Okinawa Rush Heads Up New Dreamcast Releases

As recently reported over at Dreamcast News, the latest batch of new Dreamcast releases from Josh Prod have been revealed via some great detective work. These new titles follow in the footsteps of Flashback, 4x4 Jam and Breakers et al which were released throughout 2017, and there are some pretty tantalising titles included. Heading up the lineup is the Kickstarter originated Okinawa Rush, a frantic 2D side scrolling beat 'em up with RPG elements and some outstanding action sequences.
Further to this, we can expect Dreamcast ports of the underrated 3D sequel to Flashback, Fade to Black, obscure Amiga adventure game The Escapee and vertically scrolling shmup Battle Crust. Of all the games in the list, Fade to Black is the one which intrigues me the most, and it'll be interesting to see whether it is a port of the PC release of Conrad Hart's continued struggle against alien invaders, or if it is based on the PlayStation version.
Battle Crust is a vertical shmup first released on Steam in 2015 by Picorinne Soft, a small indie developer based in Japan. It has a similar aesthetic to PC Engine shmups like Armed Formation F and looks like it will fit in rather well with the Dreamcast's existing stable of sublime shooters. We do have access to an early beta version of this Dreamcast release, so we'll let you know how it plays very soon. Finally, there is The Escapee from Invictus Games - a very Flashback-esque 2D adventure with a fantastic intro sequence and some of the most deliciously difficult puzzles ever seen in this genre. I know, because I'm one of the three people on Earth who have played it.
JoshProd are yet to officially announce these releases or the dates that they'll be available to order, although we have spoken to Philippe at JoshProd and it looks like there will be more concrete information in late April 2018. We'll have reviews of all of these titles as and when we can get our hands on them. Exciting times, eh?!

Thoughts? Let us know what you think in the comments, on Twitter or on Facebook.

Source: Dreamcast News / JoshProd

The Great Dreamcast BMX Off: Mirra Vs Hoffman

Recently I collated all the games I’ve never played for even a second, Dreamcast and non-Dreamcast alike, into a massive crate of shame. A shameful pile of things I had impulsively purchased and had then shown zero willingness to play. My goal and desire for this project was to spur myself on to begin playing at least two of them a week. For a minimum of 27 minutes and giving a sort of commentary on those first 27 minutes. A quick-fire thoughts and feelings if you will. The idea being to not only alleviate my sinful hoarding ways, but to also begin forcing my favourite pastime back into my weekly calendar.
Having collated all the Dreamcast games into one separate pile, I was confused as to why I owned Dave Mirra Freestyle BMX twice - one copy fully boxed, and one disc only. I then wondered where my copy of Mat Hoffman's Pro BMX was. Anyone who has ever seen my games room will know I possess the organisational skills of your average Womble, and so I quickly decided I must have misplaced it and resolved to look up the cover to assist finding it in my junk shop of a games room.

The reason it appears I couldn’t find it seems to be that unlike the US we never received the game, so I don’t actually own a genuine copy of it. Research (or one Google search to be exact) didn’t bring me a concrete reason for its lack of a blue edged version, although it did lead to a sort of breakthrough in that it is Mat Hoffman, not Matt. The fact that the dude can’t even spell his own name is sadly not a mystery I can solve for you, but what I can bring you is Mat Hoffman vs Dave Mirra. The battle of the Dreamcast BMX-ers! Gnarly! - just what 2018 was crying out for I hear you say…
Getting the chance to shred up some BMX arenas, without putting my actual aging body at harm, seemed ideal. And would give me a chance to test Dave Mirra’s box marketing claim that it is ‘The number 1 Dreamcast BMX game.’ So without further hesitation: riders ready, watch the gate. Go!

An Interview With Bernie Stolar

There are few people who are more intrinsically linked with the history of the Dreamcast than Bernie Stolar. Along with personalities such as Peter Moore and Hidekazu 'Mr Dreamcast' Yukawa, Bernie Stolar is extremely well known and was the man who kicked the whole party off. Here, in this candid interview we welcome Bernie to the Junkyard and pick his brains on the history of our favourite console and the current trends in the Dreamcast community.

DCJY: Hi Bernie, firstly let me just say how much of an honour it is to have you grace our site with your virtual presence! As huge fans of the Dreamcast, it’s quite awesome to have the opportunity to speak with you first hand. Never did I think way back in late 1999 when I picked up my first Dreamcast, that in 20 years' time I'd be conversing with the man who helped create the console!

