, The Dreamcast Junkyard: May 2016

Broken Dreams: The 10 Worst Dreamcast Games

I realise I touched on this subject in my recent retrospective look at the Kalisto/Konami car crash Nightmare Creatures II, but I thought it about time that we temporarily suspended the blinkered praising of our beloved Dreamcast and investigated the pungent underbelly of the system's library more thoroughly. As Dreamcast fans, I suppose it is all too easy to look back at the console from an artificially rose-tinted perspective; and while there's nothing wrong with that it doesn't help those gamers who may be new to the system or those who perhaps didn't get the exposure to online game reviews or print magazines in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

You see, we can easily recall the monumental highs of Shenmue, Soul Calibur, Crazy Taxi and the other genre-defining software titles that make up the star-studded top tier of the software lineup; however just like every other console, the Dreamcast has a number of sub-par titles. Games that are just plain bad for any number of reasons. Games that should really be avoided unless you're one of those 'full set' collector types (you know who you are). To this end, we thought it was about time that we looked to the other end of the spectrum and brought you a run down of the most insipid and downright reprehensible games ever to 'grace' a Dreamcast. And by 'grace,' I mean be deposited onto the console through the weeping anus of a particularly unpleasant and malodorous giant.
Yep - LJN returned from the grave for one last troll on the Dreamcast
I understand that there are other terrible games that may not be on this list, but I'm not listing titles that I can't play due to either a language barrier or a lack of functionality due to internet services being discontinued. No - I'm looking at games that were deemed fully functional by testers, but were unleashed on the games buying public in states not fit for human consumption. Horrific frame rates, terrible controls, broken game engines...these are all criteria that have helped to get the following titles onto this most unholy of lists. Now, please get comfortable and allow us to take you on a rather unsettling journey as we reveal the very worst games the Dreamcast has to offer...

ElysianVMU - A Brand New VMU Emulator From Elysian Shadows

Elysian Shadows burst on to the Dreamcast radar in 2014 with little more than a dream and a Kickstarter pitch for a revolutionary new role playing game. The project was funded in less than a week and since then lead developer Falco Girgis and his team have been working away behind the scenes to bring what is perhaps the single most ambitious independent title yet to Sega's system. Featuring graphical techniques not yet seen on the Dreamcast, and an adventure that promises to engage players for hours upon hours, Elysian Shadows is easily one of the most exciting upcoming prospects for many Dreamcast gamers.
The game is also launching on PC and Mac however, and due to the game's reliance on the humble VMU for certain aspects of the adventure, Falco took it upon himself to develop a brand new and totally bespoke VMU emulator for Elysian Shadows; thus allowing computer-based players to get the full experience. Not only that, the emulator - titled ElysianVMU - will allow gamers to take the myriad mini-games away from their computer and play them on Android and iOS devices. To this end, I'm extremely excited to allow Falco Girgis himself to explain in his own words what this new VMU emulator is all about and what it means for the Dreamcast indie dev community going forward. Falco, over to you...

Dreamkey's Hidden Video

This probably won't mean much to you if you're not familiar with the European internet browsers for Dreamcast, but allow me to explain. Dreamkey was the PAL equivalent to SegaNet and Dream Passport and represented the default method of connection to online portal Dreamarena back in the day. Now we've established that, I'll continue. I was randomly browsing YouTube t'other day when I happened across a rather strange video. Upon closer inspection, the video appeared to have been uploaded by regular Junkyard commenter and MSR aficionado RJAY63 and was actually posted in 2011...but until now I'd never seen anything about this.
Apparently, by inserting the Dreamkey 1.0 internet browser disc into your Dreamcast, going to the address box and simply typing 'about:' you can view a secret video crediting the creators of Dreamkey. The video isn't really all that special - it's basically the European 'Shave' advert with credits laid over the top and the Robbie Williams song removed, but it's an interesting discovery nonetheless. I watched intently hoping it might credit the actors in the video, thus solving the riddle of who Player One / The Barber actually is (you can read out that little quest here); but alas it does not. Enough preamble though - here's the hidden video (click 'continue reading' if on the main page):

Windows CE is Best OS and Dreamcast is Best PC?

A few days ago, the Junkyard posted a couple photos of Dreamcast consoles, highlighting the fact that Japanese systems had 'Designed for Windows CE' when PAL and US had 'Compatible with Windows CE.' Before I was (more) knowledgeable in matters Dreamcast, I assumed that particular OS was already playing a part in the system's operation
At least it's not Vista
However, simple logic shows that this is not the case, and the console operates from Sega's own software. Each game ran only the bits and bobs of the operating system that it needed. For the most part, games used the proprietary software developed by Sega.

