Xeno Crisis Kickstarter Adds Dreamcast Stretch Goal

Xeno Crisis from Bitmap Bureau is a top down shooter planned for the Sega Mega Drive, and while we were aware of this intriguing campaign we didn't cover it as...well, it's a Mega Drive game. That looks like it's about to change though, as Xeno Crisis recently smashed through its Kickstarter goal of £20,000 and has had a Dreamcast port and a two-player mode added as stretch goals. Naturally, with this news we have backed the game (a standalone pledge of £30 secures a Dreamcast copy in NTSC-J style case), and hopefully the £35,000 total for this will be met.
"Xeno Crisis is a new, original title for the Sega Mega Drive / Genesis which will be released both as a physical cartridge and also as a downloadable ROM. At its core, it's an arena shooter that takes inspiration from the likes of Smash TV, Contra, Mercs, Granada, Alien Syndrome, Zombies Ate My Neighbours, Chaos Engine, and Shock Troopers.

"A Dreamcast version of Xeno Crisis is something we discussed some time ago, and given both the phenomenal reception of the Kickstarter campaign and feedback from the community, we felt like now was the time to commit to it!

"We’ve added a new pledge for those of you who just want the Dreamcast version. Backers of the physical editions of Xeno Crisis will be able to add £20 to their pledge to receive the Dreamcast version."
- Bitmap Bureau on Kickstarter


So, does the addition of a Dreamcast stretch goal interest you? Or are you totally burned out on Dreamcast Kickstarters by this point? Let us know in the comments, in our Facebook group or on Twitter. Oh, and you can find Xeno Crisis on Kickstarter here.

Thanks to @Gawny7789 of NPodcastSystem for the heads up on this.

Get Festive With These Dreamcast Christmas Jumpers

Looking for something to wear to the office Christmas party that belies your affection for the greatest console ever created? Want to effortlessly exude a level of festive swagger and style that transcends all cultures and language barriers? Want a garment so decadent in design that you'll still look like the coolest mofo on the block while you sit there unable to move after stuffing your disgusting bloated face with a metric tonne of chocolate and turkey on Christmas Day? Then look no further than this Dreamcast-themed Christmas jumper design from Coto7.
Available in a range of colours (and also several different garment types, including hoodies and varsity jackets), the 'All I want for Christmas...is a Sega Dreamcast' apparel is perfect for showing the rest of the world which way your gaming bread is buttered. The design is screen printed rather than embroidered (and appears to be the standard Dreamcast stock image ripped from Google), but the £20 price tag isn't overly extortionate and Coto7 offers free shipping on all UK orders and reasonable shipping to other arts of the world.

These are available in a range of sizes, and in mens, womens and childrens styles. Check out the 'All I want for Christmas...is a Sega Dreamcast' at Coto7 or on Amazon.

Will you be sporting one of these at festive events over the annual period of commercial greed and overindulgence? Let us know in the comments, in our Facebook group or on Twitter.

A Quick Look At Gunbird 2

Whenever there's a discussion about the best shmups on the Dreamcast, the usual names get bandied about. Ikaruga, Mars Matrix, Sturmwind, Under Defeat, Castle Shikigami 2, Dux. Well, maybe not that last one...but you get the idea. As epic and deserved of praise as all of those games are, there's one that rarely gets a look in when said hypothetical discussion is taking place - Gunbird 2. And since the original Gunbird has recently been released on the Nintendo Switch, I thought it would be fun to jump into the sequel Gunbird 2, and see if it really does deserve to be mentioned in the same sentence as its illustrious peers in the genre.
The Dreamcast is well known for certain genres: 2D fighters, arcade racers, crap football (soccer) games...and shmups. Apart from the Saturn and the NEO-GEO, I'm pretty confident that there is no other home hardware format that boasts such an exquisite library of shoot 'em ups, and in amongst the crowd of quality examples rests Gunbird 2. Released in arcades by Capcom in 1998 and then ported to the Dreamcast in 2000, Gunbird 2 builds upon the prequel's gameplay and features, adding several new characters, updated visuals and some pretty fantastic writing and unusual extra features.
A top-down, vertically scrolling shooter, Gunbird 2 will feel very familiar from the off to anyone who has ever played a shmup in this vein. I personally have never played the original Gunbird either in the arcade or on the Sega Saturn, so the fact that it is coming to the Nintendo Switch interests me greatly; and if it plays anything like as well as the Dreamcast sequel a fun time is almost guaranteed...

