In the Land of the Giants

When people talk about the rarest games on the Dreamcast, the same names tend to be bandied around. Friend of the Junkyard Racket Boy published a rather nice article focusing on the Dreamcast's rarest and most valuable titles a while back (click here to reveal it's delights), and we looked at a few of the more expensive PAL games right here at the 'Yard a few weeks ago...but here's the thing - a clear distinction needs to be made right now: 'expensive' and 'rare' are not the same thing.

One game that is forever being listed on eBay as 'rare' and commanding some ridiculous prices is Conker's Bad Fur Day for the Nintendo 64. It is a fantastic title and an example of Rareware of old at their finest, but as any well-read N64 collector will attest, Conker is not a rare game - it is merely desirable. Quite where the horrific price tag came from is anybody's guess (maybe someone saw the Rareware sticker and got a little confused), but the snowball became an avalanche and now Bad Fur Day has become the fodder of the more affluent collectors out there. Unless you own an Everdrive...but we won't go down that particularly grey alley.

Back to the original point - rare Dreamcast games. Games like Rival Schools 2, Bangai-O and Cannon Spike regularly get a mention; as do titles like SegaGaGa and Mars Matrix. Whether it was down to low print runs or low sales figures, all of these are uncommon titles. There is one game however, that never gets mentioned in these 'rare games' lists. A game that I believe is so rare, it transcends the very lists it should proudly sit atop. This game is Giant Killers - a UK exclusive football (soccer) management sim released by Smoking Gun Productions in May 2001.
Before we go any further, I want to address the rather odd name of this particular title. In British football terminology, 'giant killer' is a name afforded to a team from a lower league who manage to create an upset and defeat a team from a much higher division. This generally only happens in either the FA Cup or League Cup and is the cause for much celebration/egg on face when say, a non-league outfit sees off Championship or Premier League opposition. There is a long history of bigger teams slipping up against sides they should easily have beaten (for further info see Manchester United vs Anyone during the current season), and giant killing is an oft-used expression on these shores. So that's the science bit done - anyone from overseas seeing the name Giant Killers would be forgiven for thinking UK Dreamcast owners were privy to some hitherto unknown David vs Goliath simulator...alas, the truth is a little less exciting.

What of the game itself then? Well, I have a little confession to make: I hate football management sims. I've never seen the point of looking at screens of stats and never actually getting to play the beautiful game for real. I love stuff like FIFA and all the behind the scenes tinkering that the career mode in said EA Sports flagship title offers...but if you take away the ability to actually play the game, my interest levels wane. By 'wane,' I mean 'vanishes altogether.'
That said, I had an open mind when I approached Giant Killers. I powered the PAL-exclusive title up and settled down into the manager's chair, ready to get stuck in to the day-to-day running of a full blown professional football club. The first thing I noticed when I started the game was that all of the teams are from the English leagues and the conference - there are no international leagues at all, and this has the rather odd knock-on effect that players cannot be purchased from foreign teams. As previously hinted at, I'm a bit of a novice when it comes to management sims, but Giant Killers has a pretty basic and beginner-friendly menu system. You switch between the different management screens via the icons at the bottom of the screen and follow the button prompts in each sub-area in order to set your starting 11, your substitutes, the rather limited gameplan and tactics, and also read emails from your chairman and board of directors. Compared to something like Championship Manager, this is management lite...which I must admit, is quite commendable on the part of the developer when you consider the rest of the Dreamcast's library and the target market for the system. I picked to play as Manchester City and it quickly dawned on me that this game is also very much a snapshot of the English game in 2001. Names like Shaun Goater and Danny Tiatto loomed out of the mists of time like miss-kicking leviathans...and the Dreamcast sponsoring on the Arsenal shirts in the backgrounds got me all dewy-eyed.

