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.

DCJY/RadioSEGA

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!

Event: Play Expo Manchester 2016

Play Expo Manchester is one of the largest events in the UK gaming calendar, and once again The Dreamcast Junkyard will be in attendance. Last year's event was absolutely brilliant, and the Junkyard team got to speak to hundreds of gamers, cosplayers and subscribers to the church of geek over the course of the two-day bash. You can read the show report and see some photos here, but you're probably more interested to know what we'll have in store this year should you be lucky enough to be attending the show.
Nerds, as far as the eye can see...and it's glorious!
Play Expo, first and foremost is about the games. The various events held around the UK by organiser Replay Events are a celebration of games both new and old and this is reflected by the sheer number of freeplay arcade cabinets, pinball tables, boardgames, and consoles and computers from all eras and generations. On top of this, there are talks from industry figures, cosplay parades and competitions, and movie memorabilia displays. Oh, and there are usually hundreds of traders selling all kinds of gaming paraphernalia. It really is a fantastic carnival celebrating everything great about gaming, and this year The Dreamcast Junkyard will be located in the Community Zone, along with a range of Dreamcast consoles, peripherals and games for the general public to experience. You can find out more about the Community Zone by visiting the official Play Expo website, but we'll be there rubbing shoulders with the likes of RetroCollect, GamesYouLoved and Bordersdown.

The Games That Never Were: Episode 8

We've dutifully shared Pcwzrd's fantastic The Games That Never Were series here at the 'Yard ever since it first hit YouTube, and the reason for this is twofold. First, the videos are a fantastic insight into the Dreamcast titles we were promised back in the day, but for whatever reason we never got the opportunity to sample. Second, Pcwzrd works his ass off on this series and we feel they deserve more views. And while we're on the subject of videos that deserve your eyes to be cast over them, go and watch Dreamcast Hub's latest video review of Puzzle Fighter 2X here.

Back to the matter at hand though. The Games That Never Were is a series focused solely on the multitude of games that were promised for Sega's final console but were never released for public consumption. As Pcwzrd explains in the intro, there were a staggering number of projects in the works when the plug was pulled on the Dreamcast and many of these were either switched to other platforms or simply cancelled and lost to the fiery mists of development hell, never to be seen again.
Hellgate. Image credit: Unseen64
I make no secret of my obsession with cancelled games, and I'm forever scouring awesome sites like Unseen64; and my favourite part of reading old magazines is undoubtedly searching for the slightest mention of an unreleased Dreamcast game, no matter how vague the reference. With this in mind, you can probably see where my love for this series stems from!

Sega's Telecom Dream

Recently we discovered the Dreamphone, and with the help of the wider Dreamcast community were able to piece together the mystery behind this long forgotten peripheral. The Dreamphone turned out to be a repurposed Fujitsu My Phone YT8100, a simple device that let Japanese Dreamcast users connect to the internet and still allow phone calls to be made. The Dreamphone was given away as a low end Dream Point Bank prize (4000 points) and quietly fell into obscurity. It seems that Sega did have other plans for the Dreamcast when it came to telecommunications though, and here's proof:
This screen is taken from a video recently uploaded to YouTube by user DeChief. DeChief contacted me through the Assembler forums to ask if I would be interested in seeing a video that had been digitised from an old Japanese promo VHS tape. Naturally, even with overtones of the film Ring, I was keen and upon viewing it I realised the video was one I'd never seen before. 
The second half of the upload busies itself with game previews (and includes footage of Geist Force); but it's the first half that offers up the good stuff. At the 3:45 mark, the video shows off some intended uses for the VMU which include being able to attach the device to an arcade cabinet, the VMU attached to a mobile phone, and a VMU stuck in a hi-fi mini system!



Dreamcast VR Roundup

Today, lets take a look at the recent developments in Dreamcast VR gaming. If you’re only interested in DC-related content, feel free to skip past my incoherent ramblings to the meat of the post further down the page. I won’t take it personally. You...you...giant talking egg!
The Game On exhibition was held in Tokyo earlier this year.
In May, I was lucky enough to be given the chance to sample the yet to be released PS VR at the Game On Expo in Tokyo; where I was treated to playable demos of the promising 'Getaway: London Heist' and incoming virtual reality adaptation of DC classic Rez. From the instant the headset was placed on my head by the rather beautiful Japanese Sony representative, I was transported to a different dimension, quickly losing any awareness of my real life surroundings and becoming completely absorbed in my new virtual world. 

