, The Dreamcast Junkyard: December 2015

Deconstructing The Ring: Terror's Realm

In 2001 I saw a horror movie that totally changed the genre for me. I was at university and a friend who was (and still is) a complete movie nerd persuaded me to sit down and watch The Ring. Directed by Hideo Nakata and based on the 1991 novel of the same name by Koji Suzuki, The Ring tells the story of a mysterious VHS tape that if watched, will forsake the viewer to certain death in seven days. It certainly peaked my interest in Japanese horror movies and over the following years I went on to buy the home releases of stuff like Dark Water, Uzumaki and The Grudge.
I'm not entirely sure what it is about horror from that particular part of the world, but there's always an intrinsic and overwhelming sense of dread that permeates every scene. There seems to be a strangeness that modern-day Japanese horror films effortlessly produce in spades: a gut-wrenching sense that while everything may seem normal, it is far from it. The colour may be off, the air just a little bit too still, the room just a little bit too quiet.

A built up, technologically advanced setting in which traditions and spirits are integral, and the odd juxtaposition of a totally empty street or apartment block are far more skin crawling than a typical haunted house or graveyard scene packed full of screaming zombies or monsters; normality steeped in an unknown and untraceable uneasiness is far more terrifying than a skeleton popping out of a cupboard, or a maniac running around with a knife. To me at least, that is the essence of modern Japanese horror; and while I am a huge fan of Hollywood productions like The Thing or The Shining (and more recently It Follows), what excites me is the notion that older, more powerful things exist in our world that have the ability to circumvent our technology and scare the living shit out of us.

Dreamcast Magazine Issue 3

Issue 3 of Paragon Publishing's Dreamcast Magazine went on sale in the UK on 23rd November 1999. The main cover story was the magazine's first in-depth look at Shenmue, a game that with hindsight needs no real introduction. Other previews include Vigilant 8: 2nd Offence, Ferarri F355 and Resident Evil 2; while the news section details European sales figures for the fledgling system and takes a look at new peripherals available to buy.

Cancelled Dreamcast Game Coming Soon to Steam

Yesterday (Boxing Day 2015), an event was held in Akihabara, Japan known as Transition 2015, which showcased some shoot 'em up games for the PC market. While the Android and iOS mobile markets get the most attention, the event was designed to get Japanese developers more interested in spreading the shmup love to the PC master race. In attendance was Triangle Service, who had an exciting announcement: Shmups skill test was coming soon to Steam.
Wish I was there
If those names don't mean anything to you, allow me to illuminate. Triangle Service is a very small boutique developer specialising in old-school arcade gaming, notably for their retro style shoot 'em ups that eschew the modern curtain-style bullet-hell gameplay for a more traditional style of shooter. They were notably the last developer to score a third party development license from Sega (catalog code T-479), and the 'company,' if you can call it that, consists of only one man - Toshiaki Fujino

He is the Big Man in Red! It's Vader in Giant Gram 2000 in HD!

Merry Christmas! My first attempt at playing Giant Gram 2000 doesn't go as planned. Warning: there is some shouting involved!

Merry Christmas!

Thanks to everyone who continues to read our posts - without you we wouldn't be bothering to update this thing as often as we do. If you've been with us from the start in 2005 then thanks, but likewise if you've been coming here since last Tuesday - equally so. Merry Christmas to you all!

Musings on Christmas Eve


Ghosts of winters past, fresh regrets and a look into the future

I sat recently in front of my fireplace, something or other on the television, and my mind wandered into the past. I think everyone gets this once in awhile. Something triggers a memory in the mind and then, bam, the floodgates open and you are awash with people, places and events that you thought you had forgotten but actually were buried back there, nestled deep down in the little grey cells.

I think, more often than not - well it certainly is the case for me, anyway - these retrospective mental walkabouts end badly. It either leads to regret or, if not, a rose-tinted view of the past that makes the present appear dull, pale and inferior to those bright and sunny days. You can’t really win, to be honest - both lead you down a path that ends with a desire to recapture the past so that you can experience it or alter it. In reality you can do neither.

IO SATVRNALIA, er... I mean Dreamcastalia?

