, The Dreamcast Junkyard: January 2009

The Year of the DUX

Happy Chinese New Year! To celebrate... DUX is nearly ready! (Have we heard this before??) This is from the Dux blog, linked to in an email I just received...


It's Almost Done
27.01.09

Given DUX is almost done, it only takes about a month to release this game. Currently end of February is aimed, but perhaps early March becomes more realizable as issues may happen. So gameplaywise the game is already on spot and all important features are implentent - from now it's just about the last bits, and publishing this game.

By this opportunity I'd like to thank all purchasers who are patience about their pre-order, and aren't abused by the many delays. The additional development time that the game receives makes it a way better game then it should have been orginally. Taking pre-orders early also assures the quality of the product, as its an active investment to the games development budget. Additionaly, there's going to be a (very) small bonus for all DUX pre-orders on HUCAST.net

Btw, the soundtrack of the game is going to be published early February instead of January.

Monday Morning Reds...

Following on from the Sunday night blues that I am sure we all experience, comes the Monday morning reds. Monday morning reds can occur as either; hungover, bloodshot eyes; hours of NTSC Dreamcast fun [red swirl]; or, in my case, the Royal Mail delivery man.

Over at SEGA Nerds, they have been posting about the new House of The Dead game, out on Wii I think. I don't have a Wii, so I don't care about that to be honest. What I did care about though, was my recent purchase - a UK DC gun. It came with HoTD2 (already have it in PAL and Jap) but it brought my gun tally up to two.


Another welcome addition to the residence was a FREE hand-me-down 42" Plasma monitor  . Amazing. This is going to rock. Can't wait. Thank you Mr. Postman.

Sunday Night Blues

Ho hum. Another life-threateningly dull weekend draws to a close, then. Only thing to look forward to now is work in the morning. How pathetic...

On the other hand, whilst trawling eBay for stuff I don't need, want or have enough money to actually buy I discovered a rather cool Dreamcast peripheral:


A Desert Eagle!

According to the guff in the description, it's even got a motorised blow-back function like those guns on the old Time Crisis arcade cabinet - which is uber-cool whichever way you look at it. Blasting zombies and terrorists with a Desert Eagle? I'd buy that for a dollar...

Want it? Look here.

NTSC vs PAL game storage

PAL game storage has always been a bit of a nightmare. I used to have to store my games in a box, as I couldn't afford the storage racks back when they were on sale in Electronics Boutique. I finally got some on eBay...


... and they can stack on each other too! This saves even more space. Unfortunately, I have only got 3 of these racks (totalling £11.50 though - not bad) and they hold 10 games each. I had 52 games as of this post, but I have about 64 now... so I still have some in a box.

At least this way I can put my favourite PAL games close to my mini games centre here in my bedroom. I can then play backups and Japanese games in the lounge on on of the other Dreamcasts.

Japanese games on the other hand, like their American counterparts, come in standard CD jewel cases most of the time, allowing for easy and sexy(?) storage.


Some people have used this storage issue as an additional reason to get NTSC games, and leave the PAL ones alone with their big, bulky cases, which disintegrate if in contact with air or even when just being looked at.

Share your Dreamcast storage woes! Share tips and ideas! Do PS1 game racks hold DC PAL game cases? Share your thoughts, dig deep into your heart.

Read about 24 hours of Dreamcast

Sorry I have not been posting very much. I have been working overtime! Now that work is calming down a bit I will try to blog a bit more.

Luckily the rest of our contributors have been doing a much better job of it!

Anyways, I am somewhat pissed off that my job made me miss out on an excellent 24 hour Dreamcast event!

The people over at http://www.ihaveadreamcast.com/ played the Dreamcast for 24 straight hours and did a live feed!

I may have missed out on the live feed but the blog itself is fun reading if you are bored.

I might have to record the next video game event I organize and show off my own dreamcast skills.

Dreamcast Express Videos

Remember me showing you these in a post a while back of recent purchases of mine, including that modded Japanese Dreamcast? If not I'll jog your memory: these are demo discs that you could only obtain if you were part of the Dreamcast Partners Club. They only made 7 volumes but many of them had 2 discs in each. I managed to get these two volumes pretty cheap and they're quite a novelty.

Volume 4 contains a Tokyo Game Show '99 disc which is crammed with video previews of all kinds of Dreamcast games, including many that were not released here. Below is two youtube videos of all of these clips on the disc. Be warned; squeaky Japanese narration throughout that may grate on your ears.