Once you've picked your starting lineup and tinkered with the slightly threadbare team tactics, you are encouraged to start your first game from the dug-out, and I must say that it's about as exciting as you would imagine: text-based commentary scrolls up the screen while crowd sound effects play in the background. There's no Premier Manager 64-style 3D representation of the game here - just text. It's quite detailed to be fair, but you'd have to be a hardened statto to get excited about this aspect of the game...and this is where the action happens.
There's not much more I can say about Giant Killers. It's a competent management sim from what I can tell with my n00b eyes, but it really isn't my cup of tea. The menus look uncluttered and the button prompts are helpful...but the lack of any real excitement or 'game' left me wanting to put King Of Fighters '99 back in my Dreamcast after about 10 minutes. This wasn't helped by the fact that I lost all but one of my first 8 games as the new manager of Manchester City - and that was a draw against Sunderland on the opening day of the new season. The shame.

So Giant Killers then. It stands alone as the only football management game on the Dreamcast (unless you count the Japan-only Let's Make A Soccer Team! as a proper management sim, and not an RPG), and also the only UK-exclusive title. That fact alone makes it pretty special in my eyes...it's just a shame I'm not really into this genre.

Price-wise, I've seen copies of Giant Killers fetch a few hundred pounds on eBay...but I paid £8 for this boxed and complete copy at a recent gaming expo so there's proof that you don't have to pay through the nose for genuinely rare Dreamcast titles.

Dream? More Like Nightmarecast!

Long time, no write, fellow Dreamcast enthusiasts! When I first started writing for the Junkyard, I had assumed it would be easy for me to think up topics for one of my favorite systems of all time.

Apparently not. However, recent events lead me to a (potentially) troubling topic. Well, at least for me.

Emulators. (Disclaimer: Umm... I don't support piracy, emulators are tricky legally, don't steal from the companies, etc...)

They're great fun! I mean, without them, I would never have been able to play most of the Final Fantasy series. Or Earthbound. At one point, I had several programs, spanning from NES all the way to N64. Recently, though, I got a new laptop. Because it was a Mac, I needed to find alternate emulators, which was not as big a problem because I would have done so anyway. Gradually, I moved from generation to generation. NES & SMS --> SNES & Genesis --> N64 (that situation was complicated. Not a topic for this blog, however) --> PS1.

Then I reached a road-block. I obtained emulators for both GameCube and Dreamcast. I'll be the first to acknowledge that my snazzy Mac isn't all about what's under the hood, so to speak. But gosh-darnit I have 2.4 GHz processor and more than enough RAM for older generation emulation! These emulators, though, were still a pain! I'll save you the details from the GameCube one (I only tried a few games, by the dubs. The games are still pretty big to download.)

The offender for the Dreamcast emulator was called "lxdream." On my main source for Mac emulators, it was the only option available. Ech. Naturally (for me) the first game I try on it is Sonic Adventure. And then, because I must have a penchant for misery, Sonic Shuffle. After trying these games for just a few minutes, here's a tip, at least for Mac users considering running the Dreamcast:

Don't.

As I played through Sonic Adventure while writing this article, I had to deal with messed up graphics, choppy music, and controls occasionally sending me to fall into the water. I could understand the graphical and control issues, but the speed? Really? And in previous play-throughs, it locked up partway through the first level. Uggh. Oh, and certain audio samples were missing, or way too loud. Even their own site gave it a poor rating in the compatibility section.

The other game I tried was Sonic Shuffle. I'll admit, I didn't really try playing Shuffle until now. As per usual, it ran slow, but the graphical errors weren't as bad as Adventure's. The sound however, was practically nonexistent in-game. I think at some point it played something, but really softly. In-game was mute. Knuckles got to the first Precious Stone (sp? Not sure, don't care at this point) and the battle screen saw some weird graphical errors. Plus, the slowness of the emulator and having to wait through the CPU's turns made it unbearable to play, even for mere minutes.

Anyway, further play and writing would lead to an obvious conclusion: the Dreamcast emulator kinda works, but is far from finished. As it is, I own a Dreamcast and those games. I can enjoy Sonic Adventure or torture myself with Shuffle whenever I want. It is unfortunate that the emulator doesn't work, though, because of emulator features I appreciate: namely, save-stating and ROM hacks. Like, I dunno, a hack that makes the CPU characters less awful and cheat-y.

That all being said, I haven't tried any of the non-Mac-specific emulators, of which I've found at least 4. Through all these exploits with emulators, from the excellent ones to the mediocre ones, and these OK ones, I've gained more appreciation for console developers. The lesson I learned was that there is more to emulation than just raw processing power. It may seem obvious at first; however, I am one of the people who are disappointed whenever it is announced that a system is not backwards compatible.   I'd much rather have a good current gen console than one that plays older games, but at risk to the hardware itself.

