Let's play some Atomiswave games on Dreamcast!

As discussed in a recent article here at The Dreamcast Junkyard, Dreamcast-Talk forum members megavolt85 and yzb have been porting Atomiswave games to the Dreamcast. While many people reading this will no doubt get a lot of joy from playing these esoteric titles on an emulator - as did I initially - we thought we should get these titles running on an actual Dreamcast and see how they play with a standard HKT-7700 gripped in our mitts. So that's what we did!

Below is the fruit of our labour, which in reality was no more difficult than grabbing the various GDI files for games such as Dolphin Blue, Maximum Speed, King of Fighters XI, Samurai Shodown VI, Faster than Speed and Metal Slug 6, and dropping them onto the Compact Flash card which slots nicely into the side of the Compact Flash modded Dreamcast. Booting through DreamShell allows you to navigate to the files on the storage and simply boot them as you would any other game. I'm pretty sure this would work with any other type of solid state storage device you may have in your Dreamcast too, so let us know in the comments if it works with things like MODE or GDEmu. If you have any specific questions though, be sure to head to the FAQ on Dreamcast-Talk. Enough waffle, enjoy the video below!

Have you tried any of these games? If so, what are you thoughts? And are there any hidden gems on the Atomiswave crying out to be ported to the Dreamcast? Let us know in the comments, and be sure to head to Dreamcast-Talk, join the forum and thank megavolt85 and yzb for their stirling work.

Shenmue World magazine from Shenmue Dojo smashes Kickstarter goal in less than 24 hours!

I initially planned to publish this article a day ago as a way to help spread the news that Shenmue Dojo had launched a Kickstarter for a fan magazine called Shenmue World. Looks like I needn't have bothered though, as the community has come together in less than 24 hours to fund the project! 

Full disclosure here - several members of the Junkyard team have also backed Shenmue World - so allow us the benefit of the doubt when we describe this project as 'thoroughly deserving.'

Let's step back in time first, though. You may be wondering what all this is about. Basically, Shenmue Dojo is one of - if not the - best known Shenmue fan sites / forums when it comes to...well, Shenmue. Obviously. The clue is in the name. How many people come here for PlayStation 2 news? I digress. 

Personally I have been visiting Shenmue Dojo for well over a decade, and the site actually started in 2000 - five whole years before the Junkyard was but a twinkle in my eye. Quite simply, these guys know their Wude from their Master Chen...if you catch my drift.

Anyway, Shenmue World is a new fan magazine created by Shenmue Dojo and headed up by Jim Brown (aka SkillJim), one of the head honchos over at Shenmue Dojo. A year in the making, Shenmue World is a completely independent fan-created ode to all that is good in the world of Shenmue.

According to the video over on the Shenmue Dojo YouTube channel, the magazine has already been finalised in principle, and the Kickstarter was simply put in place to allow Jim and his team to start a mass print run. The magazine (or at least the initial prototype) looks like a Shenmue fan's dream - lots of original content, features and articles focussing on literally every aspect of Shenmue.

The good news - as intimated in the headline of this article - is that Shenmue World has been fully funded to the tune of £6500 in less than 24 hours, and so the magazine will be produced and everyone who has backed it to the correct tier will receive a physical copy at some point in the not-too-distant future.

We here at the Junkyard realise that not everyone uses Twitter, so allow us to use our own platform - this blog - to point you in the direction of the Shenmue World Kickstarter if you wish to get your mitts on a copy of the magazine.

As ever, be sure to let us know what you think in the comments, and please do visit Shenmue Dojo's website and follow them on Twitter.

Atomiswave games are being ported to Dreamcast...which is awesome

The Atomiswave, for those who may not be aware, was an arcade system co-developed by Sammy and Sega and released back in 2003. As explained in Ross's excellent deep dive on the hardware here, the origins of the arcade platform are thought to have been born out of Sega's pivot out of the home console market, leaving the firm with a surplus of hardware it had no use for (namely, bits of Dreamcast tech). 

The Atomiswave was first unveiled at the Japan Amusement Show in 2002, and piqued the interest of some of the biggest names in the arcade scene at the time, with SNK, Dimps, Psyko, Treasure, Compile, IGS, Visco and Tecmo all lending their support to the fledgling platform.

And lo, the Atomiswave became something of a hit among arcade gamers, hosting numerous inventive and colourful titles; and Sammy went on to purchase CSK's shares in Sega before eventually buying out the company in 2004. The intriguing thing about the Atomiswave is that even though its hardware was quite similar to the Dreamcast and NAOMI systems it was based on, Atomiswave games were incompatible with Dreamcast and so considered to be solely the preserve of dedicated arcade collectors. Until now, that is.

That's because developer megavolt85 has begun porting Atomiswave games to the Dreamcast, and if you head over to the Dreamcast-Talk forums you'll be able to see (and download) the fruits of their (very obvious) labour. So far, several Atomiswave titles have been ported to Dreamcast, and the GDI files made available. Of the handful of titles released so far, I have only played Faster than Speed - an arcade racer which plays (and looks) like the bastard lovechild of Need for Speed Underground and Scud Race.





It's actually a pretty fun racer, with lots of tracks and vehicles and some really nice handling. Oh, and it looks gorgeous. I've been playing this on ReDream on a MacBook Pro, and compatibility with some controllers has been a bit iffy, but as far as I can tell from browsing the forums, other emulators on PC work even better so your experiences may be better than mine. I did try to also play the game using an actual Dreamcast by loading the GDI file onto the Compact Flash modded Dreamcast, and while it would display the Faster than Speed custom artwork in Dreamshell, the game would not boot. So close...yet so far!

Edit - I got games working on a Dreamcast (thanks to Pcwzrd13 once again!). Check out the results.


One thing is clear though - this game and the work of megavolt85 is a revelation for the Dreamcast library. That Atomiswave games can now be sampled - in my case for the first time ever - is truly amazing; and a massive boon for digital preservationists. And this could be just the start of a whole new side of the Sega arcade library being opened up to Dreamcast owners who never knew such experiences existed. Exciting stuff indeed.




Apart from Faster than Speed, other Atomiswave games to be ported to Dreamcast in 2020 include King of Fighters XI, Metal Slug 6, and Samurai Spirits Tenkaichi Kenkakuden, and we'd be a bit daft to think that even more Atomiswave games are not on the cusp of being ported to our beloved console.

Head over to the Dreamcast-Talk forums to find out more. Thanks also to @pcwzrd13 for alerting those of us (me) who have maybe been a bit lax on keeping up with Dreamcast news this year.

Flea! - Brand new release for the Dreamcast

 2020. It's not been great, has it? But whilst we all seclude ourselves in our homes, proclaiming how bored we are whilst ignoring our game backlogs, something has been stirring in the Dreamcast Indie scene. The year kicked off with the rather glorious Xeno Crisis - perhaps the finest Indie game yet on the DC, and we've got some delights on their way with the high speed thrills of Arcade Racing Legends from JoshProd, the wonderful Xenocider in all it's 3D glory from Retro Sumus, and Indie masters Senile Team back with the fantastic looking Intrepid Izzy. That's not even mentioning the impending release of Summoning Signals, JoshProd's Indie onslaught with 8(8!) more titles, and almost certainly others that we've simply forgotten to mention! It's a never ceasing cause of amazement for all of us here at the Junkyard that we could see more than a dozen titles added to the library in a matter of months.

It seems though, that even more is on the horizon - including a game which has come as somewhat of a surprise - Flea! which is out now and available from the developers own Etsy page here. A successfully funded Kickstarter project this year, the game was designed for the NES, but has jumped it's way onto our chosen platform, caught us all by surprise, and left us itching to tell you more. I promise that's the last awful Flea pun I'll be making...

Playing as your cute little Flea protagonist Henry, your task is to collect blood from the games 80 levels, blood which is being horded by the greedy King, and is desperately needed by the Refu-fleas. To that end, each unit of blood you collect can, at certain points, be converted to extra lives. It means that very quickly you'll rack up substantial numbers of lives - but that's something you'll most certainly need here. The game creator, Alastair Low (featured on the DCJY before, for the very cool Dungeon Ross), clearly has a fondness for tough NES era platformers, as Flea! is designed with plenty of tricky sections and death is frequent. Luckily, such death is not permanent in Flea's world, for a few seconds later you're back on the hunt for blood at the beginning of the level. Just as quickly as you build the life stock up though, you'll see the numbers going down when you get to one of the games tougher stages.

The game's deaths don't come by way of Uzi wielding parasites or anything so extreme though - here, death will come by way of your continually jumping little critter finding his way into a particularly nasty obstacle. These litter the stages, and whilst only a few syringes seem to be your issue early on, you soon come face to face with other creatures and more extravagant obstacles. Not every creature you meet is a bad guy though - there are plenty of colourful and interesting characters throughout the game to interact with as well.

The game is a tough one to master, in the time honoured 8-bit fashion. However, this toughness doesn't come with unfairness - if you die, it's due to a mistake you've made. Control is generally simple - Henry jumps continually, but you can press the A button to keep his jumps lower (a skill you will require early on in the game), and later on you can dash as well (although I've got to be honest, I've not actually got that far yet! I've never said I'm any good at games...). The main challenge here is to maximise your blood collection whilst navigating the obstacles with well timed jumps. The instant restart of the single screen levels makes any frustration minimal, luckily, but the game does induce a feeling of rage when your life supply dwindles as you fail at a decidedly crafty stage for the umpteenth time - but there's a not insignificant amount of satisfaction when you finally make it. It's a classic risk-reward strategy of gaming of yore, tried and tested, and it works well here, a tribute to the games developer once more.

At times the game does mix things up a little, ditching the single screen approach and going for a forced scrolling platforming experience - a sort of endless runner type affair, only, er, it ends. It shows a little bit of versatility off that makes for a nice change of pace, and again technically, it runs smoothly.  

Visually, it's not going to blow anyone away. It's clearly a NES game, with chunky pixels and bright colours, a look evocative of an age before the Dreamcast, but one which is very much back in fashion. Of course, it looks this way through functionality (being an actual NES game) rather than style alone, but it's competent, cute, fun and cheery. In fact, I'm officially starting a campaign to get Flea! to become the official mascot of the DC indie scene, as I look at his cute little face looking at me from my VMU during the game. The stages vary in their colour schemes - different beasts that the fleas infest - but all have that 8-bit colour and brightness to them, which is very visually appealing. 

There's no denying the games NES roots though. The pixels are colourful, the action is smooth, but this isn't the sort of title that's going to push the hardware. That doesn't matter at all, of course, as the core gameplay is fun and challenging enough to justify itself a place in the library, but we know there will be some out there who will baulk at the idea of a Dreamcast game looking this way. To them, we blow a giant raspberry. Personally, it's a style of game we've not had much of on the console, and I welcome it's arrival. 

I also welcome the chiptune music, so insanely catchy that I found myself humming it to myself on the bus this morning. It perfectly captures the fun, nostalgic retro-ness of the game, and deserves special mention just for that. The packaging is also great - a US style look (despite Lowtek Games being a Scottish based developer), it has a great disc image, and full colour manual (although it's only 2 pages), and the cover is great. For a game none of us were expecting, it's level of professionalism in design was surprising but most welcome. 

The game is available for £30 from Lowtek Games Etsy store, limited to just 200 numbered copies,  and you can find the games creator Alastair on Twitter  so go give him a follow!