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!


 

A Quick Look At Summoning Signals (Demo)

Summoning Signals is but one of a handful of new games heading to the Dreamcast in the near future, and it also happens to have a demo version freely available to download, burn to a CD and play on actual Dreamcast hardware.

Naturally, we thought it only proper to grab the demo and give it a whirl, and to give our impressions of this early build here at the Junkyard. Just to clarify, this new demo is not the same as the old demo - the old demo being a sort of mini game that featured a two-headed serpent with a penchant for Soul Calibur quips. No, this new demo is a demo of the actual Summoning Signals game, in all its point and click, photogrammetry-enabled glory.

So what is Summoning Signals then? Well, in time honoured fashion, it appears that indie developer 12db.soft have crafted a slightly esoteric sci-fi point and click adventure game, which relies pretty heavily on the sort of eerie, technology focused strangeness you're likely to find in a Mark Z. Danielewski novel. Lots of abstract music and sound effects, very little hand holding, and a leaning on the player to work it out for themselves...imagine that in this day and age!

The game starts with a fairly bizarre cutscene that depicts you crashing your ship on some alien world. There's lots of arcane symbolism and almost Lynchian aesthetic cues as the ship loses power and descends; and you are left to work out how to use your damaged radio to make contact with a benevolent stranger and follow their instructions to get out of your predicament. That predicament being, y'know, that you're stranded on an alien world.

Due to the nature of Summoning Signals' reliance on the abstract, it's probably an intentional design choice that it's all a bit baffling to begin with. You move a crosshair around the screen and focus on items in the world, selecting them as you go - the VMU will beep and display icons when you happen to hover over a point of interest (which is a nice touch). 

You can also pull up an inventory of sorts and activate a radio through which you communicate with the stranger (who goes by the name Copper) and you can move between screens by hovering over arrows that appear at the screen edge and selecting them. Check out the short video I put together of the first few minutes of the demo below.

Overall, from what I've played of this demo I'm even more intrigued by how weird 12db.soft can make this game. Apart from the unique visual style which mixes interesting photogrammetry with a rudimentary day/night cycle, the oddness of Summoning Signals really appeals to me.

There's no set release date for the final game yet, but you can grab this demo from the Summoning Signals website and play it either on a PC or on Dreamcast hardware. I did have a few instances where the demo froze, but that's forgivable in this early state.

Let us know if you've played the demo in the comments or on Twitter.

Peripheral Review: Brook Wingman SD

Disclosure: The Brook Wingman SD was sent to us for review.


The Brook Wingman SD is an interesting device, coming from the powerhouse that is Brook Accessory. I’ve got one of their PCBs in my SEGA Virtua Stick High Grade, which permits its use on multiple formats with ease… and no lag. Brook have quite a catalogue of products, and I believe are building a decent brand name for themselves with quality useful products. 


What is the Wingman SD? In short, it’s a dongle, that allows the gamer to connect a multitude of modern peripherals to their Dreamcast as well as the Sega Saturn (check out Brian's article on The Saturn Junkyard for a look at the Saturn functionality). You can connect your 360, PS3, PS4, Xbox One, and Switch Pro controllers to the Dreamcast for some high quality gaming fun.

There was something a touch surreal pairing my PS3 controller to the DC… but it was incredibly easy to do, and worked extremely well, without any perceived lag. Same goes for the Xbox One controller. The Xbox controllers are often regarded as some of the most ergonomic (and I agree), and using them to play Sega Rally 2, Rez (OK I have that on 360 and PS4), Shenmue, Headhunter, Re-Volt, was really great. The device comes into its own with FPS, though, bringing the DC into the 21st Century proper. Some prefer keyboard and mouse, which you can do on DC, but I am a fan of controllers. And now, Quake, Unreal Tournament, etc… have proper dual analogue support. And wireless!! What a revelation! 