TL;DR? Well, the simple point is that a crappy Dreamcast emulator helped me understand that emulation is not always a easy task to accomplish.

B# Major General out!

Dreamcast Notebooks For Everyone!

Thanks to Sega Nerds for alerting me to this one. It appears that online retailer Yellowbulldog have secured a truckload of cool-looking Dreamcast, Saturn, Megadrive and Playstation-themed notebooks, and are offering them for the princely sum of £5 each, with free postage. These officially licensed notebooks come complete with 96 fully lined pages of 140 gsm papyrus nestled betwixt the highly detailed console-themed covers, and will be the envy of all your classmates/workmates/people you shout at in the street while drinking from a can of value super-strength lager you found in a wheelie bin behind the supermarket. Last Tuesday. This happened. Help.
Before you get too excited, please note (comedy gold!) that the books aren't available until December 7th...but you can place a pre-order and have your desired flavour delivered after the release date. Just in time for the big old commercial, capitalist, disgust-o-thon that occurs every year without fail. Yay!

Click here for further info my fine friends.

Caution! Weekly Seaman videos!



In case you haven't seen them yet, Gaga and Cherry Faff About In.. is a series of let's plays me and my partner in crime CherryTerrier do about weird, bonkers, and just plain daft games, and as most Dreamcast fans should know; games don't get much weirder than Seaman, the talking pet fish game that took Japan by storm and thankfully also received an American release and ranked 31st on our Dreamcast User Top 200.

Starting this week and continuing every Monday, we have recorded an entire playthrough of Seaman which have been cut down to the very best bits, so don't worry, you won't have to watch us upping the temperature and the air vents every single time among some of the other more tedious elements of the game, with roughly two "days" of the game per video. Good thing you can just adjust the day settings on the Dreamcast to play the game faster!

If you wanna keep up with the weekly episodes every Monday along with episodes of other games every Friday, please subscribe to Lucky Hit!

Oh by the way the artwork in the thumbnail is by Cherryterrier and is amazing, isn't it? Here, have a wallpaper of it!



The Dreamcast Suitcase

Thanks to a tweet by fellow Dreamcast site Dreamcast Gaga, we have been alerted to the existence of a previously unknown item of DC memorabilia. Now, we've all seen the Insert Coin shoulder bag, and the Kawaii back-pack styled in the form of a Dreamcast controller...but what about a wheeled suitcase modelled after our favourite system? It looks like it's only available to Japanese Dreamcast nuts for now, and can be purchased from the Ebten Sega Store website, but I absolutely guaran-damn-tee you would be the coolest person in the terminal if you rocked through Heathrow pulling this bad boy...

Edit: it has been brought to my attention that the case was only availible for 1 day back in March 2013...so unless you have access to a DeLorean with an aftermarket Flux Capacitor fitted, you'll just have to make do with drooling at these images!

Battery Powered Face-Off

I remember being obsessed with RC cars back in my more formative years. At least 3 Christmases that I can remember were spent in a freezing back yard, remotely guiding a shiny new vehicle around a variety of hastily knocked together circuits where discarded bricks and piles of old twigs were quickly refashioned into crash barriers, bustling pit lanes and towering grandstands full of roaring race-goers. Halcyon days indeed...apart from the one Christmas when I got a Tyco Traxx that broke after about 10 minutes of rallying it over some mud. Or the time my brother drove another car off a ramp on the edge of kitchen table at full speed with every intention of inflicting maximum damage. A mission which was completed with IMF-style efficiency, I hasten to add. Over time though, the fascination slowly dwindled and the batteries that were once gobbled up by said plastic vehicles were snatched by a plethora of power-hungry handheld gaming devices...and the rest is history.