It's the most wonderful time of the year, when we honour the ancient Roman goddess Saturn for her bountiful harvests and superlative 2D software library. Where masters and slaves come together to eat, get drunk, puke, eat some more, puke again and then eat some more. Don't worry about the mess, the slaves only get one day off a year.
She's the reason for the season. No joke.
But I digress. An equally important aspect of this time of year is gift giving, and more importantly, gift receiving. And lucky for you, I've been beavering away on a little surprise for you all, our fantastic community, with a little Dreamcast related gift this year. Note: if you're a Sega lawyer, you can skip to the last couple of paragraphs now.

Dreamcast Magazine Issue 2

The second issue of Paragon Publishing's Dreamcast Magazine went on sale in the UK on 21st October 1999 for the princely sum of £2.95. While the first issue was more of a preview and had practically zero reader participation (for obvious reasons), issue 2 was more fleshed out and had a mail section for reader letters and a high score section to which readers could submit their best attempts at various Dreamcast games. Other new sections introduced for issue 2 included import reviews and the free gift was a Virtua Fighter 3tb solutions booklet.

Dreamcast Magazine Issue 1

Dreamcast Magazine from Paragon Publishing was the UK's best-selling unofficial Dreamcast publication during the system's natural lifespan. I bought it on more regular occasions than I purchased the official Dreamcast magazine because it was a bit cheaper, and was a little bit more tongue in cheek when it came to reviews and commenting on the Dreamcast's performance in the console war of the era. Sure, the official mag had the Dream On demo discs, but Dreamcast Magazine had total freedom to be as honest as possible, and this usually lead to some interesting exchanges between the editorial staff and software publishers which were usually printed in the mag, much to the amusement of readers.

Developer Interview: Duranik

Sturmwind is widely regarded as one of the most impressive independently titles on the Dreamcast, and having played it extensively I would be inclined to agree. Published in 2013 by RedSpotGames, Sturmwind was released to almost worldwide critical acclaim and popular website and YouTube/Dailymotion channel Classic Game Room even went as far as naming it as their Game of the Year.

I admit that I came to the party a little late, having only played Sturmwind for the first time earlier in 2015, but I thought it would be cool to catch up with Johannes Graf of developer Duranik to find out a little more about the team, the Atari Jaguar CD origins of Sturmwind and to ask more about the mysterious upcoming title Midsummer.
DCJY: Hi Johannes, thanks for taking the time to answer our questions. First off, could you tell us a little bit about Duranik? Who makes up the team and what are your roles?

Johannes Graf: We are two brothers. Each one is doing a different part, more or less split into coding and graphics/level and game design. For Sturmwind, there were also a couple of other people contributing in different areas. For example 505 did the soundtrack and we were also happy for the help of a very enthusiastic DC fan who did endless testing and a lot of other things.

Sega Marine Fishing Vs Reality

Which is better? Sega Marine Fishing on the Dreamcast, or actual marine fishing? It's a valid question and thankfully my good pal Andy Pryer of Gamesyouloved.com was on hand to find out...

A Quick Look At Real Sound: Winds of Regret

The power of sight. I'd wager that pretty much everyone reading this is using it and is dependant on it; and I am no different. As a gamer, a writer and a movie fan, it is sometimes lost on me just how much I take my sight for granted. Without glasses or contact lenses I can't see further than about 6 feet before everything turns into San Francisco Rush on N64, but if the usage of my peepers was taken from me for whatever reason, I really don't know what I would do.
But what of those of us whom have had this life-changing thing happen to them? Or those who were born without the ability to see? Should they be excluded from a pastime like gaming? Accessibility and gaming for the blind and visually impaired is something I personally find absolutely fascinating, and very recently I learned of a game for the Dreamcast which aimed to allow partially sighted and blind gamers the opportunity to enjoy an adventure in the same manner that a sighted gamer might. That game is Warp's Real Sound: Winds of Regret.

A Rare Shenmue Prototype Appears!

It's one of those posts about something cool that's popped up on eBay! Huzzah! This is quite cool though: a prototype copy of Shenmue, complete with a smorgasbord of hastily labelled VMUs that were apparently used for demoing sections of the game to the press back in those halcyon days of the late 1990s. Indeed, the seller goes on to detail the exact circumstances in which these labelled VMUs would be used:

This is the exact bundle my husband used when he demoed to the press, including save files from multiple points in the game so that he could easily show the various scenes. This was given to him as a gift upon completion of the Shenmue project.

