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Soulcalibur Video Test with Altona Adaptor.

Today I got a VGA to HDMI adapter!

I tried it out with my trusty Dreamcast VGA box and it worked out pretty OK.



I assumed I would have to fiddle with the scaling a bit but Soulcalibur seems to work pretty well in 1080 with no adjustments.  I am assuming this will work much better with other titles like Shenmue.

In addition to video capture this is a easy way to hook up a Dreamcast box to a TV with no VGA input.  (This is the Atlona Technologies AT-HDVIEW VGA to HDMI Scaler which is unfortunately very expensive right now.  I got it cheap on ebay.)

Unconventional Ramblings

I went to Comic Con at the weekend. It was the first time I've actually been aware of such an event happening in my immediate vicinity, so naturally I jumped at the chance to attend...and I have to admit that it was a bit of a mixed bag. I don't really know what exactly I was expecting, but I'd seen various photos and tweets over the years about Comic Con events happening in other parts of the world so I was curious...but I wasn't as blown away as I thought I would be. Don't get me wrong - from the moment I arrived at the venue I was massively impressed by the number of other attendees who had put some fantastic amounts of effort into dressing up as characters from various comics, anime and games...but the actual event itself felt like little more than a massive table top sale where traders got to peddle their wares to the game and comic-loving public at inflated prices. I did see the guy who played Vaas Montenegro in Far Cry 3, and I also purchased this rather excellent squashy, handmade monitor from Sonic (which goes quite nicely with the early 90s plush toys that I have)...but I can't help but admit that I was a little underwhelmed by the whole experience.

Beats watching Big Brother I suppose
Maybe Play Expo in October will be more up my street, as I'm definitely more of a retrogaming nut than a comic reader. That being said, I still have to give kudos to all the guys and gals who dressed up in some frankly awesome cosplay outfits.

Moving back towards something vaguely related to the Dreamcast, last weekend I managed to pick up a used Nintendo Gamecube at a boot sale for a mere £5. What's that got to do with Dreamcasting? Well, I also got a copy of Wave Race Blue Storm...and what a lovely little game it is too. This got me thinking about the Dreamcast's only entry in the jet-ski racing genre, Surf Rocket Racers. So I knocked up a little comparison video:



I fully appreciate that Wave Race is a much better looking game than Surf Rocket Racers, and they both came out in the same year (which just demonstrates the technical gulf between the 'Cast and 'Cube)...but if you take out the water effects, Wave Race doesn't look that much better than SRR...right?! I mean, just look at the character models and the jet-skis themselves, and also the trackside details and you wouldn't really think that SRR is running on hardware that is vastly inferior to Nintendo's newer Gamecube. OK, this video doesn't really do much to fight the Dreamcast's corner, but I thought it'd be interesting to see how well our favourite Sega platform holds up against the last 'proper' Nintendo machine!

I finally got my hands on an S-VHS cable for my Dreamcast last week, and I'm very impressed with the image it kicks out on my CRT television. I do have a VGA box too, but both of the LCD televisions I have still give a fairly crappy image when I use the VGA adaptor (I'm guessing a contemporary CRT computer monitor would be the best thing to use with it). In the absence of such a display device in my abode, the S-VHS is probably the best option right now, and it has the added bonus of being compatible with all of the games I have in my collection. I did receive an email from a reader called Henrique regarding a Dreamcast VGA and Scanline Generator (thanks Henrique!), but as I haven't got one I can't really vouch for the quality of the thing. Reading the posts on that forum though, it seems pretty clear that the device is pretty nifty, so maybe I'll look into acquiring one in the future.

To wrap up this spectacularly random DCJY post, here's another short(ish) Youtube video I uploaded the other day. It's just a little bit of footage from an odd version of Doom I have on a CD-R I probably mentioned ages ago: Doom Classic Collection. It's Doom 2, but with the weapon and enemy artwork from Doom64 grafted in, and the file is simply called 'Requiem.' Enjoy.

Life's A Beach

Erm...I hate to start a post in this fashion, but what the fuck is this:
Right there, under TrickStyle. The audacity...
I've just noticed that out of every single game I have, only one has the name printed right to left instead of left to right. F1 Racing Championship, why must you be different? It's not big, and it's not clever. You'll forever be in the shadow of F1 World Grand Prix 2 and pulling an attention-grabbing stunt like this will never change that. Sigh.

