Dreamcast Collector's Unite! Exploring your collections - Part 1



We put out the call to our fellow Dreamcast collectors, and my word, didn't we get a response! We've had such a quantity of replies, it's going to warrant several articles to cover you all - great for us, as there's more glorious Dreamcast goodies to gaze at!

So join us, as we delve into the games rooms of our first set of featured Dreamcast fans. There's a wide range of differing approaches to this collecting lark, and we have a selection of those on offer today. Without further ramblings from me, let's meet our first 4 collectors - say hello to Tristan, Mike, James and Stephen!

Dreamcast Collectors Unite!



If you're reading this blog, there's a good chance that you're a fan of the Dreamcast. I mean, why else would you be here? And as fans of Sega's little 128 bit machine, we have numerous ways of enjoying the excellent game library – some of us like to stick to emulators on our souped up PC's, lacking the space required to have shelves of games. Others will have invested in one of the numerous mods available to have hundreds of DC games on your real-life Dreamcast at all times, a great way to experience titles that would otherwise be out of reach. Then there are those who do it old school – only play original discs on an original machine, and only the very best of the library.

Despite what some people may tell you – all of these are completely legitimate ways to enjoy the console if you so choose. We're one big happy Dreamcast family, and there's no one out there able to tell you how to enjoy your own precious time playing games. This also, however, goes for those people out there who want to amass large collections. If you want to have a ton of awesome Dreamcast games, consoles, merchandise or collectables – that's cool too! Whilst collectors are sometimes 'frowned upon' by sectors of the Dreamcast community, there's absolutely no denying that some of your collections are... magnificent! And we at the DCJY, fine connoisseurs of everything Dreamcast, like many of you, love seeing what bits and pieces people have in their games rooms. 

And that's where this latest series of articles for the Dreamcast Junkyard comes in. We've scoured our contact books, sent some begging e-mails, and genuinely made a nuisance of ourselves, all in the pursuit of showcasing some of the best, interesting and weird Dreamcast collections out there. We ask the collectors themselves just why they do it, get them to show off some of their wares, and hopefully showcase some rare bits whilst we do it!

But it's not only the super-collectors who we'll showcase here. We want to take a look at some of the more modest collections from other passionate Dreamcast collectors, and so we'll be talking to some of those as well. Not everyone can afford, or indeed wants to own, a large collection, but they cherish what they have, and these passionate fans are the backbone of our little community.

We'll be bringing you the very first of these new articles very soon, but we'd love you (yes, YOU) to take part as well! If you have a Dreamcast collection you're just dying to share with the wider DC community, drop us a message through any of our various social media platforms. 

Dreamcast Printer Prototype Discovered

Whilst flicking through the second issue of Official Dreamcast Magazine, I noticed on the letters page a keen reader had written in asking if Sega had any plans to release a printer for the Dreamcast so that they could print out web pages they’d found. Sega’s response to this particular letter sounded like it was something they’d already been considering:

Dreamcast is an evolutionary product with flexibility built into the whole design. If enough people develop a need for a printer, then we will look into releasing one in Europe.

This was enough to make me curious. Were Sega working on a printer add-on for the Dreamcast? It’s not as crazy as it sounds -- don’t forget, back in the late 90’s/early 00’s, not everyone owned a PC and so browsing the web on their Dreamcast was the only way possible for a lot of people to get online. The Dreamcast already had a keyboard and mouse, so having a printer just seemed too obvious not to be true in my eyes.
I also knew that Sega were not afraid to work with other hardware manufacturers for PC-like peripherals, such as the ultimately unreleased Zip Drive from Iomega. So, I sent some emails. Through various contacts, I fired off a few speculative enquiries to various sources who were working for major printer manufacturers back at the turn of the millennium.

Amazingly, weeks later, one individual who had previously worked for Canon’s R&D department in Uxbridge, in the UK, got back to me with this amazing reply:

Sega approached us (Canon) in early 2000 to make an inkjet printer for their Dreamcast console. It was early days but we had a fully working prototype that, as long as you had a keyboard connected to the console, would allow you to print whatever was currently displayed on the TV by a simple press of the “Print Screen” key. Amazingly, this worked during gameplay as well, so you could print off screenshots if you wanted to. During testing, we had numerous copies of printed screenshots all over the office -- I think gamers would've loved it.

Even more amazing, attached to the email was a photo of the prototype for this printer from my source’s personal collection. Known only by its internal model number at the time, 5L-00FLIRPA, here she is: the Sega/Canon Dreamcast Printer Prototype:
Note the modified cord with a Dreamcast controller plug added to it, allowing you to simply use one of the available controller ports on your console to attach the printer.

Unfortunately, the current whereabouts of this prototype are unknown but my source does not believe it has been destroyed. This means there is still hope we can enjoy printing out our favourite web pages and Spirit of Speed screenshots directly from our Dreamcast at some point.

It’s incredible that here we are, over 20 years since the Dreamcast launched and we’re still uncovering new and unknown things about our beloved system. Would you have bought this printer had it actually been released in 2000?

Let us know in the comments below, or on Twitter.

Update: If you've read this far, your reward is the knowledge that yes, this was an April Fool! Look at the date in the photo; and the model number of the printer. We do like a good April Fool here at the Junkyard, as was seen back in 2017 when everyone lost their shit when we announced DreamStream - a Switch streaming service for Dreamcast games. One that didn't go down too well was when we announced on 1st April 2016 that we had become the 'PlayStation 2 Junkyard.' We don't mention that. Thanks for playing along...and remember - it's all just a bit of fun!

The lost Dreamcast port of Heroes of Might and Magic III has been released!

We recently covered the fundraiser that was set up to release the long lost Dreamcast port of Heroes of Might and Magic III for the Dreamcast. If you're not sure what that last sentence even means, here's an info dump: Heroes of Might and Magic III was a best-selling PC strategy game featuring a fantasy setting in which players could command armies across a vast campaign and was scheduled for a Dreamcast release back in the early 2000s before Sega ditched the Dreamcast, everything was cancelled and the entire house burnt down...or so you might think.

According to the developer it was actually because the game was too big for the Dreamcast system to handle:

"Heroes of Might and Magic III was not canceled because the Dreamcast was discontinued or anything, but because it failed due to the technical limitations. The game was technically too big for the Dreamcast, and since 3DO / NewWorldComputing and thus Ubisoft only wanted to see it published as a 1:1 conversion on the Dreamcast, eventually a point was reached at which the Dreamcast was basically just technically overwhelmed."

Read the full thread at Dreamcast Talk here. Regardless, Heroes of Might and Magic III was once categorised as one of the most famous 'lost' Dreamcast games - of which there are many - but now, thanks to the awesome Dreamcast community, it is now available to sample (in beta form, that is).
This is down to the work of Dreamcast collector and YouTuber FatalistDC and Dreamcast expert Jan Baumgartner. We salute them both, naturally. After a small fundraiser (which was achieved, again due to the Dreamcast community), Heroes of Might and Magic III has been dumped online after 20 years in the wilderness. And you, dear reader, can download it and play it either in your actual Dreamcast console, or using an emulator. Unfortunatley, I'm unable to run the game myself through an emulator as I use an Apple Mac, and lxdream seems to have been abandoned (it doesn't run on Catalina); while ReDream doesn't recognise the GDI or CDI version. Maybe you'll have better luck.

Links are as follows:
  • GDI dump (for use with GD-EMU / DreamShell etc.): download here
  • CDI version (for burning to a CD-R using DiscJuggler): download here
The Dreamcast Junkyard is but a messenger in this tale, and takes no kudos for this release. That all goes to FatalistDC, Jan and those who donated to the fundraiser on GoFundMe. Awesome work indeed, folks!
If I manage to get the game working, rest assured you'll get a post-mortem review very soon! Have you downloaded the game and played it? Have you got it to run in an emulator or on Dreamcast hardware? If so, what are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter.

Retro Surge Games announces new Dreamcast title Summoning Signals

Remember the awesome Reaperi Cycle demo we looked at recently? If not, check it out here. Well, after we were wowed by the clever puzzling elements shown in that game we were quickly brought back down to Earth when it was revealed that Reaperi Cycle is actually on hiatus. But all is not lost - the reason for the hiatus is that developer 12db.soft is currently working on another Dreamcast exclusive puzzle game: Summoning Signals.
Summoning Signals is pencilled in for a Winter 2020 release on Dreamcast, and will be released by Retro Surge Games, the publishing arm of online retailer The Bit Station. From the press release:

Summoning Signals is an experimental narrative game. You play as 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.

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! 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.

The world’s inhabitants like to speak in riddle. Are you wise enough to understand them? Use your wits to find the clues and progress through the game. The game's unique world is made using photogrammetry, a technique used to create 3D models from pictures. The result are unlike anything you have seen on the Dreamcast.
- Summoning Signals press release
The visuals on show are looking quite fabulous even at this stage, and as described in the press release, it will be the first game on the Dreamcast that employs photogrammetry. I suppose the best current analogue to this visualisation technique would be something like Google Maps' ability to turn flat 2D satellite images into fully rendered 3D locations when you zoom down to ground level. Below is a Google Maps 3D mode shot of Manchester, the Greatest City on Earth™to show what I mean:
Imagine if this tech had been available to Shockwave Assault's devs back in the day; those flat pixellated landscapes would've looked so much less like you were flying over a bowl of vegetable soup while blasting alien invaders. Pretty sure my 3DO would have melted into a pile of black plastic though. I'm waffling, let's get back on track. Photogrammetry is certainly an interesting technique and will definitely give Summoning Signals a unique look on Dreamcast.
We'll bring more info on Summoning Signals as we get it, and you can follow 12db.softRetro Surge Games and The Bit Station on Twitter for updates as they happen.

What do you think? Are you intrigued by Summoning Signals? And did you play the super cool (and brain meltingly difficult!) Reaperi Cycle demo? Let us know your thoughts in the comments or on Twitter.

Hark! The lost Dreamcast port of Heroes of Might and Magic III could be released soon...

Heroes of Might and Magic III is another one of those PC ports us Dreamcast owners were promised back in the day, but which was then pulled from release lists and chucked into the big wheelie bin in the sky. As with any wheelie bin, this hypothetical trash receptacle was raided and the contents squirrelled away into a private collection. And there Heroes of Might and Magic III stayed for several years until Dreamcast collector FatalistDC purchased it for $600 back in 2005.

For those not in the know, Heroes of Might and Magic III is a turn based strategy game that features armies of the fantasy/Medieval persuasion, lots of knights of the realm and horses and stuff. And probably trumpets. And shields. Oh, and knaves. Probably.
It transpires that FatalistDC is now looking to release this long lost Dreamcast port of Heroes of Might and Magic III, and is about to launch a fundraiser in order to do so. This is most probably because he paid $600 for the disc in the first place and while this is likely to incense some people, we'd rather see a fundraiser than see the disc go back into another private collection.

Update: the fundraiser is now live on GoFundMe, with a target of €250.

All things considered, the Dreamcast port of Heroes of Might and Magic III is - not unlike Ron Burgundy - kind of a big deal, and is one of those mythical cancelled games that hitherto has never seen the light of day. Here's some Dreamcast gameplay FatalistDC uploaded to YouTube:


The game FatalistDC is looking to release is actually a beta version and as such isn't 100% complete and not totally free of the odd bug (random crashes and freezes), but for many Dreamcast fans the opportunity to get their hands on yet another 'lost' game is a pretty exciting prospect, regardless of how complete the build is.
The full story of this potential release can be read over at the Obscure Gamers forum, and you can find the fundraiser at GoFundMe. There's also talk of FatalistDC releasing a very early build of the similarly 'lost' Test Drive Cycles, which will apparently also be released following a fundraiser. More on that when it happens, though.

Thanks go to Jan Baumgartner, creator of the Compact Flash-modded Dreamcast, for this information.

Will you be backing this fundraiser? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter.

This Is A Dreamcast Disc: The Search For The Voice Of Dreamcast

This is a Dreamcast disc and is for use only on a Dreamcast unit. Playing this disc on a Hi-Fi or other audio equipment can cause serious damage to its speakers. Please stop this disc now.

If you've ever put a Dreamcast game into a device that isn't a Dreamcast, you will instantly recognise that foreboding little passage. It's a pretty simple warning, clearly stating that you risk damaging your audio player's speakers if you continue on that well-trodden path of wanton destruction. For the uninitiated, the message is an audio track recorded on Dreamcast GDs from all regions, and the only real difference is the language that the ominous caution is relayed in.


Naturally, being from the UK, and primarily playing PAL games back in the day, the message I hear in my mind is performed by a well spoken Englishwoman, clearly and concisely, as if she were a stern teacher speaking to her class. Indeed, if you are a listener to our podcast DreamPod, you'll also be familiar with the warning as it forms an integral part of the intro and outro jingles. The warning is also recorded in other European languages on PAL GD-ROM discs, but for the purposes of this article I want to focus on that haunting English language delivery.

It's almost a part of Dreamcast folklore these days, that cold, clipped and commanding voice booming out whenever a curious gamer feels the need to see what would happen if the disc is improperly used. "Please stop this disc now" she orders, and naturally, you do. Because she damn well said so. Indeed, there are plenty of Dreamcast games that have special bonus messages recorded on them, hidden in plain sight on the audio portion of the GD, and there's a list of the known games here at Sega Retro. But they aren't the focus of this particular caper. No, what I want to know is slightly more mundane, dull, esoteric and pointless than that. I want to know who that curt English lady is. What's the story behind that recording? When and where was it recorded? Who is she and did she do any other voice over work?
Before I continue, it's probably worth explaining a little bit about this specific warning track stored on Dreamcast game discs. See, Dreamcast games come on GD-ROMs. and GD-ROMs were intended to be Sega's unbreakable proprietary format for the Dreamcast that would prevent ne'er-do-wells from pirating Dreamcast software (and we all know how well that worked). It does this by partitioning the storage area of the GD-ROM into two areas - a high density and a low density area.
The low density area is the part of the disc closest to the centre and high density area is the area towards the edge, and these areas are separated by a ring embossed with Sega's trademark details. The high density area is where all the game data is stored. The low density area contains two tracks - Track 1 and Track 2. Track 1 contains the stuff you can see if you put a GD-ROM into a PC or a Mac - the Bibliogr.txt, Abstract.txt and Copyright.txt files. Track 2 contains the CDDA file which the Dreamcast converts into the scary audible warnings this whole article is concerned with.
The whole point of the warning is the notion that should the audio player try to play the game data stored on the high density area of the disc, the sound it's converted into would be horrendous and damage the speakers as well as your ear drums. A bit like playing a Nickelback album.

Now the science bit is out of the way, let's get back to Dreamcast lady. Or GD-ROM woman. Or scary warning Dreamcast lady. Whoever she is, those few seconds of her voice at the start of Track 2 on a PAL Dreamcast game are every bit a part of the Dreamcast story as the iconic swirl, the 'VMU with a dead battery' beep and the ADX, MPEG Sofdec, and Duck TrueMotion boot screens. And to be quite frank, the warning voice overs from the other regions just don't cut it when compared to the Iron Lady of the PAL territories.

I won't lie to you, dear reader - this will be a meandering and quite pointless escapade, but just as with the In Search of The Barber series from a few years ago, The Dreamcast Junkyard has always prided itself on documenting even the most trivial and niche aspects of the Dreamcast's evergreen existence. So if you're ready, buckle up, take the red pill and let's see how deep this rabbit hole goes...

For Funk’s Sake: A Space Channel 5 VR (Kinda) Review

Let's just rip this Band-Aid off right now: Space Channel 5 VR — developed by Grounding Inc. for the PlayStation VR — is absurdly overpriced and hardly anyone will buy it.

I purchased the original Space Channel 5 for $40 back when it launched on the Dreamcast in 2000. Adjusting for inflation, that translates to $59.85 in 2020 dollars. By that standard — and only by that standard — would most people consider this $40 sequel a decent value. I cracked open a beer while downloading Space Channel 5 VR. That was a little over an hour ago (as I begin writing this). I’ve already blown through its anemic four-stage story mode and dabbled in its repetitive 100-stage marathon mode. I've seen nearly everything the game has to offer and my beer is still cold.

There isn’t a lot to do in this game is what I’m saying.
These are SC5VR's modes...and really only a couple of them are distinct game modes.
Space Channel 5 VR is an improbable sequel to the relatively obscure 20-year-old Dreamcast rhythm series. And damn, does it double down on that obscurity. SC5VR can only be played in virtual reality, and only while standing up, and only by flailing around with a pair of PlayStation Move remotes. It's exactly as niche as it sounds. I’m just trying to imagine the subset of Dreamcast fans who also fondly remember Space Channel 5, and happen to own a PSVR, and also have a pair of working Move controllers, and whose expectations for VR rhythm-based games haven’t been completely spoiled by the amazing Beat Saber and Rez: Infinite.

There are six of us. I’ve done the math.

The game's full title is Space Channel 5 Virtual Reality: Kinda Funky News Flash!, which is more of a synopsis than the name of a video game. We can also abbreviate it to SC5VRKFNF! in case that's any less ridiculous. In a weird hipster way, SC5VR’s commitment to remaining obscure is appropriately on brand for a Dreamcast throwback title and I respect it. However, that also means I won't hold my breath for a physical disc release.

OK. So now that I've railed against the game's profound lack of value and marketability, how is it?
Pretty damn fun, as it turns out.
The best way I can describe Space Channel 5 VR — both in terms of its premise and aesthetics — would be if a Hanna-Barbera crossover went awry. Like if the Scooby-Doo crew did the time travel thing, solved their mystery, and went back home...except Daphne was left stranded in a future space city. After working through that understandably traumatic situation, she briefly dated Judy Jetson, and then paid her way through journalism school with a night gig at a go-go bar. Seeking to reinvent herself, she dyed her hair pink, adopted “Ulala” as a pseudonym, and eventually landed a prestigious career as an intergalactic TV news correspondent.

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...

Using Google's Translate App To Play Japanese Dreamcast Games

A few years ago, our man in Japan Ross O'Reilly went to the trouble of researching which Dreamcast games might best be utilised when trying to learn how to speak/read Japanese. And a thoroughly entertaining and educational article it is too. However, being a typical lazy English lout, I have no desire to bother learning how to speak another language. I just shout very loudly in English whenever I go on holiday. Usually while not wearing a shirt, and having previously drunk at least 7 pints of suspiciously cheap lager. But I digress.
Harnessing the sheer power of technology and questionable privacy controls, I recently discovered that the Google Translate app on my phone has the ability to 'live translate' any text the camera may be pointed at. Slowly putting two and two together, I deduced that by pointing my phone at any Japanese text displayed on my TV screen, I might well be able to finally play through some of the impenetrable Japanese Dreamcast titles I have in my possession.
Naturally, this would work for games in any supported language, and on any platform, but for the purposes of making this nonsense vaguely Dreamcast related I'm using Dreamcast games. How did I get on? Let's find out...

Retro Fighters StrikerDC Controller Pre-Orders Open

The best Dreamcast controller the world has ever seen. That's the bold claim made by Retro Fighters of its upcoming StrikerDC controller. Will this hubris come back to bite Retro Fighters on the arse? Yes. That's because everyone knows the best Dreamcast controllers were made by Mad Catz, were the size of a dinner plate and had triggers that rattled and/or cut your fingers. That's academic though, because Mad Catz is dead; and Retro Fighters are the new kids on the block. Oh, and the StrikerDC is available to pre-order now.
We've followed the StrikerDC's journey from Kickstarter to reality here at the Junkyard, and this latest offering looks set to follow in the footsteps of the previous hardware releases from the company that claims to 'fight for retro.' Personally, I've never held a pad from Retro Fighters, but all signs point to previous peripherals released for the Nintendo 64, Sega Saturn and NES being pretty sturdy, well built bits of kit.

It's a bone of contention when it comes to the Dreamcast, but I didn't find the original HKT-7700 controller to be anything other than perfectly functional (and still don't), but for those who demand a modern take on the Dreamcast's primary peripheral, the StrikerDC promises a new ergonomic design, full compatibility with VMUs, rumble packs and microphones; along with new a analogue stick, d-pad, familiar analogue triggers and additional digital shoulder buttons.


The StrikerDC comes pre-packaged with a 12 month warranty, and is now available for the general public to pre-order at the not insignificant price point of $49.99 from the Retro Fighters website. Shipping is expected to commence in April 2020. Several members of the Junkyard team did actually back the StrikerDC on Kickstarter so you can expect a review as soon as they receive the final product in their gnarled, tobacco-stained claws.

Have you pre-ordered one? Did you back the StrikerDC? Do you own one of the other controllers from Retro Fighters? What do you think of the price? Am I asking too many questions in this last bit? Let us know down below in the comments.