You Can Now Access The Original Jet Grind Radio Website From Your Dreamcast

While the promise of online gaming was a big part of Sega's marketing campaign when trying to flog the Dreamcast to the masses, many games simply didn't have any online gameplay portion. That didn't stop certain games proudly displaying the fact that they offered 'online functions' on the packaging, though. Usually, what this meant was that high scores could be uploaded to a leader board; or that certain things could be downloaded from a dedicated portal to a VMU that added extra features. For example, ghost car times in racing games, or mini games that could be played on a VMU screen. Some games offered more than others in this area, and one of the best when it came to added online extras was the awesome Jet Grind Radio.
As detailed in this story over at Dreamcast Live, the Jet Grind Radio website has been resurrected in (almost) its entirety, meaning that you can once again hook your Dreamcast up to the internet and browse the various pages that could be accessed from the game's main menu. Hidden away in this treasure trove from yesteryear are a graffiti gallery and ranking page, along with a hints and tips section that actually corrects some of the information printed in the physical manual. This isn't the first time a game's bespoke website has been revived, as the Sonic Adventure and Sonic Adventure 2 sites were both brought back online recently too.

A Quick Look At 18 Wheeler: American Pro Trucker

Of all the NAOMI to Dreamcast ports that were given a wide release - there are several that only got a limited release in Japan - 18 Wheeler is undoubtedly the one that gets the shortest of shrifts. Cast your mind back to those pastel hued days of Sega's arcade dominance and subsequent ports to the home tellybox, and names like Crazy Taxi, Ferrari F355 Challenge, Virtua Tennis, Outtrigger and Cosmic Smash instantly spring to mind. 18 Wheeler? Not so much.
This is odd for a couple of reasons, but the main one - for me at least - is the awesome way in which the game was presented in coin-op fashion in some locations. To whit, the game was set up with a huge mock truck cab that did a good job of allowing the player to feel like they were really driving an articulated lorry - it certainly felt very grand to the teenage me playing 18 Wheeler in the Namco Station at Manchester's Trafford Centre, anyway.
Since those heady days of the early 2000s, I have gone on to acquire my HGV license in real life (don't ask, it's a long story) and I am legally allowed to drive trucks of varying sizes. I can say though - with some authority - that driving a truck in reality is nowhere near as fun as it is in 18 Wheeler: American Pro Trucker. The game was ported from the arcade to the Dreamcast and released in PAL territories in June 2001 - several months after the announcement that Sega was ceasing production of the console. As you can probably imagine, the reception was lukewarm - to say the least.
This late release probably has a lot to do with the decision to allow Acclaim to publish the game on the PlayStation 2 and Gamecube after Sega had consigned the Dreamcast to the great bargain bin in the sky; but for the purpose of keeping this consignment of Dreamcast-related cargo on track, let's hit the road and take a look at Crazy Taxi's poor relation. More specifically what it gets right, what it gets wrong and whether it's worth your time and money. This is 18 Wheeler: American Pro Trucker...

Dreamcast Release Schedule 2018

As reported in March, JoshProd's next batch of Dreamcast titles will be available soon, and will include the likes of sides-scrolling beat-em-up Okinawa Rush, Flashback sequel Fade to Black, vertical shmup Battle Crust, and 2D Adventure game The Escapee. Unlike previous JoshProd batches, none of these are reprints of previous indie games and all are new ports to the Dreamcast, which is terribly exciting.

According to the French online store Rush On Game, these Dreamcast "Unreleases" will be available to order tomorrow, May 3.

In other "new" game news, JoshProd's first release for 2018 might have slipped you by under the radar. After releasing a PAL style reprint in 2017, a US/J-NTSC style release of Ghost Blade was released on March 23. We originally reported this as an exclusive to Video Games New York store, which was taking pre-orders in February, but the game has since showed up at Play-asia.com (link) and The Bit Station (link).
This is the Japanese cover, which is printed on the flip-side of the manual to the US-style cover.