Shenmue Undub: Definitive Edition available now for Dreamcast

Source: Shenmue Forever/Phantom River Stone

One of the most memorable aspects of the original Shenmue - for me at least - was the voice acting. When I say 'original,' naturally I mean the PAL version, y'know living in the UK and all. That disconnect between 1980s Japan and Ryo speaking with a slightly disjointed American accent; and the ensemble cast of weird, over-acted, oddball voices that assaulted the ears whenever you dared interrupt some NPC while they wandered aimlessly through Dobuita before vanishing into thin air outside Tom's hot dog van. That's peak nostalgia right there, kids.

It's apparent that not everyone shares my fondness for this audio aesthetic though, as a number of fan projects over the years have attempted to 'undub' the Western version of Shenmue, replacing Corey Marshall's dulcet tones with the original audio from the NTSC-J release of Shenmue. The latest attempt at this, according to the fine folks over at Shenmue mega-site Phantom River Stone is the definitive edition of these undub efforts, and have now presented to the world the fittingly monikered Shenmue Undub: Definitive Edition.

Source: Phantom River Stone

Before I continue, you really should check out Phantom River Stone in general if you're a Shenmue fan, as along with resources like Shenmue Dojo and Adam Koralik's YouTube channel, it really is a marvellous repository of Shenmue trivia and random musings. But back to Shenmue Undub: Definitive Edition. Created in collaboration with Shenmue Master, Shenmue Undub: Definitive Edition is reckoned to be the ultimate restoration of the Dreamcast title, with original Japanese voice overs, English subtitles and even minor bug fixes and restored original textures. Here's a rundown from Phantom River Stone:

  • Based on the Kogami Undub: this version builds upon the most complete fan-made Undub version, which was created by Kogami and runs on the Dreamcast.
  • Full English subtitles: the official translated lines are used where available. A small number of the Japanese spoken lines (around 3%) which did not have English equivalent translations available have been translated by hand. A few small corrections were also made to fix specific lines that had incorrect grammar or meaning.
  • Full Japanese audio with no down-sampling.
  • PAL-compatible save files: saves can be carried over to the PAL version of Shenmue II.
  • CDDA audio tracks included: recorded audio tracks play as expected during the game (e.g. the music that plays when Ryo rides home from the harbor with Nozomi on the back of his motorcycle).
  • Coca Cola branding: the branding for the vending machines and soda cans in the game shows the Coca Cola branding, as seen in the Japanese version of Shenmue..
  • Fixes for small glitches identified in the previous Undub version (e.g. conversations when Ryo knocked on house doors did not play out properly).
  • Fits on standard CD-R discs: the images have been stream-lined to allow them to be played on a Dreamcast console using standard CD-R discs, with no missing or cut content.
It's worth it for the authentic Coca-Cola cans alone, in my opinion. Of course, this isn't the first time enthusiastic fans have augmented a Dreamcast title - cast your mind back several years and you'll no doubt recall Dead or Alive 2 Final or the Frame Gride English language edition.
Source: Phantom River Stone
For Shenmue fans who want the authentic experience though, Shenmue Undub: Definitive Edition looks to be the real deal. You can grab the download for Dreamcast over at Phantom River Stone, and while you're there stick around and read some of author Switch's other intriguing posts.

Will you be checking out Shenmue Undub: Definitive Edition? Let us know in the comments!

Summoning Signals now has a website and a demo for Dreamcast

Summoning Signals represents one of the more mysterious upcoming releases for the Dreamcast. A point and click adventure in which the player must locate the scattered parts of a crippled spacecraft, the photogrammetry graphical style is unlike anything we've previously seen on the Dreamcast.

Coming from 12db.soft and Retro Surge Games, Summoning Signals is aiming for an Autumn 2020 release (that's Fall for our American readers), and the game now has a dedicated website and a demo available. The demo is interesting as it's not actually a demo of the main game, it's more a vertical space shooter where you have to kill a two-headed dragon with a penchant for Soul Calibur quotes...but this just fits the whole weirdness vibe lead developer Magnes is aiming for:

"I see Summoning Signals like a strange trip to a vaguely familiar planet. Some people say it reminds them of the Myst series or Lack of Love. We're inspired by Kentucky Route Zero for its visuals and storytelling, Hyper Light Drifter and Elemental Gimmick Gear for their worldbuilding and Seaman for its wierdness to name a few. Summoning Signals is a game for those who like to discover strange worlds.