Sonic Adventure Dreamcast Homepage Restored

Sonic Adventure is a pretty divisive game, but most will agree that it really was a great showcase for the Dreamcast when it was a console in its infancy. It had great visuals and some fantastic set pieces - who can forget the killer whale sequence in the first stage? These days the vast majority deride the game for its bugs and somewhat aimless later levels...but that's a subject for another day. The reason I bring Sonic Adventure up is that news has reached me via Liam Ashcroft of SEGAbits, that somebody has gone to the trouble of purchasing the original Sonic Adventure Dreamcast homepage and restored the site in its entirety. Just for the hell of it.

DreamPod - Episode 32


Musical interludes in this episode are supplied by Metropolis Street Racer and the UK and US Dreamcast advertising campaigns. The Xenocider Kickstarter can be found here, and the Alice Dreams article can be found here. If you'd like to read the Eurogamer article from ex-DC-UK editor Keith Stuart, go here. Our Patreon is here (feel free to pledge $1 where you can!), and if you can find it in your heart to leave us an iTunes review we'd very much appreciate it!

Alice Dreams Tournament Release Date Slips, Online Leaderboards & New Play Mode Revealed

May 22nd saw the release of a new update from the team working on the hotly anticipated Dreamcast Bomberman clone Alice Dreams Tournament. This update brings news both good and not so good; with the latter being that the game will no longer make its intended June shipping date. Reasons cited for this delay include the implementation of VMU functionality, the production of the 'making of' video, and other small bug fixes:

"It is important to be honest and tell you that we will not be ready in June. We still have promises to realize or terminate: the additional VMU interactions, the 'making of' and other small fixes."
 - Alice Dreams Website

While this is disappointing, it is commendable that Alice Dreams are being totally honest and transparent. While no firm release date has been given, I did reach out via Facebook to state that I'd really like to have the game playable at The Dreamcast Junkyard's stand at this years Play Expo Manchester in October, and they assured me it would be ready by then...so that's something at least.

Southampton Game Fest 2016 Show Report

Sunday 22nd May saw the second annual Southampton Game Fest, a celebration of all things gaming held in aid of Southampton Hospital Charity. Held at the maritime city's Grand Harbour Hotel and in the shadow of the world's largest cruise liner (no, really - the thing was docked literally across the road from the hotel's main entrance), Game Fest brought a taste of gaming and geek culture to the historic home of the RMS Titanic.
Harmony of the Seas. This picture doesn't convey the sheer size of the vessel.
The Dreamcast Junkyard was there in collaboration with RetroCollect and brought a decidedly old-skool theme to proceedings, decking out the entrance to the event with a number of retro systems. Megadrives, Neo-Geos, Nintendo 64s, PlayStation 2s, Saturns and - of course - Dreamcasts were all laid out for the general public to experience. The event was a total success and raised hundreds of pounds for the charitable cause it was held to support; and there were plenty of non-retro attractions too. A FIFA 16 tournament, a Bomberman tournament held by Games You Loved (from which I was eliminated in the semi final by a 10 year old!), a cosplay masquerade, traders selling all kinds of gaming paraphernalia and a whole host of indie developers showing off their new projects were just some of the things punters could take advantage of.

Fur Fighters' Hidden Artwork

OK, so this isn't really the type of thing you'd call Nathan Drake in for but I only discovered it by accident. My laptop just happened to be on a desk next to my big carry case of Dreamcast games the other day so I decided to mindlessly pop a few of the GDs into the optical drive to see if there was anything interesting in the way of bonus content on them.

I was aware that some games (such as Shenmue and Shenmue 2) do have folders of images and other bonuses on them, but I didn't know about Fur Fighters. If you're unfamiliar with the name, Fur Fighters is a third person shooter from Bizarre Creations and is a rather excellent little game...and if you put the disc in your computer, you'll find a folder on there that's full of exclusive artwork.

Power Stone Reborn - Lastfight Review



I’m going to be a really cheeky boy here and stretch the definition of Dreamcast game ever so slightly to encompass modern games inspired by classic Dreamcast titles. Yep, I’m taking the piss a bit now, you’re not wrong...but hear me out!