Anyone who has conversed with me on the topic of modern gaming knows that I held a rather pessimistic view on the direction the games industry has been progressing in recent years, and despite owning all three of the current gen systems, I’ve yet to really be impressed by any of them...until now. I’m not ashamed to say it, but VR caught me completely off guard and has blown me away. This is the leap in gaming I've been impatiently waiting for since Shenmue was booted up for the first time in my childhood bedroom…and well, as of late, I’ve gone a bit VR mad.

Xenocider Pre-Orders Open, New Demo Available

The tale of Retro Sumus' ambitious Sin & Punishment-style shooter Xenocider has been well documented here at the Junkyard, but things are looking up for the Spanish outfit. How so? Well, pre-orders for the game are now open, and it also appears to have become a Dreamcast exclusive! From the Retro Sumus website:

"We like to believe we listen to our audience. After the hangover of our failed Kickstarter campaign, fans of both the Ameba and Xenocider projects suggested good old pre-orders. We weren’t sure if that was a feasible option, as we have never wanted to become just another dev team who make promises they can’t deliver. As we have claimed many times, our goal is total transparency, and the last thing we wish is to lose the little trust we earned from those fans.

So we listened. We considered. We re-considered. We re-evaluated our options, our means, our objectives, our possibilities. We solved our differences via Virtua Fighter matches, because that’s what well educated guys do.

And here we are. After all that careful consideration, we agreed to focus our efforts on developing Xenocider for Dreamcast exclusively. This may well reduce our potential profit to almost none, but who cares. Xenocider is still alive, with three stages virtually finished, and our plan is to complete development in less than a year from now. And you can pre-order the regular, limited, PAL or steelbook editions of the game from our new shop today!"
- Retro Sumus

Guest Article: Sega Should Resurrect The Dreamcast Brand

You many be familiar with the name Luke Benstead. He's the guy responsible for creating the DreamPi - the Raspberry Pi based device that is enabling Dreamcast owners to get back online around the world. We've covered Luke's work extensively here at the Junkyard, he appeared as a guest on an episode of DreamPod and he wrote a previous guest article for us. In this new guest article though, Luke takes a look at what it would take to resurrect the Dreamcast brand...

Recently, it was the 17th anniversary of the Sega Dreamcast in the US and the occasion caused Twitter and Faceback to fill with birthday greetings for the console that refuses to die. If you're reading this you are probably well aware of the stubborn and ever-growing 'Dreamcast Scene,' but if this is news to you then I'll give you a quick overview. 
Dreamcast trended on Twitter briefly on 9/9/2016
After Sega stopped supporting their last home console, homebrew developers made tools to create games for it, and every year more and more games created by indie developers are released. On top of that, the Dreamcast continues to gain more and more online multiplayer games as aspiring geniuses reverse engineer the old game servers. Just in the past year alone, Chu Chu Rocket, Toy Racer (dial up), PAL Quake III Arena and The Next Tetris, have returned from the dead. On the horizon is Alien Front Online, and there are sure to be more to come. There are weekly game nights scheduled for both the US and UK, and well over 100 people now regularly play online. Which is quite some achievement considering you have to actually do some soldering to get the dial-up Dreamcast to connect in a fibre-optic world. 

In summary, the Dreamcast isn't dead, it's alive and well. Sure it doesn't compete with current gen consoles but no other console in history has had as much community support. Which brings me onto the main topic of the article; Sega should bring the Dreamcast back. 

Competition: Win Propeller Arena For Dreamcast!