"I've always wanted to contribute to SEGA's last console library. This console (and its community) is what got me into programming and hacking 15 years ago, so it feels right to give back. Also, working with retro console has this hacker-tech-charm vibe to it.

- Magnes, via summoningsignals.com

From the game's itch.io page:

Summoning Signals is a experimental narrative game. 

You are Bertholet, an antique collector with a passion for old technology. As you are making a delivery across the galaxy, your ship starts behaving erratically and crash on an unknown planet. Get to know the planet's strange inhabitant, repair your ship and escape before the fabled Minotaur finds you.

Radio Exploration
Use your radio to call for help and communicate with the galaxy's inhabitant. Make sure to charge your battery and keep the signal alive! 

Repair system
Bertholet will need to find spare parts on this new planet to repair his ship. Break apart old machines and dig for circuits in computers! Make use of your tools to get your ship running again.

Poetic Puzzles
The world inhabitant like to speak in riddle. Are you wise enough to understand them? Use your wits to find the clues and progress through the game.

We have covered Summoning Signals in the recent past, and waxed lyrical about the interesting photogrammetry technique used (think the Google Maps 3D modelling style). I for one am pretty intrigued to know more about this indie offering, and after enjoying the outright oddness of the Reaperi Cycle demo 12db.soft released earlier in 2020, I think I'm qualified to consider myself a fan of this developer.


Keep an eye on the Summoning Signals website for updates (you can sign up to be alerted when new demos are available) and also grab that annoyingly difficult shooter demo. We'll be keeping a close eye on this one...and you should too.

Excited for yet another new Dreamcast release in 2020? Let us know on Twitter or in the comments below. Oh, and follow 12db.soft on Twitter here.

A Dreamcast Launch Retrospectacle: Celebrating/Ranking the Games of 9.9.99

Well, shit. It’s been 21 years since the Dreamcast’s North American launch. That makes it old enough to drink here.

Legally.

Of course, that’s hardly news for all you folks outside of the States. In Japan, the Dreamcast has been of legal libation consumption age for nearly two years, both because it came out almost a year earlier and because the nation’s legal drinking age is 20. Doubly so for most European countries. In Germany, kids as young as 14 can drink wine and beer with their parents’ consent, which means the Dreamcast has been allowed to partake in the devil’s sauce for over seven years (with permission from the Saturn and Mega Drive, of course). And apparently you Brits have been legally allowed to drink at home since you were five (?!) years old. If true, the Dreamcast has been pounding pints in the UK since the Nintendo DS was in nappies.

Anyway, I write all of this because I find it both a convenient and unnecessarily convoluted excuse to crack open some brewskies and reminisce about the Dreamcast’s iconic launch library all those years ago. In the spirit of the occasion, I’d like to think of this feature as a Dreamcast 21 run of sorts.

I’ve always been fascinated with video game console launches and the “next gen” titles that usher us into each new era of gaming. I believe these launches provide unique insights into how platform holders aspire to position their consoles and contribute to the broader evolution of the medium. Console launches give us a glimpse into the creative mindsets of developers seeking to innovate with the new technological possibilities afforded to them. Then there’s the sheer spectacle of it all, which can also be fun in itself.

When it comes to the all-time great console launches, I can’t think of a better time than the sixth generation. Leading the way, of course, was the Sega Dreamcast. You probably don’t need me to sell you on the brilliance of its launch collection. At least in North America and PAL territories (sorry, Japan), there was almost a magic surrounding it. From day one, the Dreamcast hosted a legendary library of excellent games, many of which remain widely revered by the Junkyard community. I’ve recently replayed all 19 of the North American launch titles and I’m surprised which ones have held up at least as well as, if not better than I expected. Others, less so. More than anything, revisiting the Dreamcast’s launch library has helped strengthen my appreciation for the creative risks Sega took with its final console debut, as well as the more enduring impacts its games ultimately had on the medium.