Ask anyone to name some of the Dreamcast’s most defining games and the words 'power' and 'stone' are bound to get a mention. Whereas Street Fighter III, Soul Calibur and Marvel vs Capcom 2 were all fantastic Dreamcast fighting games in their own right, their respective series didn’t really have the same strong exclusive tie with Sega’s white disk churning box of magic as the Power Stone games can boast. Years later, Capcom did make the rather inappropriate choice of porting the games to the PSP (of all systems...idiots), but we’ve not heard anything of the 3D party brawler since.
Unfortunately, it seems to have faded away into the mists of time, and with Capcom in their current financial predicament, I don’t think any of us would be wise to expect a new entry anytime soon. To make matters worse, despite being two of the greatest multiplayer brawlers of all time, few companies have ever tried to replicate or take inspiration from them, not with success at least (I’m looking at you Sonic Battle *shudder*). Until now, that is...

A Quick Look At Nightmare Creatures II

Every console library has its fair share of stinkers, and the Dreamcast is no different. For every Shenmue or Soul Calibur, there's an equal and opposite Spirit of Speed 1937 or Urban Chaos. As demonstrated by this continued, ill-advised usage of Newton's third law as a literary device, for every experience that propels you toward the very zenith of gameplay, graphics and sound design coming together in a crescendo of mind-bending brilliance; there's a nadir waiting to bring you back down to Earth with a city-crushing bump. Ladies and gentlemen allow me to present Nightmare Creatures II, a game so fist-clenchingly bad that it's almost comical.
As Dreamcast fans we spend an inordinate amount of time remembering the good aspects of the console and lamenting at its untimely demise. Just like when you sit and reminisce about how much fun you had during your school days, it's all too easy to filter out the bad stuff. So you selectively forget all the times you got bad marks in an exam, had to walk home in the rain, got detention for something you didn't do, or had a fight with your best mate; but recall all the laughs, sunny field trips and just how comparatively easy life was back then as a care-free school kid. The same is true with Dreamcast fandom - we all remember the Shenmues, Power Stones, Soul Caliburs et al...and we quickly forget that the Dreamcast played host to a hell of a lot of shit too.
You know you're in for a treat when the pre-rendered loading screens
are full of pixellation.
One of the main culprits here were the sloppy PlayStation ports that made no attempt to harness the extra power of Sega's newer hardware, and were simply put out in an attempt to boost sales figures. Don't get me wrong - there are a ton of exemplary PlayStation to Dreamcast ports that really enhance the base game: Soul Reaver is one such game that immediately springs to mind. But there were far more that were just simple, bare bones ports that really offered no real advantages over the original versions. Ducati World, any of the Disney movie tie ins, Star Wars Jedi Power Battles, Evil Dead...the list goes on; and sitting right at the top of that fetid, putrid pile is Nightmare Creatures II.

New FPS Gets Update, Confirmed As Dreamcast Exclusive

A few weeks ago we showed you some screens of a new, as-yet-unnamed Dreamcast game that is widely believed to be a Payday-style first person shooter. Details are scarce at the moment, but now lead developer PH3NOM has shared new footage of the engine in motion...and it looks stunning. The video titled 'Dreamcast Engine May 2016' shows how the developers have adapted the game to run in a new engine and how they are overcoming some of the limitations imposed by the Quake III renderer. The game is clearly still at a very early stage, but if this comes together we could be looking at one spectacular first person shooter. Even more intriguing is that PH3NOM has told The Dreamcast Junkyard that this will be a Dreamcast exclusive title! Here's the video:


As with all of the Dreamcast's upcoming homebrew and indie projects, we'll be following this one closely so keep an eye out for more information as we get it. Thanks to PH3NOM for allowing me to share this video here.

We're On Patreon!

Yes, yes. I know it's only one step up from standing outside the local supermarket dressed in little else than a heavily soiled pair of trousers and a 1997 Manchester United shirt covered in dubious stains, and asking shoppers if they can "spare some change," but we're now on Patreon.
To be honest, I've seen some fucking terrible personal blogs asking for money from readers, and those only update once a month! We've got a podcast, a YouTube channel, update at least three times a week...and we've got a cease and desist from Sega! Who else can claim to bring you such entertainment for nowt? Anyway, this Patreon is only really designed to help us pay for the DreamPod hosting so it's not set at an astronomical sum; and I promise I won't blow it all on a Maserati and cocaine before riding a race horse off the top floor of a skyscraper in a drug-fuelled haze, believing I (and Pegasus - that's the horse) can fly.