Bernie Stolar: No problem, thanks for asking me. I consider it an honour that a product I helped create still has a loyal fanbase to this day. Thank you for keeping the 'Dream' alive.
Bernie delivering the Dreamcast keynote at GDC 1999
To kick things off, I wondered if you could enlighten those readers who may not be familiar with who you are and what your role was with the Dreamcast?

I was President and Chief Operating Officer at SEGA of America from July 1996 to August 1999. I was hired by SEGA of Japan CEO, Hayao Nakayama. I conceived the idea of Dreamcast and hired Peter Moore, Chris Gilbert, and the entire product development team.

You were at Sega of America from 1996 to 1999, all the way through the Dreamcast’s most important and formative years - can you recall the very first time you heard the name ‘Dreamcast’?

I believe it was called 'Dural' and later 'Katana' at one point. I want to say May of 1998 was when I first heard the term 'Dreamcast.'
On the topic of the early days of Dreamcast, can you recall which came first - Dreamcast or NAOMI? Or were they developed in tandem?

I believe NAOMI was released first. If I remember correctly, Dreamcast came about at a time when we were switching from Model 3 arcade hardware to NAOMI. I remember this because, I was disappointed with the fact that the Dreamcast would not really be able to support ports from both arcade units. I had wanted ports of several licensed units, including Star Wars Trilogy and The Lost World: Jurassic Park series. I felt these would be very popular, especially in the American market. To answer your question though, yes they were developed in tandem, definitely with the thought in mind that many of the games such as Crazy Taxi and House of the Dead 2 would be ported to Dreamcast. As a side note, I believe we also licensed the NAOMI architecture to Capcom, Namco, and Taito.
Early Dreamcast concept designs
Just sticking with the origins of the Dreamcast, were there really two different concepts for the Dreamcast in development? There are plenty of forum posts and articles online that state that there were competing projects - one from SEGA of America called Black Belt which was 3Dfx based, and another from SEGA of Japan called Dural which was NEC PowerVR based. Can you comment on these projects and how it was decided that the Dural concept was the one that won? If so, how different do you think the 3Dfx system would have been?

I believe SEGA of America wanted the 3Dfx version and SEGA of Japan wanted the NEC PowerVR. Both made sense for different reasons. With 3Dfx, there were more resources and documentation available for development in the US and Europe. That and it was understood that development would be easier, especially for PC ports. The NEC PowerVR made NAOMI ports simple and was easy to program, however, it was not as well supported (yet) in the US. I doubt Model 3 games would have worked too well on either. Although there was a PowerVR chip shortage when the Dreamcast launched in Japan, both chips had their pluses and minuses. In the end, I'm not sure it would have made too much of a difference.
Famously, you moved from Sony’s PlayStation division to work with SEGA of America in 1996. You're quoted in a VentureBeat interview as stating that the Saturn needed to be killed off as soon as you arrived. What were your initial thoughts on the fledgling successor to the Saturn? Did you envisage that the Dreamcast would become a huge success based on the hardware specs?

When I went to SEGA, they needed a new hardware system because the systems that they had were not selling – all eight of them. Saturn was not being supported by SEGA the way it should have been. When I showed up, it was my idea to develop a new hardware system that had the ability to play online. Before signing with SEGA, I racked my brain on a way to salvage Saturn, but it was just too far gone and too expensive and difficult to develop for. SEGA was nearly bankrupt, they needed a new console and they needed it quick. The only options were to go big or go home.

Dual Shock 4 Compatibility Heading To Dreamcast (Updated)

Have you ever done that annoying thing where you put down your Dreamcast controller and then inadvertently pick up the controller for your PlayStation 4, try to resume your game of Spirit of speed 1937 and then realise you've grabbed the wrong peripheral? I can tell you, this happens to me a hell of a lot, especially since Spirit of Speed 1937 is my favourite game ever and I play it every day for at least 15 hours.

If you're like me, this news will come as a pleasant surprise - soon you'll be able to connect your Dual Shock 4 or Dual Shock 3 to your Dreamcast thanks to peripheral manufacturer Brook Accessory. My consumption of Spirit of Speed 1937 will probably increase exponentially due to this. Send help.
The 'Game Controller Super Converter' allows your to plug PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 controllers into the Dreamcast via USB and also allows for fight sticks to be used. Obviously, the Dual Shock controllers don't have VMU slots so you'd probably need to stick a regular Dreamcast controller into port B to access saves etc. We've been able to use Dual Shock and Dual Shock 2 (and even Sega Saturn controllers) with the Dreamcast for a while now via the Total Control adapter, but any new technology for the Dreamcast is certainly worth looking at. Update: this device *does* actually allow for wireless connectivity once the controller has been registered with a USB connection, but as stated a second wired controller is needed to access VMU saves etc.

We'll have a review of this unit as soon as we can get our grime and offal-covered claws on one, as Brook have kindly offered to send us one in the post. You can find out more information on this contraption at Arcade Shock in the meantime, where pre-orders are live and cost the princely sum of $39.99. Thoughts? You know what to do...

A Quick Look At V-Rally 2: Expert Edition

Racing games are my favourite genre by far, and within that the sub-genre of rally is easily my preferred flavour. I'm not really a fan of the real life WRC and I couldn't even name the current world rally champion without Googling first, but there's something massively appealing to me about charging a powerful saloon car through muddy trails as the rain lashes the barren digital landscape. The roar of a virtual engine, the co-driver's pace-notes warning of every up coming hazard, the feeling of total isolation on a desolate moor, dark forest or arid desert stage.
Over the years I've played many, many different recreations of the motorsport on a wide range of consoles. The stand out titles for me are games like Sega Rally on Sega Saturn, Colin McRae Rally 2.0 on PlayStation, Top Gear Rally on Nintendo 64, WRC: Rally Evolved on PlayStation 2, RalliSport Challenge 2 and Colin McRae 3 on Xbox, and DiRT Rally and DiRT 4 on PlayStation 4. There are plenty of other high quality rally titles on a range of consoles, both retro and contemporary that stand out but we're here to discuss the Dreamcast so let's get this show on the road/muddy track.
The Dreamcast only really had two rally titles released during its lifespan - Sega's own flagship title Sega Rally 2, and Infogrames' V-Rally 2: Expert Edition. Later came Rush Rush Rally Racing (and Rush Rush Rally Racing Reloaded) from Senile Team; and there was the legendary unreleased Colin McRae 2.0 from Codemasters, but as far as full-on official retail releases go, Dreamcast owners have but two games to choose from.

With the recent announcement that the V-Rally franchise is being awoken from its eternal slumber to be given a new lease of life in the guise of V-Rally 4 on current gen systems (including the Nintendo Switch - hallelujah!), we thought it was high time we took a look at the Dreamcast's other rally title and examined its many pros, and likewise its main con...

Classic Fighter Barbarian Heading To Dreamcast

The latest retro title being given a full-on port to the Dreamcast is one that harks back to the golden era of classic 8-bit computer systems, Barbarian: The Ultimate Warrior. Originally released for the Commodore 64 in 1987 and ported to eight other systems including the BBC Micro and Atari ST, Barbarian is being brought to Sega's console with a range of interesting additional features over previous incarnations. For starters, it'll include emulated versions of all previous Barbarian releases with graphics modes that can be switched at the press of a button, as well as an updated Dreamcast mode with brand new visuals.
Atari ST graphics mode
ZX Spectrum graphics mode
The game is being brought to the Dreamcast by Retro Games Ltd, who recently acquired the original Epyx catalogue. The game's producer (and veteran games journalist) Kieren Hawken told us the following:

"Once we (Retro Games Ltd) acquired the Epyx brand and I.P. we started looking for people interested in porting these classic games to consoles they never appeared on. One of the first people to get in touch were Team Oceo in France, who have also done a DC port of L'Abbaye Des Morts, and they were not only big fans of the game having played the Atari ST version to death in their youth, but had also recovered all the assets!

"As well as emulating all the classic versions of the game they also plan to add a brand new Dreamcast only mode too with improved visuals."
- Kieren Hawken
As well as the Dreamcast, this 'best of' remaster of Barbarian is also being brought to the Nintendo Entertainment System, Atari Jaguar and Sega Mega Drive, but we'll have to wait and see if these versions have the enhanced visuals option.
Kieren also tells us that the Dreamcast game will be treated to a full physical release, later in 2018. More info as we get it, folks. In the meantime, here's an early look at the Dreamcast port in action:

You can keep an eye on the development by visiting the Epyx Facebook page here. What do you think? Excited to see yet more retro titles re-released for the Dreamcast? Let us know in the comments or join the conversation in our Facebook group or on Twitter.

Dreamcast at the Oscars

Disclaimer up front: This news is reported without endorsement or condemnation. It's just news, OK?

A few nights ago, you may have heard that Guillermo del Toro won Best Picture at the Academy Awards for his film The Shape of Water. Like me, you might not have seen it yet, as it's still doing the rounds in cinemas (at least it is down here), and you don't have time to go to the movies like you used to, because you're old and you have to to go to work and not have fun anymore.
Hellboy 3 when?
Checking Amazon, it seems we don't have long to wait for the Bluray, DVD and Netflix release, currently scheduled for 13th March. So I guess that's that then. I'll just wait until then.
Here it is, search over. Or is it?
Not long after accepting this fate, I just happened to be browsing through FuZzCasT's latest Dreamcast Video releases (previously reported here), and stumbled across something that tickled me pink.
Well, whaddaya know?
As of this moment, and for the next few days. The Shape of Water, the Best Picture of 2017, is currently exclusively available on Dreamcast Video! A two disc widescreen edition, yours to own (*cough* illegally download *cough*) only on DcVD!

Ok, not strictly true. A DVD Screener was leaked by pirates (arrr!) on January 7th, and you don't need a Dreamcast to watch it. FuZzCast uploaded .cdi images of this leaked version on Feb 15th, re-coded to work on Dreamcast as a self-boot MIL-CD.
Coming to a store near you
Still, it amuses me greatly that I can watch this on Dreamcast before I can stream it online. It's the future or entertainment!

Hardware Review: DOC'S Infrared Dreamcast Controllers

Wireless controllers are pretty standard in the modern gaming era. The Dreamcast has recently joined the Bluetooth party through the excellent but expensive DreamConn; and the soon to be released wireless peripherals from Retro-bit will hopefully expand that reach (no pun intended) even further, should they get the price point right. However, neither of these options can lay claim to being the original method of playing Dreamcast games without being tethered to a console by a physical cable. Far from it in fact, for you see, way back at the turn of the century an outfit called DOC'S released an infrared controller system for the Dreamcast.
It's hard to ascertain exactly when these controllers were released as information on them is pretty scant online and is mainly limited to old forum threads, but one thing is certain - way before the DreamConn and Retro-bit came along, the Dreamcast did indeed have a wireless controller and with this review we'll take a look at the physical design of the controllers, the antiquated connection method and investigate just how well the DOC'S hardware works. It's also worth noting that DOC'S also produced infrared peripherals for the Nintendo 64 and PlayStation too, and while these are a little more common than the Dreamcast variant, they're still fascinating from a technical standpoint.
First though, a history lesson. DOC'S was a subsidiary of electronics firm Arista Interactive, a company now trading under the name Arista Manufacturing and you can find their website here. Oddly, there is no mention whatsoever of the DOC'S brand on the current site and the firm now appears to be completely out of the gaming business, but for a short period in the late 1990s and early 2000s (I can't be sure which), this outfit was doing some pretty admirable things with wireless console gaming technology, even if it doesn't really stand up by today's standards...

World Series Baseball back online with DreamPi

World Series Baseball 2K2 is back!
Being from the UK, I can't say I've played many Baseball games in my time, the only ones that come to mind are Super Baseball 2020 for the Neo Geo CD and World Series Baseball 2K1, which for reasons unbeknownst to me, I and a friend used to love playing back in our days in 6th form college (high school for you yanks). We even made one custom character each. I remember this quite vividly because my friend's character was named Saddam. Yes, as in Saddam Hussein, and also shared his likeness.
The random images you can find on Google never cease to amaze me.
While Sadam's days of hitting home runs out of the park, along with his save file, are unfortunately long gone, online baseball on the Dreamcast isn't. Thanks to Shuouma, from the Dreamcast Live team, World Series Baseball 2K2 is playable online once again with DreamPi.

Anyone who knows anything about baseball games (so not me) will tell you, WSB 2K2 is the best example of the sport on the Dreamcast, so it's fantastic that its online features have been restored. What's more, now they've successfully got one 2K sports title up and running, no doubt it's only a matter of time before others follow. I'm personally looking forward to NFL 2K1 which according to the Dreamcast Live's website, is currently a work in progress.

As always, great work guys!
Dreamcast Live's Shuouma has once again stepped up to the plate
If you haven't yet rejoined the online party, consider picking up a DreamPi from the Dreamcast Live store.