Moving swiftly on (but getting slower and slower as the batteries drain), racing games and the Dreamcast go hand in hand. Or should that be controller/race wheel in hand? Probably - nay, most definitely - an irrelevance when we're dealing with multiple impenetrable layers of metaphor, but the fact of the matter remains: the Dreamcast has some absolutely stonking racing titles. As I mentioned in the not-too-distant past, pretty much every genre is catered for on Sega's little beige/yellow lozenge of joy. There are arcade racers aplenty; more serious simulations; cartoony kart 'em ups (quite literally when you consider Wacky Races and Looney Tunes Space Race); and even a couple of lovely Formula 1 games if that's your particular bag of choice.

But what if you're after a link to the past (heh) as I am? What if you want to re-live those bygone days (aka last Wednesday) standing wellington-clad in a puddle and whizzing your little toy car around? What are your options other than going to Argos and y'know, just buying an actual RC car? Well, while it's not strictly true that the RC racer has completely vanished from our consoles and PC monitors - just look at Motor Storm RC and Table Top Racing on the PS Vita, the Choro Q series, and RC Mini Racers on iPad/Mac - the RC racer is not a genre that has been very prominent on the modern systems. Any by modern systems, I mean the Xbox 360, PS3, Wii and their respective successors. The Dreamcast though, has no less than three of the little blighters. How do they compare to playing with the real thing? And more importantly, how do they compare to each other? Read on to find out, Mon'Amie...

Toy Racer
This is by far the easiest of the three games to investigate, simply because there is so little to actually investigate. Toy Racer was a spin-off from Toy Commander that utilised many of the aforementioned game's assets to create an online-only, four player racer that was designed to pique interest in the Dreamcast's internet functionality. It may be a little unfair to include Toy Racer in this little list as it isn't a full blown game - playing it today is an unsatisfying experience to say the least, especially as there are only four tracks and no AI competitors in races. Naturally, back when the Dreamcast was still in the picture, Toy Racer's complement of adversaries would have comprised other human beings logged in through Dream Arena (all six billion of them) and the main premise was to beat the other humans playing on their Dreamcasts around Europe.
Alas, today it is a rather singular experience as No Cliche decided, no doubt at Sega's behest, to include exactly zero in the way of a single player experience. All you can do nowadays is race around the 4 oddly-designed tracks on your own, picking up turbos and missiles and firing them at nobody in particular. I can imagine Toy Racer could have been quite fun with other players, seeing as the handling model of Toy Commander has been replaced with a much more user-friendly one. Vehicles all handle very well and have a really nice centrifugal suspension effect where they lean to one side as you slide around corners. Visually it is very rudimentary, and the tracks (again, of which there are only four) are all comprised of assets from the main Toy Commander engine...so you have a loose kitchen-based one, a bedroom based one etc etc. If No Cliche had fleshed Toy Racer out and turned it into a proper game rather than an 'online only' sideshow, this could have been one of the Dreamcast's hidden gems. As is...give it a whirl if you find it cheap (you will).

ReVolt
Originally an N64 cart, ReVolt is probably the only title many gamers will associate with RC racing. Developed and published by defunct outfit Acclaim, ReVolt was one of the N64's most highly respected racers and the inclusion of a hi-res Expansion Pak mode meant it was also one of the system's best looking games. I first played ReVolt on the Nintendo platform and remember buying the Dreamcast port simply to see if it was any better...and I have to admit that while I was sceptical as to whether there would be any improvement, I was pleasantly surprised to find a game that far surpassed it's predesessor. Not that the Dreamcast version of ReVolt is a sequel as such - it's basically the same game but with vastly improved visuals, vehicle handling and an extra environment thrown in for good measure. It's quite interesting now that I think about it - there is a lot of outcry currently about games being re-released on the PS4 and Xbox One that are simply the same games as found on the last gen systems but with a lick of graphical paint (see Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition)...yet it was going on in the Dreamcast/N64/PS1 era too, and ReVolt is a perfect example.

But what of the game itself? Well, ReVolt is a racer in which you get to drive an RC car around a multitude of circuits against other vehicles. As is the norm in this style of game, you can collect weapons to use against the other racers and these range from fireworks to bowling balls. The best bit about ReVolt though, is that all the circuits are based in locations where it would actually be fun to race RC cars. There's a neighbourhood - complete with sections that go through living rooms and under parked cars and through sewer pipes; a supermarket; a museum, and even a toy shop. The Dreamcast port also had an exclusive 'roof tops' environment that saw racers battle for pole position atop a cluster of skyscrapers. Elsewhere, ReVolt featured a fairly comprehensive career mode where it was possible to unlock new classes where you could graduate from battery powered models to petrol engined vehicles, and also a full-on track designer. It had some great music too. ReVolt is a great game and is also fairly cheap to get hold of these days, so if you're new to Dreamcast collecting it'd be a shame to miss out on this game.