We took a closer look at Sega's fabulous airborne battle game recently, and also the reasons behind its cancellation. If you'd like to know more, feel free to go here and have a look at the article in question. The long and short of it though, is that Propeller Arena is a brilliant game and one that you should definitely seek out if you want a demonstration of just how good late era Dreamcast games can look, sound and play. In fact, here's a screen I took on my very own Dreamcast mere weeks ago:
Looks good, eh? Anyway, on the back of our recent retrospective we teamed up with talented DCJY Facebook group member Martin Kay to offer three of you lucky folk the chance to win a very unique prize: a copy of Propeller Arena, complete with PAL case, manual, printed covers and a Shenmue-style cardboard protective sleeve!
These things were hand made by Martin and look like official games, and as they're repros they will run in any Dreamcast that can play copied games - without the use of a boot disc. Props must go the Martin (see what we did there?) for his efforts as these copies of the game really do look amazing and would look awesome on any Dreamcast collector's shelf.

Dreamcast Magazine Issue 17

Issue 17 of Paragon Publishing's unofficial Dreamcast Magazine was available to purchase in UK corner shops from 28th December 2000. Costing just £2.99 and nestled in amongst the Buckfast and Wham Bars, issue 17 featured Ubisoft and Darkworks' Lovecraft-inspired horror adventure Alone In The Dark: The New Nightmare on the cover; alongside Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2, Resident Evil 3: Nemesis and Tomb Raider Chronicles. The biggest draw for buyers of Dreamcast Magazine issue 17 though, was the infamous cover-mounted free gift.
The Blaze Xploder DC Cheats CD was intended to be a sample of the full product, which allowed users to activate cheats in Dreamcast games. Promising exotic treats such as infinite lives, the removal of in-game timers, and naked characters (probably); the demo version bundled with issue 17 allowed gamers to implement certain 'pokes' in a limited selection of 'titles.' However, it quickly became apparent that while the disc did indeed work as intended, it also bestowed upon users the ability to completely bypass the regional lockout of the Dreamcast and thus opened the door for UK gamers to play NTSC-U and NTSC-J games on their PAL systems.
Imagine for a moment that you answered an innocent knock on your front door, only to be confronted by Professor X who proceded to explain that you were the heir to Stark Industries and were now the new Iron Man. Yes, I know I'm mixing franchises, but this is the kind of power we're talking about. Sort of. It isn't. Anyway, this wasn't the only time such a blunder glorious fuck up was made by a magazine in the UK (as this recent Eurogamer article from former DC-UK editor Keith Stuart will testify); but it was certainly the first time it happened with a disc given away by Dreamcast Magazine, and it probably didn't help Paragon's relationship with Sega Europe either.

Event: Dreamcast 17th Anniversary Event, Burbank CA

Every time I put up a post here at the Junkyard detailing a new event we're attending, there always seem to be tonnes of people disappointed that they're generally held in the UK. That's because most of us here are based in old Blighty and since Brexit we're not even allowed to leave anymore. Naturally I jest, but this isn't a joke: there's a Dreamcast 17th anniversary event happening in Burbank, California on 9/9/16! This event is being run by friend of the Junkyard CD ageS (you know, the guy who owns the super rare SFL-2000P1 Control Unit we featured a while back), and sounds like a perfect way to celebrate the US birthday of our favourite console.
Click for a larger version!
This event is, as the name and date on which it is being held suggest, a celebration of the NTSC-U Dreamcast reaching the ripe old age of 17; and the venue - Game Realms - is one of the largest game stores in the area. Game Realms is no stranger to putting on awesome events and this one will be no different, featuring a selection of free play consoles and Dreamcast classics from 1pm on the day. Further to this, after 7pm the ambience will take on a slightly more competitive edge as the tournament begin and games are streamed on Twitch.
Entry before 7pm is free, after this time tickets cost $7. For further information, be sure to check out Game Realms' Facebook page and website. For those in the UK, The Dreamcast Junkyard will once again have a presence at Play Expo Manchester in early October and we hope to see some of you lovely people there. If you're in Burbank, CA though...you have no reason not to get yourself down to Game Realms on 9/9/16!

Space Channel 5 Coming To VR Devices

This article has been updated in light of new information becoming available. We already know about Rez being given the VR treatment in preparation for the PS VR launch in October...but how about Space Channel 5? You may notice that question mark in the title to this post (article was originally titled 'Space Channel 5 Coming To PlayStation VR?'), and that's because we're not totally sure if this is a hoax, so please take this with a pinch of salt. According to this NeoGAF thread, a Space Channel 5 VR demo will be shown at Tokyo Game Show 2016 (running from 15th to 17th September) and a link takes you to a fairly convincing teaser site.

