're here for Dreamcast-related news, right? Well, prepare to be disappointed because this isn't really Dreamcast related at all, but there's a tenuous link. See, King of Fighters 2000 has appeared on the EU PlayStation store hot on the heels of that other SNK favourite The Last Blade 2.
A quick Google search tells me this game (which I believe is the PlayStation 2 version...see, I told you the link was tenuous) was released in May 2016 on the US store, but only recently (well, in late August) sneaked out in EU territories. Just thought people may have missed its appearance, as I certainly did and there's little mention of it on the European PlayStation blog. If you're interested and either don't own or didn't get the chance to play the game on the Dreamcast, King of Fighters 2000 can be found in the PlayStation 2 section when accessed with a PS4. I haven't purchased it myself as I own the game for the Dreamcast, but it appears to have been given similar treatment to the aforementioned sword-based fighter...which translates as garish-looking frames surrounding the action to afford a 4:3 screen ratio and stop everything looking like pixel vomit. Probably.
There's still no sign of Garou: Mark of the Wolves, but Max Payne is now available so there's another really, really weak Dreamcast link. If games that didn't actually come out on the Dreamcast can ever truly be considered as such. I'll just get my coat and see myself out.

Review: Zia and the Goddesses of Magic

The term 'role playing game' has always puzzled me. I get the connotations and I understand that titles with which it is associated must meet certain criteria to be classed as such...but don't you play a role in any game you play? Bear with me on this one, OK. I know I’m talking (writing) utter rubbish, but what do you expect here? Look, in Crazy Taxi you play the role of Gus, picking up passengers while wearing an open shirt and exposing the odd man boob. You are Gus. Similarly in Virtua Tennis, you assume the role of a square-headed Tim Henman and do things the man never did in real life, such as winning trophies; and therefore Virtua Tennis should technically be designated as a phantasy role playing game, too. Man, this gin is strong.

The thing is, these examples are not classed as role playing games, or ‘RPGs.’ No, RPGs fall into their own little genre identified by magic potions, stat points, levelling up and pointy ears/gigantic beards/scantily clad nymphs (delete as applicable). I'm going to be honest here and state that my experience with RPGs isn't as extensive as some other members of the Junkyard team, and I'm happy to admit that I've never finished Skies of Arcadia or Time Stalkers. The latter because it’s about as interesting as watching a group of pensioners play boules down the park on a Sunday morning.
That said, I have played other non-Dreamcast RPGs so I do have a decent level of appreciation for the genre (Ocarina of Time, Link's Awakening, Rainbow Moon, Fallout 3, The Witcher etc), and naturally there's also Shenmue but I'm apprehensive to class that as an RPG unless a hate mob of Shnemue truthers be mobilised against me. I'm already expecting a whole load of comments completely ignoring the main purpose of this review and just focusing in on the fact that I described any of the aforementioned games as RPGs, but fuck it. Haters gonna hate and I won't be posting this on Reddit anyway, so there's a 65% risk reduction of that straight out of the gate. What has all this guff got to do with the Dreamcast you may be wondering? Well, the latest indie release for Sega's little white box has landed...and it's an RPG!

Orion's Zia and the Goddesses of Magic was released at the beginning of September 2016 and is the latest new title to grace the Dreamcast, so let's take a look at what this curious little game is all about.


See what I did with the title of this post? It's like Frost/Nixon but less politically charged. Should probably be the other way round and written as RadioSEGA/DCJY...but meh. Anyway, let's get on with it. If you're a Sega fan, you'll no doubt be familiar with RadioSEGA...and if you're not, then allow me to enlighten you. RadioSEGA is an online radio station that broadcasts a whole range of shows and Sega-related music 24 hours a day. It has its own hosts, talk shows and discussion programmes as well as a thriving online community and forum. Recently, I was lucky enough to be invited onto one of RadioSEGA's most popular talk shows - The Sega Lounge - to talk about the Dreamcast, my history with the system and also The Dreamcast Junkyard itself. The show was a lot of fun and main host KC was a consummate broadcast professional (you can pay me later for that description, KC). There was also a Dreamcast music quiz that I wasn't too hot at - I could have done with a 'phone a friend' call on some of the tracks to be honest!
Other topics we touched on included the whole saga with the DCJY Guide and our recent In Search Of The Barber series (special thanks to both Kotaku and Nintendo Life for covering that, too!). Overall it was a great experience and I'm honoured that I was asked to appear on The Sega Lounge. The show was actually broadcast a couple of weeks ago (The Sega Lounge usually goes out on a Thursday night and has a different guest each episode) but now it is available as a podcast, so while you're waiting for us to get around to recording a new episode of DreamPod (don't worry - we're not cancelling it or anything...just real life events prevent us from recording now and then!) why not give this one a listen? Link below, folks!