It boggles my mind to consider the rare confluence of factors that could've enabled the Dreamcast to spoil early adopters with such a wealth of launch day riches. Back then, and for a variety of reasons, console launch lineups seemed more crucial for setting the tone and tenor of the experiences we might associate with those platforms. Perhaps the relative technical strides between generations underscored the need to show off a diverse stable of games that could never have existed previously. And before development costs skyrocketed in the HD era, maybe it was easier for more devs to begin and finish their projects in the time between receiving dev kits and preparing for launch. At the very least, developers might've been freer to work in peace without us asshat fans yammering at them on social media all the time.

So now, after 21 years, I figured I’d share my thoughts on all 19 North American Dreamcast launch titles through a not-completely-sober, retrospective lens. Here are my totally biased and nostalgia-be-damned takes on the Dreamcast’s original launch lineup. And in no particular ord—actually, screw it. I’m not usually a fan of ranked game lists but I’m a couple of beers in at this point and I’m fine with being a hypocrite.

OK. Worst to first. Let’s go...

JoshProd announce 5th wave of Dreamcast releases - 8 games incoming!

The last few years has seen a surge of new independent releases on the Dreamcast, keeping this 20 year old love affair we have with the console going strong. This year we've already seen Xeno Crisis from Bitmap Bureau - a multi platform, multi directional shooter that we liked quite a lot - and we're not far away from seeing the release of Xenocider from Retro Sumus, another title that is shaping up very well (something we can personally guarantee here at the Yard). The masters of the recent surge of releases, however, is undoubtedly JoshProd/Pixelheart. The French indie publisher has now released over 20 titles on the Dreamcast, and already had us excited for their upcoming release of the very promising looking Arcade Racing Legends, but have now upped the ante once more, with the announcement of a 5th wave of releases - all due (currently) to be released before the end of the year. I don't know about you, but any good news in this year of unpredictable craziness is most welcome.

As with their previous titles, JoshProd like to announce a batch of games at a time, with varying developers, genres and packaging formats. This wave we see 6 titles that cover platforming, fighting and lots of shooting, the return of a popular indie developer and a rather interesting multi-game set. Before we get ahead of ourselves, let's have a look at the list of titles announced:


  • Alice Sisters (Orionsoft)
  • Rocketron (Astro Port)
  • Satazius Next (Astro Port)
  • Tough Guy (Panda entertainment)
  • Supercharged Robot Vulkaiser (Astro Port)
  • Wolflame (Astro Port)
As well as these, there's two other new titles coming to the Dreamcast - we'll get on to them later:
  • Gigantic Army (Astro Port)
  • Zangeki Warp (Astro Port)

Dreamcast: Year Two hits Kickstarter!

Dreamcast: Year One was successfully funded and launched late last year, and those who managed to grab a copy were treated to a beautifully illustrated, fantastically detailed trip down memory lane back to the first year of the Dreamcast's life; albeit with a distinctly PAL flavour. You can read our review of Dreamcast: Year One here.

After the success of Dreamcast: Year One, it was pretty much written in the stars that Year Two would follow on its coattails...and now the Kickstarter for this very tome is live!