In all seriousness though, if you want to donate or pledge or whatever it's called then please feel free. If not, that's totally cool - there's no obligation whatsoever. Once we get a few pledgers though, I'll put a little link on the right so I can name-check and personally thank everyone who does. We've been doing this for over a decade now, and while nothing will change as we head into year 11 and beyond, it'd be really cool if we could somehow get a little help moving the Junkyard forward.

Here's the link: The Dreamcast Junkyard Patreon

New Xenocider Demo Adds Space Harrier Stage

So the Xenocider Kickstarter campaign is well under way and plenty of us Dreamcast owners have pledged to make this game a reality. If you haven't, I urge you to take a look at our previous posts on Retro Sumus' ambitious Space Harrier clone before heading over to the project page and lending your financial support. As we've already discussed, the Xenocider Kickstarter campaign allows prospective backers the unique opportunity to download a playable demo; but now Retro Sumus has gone one step further by updating the build to include a bonus 'Fantasy Land' stage that accurately mimics the first mission from Sega's famous arcade shooter.
This extra mode differs from the regular demo stage in that you can fly around the screen indefinitely and you don't have the ability to move a targeting reticule - you simply fire forward just as in the original Space Harrier. You can also run along the ground (watch out for trees!) and there are a couple of new enemies, explosions and sound effects that draw inspiration from Yu Suzuki's retro masterpiece. It's a really cool addition to the (already great) demo and hints at some of the bonus stages we can potentially expect in the final game. 

The original Space Harrier did make an appearance on the Dreamcast in various guises, but we missed out on a home port of Planet Harriers even though it was rumoured. Happily though, Xenocider looks like it could be the game to fill that void, and if you actually needed yet another reason to check out this project then surely this is it.

Grab the new Space Harrier demo by heading to the Xenocider Kickstarter update page and clicking on the 'playable demo' download link. You can then select the new stage from the main menu.

Dreamcast Magazine Issue 12

Dreamcast Magazine issue 12 hit shop shelves on 10th August 2000 with a cover emblazoned with Ferrari F355 Challenge and a free double-sided Ferrari poster, which is odd because the issue was actually sponsored by Lamborghini. Naturally, I jest. It's been a while since we looked at Paragon Publishing's unofficial periodical though, so I thought it was about time we dipped back in...and where better to start than with the next in the series? Exactly.
So issue 12 then. It picks up - funnily enough - exactly where issue 11 left off and continues with the same high quality and oft humorous prose as before. Previews in this issue include Silent Scope, Half-Life, WWF Royal Rumble, Record Of Lodoss War, MTV Skateboarding, Star Lancer and the aforementioned Ferrari F355. Interesting news snippets concern themselves with the imminent launch of the Sega Sports black console (see above), the attempt to get Jet Set Radio banned in America, the Virgin Net Dreamscreen service for Dreamarena users, and the new-fangled Utopia boot disc.

Postcards From 2049

Whenever I'm asked what my favourite Dreamcast titles are, there's one game I will always mention: San Francisco Rush 2049. While many Dreamcast owners will quickly (and correctly) cite titles such Metropolis Street Racer, Le Mans 24hrs and Hydro Thunder as the cream of the crop when it comes to racers on Sega's final console, Rush 2049 will always come near the top of my list.

I can't even accurately explain why, there's just something about the janky handling and erratic physics that really endeared not only 2049 but the entire Rush franchise to me. Indeed, ever since I played the original console port of San Francisco Rush on the N64 I've been a fan of the series and while there are far, far better games out there I just can't get enough of Midway's arcade racer.
When it comes to Rush 2049 though, I think there's something strangely beautiful about the near-future world the developers created for us to race through. The neon soaked straight aways and tranquil civic gardens of the San Francisco of 2049 prove to be a perfect backdrop through which rocket-propelled high performance vehicles can jostle for superiority; the futuristic jungle of suspended walkways and towering skyscrapers lay in wait while high speed trains and passenger-less trams traverse the sterile streets of a commuter-less metropolis.