Stunt GP
Another game released by a masterful development house of yesteryear, Team17's Stunt GP is the ying to ReVolt's yang. While it still (obviously) features RC cars, this title limits the races to the professional style where everything is conducted on purpose-built tracks. There is no straying off the beaten track here, my friend: even though there are multiple countries to race in, there is a definite air that you are taking part in an RC race - the track is laid out and you must race the way organisers want you to. So whereas ReVolt has you battling beneath the legs of a dinosaur fossil on the polished floors of a science museum, Stunt GP will always have you contained on a proper, asphalt or wooden track. That's not to say the tracks aren't awesome though - the twists and turns, climbs, drops and loops are a marvel to behold in Stunt GP - especially as the camera has a habit of pulling back and letting you view your aerial adventures in all their splendour. Indeed, as the name of the game suggests, Stunt GP actively encourages the player to engage in any number of ridiculous and spectacular stunts, as well as trying to win the race they may also be taking part in. Your reward for pulling off these flips and somersaults are points which can then be spent on extra parts for your vehicle - lighter chassis, better engines and battery packs, more grippy tyres etc.


Unlike ReVolt, Stunt GP is rooted firmly in pseudo reality, so there are no weapon pickups as such, but conversely you need to keep an eye on your battery or fuel level. To it's detriment, Stunt GP doesn't have a track editor - something you would think ideal in a game of this ilk, but what it does have is a stupendous championship mode which traverses all 30 circuits in the game and features all the tactics of battery charging and upgrading that you'd expect an F1 simulator to employ. Also, and similarly to ReVolt, Stunt GP has a corking soundtrack...so make sure you crank the volume up. Elsewhere, you'll find a four player split-screen mode, arcade and stunt modes to hold the attention. Stunt GP also looks absolutely fantastic - most of the courses are pretty compact so you can view the whole track in most cases: get to the zenith of a circuit and turn back on yourself and you can examine the whole thing laid out before you, with no fogging whatsoever. Sadly, the frame rate suffers in places but this is a small price to pay for such a glorious racing experience. AI is perfectly balanced and the vehicle handling is suitable considering these are meant to be miniature toys. All in all it is a superlative title. So the question remains:

The best RC racer on the Dreamcast is...

It's a tough choice, I wont deny. Toy Racer can't really compete with the big boys so let's discount that one straight away; the main event is between ReVolt and Stunt GP. Both games offer excellent visuals, cracking music and their own individual style of racing. ReVolt is more about the weaponry, while Stunt GP is more about racing skill. They both have their individual merits - ReVolt has a full track editor and a more varied array of environments, whereas Stunt GP offers vehicle upgrades aplenty and a great variety of play modes. But ultimately, like the Highlander, there can be only one.

The best RC racer on the Dreamcast is...

ReVolt

It's the full package - loads of tracks, loads of cars, great music and ultimately it is a lot of fun to play. Stunt GP is also a worthy title, but in this competition it finishes as runner up.
Get some ReVolt it in your Dreamcast, you will not be disappoint!

RetroCollect FM - The Sega Dreamcast

Some people who visit the Dreamcast Junkyard may also be aware that I occasionally talk rubbish on RetroCollect.com's retro-gaming podcast - RetroCollect FM. Seeing as our beloved Dreamcast recently entered puberty (which leads me to question why the VMU's voice still hasn't broken), we recorded a special Dreamcast-related episode. Topics covered include the origins of the Dreamcast logo and name, the peripherals, the best games on the system and also the demise of the Dreamcast and it's legacy. Feel free to go here to give it a listen...and if you're feeling extra generous you could go to iTunes and either post a review or even *whispers* hit the 'subscribe' button! Or don't - you are a free man or woman living in a democracy (I hope). Anyway - enjoy...

PS - You can also click here to listen online without any of that iTunes malarkey.