What you won't see is how they're presented: you select a stand of Sega's Tokyo Game Show area, and a camera is swooped through that area in live action. As you swim past the set up games, you can hit A to view a video of that game. There are also interviews about Space Channel 5, Virtual On 2 and D2. The D2 video is a special screening in a fancy cinema room. The disc also contains some content to download to your VMU.



Volume 7 contains two disc with a whole bunch of playable demos and heaps of VMU game saves. One of the discs contains a bunch of videos, which I have a video of above. Blue Submarine No.6 looks particularly interesting, with stunning cel shaded graphics for it's age. Looked it up and the game is mega rare and expensive. I remember seeing the anime of that once.



There is also a video on there all about the Dream Eye, that sweet digital camera we never got over here, which gives you a good insight into how it works and what you can do with the software. Web cam chat on a console in 1999. Mental. As a further tease, the video also has footage of 'presents' you could obtain if you were part of the same club you would get these demos from. Virtual On soft toys! A D2 figure! An Afro Thunder T-shirt! I want it all! :(

To get a good read up on all of the Dreamcast Express demo discs, check out Segagaga Domain's write up on them.

The Segagaga Box set: Inside Out

Back in 2000 I learned about Segagaga in magazines, and found the official Japanese website that had all sorts of great images of the mysterious game, including all the limited edition content made for it including a Mega Drive style VMU and the collectors edition box set of the game. The game sounded so awesome to me that not only did I name my first foray into website making after it (which later became Mangagaga, where characters from the game made appearances in the comics) and also saved a whole bunch of the images which are now used as elements of Sega Memories.

I've been wanting to own this game ever since I heard about it, even if it's all in Japanese so I probably wouldn't get that far in it, considering it's an RPG of sorts. Particularly I wanted the box set that contained some rather fancy goodies. For years now I've been attempting to get one on eBay when they rarely pop up, getting outbid left right and center by people willing to blow more cash on it than me. Recently I found one by searching for 'SGGG' rather than 'Segagaga' that had a starting price of £50, and in a stroke of sheer luck, no one else even attempted to outbid me for it! Even better: the item was located in the UK so the postage wasn't as high as all the ones coming from Japan before it. It showed up at last the other day, and here it is!

A pretty simple white box with the SGGG logo. Open it up to reveal..

Even more SGGG logos! The presentation is very simple, and not the colorful craziness of the Samba De Amigo maraca set, but then the Dreamcast box itself was like this too with just a logo on it.

The game itself comes in a odd box. It looks like a DVD case but is twice as thick and also a little bit taller. Inside it has two disc holders (even though the game is only one) and the manual is CD sized, just like the one you'd get in the regular release in a CD case. A shame they couldn't make a book shaped manual with bigger art to match the box. Oh well.

Contained in the little white box is one of the nicest goodies: the pin set. There's a pin here for the logos of all of Sega's significant consoles from the Sega Mark III (AKA the Master System) to the Dreamcast along with a SGGG pin. The box is kind of cheap feeling but the pins are sweet.

The T-shirt at first glance looks just as minimalistic as the box, which nothing more than a logo on it. Take it out of it's re-sealable package and check out the back however..

..and you get this fantastic black and white image of Sega's many console controllers dangling and a huge Sega 'S' along with the words 'Generation S 21st century, Sega control the world". Of course they do. Ahem.

Finally there's this little black organizer book. The first pages include the lyrics and a music sheet of the 'Segagaga March' theme tune. The next two pages include some info about some of the oddball characters you'll fight in the game (including Alex kidd). After that it goes into normal organizer pages of dates, phone numbers, addresses etc. Oddly enough all these pages are in English.



As for the game itself. I've played it before via a CD-R copy of it, although on that to fit the game on a CD many of the cut scenes were removed. There is a translation guide for the first chapter of the game on gamefaqs which I used but once you get to that point you get into the game development simulation which is far more complicated as you have to manage your staff while they tap away at their computers programming games for you (the results of which turn out to be classic Sega games from all their consoles or parody games like 'Mortal Wombat' and 'Sega Lolly'). With the CD-R I could also rip a bunch of artwork from the game and screenshots from the cut scenes (the ones on it, that is)


Yes, those are the troops from the Mega Drive game ESWAT. GEEK OUT.

To see more of the game I dug out my trusty DC Tool disc which contains hundreds of VMU Save files, including a complete save file for this game. You can't technically play the game with this, but you can check out all the wonderful cut scenes, the games that your staff develop and best of all the unlockable mini-games.