It's probably worth mentioning before I go any further, that author and campaign manager Andrew Dickinson has since joined the podcast and editorial team of The Dreamcast Junkyard, and many of the other contributors to this blog are involved in writing content for Dreamcast: Year Two...and that includes yours truly. With that out of the way, what can you expect from Dreamcast: Year Two?
Well, more of the same to be honest...which is no bad thing! A bigger, more content-rich book full of interviews and retrospectives on the games from the Dreamcast's second year on the market; and the Kickstarter campaign features a range a tiers that offer some pretty special backer perks. But what of the main book? I'm glad you asked:
  • Main book has over 50% more pages than Year One
  • Double the number of retrospectives than Year One
  • Brand new artwork from graphic designer Dan Tiller
  • Interviews with the likes of Corey Marshall, John Linneman and Steven Kent (and more)
  • Retrospectives written by members of Dreamcast Years and The Dreamcast Junkyard
But that's not all! Oh no - there's also the opportunity to fund a one-off Dreamcast Years magazine, and a special edition of the Dreamcast Years podcast that will be exclusively available on Minidisc. Talk about going fully authentic on the era-specific formats... (you'll probably need to get a Minidisc player if you're up for that perk, though).
Dreamcast: Year Two is totally unofficial and written by fans of the console and prominent members of the burgeoning online community. The project is initially looking for £12,000 in funding and at the time of writing (a mere hour after the campaign went live) it stands at a staggering £5,000 already.

So there you have it. Dreamcast: Year Two is all set to take the momentum from the ace Dreamcast: Year One and run with it. Want to get involved with this Kickstarter? Of course you do! Check out the campaign page here.
Finally - a disclaimer: none of the contributors from The Dreamcast Junkyard will gain financially from this campaign. In fact, most (if not all) of us who are contributing written content are also backers. In other words - none of us are being paid, we're contributing because we love the Dreamcast, plain and simple!

Will you be backing Dreamcast: Year Two? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter. You can also follow Andrew Dickinson on Twitter here. Oh, and here's the Kickstarter link again, just in case you missed it!

Exploring EMAP's Lost Official Dreamcast Magazine: An Interview With Dave Kelsall

Magazines are an important part of gaming history.

They were the only way that regular people could absorb all the news from the industry and get opinions on games before they spent their hard-earned cash on them. Like much physical media though, they have become increasingly niche as the internet and digital technologies saturate the market. News can be fed right to your phone as it happens, while user and influencer reviews are taken on board just as much, if not more, than the professionally written ones of established journalists.
For many of us who revere retro (and especially Dreamcast, of course), physical media and good-old-fashioned games journalism feels sorely missed. Personally, I can find a place for the old and the new in my life, but when flicking through old magazines I never fail to stumble upon that one thing that made them special - magic.

Okay, I don’t mean magic in the make-believe sense (and most definitely not in the Dynamo sense either), but rather that feeling of holding in your hands the key to a world that is beyond the norm. They were a guide to all of those computers, consoles and games that you had no idea were coming. They held updates on things you were eagerly awaiting, and reviews of games you’d seen in the shop but had no idea if it was worth paying £39.99 for.
When I wrote my first book, Dreamcast: Year One, I took this very specific love of gaming magazines and injected that into the pages - both in the style and also the content. Specifically, I interviewed three people involved in that scene from the time of the Dreamcast; Caspar Field (editor of DC-UK), Ed Lomas (reviews & deputy editor of Official Dreamcast Magazine) and also David Kelsall (graphic designer at Official Saturn Magazine).
The latter of those interviews was more than just a chat about the good old days though, as David had a never-before-seen pitch from the magazine publisher EMAP for the Official Dreamcast Magazine. I therefore decided to share an edited down version of his interview, along with a few of the images he shared with me, in the book itself.

I had always intended to share a longer version of the interview with the images I didn’t use, and as we approach the launch of my campaign to fund Dreamcast: Year Two I figured this was the best time to do that. So here it is!


Andrew Dickinson: David, could you please tell us a little bit about how you got into games journalism?

Dave Kelsall: It’s quite a long story! I’ve always been obsessed with games magazines (and games of course). I used to buy everything available, even books with type-in BASIC listings. I wouldn’t necessarily type them, but I liked to read the code and look at the artwork.

I was on an art trip to London with my Sixth form college and I spotted Julian Rignal (renowned games journalist and editor) sitting in the buffet clutching a camera. He was off to do one of his seaside reports on the latest arcade machines, so I went over to say hi. I didn’t live that far from Ludlow (where Newsfield, the publishers of Crash and Zzap! 64, were based) and so he invited me down to take a look around the offices whenever we were both free.