Anyway. The sun's still out and my garden is still dying in the unexpected summer heat. I'm not complaining, but my significant other spent quite a while planting all sorts of green, leafy stuff out in the mud and I'll be damned if I'm going to fill a jug with water and start messing about expending calories by pouring the aforementioned wet stuff onto it. In the immortal words of Ivan Drago, if he (the foliage) dies, he (the foliage) dies. Of course, I'm just joking...I'll go and throw a mug of vodka on them in a bit: there'll be Hell to pay if she gets back from her travels and the yard resembles the surface of Planet Crematoria. Gulp.

And while we're on the subject of arid, sunny locales I thought it might be fun to profile some of the Dreamcast's best beaches!

The Light Fantastic

Today's post is a bit of a cop out, as it has required minimal creative input from me. Other than, y'know, browsing Youtube, watching people fire M&Ms out of their belly buttons into cups, realising what the hell I'm doing and then looking for proper stuff...like this:



Yeah, a guy with a blatantly obvious talent for electronics (and a truckload of patience, I'm guessing!) modded a VMU so that it has a cool backlit screen. Reminds me of the Game Boy Light...only smaller, and I would probably buy one if he was making them to order as it looks fantastic when plugged into the controller. I was actually planning on doing a post about this:

Please ignore the dust on the TV. The butler hasn't been in yet.
It's a Dreamcast SD card reader I managed to acquire through a very odd series of events that I won't go into here, but after wasting a shit-load of CD-Rs and trawling various forums I still can't actually work out a) how to use it; and b) what the point of it is if you've already got 90% of the DC's game library and enough VMUs to fill a quarry. I understand it can be used to run other operating systems and games from, but to be honest I'm not really overly interested in that kind of thing...so it shall remain in my box of Dreamcast-related paraphernalia as an odd little curio, alongside the tissue holder and the jar of pickled eyeballs.

Soul 2 Soul

Ah, Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver. If ever there was an example of how a port should be handled, surely that game was it. If you've never played Crystal Dynamics' amazing vampire/wraith-themed adventure, then I suggest you head over to eBay posthaste and grab a copy while you still can.

Yes, Soul Reaver has a few minor issues with fogging and combat collision detection, but on the whole the surreal landscape and marvellously gothic architecture of the realm of Nosgoth (and, y'know, the awesomeness of the adventure as a whole) make for a thoroughly enjoyable little romp. And then, just when you're getting into it...the game ends on a rather abrupt note and a major cliffhanger.

And that's where the story, rather annoyingly, ends for Dreamcast owners. You see, Soul Reaver 2 was planned for release on the Dreamcast but the demise of the system meant that the game was cancelled, even though development had apparently been running alongside the PS2 version (that actually went on to be released). The reason I bring all this ancient history up, is that I've stumbled across some hitherto unseen (by me, at least) images of an early Dreamcast build of Soul Reaver 2. They all come from this Legacy of Kain tribute site, and I discovered it while I was trawling through an Assembler Games forum. Just wanted to give credit where it's due. Anyway enough waffle...here are some pictures:






We can only really speculate how complete this version of Soul Reaver 2 was at the time the plug was pulled (I'm gonna guess that it wasn't anywhere near complete), but I always think it's a little bit sad when new images surface of DC games that never made it.

Two Wheels...Good?

Well, the weather’s finally decided to behave and we in the UK have been blessed (temporarily at least) with a fairly decent few days. No grey mornings, no torrential afternoons and no evenings where you think it might be safer to move your car away from the trees that are swaying dangerously close to the telegraph pole outside the front door. Yes - this happened just a few weeks ago. Granted, our weather here in good old England isn't as severe as in some other countries, but for the past few years it has been consistently shit. But hurrah! The sun has come out and stayed out for the past week, and that can only be good for someone like me...someone who rides a motorcycle! Yes, the recent fine weather has meant that I’ve been riding the highways and byways of Northern England, taking in the sights and sounds. But this ain't no Goddamned travelogue. No, this is the Dreamcast Junkyard: the epicentre/epicenter of all things Dreamcast, depending on where you reside.

So why am I bleating on about weather and motorbikes and all sorts of other unrelated crap? Well, it’s because I got back from my most recent bike ride and suddenly realised that the Dreamcast has a whole host of two-wheeled-mode-of-transport-related titles. Well, three dedicated ones anyway. And I figured it was about damn time that I had a look at them. There’s also another game that features motorcycles, and I'll get around to that. Eventually. But before then...let us cast a critical eye on the Dreamcast’s stable of ‘proper’ bike ‘em ups...