I'm sure you've all seen this footage of a scrolling shooter where you fight each of Sega's consoles that spit out sprites from Golden Axe, Fantasy Zone and Space Harrier II amongst other things, but what you might not know is this mini-game is pretty much what the canceled Thunder Force VI for the Dreamcast could have been like. There is a mode with just the bosses one after the other but also a mode where you get a full stage of enemies (which include pink Playstation controllers, CDs and Mark III controllers) before fighting each boss. This mode is almost like a full scrolling shooter in itself, and is more fun to play than quite a few full shmup releases on the Dreamcast, even if it is a bit short. This mode also features some stunning remixes of classic Sega music, even Vectorman is represented!

The other mini games include one where you have to push Dreamcast boxes into a lift which is essentially a clone of Soko-ban, that also features music from Pengo. There's 40 puzzle in total to solve, which get rather tricky. Finally there's a game that requires you clean dirty Sega arcade cabinets before the time runs out by rapidly bashing the A and B buttons. It's amusing for a bit and has rankings to beat. To me the game was worth buying for the shmup mini game alone, it's amazing. I'm going to rip some footage of these which I'll upload later. If you missed it before check out this great video review of the game by the Happy Console gamer.

Rez

I was reading a review of Panzer Dragoon Orta for the XBOX (thinking about picking up a copy for my 360) when it mentioned the excellent Dreamcast (and PS2, 360) shooter, Rez.

It picks up about £40-50 on eBay these days, and there's a good reason why. It's fantastic. It's mental. I've never done acid (shame on me), but the guys that made this must have been (shame on them). And you probably want to (shame on you).

Pictures don't do it justice, so here's a youtube video of someone caining it. Rez that is. Area 5 - starting somewhere in the middle...



Oh, I made a wallpaper too, you can download it by clicking here.Preview below:


EDIT: Also check out this interview with one of the members of the team that brought you Rez and Space Channel 5 here!

Xtreme (virtual) sports

Long time no posting, I see... Well, with so many consoles and so many work to do it gets hard to give my little Dreamcast the attention it deserves. But lately I've actually been playing a little on it, mainly extreme sports games. Don't ask me why, maybe it's withdrawal symptoms for not playing some Tony Hawk in a long time. The thing is, I never got THPS2 for my Dreamcast, since I already have it for the PC and PSX (yes, I know what you're all thinking, OMG I play PSX too!!!). I had other things, though, neglected things, games I bought without giving them much attention. Until now, that is. So, without further adue (that's what I meant to say, isn't it? I sometimes mess up with english expressions...), here's what I've been playing:

Mat Hoffman's Pro BMX


This one is pretty similar to Tony Hawk, which is no surprise since they both run on the same engine. There are a few key differences, though, mainly because here you have a bike instead of a skate, so the jumps are shorter, the tricks are more difficult to do and you can't ride backwards. These are not necessarily problems, and they don't break the game, but something else does: the controls. The gameplay sucks, not because of the mechanics involved but because it's hard to properly control your bike. That's not to say the game is rubbish, and it should please the more hardcore Tony Hawk games/ real-life BMX fans, but the others should at least try it first.



Dave Mirra Freestyle BMX


Another take on virtual BMX, this one distinguishes itself from the Mat Hoffman's game due to its more realistic approach. If, like me, you've played that one first, you'll need some time and practice to get used to this game. The jumps are shorter and the tricks aren't as fluid and easy to execute, but when you do nail them you'll feel like a pro. But, of course, that can also be seen as a flaw, since most people will throw out the controllers in frustration when they fail again and again and the objectives of the game get really hard, really soon, so unless you're a pro you'll get stuck pretty early. A game for the hardcore.



MTV Skateboarding


OMG this game sucks... What? It's true! It actually started out quite well the first time I played it, with this song in the background, but the gameplay is so fucking obtuse. It's rigid, unresponsive, "un-fun" and it just plain sucks. Seriously. With a rather great (or so I hear) Tony Hawk game on the system there's just no excuse to play this one.



Razor Freestyle Scooter


The surprise of the bunch. I think Tomleecee already talked about this one, but I can't remember what his opinion was. Anyway, I liked it, a lot. Maybe because I had no expectations. Despite the "vehicle" you control, a scooter in this case, the gameplay is completely TH-style, and if you've played that game you'll have no problem adapting to it. The progression and objectives are in the same style, and it's almost as fun as that game. Despite the kiddy look, some objectives are rather hard to accomplish (get a 6,000 points combo? WTF? I can barely get a 4,000 one!), but you only need to achieve a, usually somewhat low, highscore to unlock the next stage, so you probably won't get stuck easily. Also, the graphics are not exactly the best the system has to offer, but the game compensates some lack of detail and the bland textures with a big resolution and constant framerate and overall it looks good, even on my big-ass 37" HDTV.