DVD Support Heading To Dreamcast

Artist's impression. Um.
DVD is the one that got away when it comes to discussing the Dreamcast and the age-old reasons for its failure to go stratospheric. One of the many reasons people held out for a PlayStation 2 was because it offered the consumer the opportunity to try out new-fangled digital versatile discs, and it was an inspired tactic if you look at it from a business perspective. Yes, the Dreamcast was (and still is) a hoofing system and plays host to some of the finest vidya gaemz known to humanity; but back at the turn of the century the promise of owning a console that could also play movies out of the box was too great to resist for the majority.
An IDE modded Dreamcast is required at present
Anyway, it seems that the ever-inventive Dreamcast community has worked out a way to allow the Dreamcast to 'see' an external DVD drive as a storage medium and attempts to run games stored on DVDs have been successful. At present, the DVD drive is being used as an alternative to a standard IDE HDD with consoles modified to accept such a storage device, but with more development time it appears that running DVD movies on a Dreamcast is entirely plausible.

The original thread over at Assembler Games tells us a little more, and I also spoke to programmer Luiz Nai who is assisting the DreamShell developers in this quest. Here's what he told me:

"If you have the IDE-Mod in your Dreamcast just connect a DVD-IDE drive on your Dreamcast. You put the ISO files on the DVD and select them as you do on the HDD. At present, games files in CDI or GDI format are incompatible as games that use CDDA (Compact Disc Digital Audio) would not work. Also, the Dreamcast certainly has the power to run DVD movies but at the moment the priority is to get the DVD drive to read games. At present, the project is in the debug phase and the game Millennium Soldier has already been tested successfully."
- Luiz Nai

Probably don't start getting your DVDs in out of the garage just yet then, folks. And if you do you can probably just play them on literally any other device in your house (including some fridges, apparently). However, for another example of how the Dreamcast community strives to add new functionality for no reason other than it can, look no further.

Source: Assembler Games

The Shenmue Yokosuka Sacred Spot Guide Book

The Shenmue Chapter One Yokosuka Sacred Spot Guide Map

So Shenmue III didn't make it's scheduled launch window of December 2017, but all's not lost...because according to the website of the respected Japanese video games magazine Famitsu, a Shenmue: Chapter One Yokosuka 'Sacred Spot Guide Map' will be coming to Yokosuka soon....Wait, what?!?

Why Sturmwind Is Still Incredible

Sturmwind is one of those Dreamcast games that really needs no introduction. Duranik's sci-fi shoot 'em up was initially released by RedSpotGames back in 2014 and we covered the launch here at the Junkyard at the time; but the game was re-released in early 2017 to much fanfare - and rightly so. But how does it hold up today? Has it aged badly and is it worth your time? In a couple of words, no it hasn't aged badly; and yes, it is very much worth your time. Here's the first stage to wet your appetite:


Sturmwind started life as an Atari Jaguar CD title called Native, but development was eventually switched to the Dreamcast due to the Sega system's more advanced technical abilities. You can find playable demos and videos of Native by doing a quick Google search, and there are a couple of Easter eggs included in Sturmwind that give a nod to the Jaguar-based origins of the game.
If you aren't familiar with Sturmwind though, or have maybe heard the name but aren't sure why it's such a revered title, then this is the article for you. Hopefully, we'll be able to do this magnificent example of independent game development justice and explain why it is such an impressive achievement on the Dreamcast...

Is The Dreamcast Controller Really That Bad?

One of the recurring criticisms I see levelled at the Dreamcast is that the standard controller is rubbish. It's almost become the de facto response when people discuss the Dreamcast - it's a great console...but that controller! Urgh! From complaints about the trigger travel distance, to the lack of diagonals on the d-pad, to the cardinal sin of having only one analogue stick, the evidence is overwhelmingly damning for the humble HKT-7700. If something is repeated enough times, it eventually passes from the realm of hearsay and into law, right?

With this article, I thought it would be interesting to have a look at the Dreamcast's standard controller and investigate whether it really is all that bad, or if it is just a victim of hindsight. In the grand scheme of all things gaming, the Dreamcast's controller is one of the less heavily lambasted - the Atari Jaguar and Nintendo 64 controllers have come in for far more criticism than Sega's offering ever has. However, with the aforementioned examples, gamers who have spent any amount of time with these examples will usually attest that even though they might look a bit unwieldy they're actually pretty comfortable to use. Without going too far off topic, the Jaguar controller is labelled as heavy and cumbersome; but in actual fact is very light and very ergonomic in the hand. Likewise, the Nintendo 64's unorthodox tri-pronged design draws derision in this age of dual analogue sticks and built-in rumble, but back in the day the design of the thing was revolutionary.
But what of the Dreamcast controller? It's true that it is very easy to look back at hardware of the past and casually pour scorn on it, and there are countless listicles on clickbait sites about 'the top 10 worst controllers,' usually written by people who have never even used said hardware; simply basing their opinions on photos they found on Google. As someone who played a Japanese Dreamcast shortly after launch (it wasn't mine - a friend bought one), and then got my own about a week after the UK release in October 1999, I think I'm pretty well qualified to talk at length about the Dreamcast controller. I dread to think how much of my adult life has been wasted spent with a Dreamcast controller in my hands, and so I have some opinions on how it sucks but also on how it's actually pretty good. I also threw this topic open to the good people of the Junkyard's Facebook group and I'll share some of the best comments later on in the article. For now though, let's kick things off with a good look at the controller, its origins and its various parts.
It's pretty clear from the basic design of the unit that the origins of the Dreamcast controller are a derivative of the Sega Saturn 3D controller. The button and analogue stick placement, twinned with the general bulbous two-ponged aesthetic are clearly throwbacks to the earlier concept, and placement of the triggers and d-pad only amplify this. While there is an image floating around online (and this magazine scan) that shows a multitude of alternative prototypes for the Dreamcast controller, it's pretty obvious that someone thought the 3D controller design was the one to go with and so it was adapted and updated.
In truth though, the subtle changes made to various aspects of the 3D controller as it evolved into the Dreamcast controller are somewhat puzzling, and while some offer improvements, others are clearly a step back. For instance, the d-pad...

A Quick Look At SnoCross Championship Racing

Snow. Everybody loves Snow. His 1992 hit Informer sat pretty at the top of the US billboard charts for seven weeks, for example, proving that yes - everybody loves Snow. Of course, I jest. I am of course referring to the frozen white stuff, not the Canadian reggae artist from the 1990s. Snow is great fun and if it's not threatening to destroy the planet like in that film with Donnie Darko and Bilbo Baggins in it, it also heralds the coming of winter and Christmas. One of the most useful properties of snow is that it can be scooped up, fashioned into a throwable missile and then launched at someone's face with great force, thus enabling the age-old practice of the snow ball fight. As well as this, people with lots of money can use snowmobiles to race on it. And that's exactly what happens in SnoCross Championship Racing.
Developed by Unique Development Studios (aka UDS), SnoCross is actually the only title this obscure Swedish studio ever produced for the Dreamcast, having previously worked on No Fear Downhill Mountain Biking for the PlayStation. The game was published by Crave Entertainment and Ubisoft in 2000 for the Dreamcast and it sits alone in the racing genre as the only snowmobile racer for Sega's console. That said, it isn't the only game to feature snowmobiles as the D2 Shock demo that shipped with Real Sound: Winds of Regret also features a sort of open world mini-game where the player is tasked with locating various objects in the snow covered wilderness, careening about on a snowmobile.
The first thing you notice about SnoCross upon starting the game proper is just how bad it looks. It really does look like a PlayStation game, with boxy riders and badly textured, low detail environments par for the course. There are some nice little visual effects, such as reflective ice sheets and lens flares from the vehicle headlights, but for the most part SnoCross just looks bad. In fact, it's probably one of the worst looking games on the Dreamcast, and easily identifiable as one of those titles that was most probably developed with the original PlayStation in mind, before being slightly upgraded and chucked onto a GD-ROM as an afterthought.
That said, where SnoCross makes up for this visual horror show is in the gameplay and options. There are the usual quick race and time attack modes to play around with, but the main meat of SnoCross is in the main championship. There are three different tiers of difficulty, all of which are represented by ever increasing snowmobile - or sled - engine capacities. It's a bit like Mario Kart with differing displacements equating to skill level, with 500cc the lowest and easiest and higher ccs used to identify an increase in difficulty. All of the vehicles are officially licensed too, meaning Yamaha logos are abundant. On top of this, the championship does throw in some nice features, such as being able to win cash from races that enable you to buy new parts and upgrades for your sled, and also pay for repairs to various components that get damaged during races. No loot boxes or upgrade cards here, y'all (topical joke - check).

