Check Out Pokemon Go Running On A VMU

A while back we reported on guacasaurus_mex (aka Tom Napior) and his quest to port a Pokemon style game to the VMU. It all went a bit quiet as Tom worked on other more important stuff, but now he's revealed the final product running on a lowly VMU:

As he states in the video description, Tom won't be releasing the game for public consumption as he doesn't own the IP; and Nintendo would most likely release the hounds if he did. We can't say we blame him to be honest. With that in mind, we'll have to make do with the video above which shows a pretty competent little Pokemon clone, complete with a randomly generated map. Other features include over 25 Pokestops, a fully functioning Pokedex and full audio.

We had a little chat with Tom, and he told us the following:

"At this stage I've decided not to release Pokemon Go VMU publicly. When I started this project I had no idea Nintendo were so strict on this kind of thing, unlike a company like SEGA who couldn't care less when it comes to fan art. Given it's pretty clear now what their stance is on fan games, I think this is the right decision.

"It's not all a loss though, I have fully functioning map generation, character movement and collision detection code written which I can use in a number of original games I have planned. I already used the timing based mini game concept in my last game Zombie: Player vs Monster.

"I would say the game is 90% complete in it's current state. The only thing I need to do is add more Pokemon (there are about 70 in the game at this stage). Some are just impossible to draw with the limited pixels available, especially in the map grid, but to a lesser extent in the gym battles as well. I'd probably like to tinker with the sound a bit more if I ever release it as well."
- Tom Napior
For more of Tom's original VMU games, check out his Instagram account here. Also have a read of our interview with the man himself here.

The Hazuki Wall: A Statistical Analysis Of US Dreamcast Sales Figures

Statistics. We all love a good statistic. So does YouTuber Vince19, and so he set about creating a video that goes deep into the statistics behind the sales of Dreamcast games in the United States. As Vince19 reiterates several times throughout the video, this is not one of those explorations of the highs and lows and ultimate cancellation of the Dreamcast. It is a pretty in-depth analysis of sales figures and variables and means and medians...and a whole host of other mathematical terms I have no real understanding of. You have been warned.

That said, I'm sure that if you watch the entire video you'll get a good understanding of the variables that lead to some games selling more than others, and the general downward trend in US sales as time went on from the initial release of the Dreamcast on 9.9.99 to the final game being released in the form of NHL 2K2. Whether a game was featured on the cover of a US magazine or in a TV commercial is also looked at with meticulous detail, and the findings are rather surprising.
One of the most interesting theories put forward in the video is that of the 'Hazuki Wall,' a visual representation in sales figures of big-name Dreamcast games that were released around the same time as the PlayStation 2 was launched in the US. Shenmue, Jet Grind Radio, NBA 2K1 and Tony Hawk 2 were all released in the same window and plotted on a sales/date chart show us the 'Hazuki Wall,' Sega's last line of defence against the coming onslaught from Sony's leviathan:
It really is a fascinating look at the numbers behind the demise of the Dreamcast and I would implore you to set aside 40 minutes and give the entire video a viewing. Our thanks go to Vince19 for putting this video together and also name checking The Dreamcast Junkyard in the video as a source.

What do you think about this hypothesis and the Hazuki Wall? Let us know in the comments or join the discussion in our Facebook group or on Twitter.

Xeno Crisis Dreamcast Port Confirmed, Twin Stick Support Considered

We recently reported on the addition of a Dreamcast stretch goal for upcoming Mega Drive shooter Xeno Crisis. It seems that the wave of Dreamcast love shows no sign of stopping though, with a veritable tsunami of support deluging The Bitmap Bureau's latest offering on Kickstarter. The £35,000 funding goal has now been exceeded and as such a Dreamcast port is guaranteed.
For those not familiar with Xeno Crisis, the game is a retro-inspired top down shooter that casts the player in the role of a hardened marine battling hoards of hostile aliens. What really appeals to me is the overtly Aliens feel to proceedings, with more than a few nods to HR Giger's aesthetic designs and the visual style and themes of James Cameron's 1986 movie sequel plain to see. And, as a massive fan of the first three films in the Aliens franchise (seriously, the rest of the franchise can go and die in a corner), this pleases me greatly. On top of these lovely, death soaked trappings, the promise of procedurally generated stages and some pretty intense firefights make Xeno Crisis a game I'm really looking forward to.
The only real concerns I have at this stage are just how well a twin stick style shooter will control with a Dreamcast pad, but I'm sure the lads and lasses at The Bitmap Bureau have all that figured out. If I could make one tiny suggestion though, it would be for Twin Stick (as in HKT-7500 Twin Stick) compatibility for the dreamcast version. Seriously, if the Bitmap Bureau guys are reading, hit me up - you can borrow mine for the purpose of testing!
Other new features added to the game include a two player co-op mode, and the the option to back Xeno Crisis for just £15 and receive a downloadable version of the game that can be burnt to a CD in the comfort of your own home. This is quite an interesting way of doing things and something we've previously discussed here at the Junkyard. Without the mass infrastructure of an online store for the Dreamcast, game producers offering downloadable disc images looks like a decent alternative, albeit one that brings its own set of issues surrounding file sharing and the like.
Either way, I'm pretty excited about Xeno Crisis and this news just adds another reason to be cheerful as a Dreamcast fan in the modern era. Intrepid Izzy is coming soon, as is Xenocider and others. Now we can add Xeno Crisis to the list.
Have you backed Xeno Crisis? Excited as I am for this release? Let us know in the comments or join the conversation in our Facebook group or on Twitter. You can find the Kickstarter campaign here.

Following a brief conversation with The Bitmap Bureau, it looks as though our offer of supplying a Twin Stick has been graciously accepted, and the team will investigate if Twin Stick support is viable for Xeno Crisis. If this comes off, then Xeno Crisis would be only the second Dreamcast game that 'officially' supports the Twin Stick, after Virtual On. The power of social media, eh?!

New Wireless Dreamcast Accessories On The Way?

From the lovely chaps and chapettes over at Nintendo Life comes this rather interesting bit of news. It seems that Retro-bit, creators of wondrous clone systems and other gaming paraphernalia have signed some form of deal with Sega to manufacture undisclosed 'hardware' for the Mega Drive, Saturn and Dreamcast. Judging from the blurb on the Retro-bit website, these will likely turn out to be wireless controllers. This is from the Retro-bit website:

Acknowledging the continual growth of the retro-gaming market, Retro-bit, a premier publisher and manufacturer of classic gaming products, today announced a licensing agreement with SEGA of America to produce accessories for SEGA’s gaming platforms, including but not limited to the SEGA Genesis, SEGA Saturn and SEGA Dreamcast.

The first products and concepts under the agreement include several accessories that feature the same great quality as their original Sega counterparts like the original console port, but also with modern upgrades such as a USB® port for PC compatibility and Bluetooth® wireless technology. These new products are slated to debut in the Innex booth #21023 in the South Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center during CES 2018.
Super Retro-Cade - the kind of thing Retro-bit manufactures 
The ambiguity continues at a pace of knots with the following statement from some bloke with an important sounding title:

"With retro gaming on an upswing, we are pleased to offer officially SEGA licensed accessories in their original format as well as apply the innovative classic gaming enhancements that have become the hallmark of Retro-Bit. We’re excited to unveil the first of these new products and concepts at CES, and do so alongside an exciting 2018 product catalog."
- Titi Ngoy, President and CEO at Innex Inc. the exclusive distributor of Retro-Bit

The Dreamcast does actually have a range of wireless controllers, light guns and what not, courtesy of Chris Diagolou's DreamConn technology. However, if Retro-bit can reduce costs and make an alternative that is a bit more friendly on the old wallet, then it's a win win situation for everyone. Apart from Chris. Erm. Hopefully we'll know more after CES 2018.

Source: Nintendo Life

FuZzCasT Home Entertainment - Dreamcast Video Returns!

Cast your mind back to the dawn of the new millennium. Like everyone else, you were probably still happy enough renting VHS video tapes, but at the same time were also covetously envious of those shiny new (and expensive) DVD players displayed prominently in the high street stores. You were keen to kickstart your foray into the digital video future, and even though Sony was promising to deliver DVD to the masses with its looming PS2 juggernaut, your blood bleeds blue and your loyalty to Sega and the Dreamcast could not be shaken. But what to do?
Ooooh, shiny.
You had heard rumours of a video card for your venerable Sega Saturn but you could never find one. Whispers from the orient described some strange voodoo witchcraft involving burning movies to CD-ROM, but after you endured the interminable age that it took to download the file over your 33.6k dial-up modem on your Windows 98 machine, the experience was underwhelming. Watching a movie on your 13" CRT monitor just didn't have the right pop-corn munching vibe. 

The Dreamcast Games Of 2017

2017 has been something of a bumper year for Dreamcast releases, what with JoshProd, Orion, Retroguru, Alice Dreams and Senile Team all putting out new software on the system. The range and diversity of these titles has been pretty incredible too - especially when you consider that the Dreamcast was officially disowned by Sega well over a decade ago. 2018 promises even more new additions to the ever-growing library, with Intrepid Izzy, Xenocider, Saber Rider, SLaVE and a bunch of other games we have been sworn to secrecy over all due to hit our favourite little white box.
As we near the year's end, I thought it would be fun to have a little look back over the games that were released for the Dreamcast throughout 2017, and give a bit of kudos to those developers and publishers who continue to support the console with new software. The vast majority of the titles that have come to the Dreamcast in a physical case during 2017 have invariably come with high quality bespoke artwork, authentic packaging and - in some cases - unique extras or inventive aesthetic design. And while it's easy to look at some of the releases and pour scorn on them for being fairly basic in terms of visuals or gameplay, the majority of them have been crafted as labours of love, and not with financial gain in mind. For that, all of the creators should be applauded.
It's worth noting that this list only includes games that have been released for the first time this year, so even though games like Ghost Blade, Alice's Mom's Rescue and Sturmwind were given re-releases, they don't count (although I'll make a note of them at the foot of this article). Furthermore, 2017 marks the first time since Karous in 2007 that official third party support has been bequeathed to the Dreamcast, as even though they were published by JoshProd, Visco's games do qualify as official releases owing to the fact that Visco is listed as a third party T-code publisher (thanks to Scott Marley for that nugget of information). Anyway, let's get down to business and look at - in no particular order - the Dreamcast releases of 2017. Man, it still feels weird typing that sentence...

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 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 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?!?