It Cost How Much?!

Now, I'm well aware that there are certain Dreamcast titles out there that can be described as rare, collectable and sought-after, and as such command high selling prices when they pop up on eBay and the like. Rez, Skies of Arcadia, Cosmic Smash...NFL Quarterback Club?!

Erm...no.

But look at this. Some fucking idiot is trying to flog a copy of said American footy game for over £100 on Amazon! What the HELL?!

If it came with an actual NFL club as part of the deal, I might condone such an atrociously high price. But it doesn't, so I can't.

Next Gen? Bring It On...

Firstly - let me wish you all a rather late Happy New Year. I know we're 10 days into 2009, but I trust your Crimbo was good and your New Year piss-up was as much of a drunken, hedonistic blur as mine was. Anyway, back to the task at hand: Dream-fuckin-cast awesomeness, U-RAH!

Father K and マーティン's recent posts regarding the relevance of the DC in today's gaming environment really interested me, and so I thought I'd jump in with my own take on the subject. How so? Well, I recently purchased the sublime Race Driver GRID for a mere 20 quid from Game Station. Yes, I know they tattoo, starve and then gas Dreamcast games in their thousands, but I'll be fucked sideways if I ever spend a single groat in that corporate shit-hole GAME. Anyhow, upon sampling said 360 uber-racer, it became apparent that it features the world-famous Le Mans 24hr race.

There's also a Dreamcast game that features the world-famous Le Mans 24hr race.

After several hours sat in complete silence and dribbling into a cold Pot Noodle, a cog in my head switched position and an idea was borne: How does the 360 representation of the Le Mans course compare with the Dreamcast incarnation?

Wonder no more peeps:



Of course, I'm not a complete bell-end (only 76% at last audit) so I won't even contemplate suggesting that the visuals in Le Mans 24hrs are even half as good as those in GRID, but when you see them side by side it's hard not to notice that the DC's attempt still looks fairly decent. And it's TEN YEARS OLD!!!

So, to reiterate FK and マーティン's point - if Sega had had the resources and the PS2 buying zombies hadn't come and shat/vomited on the party, I'm pretty certain that the DC technology could have been en-vogue for a lot, lot longer than it was. Sigh. Just think of the games we could have had if the DC had survived for a few years longer...

Hopefully, Sam Beckett will one day quantum leap into the body of a high ranking Sony exec, circa 1999, and get Al to shoot him in the neck with a shotgun therefore setting into motion a series of events that leads to the cancellation of the PS2 project and ensuring the creation of an alternative reality where the Dreamcast conquers the world.

In other news, I recently visited Gloucester - a deeply historic medieval city now overrun by Corsa-driving tracksuit-clad 17-year-olds. With shit accents. But I digress . I was there to see a Feeder gig primarily, but took a walk around the main shopping district just to kill some time...and found TWO game stores within 40 FEET of each other...that both stocked DREAMCAST GAMES!!!



The City of Gloucester: an official ally of The Dreamcast Junkyard.

Darn, beaten to the first Wind + Water Video Review!



Just spotted this on 'That Guy with the Glassies' and man is it a good video review for the recently released Wind and Water: Puzzle Battles. In fact it makes the one I was working on look a bit shit, because it's not just informative, but darn funny too. It even has an animated segment about the history of the Dreamcast and how the public screwed it over because they wanted to wait to play the matrix on DVD on a PS2 instead. What's not to like? Apoloies again for still not getting my review sorted, so enjoy this one instead for now!

Why the Dreamcast still has what it takes

It was the night before Christmas... actually it wasn't. It was about a week before Christmas. I was playing CoD: World at War on my XBOX 360 and I realised I was bored. Really, really fucking bored; Run. Shoot (using crappy WWII guns). Run. Shoot. Grenade. Die. Run. Die. I was beginning to wish I was hurling the grenades at SEGA, angry at them for buggering up the 32X, Mega CD, Saturn and Dreamcast. For selling games on Sony's Gaystation. So much rage, so much hate. So I turned it off, headed down to Entertainment Exchange (CEX.co.uk) and got £33 for my annoying, boring FPS. Sure, I am dissing CoD a bit too much - it's an OK game. I preferred CoD4 massively though. This is not the point though. The point is... what did I do next?