Kita E - A Journey North In Search Of Summer Love


I like Japanese games. I always have. As for the why, that probably lies with my gaming education, with years of playing imports in my youth sculpting my taste. Indeed, the JRPG is one of my favourite gaming genres, as too the classic SHMUP, with both offering an insanity at radically different ends of the scale. The former necessitates levels of patience and tactical thought often not matched in western titles, while the latter requires reactions of a cornered snake, with players tasked with dodging, diving and striking at high velocity to remain alive.


There has, however, been one Japanese gaming genre that I’ve never touched. For reasons of both reputation and accessibility, the Romance-Communication genre that perpetually reoccurs each gaming generation in Japan, was a place that I never dared to venture. I mean, I couldn’t even if I wanted, as these titles are never ported, never translated into any other language and with the whole raison d'ĂȘtre being talking and listening to people, they offered little to me.
You are based in Sapporo, however you explore wider Hokkaido during your trip.
That all changed however this summer. With a newly found and constantly improving grasp of Japanese - I’ve been been receiving tuition now for over a year - I decided to give it a shot. After all, even if as a game I came away disappointed, at least I’d be involving myself in the language and culture more and improving my overall knowledge base.

The thing is though, these sort of games have a very, very poor reputation in the west. Seen as dating sims for those incapable of forging real relationships - disclaimer: I have been happily married for five years - they very much occupy the dark side of the hobby and are looked down upon almost everywhere bar Japan. I was, to say the least, a little apprehensive.
My real name doesn't work in hiragana so I chose to become 'Robaato Kusakabe'.
Enter Kita e: White Illumination for Dreamcast, a 1999 Rom-Com title from Hudson Soft. Kita e, which translates as ‘to the north’ in Japanese, places you the gamer in the shoes of a 17-year-old high school student from Tokyo who travels north to Hokkaido to spend the summer with family friends. While in Hokkaido, you explore the area, meet up with people and engage in social events like karaoke, shopping and even playing video games in and around your base city Sapporo. Crucially though, in the two weeks that the game is set - August 1 to August 14 - you are tasked with building a relationship with one of eight romanceable females.


The core game plays out like an interactive comic book / film, with you deciding on where to go and with who and then engaging in communication about a variety of topics. When talking to someone the player can interrupt or respond to something said by initialising the CBS, the Communication Break System. This system allows you to respond in a variety of ways that alter or dictate the course of the conversation. Of course, if the person you are with is just boring the socks off you, you can say nothing and ignore them, however this will obviously not help you build a solid relationship with them.
 You sit next to this woman on your flight to Sapporo. We didn't get on.
The finale of the game, or to put it in simpler gaming terms, the way you win the game is to build a relationship with a person to the extent that when you return to Sapporo to celebrate the city’s White Illumination Countdown on New Year’s Eve later that year, your significant other meets you there and kisses you at 12:00 midnight. And, that’s it. There’s no adult content, no new game plus-style mode, no hidden secrets or achievements to be unlocked. There’s just the story that you play out over those two weeks of summer.


After slowly playing this over the summer just gone - as I am no master of the language even I struggled to keep up with dialogue sometimes - while I can’t say that I was blown away or anything, and I certainly have plenty of criticisms about its execution (for example the animation could be better during communication), I’ve got to say that Kita e has helped me understand why these games sell so well in Japan. Just like any piece of fiction, these titles are escapist fantasies, world’s that you delve into and just ‘be’ in, just play a part in like you were in a play. Just because titles like Kita e want to emulate the real world rather than say World of Warcraft’s fantastical Azeroth, doesn’t make them any less valid.
Kotori really likes her cat and lives with her mother. She also likes to talk, like a lot...
Indeed, playing Kita e reminded me that today many western blockbuster titles, titles such as the upcoming Dragon Age: Inquisition, definitely owe these games in part, as the advanced communication systems that allow you decide your own narrative are almost identical. The difference simply is content. While in Dragon Age you may be deciding whether to execute a renegade mage, in Kita e you may be deciding where in Hokkaido to spend a day out with your friend. And, after spending time in its world, I like that. I like how domestic and real it is, despite it being a virtual simulation.
Yuko loves photography and will take pictures of you as you explore Hokkaido.
So what is Kita e? I think its many things, some good some bad. Firstly, I think it is a demonstration that the Romance-Communication genre should be re-evaluated, as it offers more than people often give it credit for. Secondly I think it is incredibly inaccessible to anyone who can’t read and speak Japanese and in places it is cheaply executed, with animation, sound effects and music leaving a lot to be desired. Thirdly, I think that it does a good job in providing a snapshot of life in a culture very different from my own.    