A few weeks later I went down for a visit and he very kindly showed me around, took me to the pub, and we of course played games. Fast forward a few years and I had just finished my HND in Graphic Design and I was on the train accompanying my girlfriend who was going for an interview in London for a job in the fashion industry. I happened to be reading a copy of Mean Machines and there was an advert in the News section looking for a designer. As I remember it, I turned up to the EMAP offices and enquired about the job. I think I spoke to Julian beforehand and mentioned who I was, and I was promptly shown upstairs and told to design something. They must have liked what I did as I was offered the job the next day and that was the start of a career in magazines, and initially games journalism. I absolutely loved my time there and I only left the games division when EMAP sold it to Dennis. I moved on to other titles within EMAP.

Simulant - a new game engine for Dreamcast

The name Luke Benstead is, by now, synonymous with the world of online Dreamcast gaming. That's because Luke is the man who created the DreamPi and along with DreamPipe and Dreamcast Live, kickstarted the online gaming revolution we now find ourselves in the midst of. Not content with having this impressive credit on his resume, Luke has now launched his next venture - Simulant. Simulant is a general purpose game engine designed to work with Android, Windows, Mac OS, Linux...and Dreamcast.
As Luke explained on a recent episode of our podcast - see DreamPod episode 80 here - Simulant's development actually precedes DreamPi by several years, with work first starting on it back in 2011. As many reading this will no doubt be aware, a game engine is the foundation of a game and is the toolkit developers use to create the interactive experiences we all know and love. In this case, Luke likens Simulant to something like Unity, however unlike Unity, Simulant doesn't have a graphical user interface and instead relies on the developer to use pure code.
Luke explains in his own words:

Simulant is a general-purpose game engine for multiple platforms: Windows, Linux, OSX, and of course Dreamcast. General-purpose means it can be used to build any style of game. It's similar in concept to Unity but it doesn't come with a pretty user interface - games have to be developed purely in code.

I've been developing Simulant for almost 9 years, I started it well before I got involved in the Dreamcast scene and for the majority of that time I've been the only developer. 

It's really very powerful, and is currently being used to build (at least) two Dreamcast games: Swirling Blades (my chopper game) and another 3D game called Dark Space Pioneer.

It's also spawned a whole community and a number of related projects, including a full OpenGL library called GLdc, which is being used by Summoning Signals, and the nuQuake Quake port to accelerate performance. An OpenAL audio library has also been built, as well as a software profiler for the Dreamcast called dcprof.

Even after all this time, Simulant is still in Alpha state. I'm always on the look out for skilled developers who want to help! I particularly could use help with the Android and OSX versions!

If you want to see what Simulant can do, check out Swirling Blades on itch - it's a fairly basic 3D helicopter shooter, but as a proof of concept that can be burnt to a disc and played on a Dreamcast hardware, it is impressive.
So now you know the basics, why not see if Simulant is something you'd like to try out for yourself? The Simulant project is open source, and released under the LGPL license, and the code can be found at the repository on GitLab here: https://gitlab.com/simulant/simulant

There's also a dedicated website with more information, screenshots and documentation at: https://simulant.dev.
It seems there's already a really active scene springing up around Simulant, with some well known Dreamcast indie developers testing the waters; and the Simulant Discord server has become a popular home for all kinds of Dreamcast developers. There are nearly 200 lurkers there, and about 20 or so active people, and everyone shares their work and helps out where they can. If you want to have a go at writing a game with Simulant, or if you just want to dip into Dreamcast development, then the Simulant Discord server should be your first port of call (after downloading the code, of course!).
So there you have it. A very brief introduction to Simulant. It's worth nothing that to use Simulant you'll need some level of C or C++ development skill , or at least some good experience in another language (and enthusiasm to learn), but hopefully this will bring a whole new wave of indie developers to the Dreamcast scene.

Be sure to follow Luke on Twitter for updates on Simulant. What do you think? Will you be taking your first steps into Dreamcast development with Simulant? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter.