Breakers NTSC Variants Available To Pre-Order - We Have 3 Copies To Give Away!

A few weeks ago we broke the news that Breakers was coming to the Dreamcast, and followed up with a huge review and emulation analysis. Visco's obscure Neo-Geo fighter has now shipped in PAL colours courtesy of publisher JoshProd, but there's another opportunity coming for those who didn't manage to snag a copy through French retailer Rush On Game.

As of right now, you can pre-order the newly repackaged version of Breakers in an NTSC style jewel case from Play-Asia.com and it will come with a reversible manual with both NTSC-U and NTSC-J artwork on the front and back covers. The game is identical to the PAL-styled version which was offered initially, but without the big blue box and PAL branding and is priced at $39.99. Shipping will commence on 31st May 2017 for those who pre-order. Note that if you're based in the United States or Canada, you can't order from Play-Asia.com. Instead, VideoGamesNewYork has the rights for your part of the world, so head over here to get your order in.

Here's a sneak peek at the new covers:
Competition
Finally, to celebrate the release of this new variant The Dreamcast Junkyard has teamed up with publisher JoshProd to offer three readers the chance to win a copy of the NTSC packaged version! All you have to do to be in with a chance of winning is answer the following question:

Which developer created the original Breakers?

a) Capcom
b) Visco Games
c) Namco

Drop us an email here with your answer and the subject 'Breakers Competition' and we'll pick three at random. The competition will close on 31st May 2017. Good luck!

Guest Article: Shooting For The (Phantasy) Stars

It's been a while since we featured the work of a guest writer here at the Junkyard, so I thought it was about time we invited another Dreamcast fan-at-large to give us their own unique perspective on a subject close to their heart. Enter Damon Fillman. Damon is a former SegaAddicts and XBLAfans contributor, so he knows a thing or two about both Sega and the good ol' Xbox. His love for the Dreamcast is unequivocal and he makes no attempts to appease fans of those 'other' consoles (his words, not mine!). When not making the internet angry at him, he lives in sunny Philadelphia where he makes fun of men walking small canines. Now, he has the floor here at the 'Yard and explains just why the seminal Phantasy Star Online is a game he holds in such high regard...
Image credit: Emergent Landscapes
If you’re reading this article, the Dreamcast likely occupies your mind because of a defining moment in your gaming career that separates the little white crate from the rest of the console pack. For me, that moment was awaiting confirmation of my school’s closing due to wintry conditions so I could veg out and spend countless hours playing Phantasy Star Online on a dialup connection.  I’ve yet to replicate the sheer joy of slaughtering Rappys and other unpronounceable enemies while my neighborhood became a sheet of ice and snow. In hindsight, Phantasy Star Online (or PSO as internet hipsters like to label it) is more than a nostalgic event—it’s the best “loot-driven” game I’ve ever played.

When presented a choice between an anime-inspired video game and one about demons with a more Western flair I almost always choose the latter, except when it comes to Phantasy Star Online. Most of the time, I’d much rather slay demons against the backdrop of what looks like a cheesy metal album cover (I’m, of course, talking about the Diablo series) than to duke it out with flamboyant rabbit/chicken hybrids against the backdrop of something that looks like a marriage between Studio Ghibli and Hideo Kojima.
For Dreamcast aficionados somehow unfamiliar with one of the most popular games on the system, Phantasy Star Online is a sequel (of sorts) to an RPG series from the Sega Master System and Sega Genesis. While earlier entries in the series contained traditional turn-based RPG mechanics, PSO adopted more PC-centric systems like real-time combat and the ability to matchup with players around the globe to battle foes on the fictional planet Ragol. Cooperative online play was practically unheard of on consoles at the time but PSO managed to also be one of the first MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game) on home consoles. And it worked. Really well.

SEGAbits Top 100 SEGA Games VS. The Top 200 Dreamcast Games

Over at SEGAbits.com, I've been hard at work for the past six months compiling a Top 100 SEGA Games list. The list was a reaction to IGN's Top 100 Games of All Time, which was complete BS. Not because I disagreed with the order, but because it did not include a single SEGA game. What began as a hate-fueled reaction transformed into a very interesting experiment in finding what SEGA fans deemed their favorite games. 

Unlike the Dreamcast Junkyard Top 200, I couldn't list every SEGA game ever made in a tick box survey, so instead the SEGAbits list was assembled from over fifty top twenty-five lists that were then weighted with a points system favoring games that were closer to number one. Sure most people will include, for example, a game like Sonic the Hedgehog. But of those people, most rank it lower in their top twenty-five compared to a game like Shenmue II. The end result was a top 100 that brought both the number of votes and how much those voters enjoyed the games into account. 

Seeing as how the DCJY has their own list, I thought it would be fun to compare the top 10 games from each list to see how they compare. Since the Top 100 SEGA Games list does not include non-SEGA titles, I'll remove those from consideration in the DCJY list. The top ten, seen below, will show the placement on SEGAbits and DCJY lists, and in parenthesis where that game is found on the other's list.

Dreamcast On The Go With Nintendo Game Boy Advance

We recently took a look at the PS Vita, and more specifically some of the titles that are available for Sony’s sleek yet neglected handheld which have their roots on the Dreamcast. While many of the games in that article feature alterations and improvements over their originators, they all keep the same basic gameplay and – most importantly – allow a whole new generation of gamers to experience the magic of the Dreamcast. It’s true that many of us in the Dreamcast community take it for granted that we were there the first time around and got to experience the Dreamcast when it was new and exciting, and in a way the re-release of certain Dreamcast titles on contemporary platforms allows younger gamers the opportunity to enjoy what we felt back then. Probably why there’s so much call for Shenmue remasters…but that’s a whole different topic for another day.
When I wrote about the PS Vita’s small but perfectly formed Dreamcast-derived library, I also mentioned my love for the Nintendo Game Boy Advance and here I will repeat what I iterated there: the Game Boy Advance SP is my favourite handheld of all time. While I do own a Game Boy Micro and an original Game Boy Advance, it is the SP (or more specifically the AGS 101 backlit model) which is my go-to handheld whenever I want a break from my Vita. For me, it is the greatest handheld ever crafted; there’s just something about that amazing screen, the pleasing form factor and the superlative library of ‘perfect for handheld’ first and third party games.

That said, the Game Boy Advance is also a console that offers a multitude of titles that could be seen as extensions of games that first appeared on the Dreamcast. When you consider that the console was released into the immediate power vacuum after the Dreamcast’s demise (with the PS2, Gamecube and Xbox all circling over the corpse) it was a smart move on Sega’s part to allow IPs that were still fresh in most peoples’ minds to receive ports and spin offs on Nintendo’s seminal handheld - even if the majority of them weren't actually developed or published by Sega. The most intriguing aspect of this glut of semi-sequels and supplemental releases, is that a lot of them were so technically ambitious and eschewed the familiar 'top down' or 'side scrolling' approach usually afforded to similar releases on the Game Boy Color, for example.
Developers embraced the limited 3D capabilities of the Game Boy Advance and let their imaginations flourish, heralding a whole new era in console-to-handheld ports...with mixed results. Some of the console to handheld ports are marvels of their time, with cunning workarounds and developer technical expertise laid bare; while others tried to capture the essence of their console brethren and lost something in the jump from the TV screen to the pocket (something that is no longer an issue thanks to the Switch). Anyway, let’s put the kibosh on the procrastination and take a look at some of the Dreamcast games that got a second shot at glory - for better or worse - on the Nintendo Game Boy Advance...

Unreleased Dreamcast Game Deer Avenger 3 Discovered

As if the discovery of Millennium Racer: Y2K Fighters wasn't enough, another previously unknown Dreamcast game has been unearthed. According to Reddit user wunderbreadv2, the pre-production GD-Rom of Deer Avenger 3 was found at a garage sale and represents yet another Dreamcast game that was never announced or even previewed by the gaming press.
Deer Avenger 3 was released on the PC however, and in it the player assumes the role of an anthropomorphic deer who turns the tables on the hunters and goes out into the wilderness to shoot humans. The game appears to have been fairly well received back when it was released in 2000 and the series as a whole comprises four other games, all of which are parodies of the Deer Hunter model. The GD in question has the title Deer Avenger 3 written on it in marker, along with the usual version number, date (16th August 2000) and the developer - Westlake Interactive. Westlake (now known as MacSoft) was quite a prolific developer and publisher back in the early to mid 2000s so it isn't hard to believe this is legit.

I reached out to wunderbreadv2 for more info on this incredible find, and how he came to own it:

"I actually found it [the Deer Avenger GD] in the basement of a women's club. They were hosting a garage sale to help out funding scholarships for high school seniors. As soon as I reached the shelves filled with VHS tapes I saw it unboxed - just the disk. The disk is a little bit scratched but I'm sure it will still run. The game was found in Bergen County, NJ."
- Reddit user wunderbreadv2

The last part is quite interesting as Westlake Interactive were based in Minnesota, yet the mysterious Deer Avenger 3 GD was discovered in New Jersey - a quick look at Google Maps will illustrate just how far apart those two states are. Quite how the disc came to be hidden away in the basement of a women's club adds further intrigue to the story.

Below is some footage of the PC version of Deer Avenger 3, to give an idea of how the Dreamcast version could potentially look:


At present, we don't know how complete the game on the disc is as the owner doesn't have access to a System Disc 2 - a type of boot disc that allows production Dreamcasts to run pre-production games. However, several members of The Dreamcast Junkyard's Facebook group have offered help and we are currently speaking to the owner of the disc with a view to investigating further and potentially getting the files dumped online. It's an exciting discovery and as we find out more about this mysterious and hitherto unannounced port, we'll be sure to keep you informed.

Resident Evil Code: Veronica X Infects PS4

Capcom's Resident Evil Code: Veronica was a stand out release for the Dreamcast, and really wowed with its fully rendered environments back in the day. While other games like Dino Crisis had already introduced fully polygonal, textured backdrops to the survival horror genre it was Code: Veronica that really pushed the envelope in terms of graphical excellence. Since those heady days, Code: Veronica has been ported to a number of systems and now the latest platform to play host to Claire Redfield's blood-soaked adventure is the PlayStation 4.
Resident Evil Code: Veronica Kanzenban start screen
If you missed it the first time round, you could do much worse than pick up Resident Evil Code: Veronica X on the PS Store for £11.99. While this version is actually based on the PlayStation 2 game; it is worth noting that Code: Veronica X was also released on the Dreamcast in Japan (as Resident Evil Code: Veronica Kanzenban), before later being fan-translated into English and released onto the internet in 2016. If you'd like to know more about the differences between regular Code: Veronica and the X variant, check this article out; and if you want to try the English language Dreamcast version, find it over at DC-Talk here.

Source: Eurogamer

Respect Your Dreamcast Controllers With This Display Stand

Ever wanted to display your beloved Dreamcast controllers on a shelf but couldn't find a way of keeping them vertical? The unwieldy and unsightly controller wire trailing all over the place like some ghastly leviathan? Nope, me neither. However, it's nice to have the choice, right? Well, thanks to Rose Colored Gaming you now have this very option. Leave your controllers strewn across the carpet like the aftermath of some long-forgotten future war (where all the soldiers have entrails shaped like Dreamcast controllers); or put them neatly on a shelf with the wires all wound up, neat and tidy like. It's totally up to you.
According to Rose Colored Gaming, the Sega Dreamcast Controller Display Stand is laser cut from acrylic and even has a Dreamcast logo laser etched into the base. It costs $11.99 (plus shipping), weighs in at 0.25lbs and comes in transparent, black or neon red flavours. You can also get a discount if you buy multiple units.

Thanks to @pomegd on Twitter for alerting me to this little beauty.

A Beginner's Guide To Aero Dancing & AeroWings

Let's go fly a kite, up to the highest height! Let's go fly a kite and send it soaring...Up through the atmosphere, up where the air is clear - oh, let's go fly a kite!

So sang the patriarchal Mr Banks in Walt Disney's 1964 classic horror Mary Poppins. And, oh how we flew our kites and wore the shit out of our pinstripe suits while we did so (I for one can't wait for the upcoming sequel, which reportedly features a dubstep remix). But let's be honest - while kites are fun, they aren't a patch on F-15 Aggressor fighter jets; and happily, the Dreamcast has those in abundance. Yes, the Dreamcast is a console that wasn't left wanting when it came to flight games, both of the simulation and arcade varieties. Indeed, some of the first games I ever played on Sega's final console involved two-winged harbingers of death - namely the Japanese releases of Incoming and Air Force Delta.
Alongside those two, others came: Toy Commander featured some aerial combat missions, while Iron Aces/Imperial No Taka - Fighter of Zero was a pseudo World War II flight sim, complete with a totally fictional theatre loosely based on the events of 1939 - 1945. Later, Propellor Arena promised pure arcade dogfighting thrills before being cancelled - allegedly - due to the horrific events of 9/11, although it's available online if you know where to look. The one series that really grabbed the genre by its horns though, was undoubtedly CRI's Aero Dancing franchise. A series that began primarily as a skill-based jaunt through the clouds as an aerial acrobatics pilot; but which ended with players earning their wings as full blown combat pilots, engaging in aerial dogfights, taking out warships and destroying ground units with well placed missiles and bombs. Quite the turnaround, no?
Join us as we dissect this intriguing and well regarded series of flight sims, and take a look at the dedicated hardware released for the Aero Dancing games; as well as the individual entries in this rich and engaging franchise. Dig our your flight suit, don your helmet and strap in as we get ready to engage in some Aero Dancing at supersonic speeds...

Dreamcast Magazine Issue 20

Issue 20 of Paragon Publishing's unofficial Dreamcast Magazine was released on the 22nd March 2001. By this point, the news of Sega's 'restructure' and shift to becoming a software-only developer and publisher had already broken and as such, the seismic ripples had spread throughout the gaming industry. Dreamcast games were being cancelled at an unprecedented rate, and in an effort to shift units the console's price point was slashed dramatically in all territories.

This was actually quite a bold and positive move by Sega, as reports in issue 20 reveal that the price drop actually helped to increase sales of the ailing Dreamcast. Other positive news reported that the Dreamcast won several awards at the Electronics Boutique annual awards, even bagging a 'console of the year' award for 2000. Sadly though, this was all academic because as we now know, the console didn't really have much longer to live.
Even in light of such moribund developments though, Dreamcast Magazine continued for quite some time and as referenced in the editor's intro March 2001 heralded the closure of the only other unofficial Dreamcast magazine on sale in the UK (which I'm guessing was DC-UK, although don't quote me on that). What this meant was, after March 2001 the only magazines flying the blue swirl on newsstands in the UK (and possibly mainland Europe, too) were Dreamcast Magazine and the Official Dreamcast Magazine; a publication which itself went down the drain not too long later...