Dream Library: The Dreamcast Foreunner To Nintendo Virtual Console

Being able to download games to your chosen platform is a pretty standard feature these days, and one we've all come to expect from our gaming devices, mobile phones and computers. Where would we be without the convenience of being able to simply browse an online store front, be it the Nintendo e-Shop, PlayStation Network, Xbox Live or Steam, and just select a title we want to play and then have it ready to go in a matter of minutes?

While there's a lot to be said for buying physical games, either because you're a collector or you like the option of being able to trade your games in to fund the next purchase, exclusively downloadable software is most likely the future we're heading toward. However, it isn't a new technology. If you look back through the annals of gaming history, you'll find a number of antiquated hardware systems that offered downloadable software as an option and by and large they all worked and only really differed in their availability and hardware. There was the Nintendo Satellaview that offered exclusive titles for the Super Nintendo (some of which have been the subject of admirable preservation efforts); and there was a similar service offered by Sega in the form of the Sega Channel. There are earlier examples still, and you can find a rudimentary run down of some of them here.
The Dreamcast too, offered such a service and it was called Dream Library. Unlike the aforementioned utilities though, Dream Library didn't offer Dreamcast games for download; instead it offered Japanese gamers the option to use their Dreamcast as an emulation device with which to download and play a selection of Mega Drive and PC Engine games right in their browser. Similarities with Nintendo's popular Virtual Console are quite apparent, but Dream Library precedes Virtual Console by six years, give or take; and the main difference is that games were rented temporarily with Dream Library, rather than bought outright.
A fairly short-lived service, Dream Library ran from June 2000 to January 2003, and it did suffer from a few technical issues that meant it wasn't as perfect as it probably initially sounds. Still, it was quite an ingenious service and another example of Sega's thinking outside the box when it came to pushing the Dreamcast as a jack of all trades. Not only was Sega pushing its hardware as a gaming machine, but also a business machine, an affordable alternative to a web browsing computer and also an emulation device. I'm still wondering how the console failed to crack the mainstream during its natural lifespan, but as usual I'm digressing.

DreamPod - Episode 54 Featuring Retro Gamer Editor Darran Jones


If you enjoyed this episode, please feel free to subscribe on iTunes, and leave us a review. You can also contribute to our Patreon here. Feel free to leave us a comment below or join the conversation in our Facebook group or on Twitter!

Finally, be sure to follow our guest Darran on Twitter, follow Retro Gamer, buy the magazine and visit the website here!

Buggy Heat: The Arcade Racer That's Matured Like Fine Wine

The Dreamcast's stable of racing games is bursting with thoroughbred stallions, with classics like Le Mans and Metropolis Street Racer proudly held aloft as the pinnacles of the genre on the system. But there is one title that many may have simply dismissed or never even given a chance to prove itself as a worthy alternative to the more well-known titles vying for attention on a crowded starting grid. That game is Buggy Heat, a Dreamcast launch title from CRI that initially wowed with its decent graphics and interesting features, but which was lost in the maelstrom and ultimately usurped by Sega Rally 2 in the initial launch lineup melee. Buggy Heat is certainly a game that is worth another look, even now, after almost 20 years have passed since it first burst onto the scene.
Buggy Heat is a game I courted in those first few months after the Dreamcast's UK launch, and I distinctly remember being impressed with the visuals in those warm and un-fuzzy post-N64 wonder years. It looked incredible at the time, and the detailed vehicles and interesting tracks initially won me over. But after a week of playing and seeing pretty much all it had to offer in terms of new environments and vehicles, Buggy Heat was forgotten and I quickly moved on to the next game I could get my hands on. It's only relatively recently that I've gone back to investigate this early offering on the Dreamcast, and in this time I've grown to truly appreciate its nuances and have rediscovered a game that is so much more than the sum of its parts.
What initially seems to be a very rudimentary pretender to Sega Rally's off-road crown is actually a pretty deep and interesting experience, that even offers a feature that wouldn't be seen again until the release of the Xbox One. Behind the paltry track and vehicle selection rosters is actually a racing title that deserves a second look, because with time - not unlike a fine wine - Buggy Heat has aged beautifully and is, for me at least, one of the best arcade racers on the Dreamcast...

Introducing VMU-boy - A RetroPie Powered Console In A VMU Case

Technology continues to get ever more powerful and ever smaller, but sometimes the ingenuity of the modding community serves up a project that beggars belief. This is one of those occasions. Allow us to introduce you to the VMU-boy, a RetroPie powered console inside a VMU shell with the ability to play a host of retro roms on a tiny LCD screen. You thought the Gameboy Micro was small? Wait till you get a load of this!
The result of some stellar work by Giles Burgess (aka Kite), the VMU-boy is truly a wondrous accomplishment and as the images and video show, the contraption fits easily in the palm of a hand. Whether it's actually practical to play games on a device so small for any length of time without causing long term damage to eyes and hands remains to be seen, but 10 out of 10 must be awarded for effort.
The specs and features of the device are fairly impressive too, as detailed in the forum post over at sudomod:

  • Pi Zero/W
  • 128x128 SPI LCD
  • Main PCB with direct Pi soldering
  • 850mAh battery (4 hrs or more gameplay!). If I could find a slightly wider battery it might even make it to 900/1000mAh!)
  • Safe shutdown!
  • Micro USB charging which doubles as USB OTG port (plug in a USB OTG adapter and it will power the USB device and connect it to the Pi)
  • Power switch and status LEDs
  • Battery voltage monitoring + charging status
  • Built in speaker amp
  • 'Basic' OSD (need to work on this more, whipped it up very quickly!)
  • GPIO buttons built into the PCB
  • All inputs available under the 'cap' at the top, including the Pi SD card so it's really easy to work on
  • Internal serial port available as a JST header (made it very easy to see my Pi was working after I had removed the HDMI port!)
  • Battery connectors (1mm JST) or solder pads. Extra pads allow putting 2x batteries in parrallel (e.g. if you have 2x small batts that will fit)


Interestingly, Kite's post suggests he will be offering the VMU-boy for sale at some point in 2018, and a link to a waiting list has already been added to the post.

Find out more on the VMU-boy, including more details on the creation of the fascinating device by visiting the sudomod.com forum here.

Thanks to @pomegd on Twitter for sharing this info with us.

That Time An Inmate Tried To Sue The Prison System Over A Broken Dreamcast

A while back we looked at the veritable treasure trove of Dreamcast-related stories that the BBC News archive represents. There are a multitude of contemporary news articles on the birth and death of the Dreamcast, locked in time in the BBC's extensive catalogue of long forgotten reports, and they do make for interesting reading.

There's one particular news piece I missed though, and it serves as an interesting glimpse not only into the past, but also into the life of convicts held at Her Majesty's pleasure in UK prisons. Hidden away on the BBC News site is this rather intriguing report from April 2006, which documents the efforts of a prisoner at Scotland's Perth Prison to claim damages of £350 from the Scottish Executive (the authority responsible for prisons) for damage to his Dreamcast console.

The case was eventually thrown out by Perth Sheriff Court, but not before the complainant accused prison officers of purposely breaking his Dreamcast. The article doesn't say how the console was broken (and the Scottish Courts website has no record of the hearing), but I'm going to guess that to make it totally inoperable they probably used it as a football. If it'd been a Gamecube, they could've driven a monster truck over it and it would still have worked; but then, a Gamecube can also double up as a deadly weapon when swung at another human so probably not the best console to allow into a prison. Anyway, here's the full article:

New Subway Commercial Features A Dreamcast

Never let it be said that we here at the Junkyard let any hint of a Dreamcast - no matter how slight - go undocumented. The latest appearance in media approaching 'mainstream' of our beloved console comes in a new web commercial for Subway's latest sandwich - the Reuben:


Keep an eye on the bottom left of the video. Thanks to Facebook group member Preston Weaver for bringing this to our attention!
ICYMI. Is that arrow big enough? Hmm...
Naturally, the Dreamcast appeared in its own series of advertisements, many of which we have documented in the not too distant past.