Lastly though, I think Kita e is a gentle reminder of what it was like to be young. To wake up and realise your school was shut due to snow and that you had the day off and anything was possible. To get invited to go on holiday with a friend to a place you’d never been and with people you didn’t really know. To live your life blissfully ignorant of the world’s problems. If you play Kita e, maybe you to will, albeit for just a short time, forget too.
Your end of game reward - a single kiss at 12:00 midnight on New Year's Eve.

Well Oiled Machine

The Dreamcast is knocking on a bit these days - as you're probably no doubt aware, the entire planet celebrated the 15th year since the system's US launch barely a week ago. With age, comes knowledge and wisdom...but also wear and tear, and Old Father Time does not discriminate between the mechanical or the biological. To this end, you've probably noticed that occasionally your Dreamcast may not load certain games or that the system sometimes resets in the middle of a game. You may also be more acutely aware that the console's GD-Rom drive makes way more noise than any of the more modern systems. There are remedies to both the disk reading errors and the cacophony of grinding drives and GD access though, and these videos from Youtubers Mark Fixes Stuff and Carl Eggett will show you how to go about banishing those ear-shredding noises and game resets from your Dreamcast once and for all:


Dreamcast Delta

Elie Ahovi is an industrial designer whose work appears to embrace simplicity and sleek lines. His remarkable body of work ranges from bicycles and mobile phones to medical massagers and washing machines; all of which can be viewed here. However, one particular part of his portfolio caught my eye - concept designs for a gaming system named Dreamcast Delta. Before you get too excited, these concepts are just that - mock-ups created for a design project that was completed several years ago, but the amount of effort that has clearly been poured into this project mean that it stands head and shoulders above most other Dreamcast 2 fabrications.

Clearly the work of a Sega fan, the Dreamcast Delta eschews the square form factor of most other systems and opts for a triangular (or delta) shape. Elsewhere, some of the more interesting features of this particular would-be design for the Dreamcast's successor include being able to use a smartphone or a tablet as a controller and a wireless charging plate on the top of the system (that rules out resting empty beer cans on it, then). In practice, using a smartphone as a controller would be pretty horrible...but top marks for creativity. Below are some selected images from the gallery - but be sure to go here and check out the rest of Mr Ahovi's stuff too, as its all quite impressive.

The Mobile Assault Tour

A cool Youtuber by the name of PCwzrd13 recently got in touch with me after I lamented on Twitter that the fish/human simulator Seaman/Caution Seaman never received a PAL release. Sensing my soul-crushing sadness at the lack of a blue-boxed version of everyone's favourite fish 'em up, he very kindly offered to send me his spare copy all the way from the good ol' US of A...an offer I gladly accepted. To be honest, I totally forgot about our conversation but a week or so later the game arrived on my door mat, and included in the envelope was a promotional sticker for a Dreamcast event that I'd never heard of before: the Mobile Assault Tour...
Naturally, I was a little confused as to what this sticker was referring to, but before I could launch my own mobile assault on Google, PCwzrd13 contacted me again to explain what the sticker was alluding to Apparently, the Mobile Assault Tour was a US advertising and promotional campaign held by Sega to raise awareness of the Dreamcast in major cities around the country. Nothing unusual about that right? Well, how about if I told you that Sega employed the use of armoured trucks with Dreamcasts stuck to their sides? Here's the man himself, PCwzrd13 explaining this intriguing campaign in his own words:


"People complaining about the lack of noise in Sega's Dreamcast promotional campaign can stop their whining. The Sega Dreamcast Mobile Assault Tour has been announced, and if it's everything Sega claims it will be (and why shouldn't it be?), the word "Dreamcast" is going to be echoing endlessly through the red, white, and blue skies of our beautiful nation as early as August 23rd.

Here's the deal on what Sega has cooking. Starting August 23rd, and continuing on for 22 weeks, the Mobile Assault Tour will strike more than 39 cities, including New York Los Angeles, Boston, and San Francisco (what about Redwood City, Sega - have you forgotten your roots!?). The tour will begin its assault on each local market with the arrival of the six-ton, 46 foot "assault" truck (pictured at the top of this article)"
- IGN
I certainly can't remember Sega Europe doing anything this high profile in the UK - the most impressive thing I ever heard about was them sponsoring one of Chris Eubanks' big rig trucks and painting a big blue swirl on it. Oh, and there was that Mitsubishi Lancer that had Dreamcasts in the boot or something...which obviously helped shift a gut-load of consoles. Or not. Thanks again to PCwzrd13, and feel free to check out his nicely-named channel, Dreamcastic or read more about the Mobile Assault Tour at IGN.

The Dreamcast Junkyard blasts into orbit with the SEGAbits Swingin' Report Show podcast!



The Dreamcast Junkyard writers Tomleecee and The Gagaman joined me (Barry the Nomad) and my co-host George on the SEGAbits Swingin' Report Show podcast to discuss the SEGA Dreamcast from a European fan's perspective. Topics include UK marketing, the delayed launch, games exclusive to the region, the official and unofficial magazines, the collecting scene, and Tom and Aaron’s thoughts on the US release. We also have a discussion on SEGA’s decision to change the red swirl to blue, and which region had the best box art. Believe it or not, this is the first time Tom, Aaron, and myself have all talked to each other outside of comment sections and emails.

Make sure to follow Tomleecee and The Gagaman on Twitter, and make sure to visit RetroCollect and Lucky Hit!

New indie release announced: SLaVE!


Feels like a tradition now for a Dreamcast indie game to be revealed on this anniversary date, doesn't it? At least I hope it hangs around as a tradition anyway. GoatStore Publishing have just revealed via Dreamcast Scene that SLaVE, a doom-like FPS with Robotron 2084 stylings will be released on Dreamcast in April 2015, and is available to pre-order in limited edition and limited limited edition versions. No that's not a typo, they are actually called that. You can get an additional 5% off the price with the voucher code TJOOS as well!

"This is what happens if Robotron 2084 and DOOM got together and had an illegitimate lovechild. SLaVE is the timewarp of 1984's aesthetic and 1994's tech to make a game that is uniquely 2014. It is relentless neon arcade blasting action from a first-person tech utilizing features in the extended DOOM engine 3DGE that gamers could only imagine in 1984, or 1994 for that matter." - Goatstore

The trailer above is from quite a while back, back when it was just known to be a PC game. It's creator Jay Townsend is an animator and game designer I have been following for years and I had been watching the progress of this game over time, so I'm delighted to discover that this is making it's way to the Dreamcast next year!

SEGA Dreamroom 2014 - 9 hours of live streaming Dreamcast games



The SEGA Dreamroom is here! Enjoy live streaming Dreamcast games from 9am ET to 6pm ET - head on over to our twitch channel to chat as we play.

9/10 Update: Dreamroom 2014 was a big success! Thank you to all those who tuned in. Enjoy the archived broadcast embedded above, and we'll see you in the Dreamroom next year!

Happy Birthday!

Where do the years go? Today (the 9th of September) marks 15 years since the launch of the Dreamcast in the USA. 15 glorious years of grinding GD-Rom drives, whirring fans and beeping VMUs. So, please join us in wishing our favourite system a very happy 15th birthday!
I know they're NTSC-J boxes in the background. Before you say anything ^_^

Please accept my apologies for the quality of this image - I knocked it up in about 5 minutes flat before I rushed out to work!

Incidentally, who knew the US Dreamcast shared a birthday with Leo Tolstoy, Hugh Grant and Gok Wan? Or the deathday (kind of like a birthday, but a bit more deathy) of William the Conqueror? If you take one thing away from owning a Dreamcast and reading this site, you will now always know that William the Conqueror died on the 9th September. On a more personal level, the 9th September is also the birthday of my girlfriend's mother and also my sister. The Dreamcast Junkyard: entertaining and educating the masses since 9/9/1087AD.