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 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?!?