A Quick Look At Super Magnetic Neo

Magnets are fun. I vividly remember the first time I discovered that old hi-fi speakers contain magnets after I broke one open in an alleyway behind my house. Being from a rather run down district of Manchester me and my siblings made our own fun back then, and smashing old broken stuff up in alleyways was a particular highlight. When such endeavours yielded hitherto unknown treasure like huge magnets...well, that's the stuff dreams are made of. Even more so when we discovered that putting said magnet on the TV made all the colours go funny...until my mother saw what we'd done and went banzai. But I digress.
BBC Breakfast's new format was a winner.
Magnets then. Fun and mysterious things that can be used for all kinds of wondrous applications - making speakers work, ruining the colour on crappy old CRT televisions, levitating the friction-less trains of the future, and being the basis for the overtly camp Dreamcast game Super Magnetic Neo.

Sega Doesn't Announce Shenmue Remastered, Clickbaiters Jump On Story

Sorry, but I had to get this shit off my chest. I saw an article on Metro yesterday that wound me up so much I had to put my Vimto down as my arms were shaking so much I couldn't add the vodka held in my other hand. Pure rage was silently racing through my veins - I kid you not - when I saw the utter SHITE being peddled by a site attached to one of the biggest newspapers in the UK. It's only big because it's free mind, but still big enough to be taken seriously by idiots who read a newspaper and take everything printed therein as gospel. You know - like people who read the Daily Mail.
Nope.
For those who don't know, Metro is a free newspaper that people leave on buses and trains across this fair isle and for the most part it's alright. However, when it comes to gaming news they appear to either steal content from other sites or just scour social media and jump on any old rumour they find, printing it as actual news. It's usually articles on how much old consoles are worth, but with pricing pulled out of the ether - who can forget the time they claimed a Dreamcast is worth £800? Or the time they said a Master System is worth £900 but then linked to an eBay auction for an SG-1000?
The latest debacle from these chancers is that Sega has confirmed that Shemue and Shenmue II are being released on new consoles with HD remasters.

I would like to categorically state that this is utter rubbish, and is a completely false claim. The story is that Dan Sheridan from Sega Europe answered some questions on Youtube and said that Sega were potentially investigating such a project. That Metro thinks it is acceptable to print a headline that reads 'Sega confirms Shenmue I and II HD remasters are underway' is appalling. I've seen clickbait, but this not only takes the piss - it takes the entire urinary system. And the spleen. Why, oh why does the mainstream press think it's OK to make stuff up and slap headlines like this on it...because it's just games? This type of thing completely undermines those of us who try to treat gaming as a respectable and mature medium. Shenmue and Shenmue II HD have not been confirmed by anyone - least of all Sega Europe!

This is clickbait horse shit taken to a whole new and utterly abhorrent level. Frankly, Metro should be ashamed of themselves.

Tom is the Enemy

Greetings Junkyard Nation,

As you should all now be well aware, Retro Sumus' Xenocider Kickstarter campaign is well underway, and 3 days in it has so far reached 18% of it's $92,000 funding goal. We hope those pledges continue to roll in and that the community gets behind it, especially when you consider that those stretch goals look particularly tantalising. If you haven't done so yet, you've only got 27 days left to make your pledge and secure your copy of what looks to be one of the most advanced Dreamcast indie games to date. 

In addition, we here at the Junkyard have a proposition for you all. While the $600 pledge tier "YOU ARE THE ENEMY" (which offers the chance for your likeness to be recreated in the game as a secret boss character), is out of the reach of most of us mere mortals, we'd like to take this opportunity to run a mini-donation drive within the broader context of the Kickstarter campaign to get our beloved mascot Tom Charnock into the game as well.
Hurry! There's only 4 spots left!
If everyone reading this donates just 50p to the Dreamcast Junkyard donation box, we'd have more than enough Denaro to get that smug limey face of his on your telly so you can blast it to kingdom come. And as a happy side effect, your donations will go towards helping Retro Sumus reach their Kickstarter funding goal as well...

But, to be honest, it's mainly about shooting Tom in the face.
Artist's impression. Not representative of final version
And when you think about it, that 50p is very good value. It equates to just 0.04p for each article posted in this blog over the last 10 years, or just 0.02p for each minute of scintillating podcast banter we've recorded so far. I'd say that's very good value indeed. Go on, you know you want to. 
And while your at it, leave us an iTunes review as well, it seems to be the only way for us to 
climb higher up the podcast charts where we belong. Cheers.

DreamPod - Episode 31: Shmup Special featuring Dreamcast Hub

iTunes
Stitcher
Buzzsprout
UK Podcast Directory

You can find guest host Stephen at Dreamcast Hub and on both Twitter and Facebook. A minor correction is that Shikigami no Shiro was released on consoles, having received PlayStation 2 and Xbox ports. Even the professionals don't get everything right, so if you'd like to slag us off in the comments please keep that in mind!