I booted up my Dreamcast. Yes, it's 2009. Yes, that makes the DC 10 (as we all know), but the point is that the Dreamcast is still a console that, with a bit of time and effort, can take centre stage once again. And here's why:

Gameplay

Arguably the Dreamcast's biggest selling point (or resale point) is that it has some of the best games ever made for a home console. Yes, the Mega Drive, NES etc all have great games, as does the Saturn... but it's the Dreamcast that has the top tens (as seen on our very own DCJY) which are constantly argued over. I could like a top 20. Easily. Top 30? No problem. This console has so many great games that keep your coming back for more.


The VMU is another added bonus. I'm lucky enough that I don't give a crap about what people think about me to be looking after my Chao whilst walking through the Arndale shopping centre. There are so many top - notch titles that are so different in every way that the Dreamcast will always stay.

Graphics


OK, so the XBOX 360 and PS3 have HD graphics that display 1080i no problem and lifelike... bla bla... People are calling the Wii 'revolutionary'. Sure, it has a neat controller, but it's graphics are very close to the Dreamcast's graphics (I think that if SEGA were still developing DC it could match it), which shows why the DC can still live on strong today. The Wii not revolutionary. The Dreamcast had a fishing controller and maracas that are actually better than the control system in the Wii version of Samba. Look and Shenmue and Virtua Tennis. Gorgeous. Not impressed? Get a VGA box. Still not impressed? Sod off.

Longevity

It's 10 years old for God's sake. 10 years old. The community is huge and people love this system. It's going to stick around for a long time. It's been noted that Sony et al. think that this generation (current) of consoles will last longer than any other post 1990. With that in mind, I think the Dreamcast community will also live long and prosper.

Multiplayer

4 built-in control ports. Powerstone 2. Endless party fun.


Many racing games also support this, as do some of the FPS games. This really is a great console for people with friends that want to play games. Being as people have started playing Wii's after dinner parties thesedays, I say "bring out your Dreamcast".

Online connectivity

Back in '98 when the DC was released in Japan, the internet was not used by most people. Broadband didn't exist in the UK and people had only dreamt (no pun intended) of playing against or with people that weren't in the same room. Anyway, the DC has a built in 33k/56k modem which would make dialup calls and connect to SEGAs servers.


I didn't play much online back in the day because of the dial-up costs and subsequent lack of useable phoneline once you're in. Anyway, the Dreamcast can still connect to the internet. You can either use dial-up or your Broadband Adaptor (left in pic) to connect to the internet to browse or, more importantly, play online. The games that currently work online are:

  • Phantasy Star Online
  • 4x4 Evolution
  • Sega Swirl
  • Quake 3

Getting these games to play online using custom servers isn't the easiest thing in the world to do, but if you need a hand, I might be able to help. I played PSO for the first time yesterday and I loved it. I met a couple of German guys in the DC-Talk/Schthack lobby that helped me get started as I had no idea what to do in the game. When I levelled up they both congratulated me! It was great. I kind of see why all those people like WoW now... the community spririt on PSO is great. What's more, you're playing with people on a 10 year old console, when we could all be playing some HD games instead. This brings us full circle.

The Dreamcast is getting older and some of the games are starting to look a little dated, though there are many games full of eye candy. There are games that will keep you hooked for weeks and others that you'll only play for an hour or so, just to beat a lap time or high score. There are innovative games like Samba de Amigo that will have people asking you why your Wii is a funny shape and says SEGA on it.

Educate them. The Dreamcast lives on.

Still Looking Hot



Whilst perusing the quite excellent Sega Nerds (link always available on the side-bar) I came across this most excellent video showing clips of Sega 2008 releases across the current gen consoles - (as well as a couple of 2007 ones.) What struck me straight away was that I had only ever seen examples of these compilations/tributes based on Dreamcast games, at least five years old when I first saw them. (See Gagaman(n)'s most wonderful example, with far better music, below...)



Now compare and contrast the two... First of all notice how well the Dreamcast graphics compare to those of the current gen. Sure some of the first video's batch will be DS, PSP, PS2 or Wii. But some are 360 and PS3. Watch the Dreamcast vid in High Quality for full effect... Overall, if you compare the two, I think the Dreamcast comes up looking pretty slick!

Secondly, for a bit of New Year fun, take a pen and paper, see how many Dreamcast reissues and character cameos you can see in Sega's current line up, with extra Nerd Points awarded for naming the current game/format e.g. Ulala, Superstars Tennis DS.

Right! I'm just going to knock one off over my Official Dreamcast Magazines whilst shoving a Bass Fishing Controller up my clag-nut cavern... Hey ho chaps! Happy New Year!