We don't know who her husband is, but damn this is a nice leaving gift. Edit: this has been confirmed as belonging to Mike Rhinehart, the lead tester of the NTSC-U version of Shenmue. I know for a fact that I can't afford this bundle (which also includes a System Disc), but it'll be interesting to see what the lot eventually goes for. Here's the link to the auction. Oh, and the gallery is below...


Thanks to Gameboyle for the heads up. Be sure to check out his Gameboy-tastic YouTube channel!

Pier Solar Collector's Edition Gallery

Pier Solar has finally shipped and the general consensus is that it's a fine game, and that Watermelon has done a really good job with the packaging and variations on PAL, NTSC-U and NTSC-J Dreamcast boxes. The ultimate variant of Pier Solar appears to be the Collector's Edition, and fellow Dreamcast collector and blogger Blue Swirl has supplied me with some images of the packaging, extras and guide book that come as part of this lovely set. The gallery is below, but here's what Blue Swirl had to say about the Collector's Edition:

I recently received the Collector's Edition of Pier Solar for Dreamcast and thought you might like some photos.

I went with the PAL variation, it came wrapped in custom gold wrapping paper (an early Christmas present!) and it's really nicely done with gold ink on the game cover, inlay and manual. They also authentically recreated the PAL Dreamcast cases too - hopefully the plastic hinges are a little stronger though!

There are some pictures of the guide too, which comes bound in a faux leather cover embossed with the logo. I have to say they do go to some extremes for an indie developer, it's very professionally done.
Click on the little icon in the bottom left of the gallery for a fullscreen toggle.
We have to agree that it does look very nice, especially the guide book. Pier Solar is out now and available to buy from Watermelon's website and you can visit Blue Swirl's Dreamcast blog here. Also, be sure to check out Caleb's Pier Solar first look video here.

A Quick Look At Arabian Nights: Prince of Persia

I loved Flashback. It was such an epic game. The rotoscoped animation of Conrad B. Hart, the cinematics, the fantastic storyline and pacing of the adventure. You really felt like you were playing a role in the greatest sci-fi caper ever told; you literally had the fate of mankind in your frail, meat-based human hands. I initially experienced Flashback on the Mega Drive (and later the Jaguar and 3DO) and once I'd finished it, I looked into other games that were similar in scope and design and eventually my quest lead me to buy an earlier title from the bountiful table of Delphine Software and US Gold: Another World.
I'm not going to lie in an attempt to look like some learned and well-versed gaming expert: I thought Another World was shite. Even though it was lauded by the press, I couldn't even get past the first couple of screens with that big black dog and those stupid snaggle-toothed slug things nipping at my ankles. Ultimately, Another World (or Out of This World if you're American) was tossed aside after about an hour of trial and error (and random outbursts of rage at the TV screen if I remember rightly). Before you start foaming on your yellowing, crumb-filled Amiga keyboard know this: I have since played it as an adult and fully appreciate the game now; but back then in my youthful 'fresh from Flashback' comedown period, I thought it was an impenetrable mess. A good looking mess with excellent cut scenes, but a mess all the same. I can only apologise for such adolescent idiocy.

Unknown Tantalus Shooter Revealed

This is the latest in our series of unreleased games reveals, and to be honest we're not really sure what to call it. The game - if you can call it such - is contained on a GD with the word 'Tantalus' scribbled across it with permanent marker. That's it. No name, no version, no date. For those who don't know, Tanatalus is a developer that did several ports for the Saturn including Manx TT Superbike, Krazy Ivan and both WipEout and WipEout 2097. They also supported the Dreamcast, with the most notable game being Looney Tunes Space Race, the cell-shaded kart racer.
According to Wikipedia, Tantalus are also working on The Legend Of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD for the Wii U, which is cool. However, this post is about a game lost to the mists of time. A four player split screen demo with no name but a hell of a lot of Nazi imagery and more questions than answers. Is it the multiplayer component for a lost Dreamcast version of Return To Castle Wolfenstein? This sounds likely, but the video below will hopefully jog some memories...


Update: the CEO of Tantalus has revealed the story behind this demo!
Nice work guys! As far as we remember, this is a tech demo we produced, and presumably sent around to a few publishers. As much as anything, it was probably to showcase the fact that our Dreamcast tech supported four-player split-screen multiplayer. It never became an actual game.

Fantastic to see it though, we love a blast from the past.

Cheers,
Tom Crago
CEO - Tantalus
The mystery is solved...thanks Tom! 

The World's Smallest Dreamcast?

OK, so you've probably seen the Yujin Sega History Collection Dreamcast that comes in a plastic egg like something out of a Dobuita toy machine, but we're confident we've found an even smaller example of Sega's lovely white system. Behold:
This is available from Etsy seller Bricksanity for the equally minuscule price of £1.99, is based on a Lego brick, and is a pretty darn cool novelty item - even more so if you collect Lego. One of these Dreamcast bricks would look amazing in any Lego house, and it comes complete with a controller, VMU, mains plug and RGB Scart cable. Sadly this, much like the fabled cake in Portal, is a lie. In actual fact you only get a controller (of sorts):
This is in no way official, but it's pretty awesome. I wonder if Sega Europe will order the seller to cease and desist...surely not!

Cease & Desist

If you managed to snag a Collectors Guide, you'll be pleased to know that it itself is now a collectable. That's because Sega's legal department has asked The Dreamcast Junkyard to cease sale of the guide as it isn't an official product, and naturally we will honour the request. For transparency, here's the email:

Dear Sirs,

We are pleased that you support the SEGA video game console Dreamcast and we note your creation of the Dreamcast Junkyard Ultimate Collectors Guide Book. This is however an unofficial title which is not authorised nor endorsed by SEGA and for that reason, we ask that you kindly cease sale of this book on your website and/or any other online channels as soon as possible. 

Please can you confirm that you have removed the book by emailing the Legal Dept.

As you will understand, in order to protect the brands within our group companies, we are only able to allow the creation of and promotion of authorised products and platforms.
We thank you for your understanding.

Yours faithfully

Legal Department
SEGA Europe Ltd.

For and on behalf of SEGA Holdings Co., Ltd.

Fair enough. It's not an official product and Sega have every right to request this. After all, they own the Dreamcast copyright and all that jazz. I have replied asking if there's anything we can do to make the book available again, so we'll see what they say. In truth, the upcoming Pix'N Love Dreamcast publication has probably had something to do with this...but c'est la vie! Once again, there is no love lost here (from our side anyway!).
Thanks to everyone who bought one and keep dreaming!

Japanese Dreamcast Promotion Disk

What with all the writing and playing of Dreamcast games lately, I'm developing gnarled claws where my hands should be. I blame that infernal controller with it's guillotine edges. No matter how much lard I rub into my palms, I just can't rid myself of the cramp and so I decided to make a lovely video for your delectation, rather than spend ages hammering out guff on my internet-enabled steampunk typewriter, while simultaneously listening to whale song playing on an 8 track. Hipster? You don't know the half of it squire. 

Anyway, a few weeks ago a chap named James sent me a rather spiffing selection of Dreamcast demos from the shores of Japan, and in amongst said collection was a GD labelled simply as a Dreamcast Promotion Disk. It also has 'not for sale' printed on it, and this piqued my interest. In all honesty, it's probably just a disk for use in shop-based demo pods and the like, but I thought it was worth investigating further. Cast your eyes downward, hit play and all will be revealed!


As ever, if you know more about this disk than I, please share the knowledge in the comments. Edit: it turns out the demo is from the Japanese Dreamcast Magazine, which I kind of suspected seeing as the logo for said periodical popped up at one point in the video. Still, an interesting item nonetheless as all of the other demos from that magazine are numbered and have a completely different look to them. More on those coming very soon!

10 Years Young!

Well, we made it. Today - the 7th December 2015 - marks a decade since this blog first started. Back in 2005 it was simply a place where I intended to document the reconstruction of the Dreamcast collection I had traded for a PlayStation 2 in 2001, but in the ensuing months it became something of a labour of love where every new game and peripheral I snagged on eBay was photographed and 'added to the 'Yard.'

Soon after I started it,  The Gagaman joined the Junkyard and it became a two man operation, with the pair of us adding the occasional post about things we'd bought or games we'd played. We became a threesome (er...) when Barry joined, adding an international flavour with his views from across the pond in the US. The team and the variety of posts continued to grow as we later welcomed Father Krishna and Caleb, and then Martin and NebachadnezzaR, both of whom are no longer on the team here at DCJY but will live on as legends in the Junkyard's hall of fame. Yes, the line-up here at the 'Yard has undergone a few changes over the course of the last decade, but we like to think that the tone has remained constant - one of true passion for Sega's final console.

10th Anniversary Competition Bonus Stage - Winners!

Once again, massive thanks to Play-Asia.com for supplying us with the prizes for this, our final 10th anniversary competition; and thanks to everyone who entered. The VMU images seem to have flummoxed most of you (it wasn't meant to be easy!), but that said most of you got the vast majority of them right. So well done. Before we announce the winners, here are the answers:


How many did you get right? In truth, nobody got them all 100% correct but as stated in the original post, if that happened, the entrants with the next best number of correct answers would be crowned winners and recieve a prize. And so here they are:

1st Prize Winners: Mike Lodato & Alex Young
Runners Up: Yu Kajima, Ricardo Almeida & Anna Frohling
Well done to you all, and thanks again to Play-Asia.com for supplying us with copies of Dux and ReDux. Winners will also get a copy of our DCJY Collectors Guide. We hope you enjoyed the competition, and remember: keep dreaming!

Pier Solar Sega Dreamcast Version First Look



Here's a quick look at Pier Solar on the Sega Dreamcast! As you can see the pixels are all there, but I never found out how to hunt those evil bunny rabbits. Next time they'll get what's coming to them...

Apologies for the wonky sound. My Snowball mic is on the way out. Time to get a better setup.

Rez Infinite Coming To PS4

Rez is one of the Dreamcast's most iconic titles and the blend of trippy visuals and great music mean it is still a favourite with many gamers. The game has been re-released several times since the Dreamcast original in 2001, with PlayStation 2 and HD remakes but now Tetsuya Mizaguchi's musical shooter is heading to the PlayStation 4 with full 1080 HD visuals and VR support. Check out IGN's video below of the Rez Infinite reveal at the recent PlayStation Experience press conference.
It is quite ironic that after all this time, we are still seeing titles that started on the Dreamcast being brought to a new audience in 2015. You can read more about Rez Infinite at the PlayStation Europe blog here. Also, thanks to Ted for the heads up on this.

Official Dreamcast Keyring

Last week I received a small package and inside was a random Dreamcast-related item I bought off eBay. I wasn't totally sure what it was, but after I made this video (and also contacted the seller), it became apparent that it is in fact a somewhat rare, and totally official Dreamcast branded keyring that was given exclusively to staff of Sega Europe back in the day. The seller is an ex-employee and had been using it as a keyring up until the day they decided to flog it. I've never seen a keyring of this design, hence my bafflement at the thing once it appeared in the mail, but I thought it might be cool to share some images of it. The main body is made of solid metal (I'm not sure what type) and is quite weighty, and the wire has unscrewable ends that allow you to loop it through your keys. As I said, I've never seen a keyring of this design before, and certainly not one that's branded with the Dreamcast logo (it appears to be engraved onto the metal). Do you have one of these? Do you know anything more about it? Let us know in the comments!

An Open Letter To Discotek Media

Dear Discotek Media,

Congratulations on securing the rights to release Hi☆sCoool! SeHa Girls on physical media in North America (and by default, the rest of Western civilisation). As self-confessed Sega fans, we are eagerly awaiting this release and look forward to the extra content and interviews you will be including alongside the full 13 episode series.

We suspect you guys and gals may also be big Sega fans yourselves, as many of the older series you've published have ties to classic Sega titles as well, such as Fist of the North Star, Golgo 13: The Professional, and Super Dimension Century Orguss. There is certainly a lot of scope for overlap between the Sega and Anime fandoms and markets.

Fist of the North Star (aka Hokuto no Ken) was released as
Black Belt in Western markets. 
This is why we are penning this open letter. There is an exciting opportunity for you to capitalise on the recent “Dreamcast Renaissance.” No less than six new independently published games were released this year, two successful kickstarter campaigns funded additional games for the coming years, and the phenomenal success of Shenmue III took everyone by surprise and elevated Sega and Dreamcast nostalgia back into the mainstream consciousness. The Dreamcast is once again hot property and its star will only continue to rise.