The 'Dreamcast VR' video mentioned can be found here, and Ross's video detailing his Rez Infinite PSVR experience can be found here. Music in this episode comes from Sturmwind, Giga Wing and Mars Matrix.

As ever, if you like what you've heard please consider leaving us an iTunes review as it really does help the podcast get noticed and improves our chart position. It only takes a few minutes but means a great deal. Thanks in advance!

Xenocider Kickstarter Demo - Thoughts & Impressions

A quick Lets Play style video of the Xenocider demo including my impressions and thoughts. Excuse the random text relating to Rez. It's late here in Japan, gimme a break!


Links to our previous Xenocider articles:

New Dreamcast Game Xenocider Hits Kickstarter With Playable Demo

As if you needed reminding, we've been closely following the development of Space Harrier/Sin & Punishment homage Xenocider for some time now. Coming from Spanish developer Retro Sumus, the game represents something of a leap forward for indie games on the Dreamcast as it features a fully polygonal engine built from the ground up for Sega's hardware. The good news is that the Kickstarter project to fund the final development and physical release of Xenocider has now been approved and gone live so it's up to us - the Dreamcast community - to get behind it and ensure it reaches the funding goal. There are a range of backer tiers, and as is the norm each will yield a different reward depending on the amount of money you pledge.

The goal stands at $92,000 in order to get Xenocider fully funded and the higher backer tiers feature such perks as having your own face transplanted into the game as a stage boss, bespoke models of the main protagonist Xara, and even limited edition customised Dreamcast consoles! Perhaps the most interesting part of this Kickstarter though, is that Retro Sumus isn't happy with simply showing potential backers what the game looks like. No, you can actually download a fully playable demo of Xenocider and play it on either PC, Mac...or Dreamcast.

Rez Infinite PlayStation VR: Play Test & Impressions Video

Last week the DCJY were lucky enough to get the chance of putting the upcoming Rez Infinite for PlayStation VR through its paces. In short, the experience was breathtaking and we can't wait for the final release of the game. What could the future hold in terms of other VR Dreamcast re-releases? Which other titles would you like to see given the VR treatment? Let us know in the comments!


Separated at Birth: Redline Racer & Suzuki Alstare

Redline Racer was a very early release for the Dreamcast and was little more than a technical showcase for the hardware. Developed by Criterion (yes, the same Criterion behind the Burnout series) the game initially launched for PC where it received average reviews, and a few months later in April 1999 it hit Japanese Dreamcasts to a similarly lukewarm reception. When Redline Racer was released in North America and PAL regions the following year, it came with official branding and a new name: Suzuki Alstare Extreme Racing.

Thinking back, Suzuki was one of the first titles I experienced on the Dreamcast and I clearly recall renting it from Blockbuster when the price of a new game of my own was something way out of my price range. I also remember thinking it was a fairly decent, nice looking racer and to this day I still don't think there's anything particularly offensive about it. Sure, the visuals haven't aged well and the handling model is fairly rudimentary when compared to more contemporary motorcycle racers like Moto GP et al, but as a simplistic arcade jaunt there are worse titles out there.
I was aware of the connection to Redline Racer, but never really paid much attention to the Japanese ancestor because I always just assumed it was the same game without the Suzuki license and thought nothing more of it. However, in the recent past I acquired a copy of Redline (£3 well spent!) and gave it a whirl just out of curiosity; and I can honestly say that while many sites simply label Redline Racer as the Japanese version of Suzuki Alstare, in truth they couldn't be more different...

Metropolis Street Racer Original Promo Photos Found

You may recall a few months ago we featured the extremely rare prototype issues of the UK's Official Dreamcast Magazine. These mock-ups were produced by Dennis Publishing as part of the pitch process to secure the license from Sega Europe, and as we know now it ended up as the successful bid. These bespoke magazines are part of a jaw-dropping Dreamcast collection curated by fellow collector and blogger Blue Swirl, and recently he managed to find another fascinating and unique part of the Dreamcast's history: the original promotional negatives and slides produced by Bizarre Creations and Sega for Metropolis Street Racer.
These images were used in pretty much all of the promo materials for the game, including the cover of both the PAL and NTSC-U releases. As documented in his own blog post from January 2016, the Vauxhall VX220 used in the images didn't actually have an engine so was towed to the various nighttime cityscape locations used as backdrops:

"Apparently the car used in the photoshoot didn't have an engine so had to be dragged to various shooting spots. In one of the slides you can see some of the rigging at the rear of the car, I'm guessing it was pulled backwards and snapped with a slow shutter to give the illusion of speed."
- Blue Swirl

You can also find further confirmation of these claims on the site of Rosco, the artist who actually worked on this project for Sega Europe. These images may not seem like much, but to know that the original slides and negatives are still in existence and now in the hands of a Dreamcast collector like Blue Swirl is very reassuring. In essence it means that they'll not only be enjoyed as the slice of Dreamcast history that they are; it means they'll be preserved for posterity for years to come.

Source: Blue Swirl (all images used with permission)

SEGAbits Swingin' Report Show podcast interviews SEGA tournament champ and former Capcom employee Chris Tang



This past weekend was the culmination of SEGA Week at Galloping Ghost Arcade in Brookfield, IL. The week consisted of ten tournaments on new (well, new to the arcade) SEGA arcade machines as well as other special events which were held on SEGAbits Saturday. One big happening on the big final day was the reveal of Strike Harbinger, a very early look at an upcoming indie title from HitSparks Games which is led by competitive gamer and developer Chris Tang.

In the past, Chris took part in the historic 1990 Nintendo World Championships and was the winner of SEGA's Sonic & Knuckles Rock the Rock competition in 1994. Since then, Chris has worked on games at Atari and Capcom, including Gauntlet IV, Primal Rage, Street Fighter III, Rival Schools, Tech Romancer and Power Stone. Now, Chris is hard at work on a new game inspired by classic SEGA titles like Space Harrier and Phantasy Star. The game, titled Strike Harbinger, combines the fast paced forward flying gameplay of Space Harrier with the RPG and combat elements of Phantasy Star while utilizing a unique control structure that evokes Virtual On.

I had the pleasure to meet Chris and the game’s Senior Artist Kiyoshi Okuma, whose past work includes Gauntlet: Legends, World Series Baseball 2K2, The Sims 2 and Darkspore. I also had the honor to be the first member of the public to play the game, and following that experience I chatted with Chris about his life as a tournament gamer, his career, and his plans for Strike Harbinger.

I wanted to share this episode on the 'Yard as I thought fans of Capcom's Dreamcast titles would enjoy some of the stories Chris shared. So give it a listen and enjoy!

More ways to listen:
[Download] [RSS] [iTunes] [Archive]

Review: Leona's Tricky Adventures

The latest addition to the Dreamcast’s already overflowing library of independent games burst onto the scene earlier this year (that’s 2016 if you’re reading this in the distant future); and it’s taken us until now to finally put pen to paper - or rather finger to keyboard - and share our thoughts. Leona’s Tricky Adventures has a somewhat storied background and we’ve documented it here at the Junkyard in the recent past, but in the name of simplification I’m happy to remind you. The game originally started life as a Kickstarter back in 2013 but unfortunately didn’t make its funding goal.

Due to the rules of launching a project through that particular crowd-funding site, it meant that the whole project was cancelled and the developer KTX turned to funding the game using donations and pre-orders instead. It took almost three years for Leona’s Tricky Adventures to finally come to Steam and the Dreamcast, but eventually the game landed and here we are. If you’d like to know more about the development of the game, make sure you check out the recent Developer Interview we did with KTX Software’s CEO Thomas Musal, and Chief Technical Officer Robert Konrad.
But what of the game itself? What if you’ve never even heard of Leona or the particularly tricky adventure she finds herself embarking on? Well, you’re in luck as two of the finest wordsmiths known to mankind (yes, I stole that from hip hop artiste Labrinth) are here to give you the definitive lowdown on Leona’s Tricky Adventures in this tag-team review! Allow me to introduce...um...myself (Tom), and our intrepid Australian correspondent Scott ‘DocEggfan’ Marley!
I think the developers might have an inordinate appreciation for the colour cyan.
As this game is aesthetically quite ‘retro,’ we thought it only fair that we did a retro-styled review. To really drive home how clever and avante garde we really are, we’ve split it into several paragraphs, each with an equally antiquated heading such as graphics, sound, gameplay etc. We might even give it an arbitrary percentage at the bottom...but you’ll have to wait and see. Let’s saddle up and join Leona on her adventure!