Related Articles:

Flashback For Dreamcast Will Ship With Even More Bonus Content

We recently reviewed the upcoming Dreamcast port of Delphine Software's incredible science fiction adventure title Flashback, and we found that it was most excellent. A sort of amalgamation of the best bits of all the other ports out there, JoshProd's newly compiled and officially sanctioned Flashback ticked all the boxes for this nostalgia-loving gamer. One of the most impressive aspects of the overall package (apart from the fact that Flashback is an awesome game, period) is that it has a host of bonus features which are exclusive to the Dreamcast version. Graphics filters, extended cinematic sequences and even the original 16-bit versions in both PAL and NTSC flavours are all included.
There has been a bit of concern in the Dreamcast community about the continued delay of the release of Flashback, with those who have ordered it online being quite vocal about the fact that it was due to ship in September, but here we are in November and it still hasn't been released. Well, we can reveal that the game is now due to ship imminently if you bought the PAL boxed version, with the NTSC boxed versions due a mere matter of weeks later. And the reason for the delay?

SLaVE Developers Seeking Assistance With Bug Squashing

The release of Jay Townsend's SLaVE appears to be tantalisingly close, and I for one am very much looking forward to getting to grips with the neon-hued retro-futuristic world presented by this Dreamcast exclusive first person shooter. First announced several years ago, SLaVE has had a long and storied development which has been mired with technical issues; but there is light at the end of the tunnel, so to speak. In the latest email bulletin to those who have pre-ordered the game from GOAT Store, the publishers have included an appeal for Dreamcast programmers to come forward and help to squash the final few bugs that are preventing the production process beginning. Here's the email in full:

Hi everyone,

We wanted to send out a quick update on Jay Townsend's SLaVE production.  Basically, since the last announcement, we have gotten to the point that we think there is just a single bug holding back production. We were hoping that we could get rid of this last one and then be able to send out an email with a solid production timeline.

As of right now, that bug still exists. If you happen to know anything about GDB debugging, it has to do with an exception fault, contact us, as there is just one the developers are having the toughest time tracking down, and maybe a set of new eyes can fix it and get the game ready to go in a few minutes!  One can hope ;)

For those of you that don't know what the above means, basically, there is still a certain set of circumstances that cause the game to crash out. It happens *extremely* rarely, so much so that we have played the final version for stretches without knowing it is there, but often enough that we can't send the game out with it. It sounds like an easy thing that we should just get rid of, and we agree... but sadly, things like this can be super difficult to track down.

In a previous email, we had stated we expected the final bug hunt to take 2-3 months, and then a test period of 2-4 weeks, which is where we're at right now.  We're not TOO far off having production start, but we've got to nail this last thing.

We expect the next email you receive from me will be the email telling you that it is complete and in production, and to confirm your addresses.  Thank you so much for sticking around as a supporter, and we can't wait to have this in your hands.  As always, if you want to cancel for any reason, please contact us back and we will refund your order.

Happy gaming!

Gary Heil & Dan Loosen
GOAT Store Publishing
So, are you up to the challenge? If so, go here to the GOAT Store website and get in touch with Dan Loosen to see if you can help get one of the most promising looking indie Dreamcast games out of development hell and into our GD-ROM drives.

For all of the articles we've previously published on SLaVE, click here.

DreamPod - Episode 53


Feel free to join our Facebook group, like our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter; and if you’re feeling flush and/or generous our Patreon is here. Oh, and one last thing - give us an iTunes review if you can be bothered. Cheers!

Articles related to this episode include:

Sonic Adventure Soundtracks Getting The Vinyl Treatment

I don't own any vinyl. Come to think of it, I only own a few CDs (the last one I bought was Liam Gallagher's new album, you should check it out). Instead, like most digital whores I buy most of my music on the iTunes; but if I was a trendier type I'd probably buy my music on vinyl. Simply because it makes you look cool when you go to an actual record shop and buy an actual record. Anyway, as with a lot of trends these days that look to the past, the release of game soundtracks on vinyl has become very popular and now the Sonic Adventure soundtracks are getting the same treatment.

Coming from Brave Wave, these two LPs take the original Sonic Adventure and Sonic Adventure 2 track listings and package them up in lovely looking sleeves full of officially licensed artwork. There'll also be booklets with interviews and such like:

The first pressing will contain special vinyl colors that represent the essence of both games: blue and white 180-gram vinyl for SONIC ADVENTURE and blue and red 180-gram vinyl for SONIC ADVENTURE 2. All pressings after the first will contain standard black 180-gram vinyl. All versions of both albums will include a comprehensive booklet featuring a reflective interview with Jun Senoue and head of Sonic Team Takashi Iizuka, as well as Liner Notes by John Linneman of Digital Foundry, song lyrics and character art.
- Brave Wave website

The recent glut of retro video game soundtracks being released on vinyl shows just how popular these collections are getting, with Shenmue, Streets of Rage and other classic titles all having their audio tracks released on the format to critical and commercial acclaim. Will you be picking either of these up? Let us know in the comments, in our Facebook group or on Twitter.

Find out more information on these two releases by visiting the Brave Wave website here.

Source: SEGAbits

Spooky Happenings In Ready 2 Rumble

One of the most interesting and useful components of the Dreamcast's operating system is that it features an internal calendar and clock function. While this may seem pretty standard today, back in the late 1990s this wasn't the case, with many preceding platforms (and even contemporary hardware, such as the N64) eschewing such features at a system level. The Dreamcast was by no means the first console to employ an internal clock and calendar, but I'd wager it was the first one to make meaningful use of it in a way that actually had any significant importance in gameplay.

Games like Metropolis Street Racer use the clock to set the time of day in the various cities, while Seaman uses it to help dictate the incubation time of your grotesque, aquatic man-faced mutants. One other nice little feature that the internal clock and calendar allowed for, was time-sensitive bonuses and two particular titles make interesting (albeit minor) visual alterations should you set the date to 31st October, All Hallows' Eve.

If you fire up Midway's Ready 2 Rumble on this most macabre of dates, you'll notice some extra spooky spectators in among the cheering fans during the bouts:
See? It doesn't end there though, for if you fire up the sequel Ready 2 Rumble: Round 2 you'll be treated to a fairly grotesque new canvas in the ring - one which is again adorned with a quartet of skellingtons, along with the ambiguous text 'Plays well with others. Well, most of the time':
There are plenty of other downloadable bonuses for Dreamcast games (see Sonic Adventure for the main ones), and plenty of Halloween and horror themed games and levels within said games, but we thought it was worth giving this fairly obscure little bonus an airing on this most spooky of days.

Found any more? Let us know in the comments, in our Facebook group or on Twitter. Pumpkin Hill doesn't count, by the way.

The Sega Dreamcast Software Creation Standards Guidebook

There are certain aspects of game development that, unless you're in the business, you probably wouldn't ever be aware of. Just like every industry, there are rules and procedures that must be followed, specifications and standards that must be adhered to. I'm sure everyone reading this who works in a particular sector will know things about their own line of work that others outside would be completely unaware of; rules that need to be followed, boxes that need to be ticked and all manner of bespoke forms and checklists that need to be filled in appropriately in order to meet the requirements of the particular field. As stated, the games industry is no different and by extension the Dreamcast falls inside this remit.
Ever wondered why certain Dreamcast games allow you to hide the pause menu with X + Y but others don't? Or why it doesn't matter which controller port the keyboard is plugged into? Or even why the splash screens that appear when you power on a Dreamcast appear in a particular order? Well, it's because Sega - like every console manufacturer - set out all the rules of producing games for its system in a 'developers guidebook.' A precise set of do's and don't's for putting software out on the Dreamcast. And now, you can download and have a read through this fascinating publication.
Weighing in at over 100 pages, the Sega Dreamcast Software Creation Standard Guidebook goes into minute detail explaining how developers should order game intro screens and demo modes, how the software should react if a controller is removed during gameplay, best practices when including violence and gore in Dreamcast games, and how best the VMU should store save data. There are schematics and flow plans of how boot sequences should work, and even offers guidance on the reasons why the official Dreamcast light gun from PAL and NTSC-J regions is hardwired not to work with US light gun compatible games.

As you can probably tell from the images dotted throughout this article, the guide is very much a utilitarian publication, eschewing fancy graphics and images for pages of text meant to be used by developers. That said, it does have some nice incidental graphics (such as the orange triangle motif which echos the US Dreamcast packaging) and is very clean in overall layout.

I'm not totally sure if this document has ever previously been made available online for us - the great gaming proletariat - to cast our unwashed eyes over, but by hitting that lovely download link below you can now grab a copy for yourself. Naturally, this appears to be a US-centric document but I'm sure the PAL and NTSC-J arms had their own versions. In any case, maybe print this one out and keep it on a shelf or something.
Our thanks go to the anonymous former Dreamcast developer who supplied this for sharing.

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