Reaperi Cycle Reappears With A Playable Demo

Remember Reaperi Cycle? We covered it back in 2018 and since then it's all been mysteriously quiet. Until now, that is. I won't lie - I thought Reaperi Cycle was nothing more than vapourware. How many other Dreamcast games have we seen come and go over the years? A flashy announcement, a teaser...then nothing. It's happened multiple times so forgive me if I'm a miserable old cynic. That doesn't appear to be the case with Reaperi Cycle though, as a fantastic playable demo has recently been released on itch.io.
The demo, which allows you to play the opening sequence of Reaperi Cycle casts you as the disembodied soul of the protagonist, mooching around a mysterious study trying to unlock the secrets of a strange floating cube. The demo is offered as a .cdi file that can be played either in an emulator or burnt to a CD and played in an actual Dreamcast console. It's advised that you employ the latter method of sampling this delightfully curious little demo though, as there's nothing better than seeing a brand new game playing on the old warhorse in the year 2020.
Taking the form of a point and click adventure, you initially control the ghostly form of said protagonist, but because you have no physical body you are only able to glance at hints that are already presented to you - no opening of books or sealed scrolls. It's a nice touch. Also, the atmosphere afforded the game through the poignant background music and the incredibly esoteric clues should be applauded. Visually, the world (what I've seen of it) looks lovingly built, full of little details and lots of references to the dark arts and ancient magic - a tone that's right up my street. From the Reaperi Cycle itch.io site:

"Reaperi Cycle is a SEGA Dreamcast game filled with alchemical knowledge, old tales and mystical symbols. It's the hidden path in the forest, seen by very few. Are you one of them?  


"You find yourself as a spirit, devoided of a physical body. As you try to recover your original form, you'll meet with an old magician who is willing to help you, in exchange of a few favors. Don't waste any time! The earth spins around the sun and the phenix will appear, once again, whether you're ready or not!"

The environments appear to be using nicely modelled sprites laid on top of some well drawn 2D backdrops - it creates a visually appealing style, quite reminiscent of SNES-era RPGs. In terms of actually playing the demo, there's very little hand holding and I must admit I was left stumped at times. This is a truly cerebral experience, make no mistake. And to be honest, it's actually quite refreshing in this day and age.
The Reaperi Cycle demo - titled The Guild Hideout - is available via itch.io now, and while there's no set price, you can pay what you like for the developer's work. Going from what I've played so far, Reaperi Cycle could be a really interesting new release for the Dreamcast, and we'll be keeping an eye on it after this stellar playable demo.
Find out more about Reaperi Cycle at itch.io. Have you played the demo? What do you think? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter.

5 Dreamcast Racers Which Didn't Quite Make the Podium

There is no shortage of 'best racing games' lists for the Dreamcast - a system which had some of the most critically acclaimed racing games of the early 00’s. Everyone knows just how good Dreamcast classics like Metropolis Street Racer, Daytona USA, Sega Rally and Ferrari F355 Challenge were. Absolutely fantastic driving games that really did move the genre forward in their own way, and games that as a Dreamcast fan reading this article, you’ve probably spent many hours playing.

As you should know by now, here at the Junkyard we like to think outside of the box a little. So here we go, then. In no particular order, I present to you my alternative top five Dreamcast racers that you might not have played yet:

Tokyo Highway Challenge / Tokyo Extreme Racer
Released for the PAL launch (and confusingly called something different in every territory - Tokyo Extreme Racer and Shutokou Battle in the US and Japan respectively), Tokyo Highway Challenge is a game that I rented plenty of times when I was younger and have since put many hours into. I think it’s one of the most underrated racing games on the system and thanks to its evening setting, it still looks fantastic when played today in a smooth 60fps.
Tokyo Highway Challenge sees us buying cars, tuning them up and taking to the Japanese highways to challenge other hoons in a race for cash. Each other driver belongs to a gang, and when you’ve beaten all drivers in a particular gang, you get to face off against their leader.
It’s all a bit like a 'racing fighting game' where all races are 1v1 and you have an energy bar at the top of the screen. Whoever is behind on the road starts to see their energy bar deplete, ticking down faster as the gap between first and second increases. A simple concept but a refreshing one for those who don’t want to race lap after lap.
The biggest criticism of the game is a well noted one - just one 'track,' which itself isn’t particularly big, even though you do get the option of racing in either direction around the highway loop. Nevertheless, the tuning and upgrade system is fantastic and an essential part of the game. As you get further in, your tuning skills will make the difference between winning battles or not, regardless of how well you can drive!

TR Fight Stick Opens 'Dreamcase' Metal Shell Pre-Orders

Cast your mind back to November 2018 and you may recall an article here at the Junkyard about a custom Dreamcast shell being designed by TR Fight Stick. Fast forward to February 2020 and you can now pre-order said custom shell. Named Dreamcase, the case allows you to take the innards from your favourite console and plonk them inside a metal prison that claims to keep the contents at a perfect operating temperature courtesy of a silent fan.
It's worth bearing in mind that your Dreamcast needs to have been modded with a GDEMU or similar device before stuffing it inside the Dreamcase, as there's no way to play GDs once the shell replacement has been completed. Well, without taking the lid off again...which defeats the object somewhat.
The design will probably divide opinion as it makes the Dreamcast look more like a small form PC than an actual Dreamcast, but for those who want to give their console the ultimate visual makeover, this could be just what you are looking for. Some of the info listed on the TR Fight Stick website includes:

  • Blue Backlight (Homogeneous)
  • Compatible with GDEMU and DCHDMI
  • New Technology DC 12V Mini Power Supply
  • Extender PCB for SD-Card 
  • Game Swap Button for GDEMU
  • Compatible with 56K Modem and DreamPİ
  • 40MM Silent Fan ( Noctua Supported ) 
  • Not Supporting original GD-ROM nor USB-GDROM 
  • Metal Sticker with Serial Number for Each Case
It looks as though TR Fight Stick will need pre-order numbers to reach 100 units before they can go ahead with mass production (each unit costs $149.99 plus shipping and comes without a power supply), so time will tell if there is enough demand for the Dreamcase to become a reality. Check out the Dreamcase at the TR Fight Stick website.
Credit for this news snippet goes to my DCJY colleague Martin, who discovered this while Googling for Fight Stick parts. So what do you think? Will you be taking the plunge and splashing out 150 big ones? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter.

Book Review: Dreamcast: Year One

Full disclosure before I begin this review: I - and other members of the Junkyard team - backed this book on Kickstarter. I was interviewed in the book and also did some fact checking. That said, I wasn't paid and stand to gain no financial reward for any of this. Now thats sorted, on with the review.
Dreamcast: Year One backers also get a cool little sticker to go with the book
The popularity of books exploring every corner of the gaming landscape shows no sign of being on the wane, and the latest crowdfunded offering is now plopping through letterboxes around the globe. Dreamcast: Year One is the third book in the 2 Old 4 Gaming template after the superb Sony PlayStation Vita: Year One and Years Two & Three, written by Sandeep Rai. This latest Dreamcast-flavoured tome was written by long-time Dreamcast fan Andrew Dickinson (founder of the Dreamcast Years podcast and website) and successfully Kickstarted back in April 2019.


Now that the book is finally here, how does it stack up against the competition? Quite well, actually. And the main unique selling point Dreamcast: Year One has over the other recent releases is that it focusses primarily on the UK release of the console. As someone who resides in the UK and saw the release first hand on this fair isle, the perspective is one that struck a chord with me on a personal level and so I was naturally intrigued by the premise.
The artwork is truly sublime throughout
As alluded to earlier, I was interviewed by Andrew for Dreamcast: Year One, and was asked about my history with the Dreamcast and also the story behind the creation of this very blog and the community surrounding it. For that alone I am grateful, as it allowed me to share my own experiences as just a normal random bloke who somehow found a niche with a blog about a failed Sega console. But enough about me.
OK...maybe a little bit more about me
Dreamcast: Year One opens with a fairly intricate deep dive on the history of the Dreamcast, going all the way back to the 16-bit era, the Sega Saturn story and the development of the Nintendo 64 and Sony PlayStation. The introductory chapters are about as comprehensive as you could get if you're a newcomer to the Dreamcast and wanted to educate yourself on the story so far. Particular highlights for me include the section on the Sega New Challenge Conference in 1998 - something which fascinates me still to this day, such is my obsession with the Dreamcast tech demos that were showcased during that event.

Real Racer IX: Cancelled Game or Student Assignment?

I was browsing the hellscape of Reddit the other day, looking for something to frustrate me, when I found a rather interesting photo featuring demo footage of an unreleased Dreamcast game called Real Racer IX. Despite being tangled up in the antics of the Junkyard, I'd never heard of it. Not even a murmur. Real Racer IX never saw any kind of release, whether it be official or unofficial. All we have is the photograph below to serve as evidence of its existence.
This photo was taken during the Spring Tokyo Game Show of 2001, which was held from the 30th of March to the 1st of April. It shows a chap doing his best Wesley Snipes impression in a trendy leather jacket, as he plays the demo of Real Racer IX. Next to him, a much smarter-looking guy is watching him play. Obviously the assumption here is that the guy on the right was probably someone who had some kind of involvement with the development of the game, and was overseeing the demo booth. The game itself, like its name suggests, is a racing game, appearing to be of the long-distance running variety.
The gameplay onscreen shows a female athlete running down what looks like the longest, loneliest highway in existence. Despite the woman being the only runner on screen, the HUD shows a position counter of 6 out of 6, meaning there was bound to be a mob of computer opponents lurking somewhere around the corner ahead. The guy playing was probably just a bit rubbish.
Doing a reverse image search on the photo in question, I was led to one result: this old article on a Japanese gaming website called "Game Watch", detailing the Tokyo Game Show of Spring 2001. Browsing through, there's some bits about presentations from Nintendo (showing off the upcoming Game Boy Advance!), as well as Capcom and Konami, and it appears that Microsoft were gearing up to unleash their first ever game console into the Japanese video game market, with what looked like a pretty heavy advertising campaign, featuring Bill Gates holding a Burger in one hand and an Xbox controller in the other. This can be seen in the photo below, trapped under the most unphotogenic bowl of Ramen I've ever seen.
Relegated to the end of the article, is the only bit of Dreamcast-related information, and that is where we find the photo that prompted this entire search...