An Interview With Pierre Santino - The Dreamcast Barber

It took us over a year, with countless emails and tweets and hours of internet searching. But we finally did it, we found The Barber. The full story is documented in this series of articles:

In Search Of The Barber: Part One
In Search Of The Barber: Part Two
In Search Of The Barber: Part Three

We know how the tl;dr (too long, didn't read) modern internet works though, so the abridged version is this: a guy played a barber in a Dreamcast commercial. He was the face of the console in Europe and his image was everywhere for a few months in late 1999 and early 2000...then he simply disappeared. No record of his name, or who he was left anywhere on the promotional materials, and internet searches turned up nothing. His identity could have been lost to the digital mists of internet lore...that is until The Dreamcast Junkyard stepped in and decided to find out who he was. If you've been following this whole saga you'll know how we did it (and the assistance we had from the wider Dreamcast community), but if not I urge you to read the previous In Search Of The Barber articles to get a full appreciation for how mammoth a task this has been.
This photo is from Pierre's private collection and has never been published before.
Anyway, it's all come to this. We have found him. His name is Pierre Santino and he is alive and well living and working in France. An actor and comedian with an extensive portfolio of work spanning 40 years, Pierre was only too happy (and possibly a little surprised) when we showed him the previous articles documenting our search for him. As he is French and speaks very little English, we enlisted the help of Arnaud Bonnet (author of 1000 Jeux Vidéo, 1000 Anecdotes published by Pix'n Love Editions) who acted as an interpreter. Huge thanks go to Arnaud for his assistance in the translation of this interview from English, to French...and back again. Enough from me though. Let us turn our attention to the man of the moment - The Barber himself, Mr Pierre Santino...

Power Stone Clone Lastfight Announced For XB1 & PS4

Back in May, we reviewed the excellent Power Stone clone Lastfight, and awarded it a very respectful 7.5/10. We praised its gameplay, style and ability to invoke fond memories of Power Stone, but criticised its lack of content. Check it out here.

At the time of review, the game was a Steam exclusive, but there's good news for all you console peasants out there: the game is making its way over to Xbox One and PlayStation 4 later this month.

DC Light Gun Games On Modern Lucuda Tuv...LCD TV

Finally!
This story has been doing the rounds on social media as of late, so it may seem like old hat, but for those who aren't wasting their pitiful existence on this planet posting selfie or pick-up photos and fishing for likes from strangers, this may come as a pleasant surprise to you.

It's a problem many of us faced around a decade ago; plugging in our Dreamcast light gun with the intention of caning through a bit of House of the Dead 2 perhaps months or even years after trashing the old tube TV in favour of a modern flat screen, only to find that wherever we point the damn thing, all that's accomplished is reloading full clips of ammo over and over until we die before even getting the chance to meet G over there.

Being able to enjoy lightgun games again has become one of the many motivations in tracking down a CRT for many, but it isn't exactly the most practical solution for those without the space, or with a wife who no doubt can't stand the idea of a fat grey eyesore in her carefully designed Zen inspired living room. And while you can use a Gamegear, it seems that there may finally be a more practical solution...sorry Caleb!

Shenmue III Kickstarter Update August 2016

It's all been a bit quiet on the Shenmue III front recently. Apart from the odd snarky comment I've heard on various podcasts about how shit it's inevitably going to be* when it finally drops, there's been precious little information forthcoming from Ys Net's headquarters in Japan. That changed today though, with a Kickstarter update titled 'From the Dev Room.' The update only really consists of a short video where several developers are interrupted and asked to show the camera what they're working on though, so don't get too excited.
One guy shows that he's working on a recreation of the river jumping section from Shenmue II and demonstrates some wireframe animations of Ryo trying his best not to get his trainers wet; while a colleague shows off a section in which Ryo is avoiding being crushed by falling rocks. I've taken a few screen grabs of the video and dotted them around here, but you should probably go and check out the video on the Kickstarter page too. Oh, and donate while you're there if you haven't already.