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Deconstructing The Ring: Terror's Realm

In 2001 I saw a horror movie that totally changed the genre for me. I was at university and a friend who was (and still is) a complete movie nerd persuaded me to sit down and watch The Ring. Directed by Hideo Nakata and based on the 1991 novel of the same name by Koji Suzuki, The Ring tells the story of a mysterious VHS tape that if watched, will forsake the viewer to certain death in seven days. It certainly peaked my interest in Japanese horror movies and over the following years I went on to buy the home releases of stuff like Dark Water, Uzumaki and The Grudge.
I'm not entirely sure what it is about horror from that particular part of the world, but there's always an intrinsic and overwhelming sense of dread that permeates every scene. There seems to be a strangeness that modern-day Japanese horror films effortlessly produce in spades: a gut-wrenching sense that while everything may seem normal, it is far from it. The colour may be off, the air just a little bit too still, the room just a little bit too quiet.

A built up, technologically advanced setting in which traditions and spirits are integral, and the odd juxtaposition of a totally empty street or apartment block are far more skin crawling than a typical haunted house or graveyard scene packed full of screaming zombies or monsters; normality steeped in an unknown and untraceable uneasiness is far more terrifying than a skeleton popping out of a cupboard, or a maniac running around with a knife. To me at least, that is the essence of modern Japanese horror; and while I am a huge fan of Hollywood productions like The Thing or The Shining (and more recently It Follows), what excites me is the notion that older, more powerful things exist in our world that have the ability to circumvent our technology and scare the living shit out of us.

Dreamcast Magazine Issue 3

Issue 3 of Paragon Publishing's Dreamcast Magazine went on sale in the UK on 23rd November 1999. The main cover story was the magazine's first in-depth look at Shenmue, a game that with hindsight needs no real introduction. Other previews include Vigilant 8: 2nd Offence, Ferarri F355 and Resident Evil 2; while the news section details European sales figures for the fledgling system and takes a look at new peripherals available to buy.

Cancelled Dreamcast Game Coming Soon to Steam

Yesterday (Boxing Day 2015), an event was held in Akihabara, Japan known as Transition 2015, which showcased some shoot 'em up games for the PC market. While the Android and iOS mobile markets get the most attention, the event was designed to get Japanese developers more interested in spreading the shmup love to the PC master race. In attendance was Triangle Service, who had an exciting announcement: Shmups skill test was coming soon to Steam.
Wish I was there
If those names don't mean anything to you, allow me to illuminate. Triangle Service is a very small boutique developer specialising in old-school arcade gaming, notably for their retro style shoot 'em ups that eschew the modern curtain-style bullet-hell gameplay for a more traditional style of shooter. They were notably the last developer to score a third party development license from Sega (catalog code T-479), and the 'company,' if you can call it that, consists of only one man - Toshiaki Fujino

He is the Big Man in Red! It's Vader in Giant Gram 2000 in HD!

Merry Christmas! My first attempt at playing Giant Gram 2000 doesn't go as planned. Warning: there is some shouting involved!

Merry Christmas!

Thanks to everyone who continues to read our posts - without you we wouldn't be bothering to update this thing as often as we do. If you've been with us from the start in 2005 then thanks, but likewise if you've been coming here since last Tuesday - equally so. Merry Christmas to you all!

Musings on Christmas Eve

Ghosts of winters past, fresh regrets and a look into the future

I sat recently in front of my fireplace, something or other on the television, and my mind wandered into the past. I think everyone gets this once in awhile. Something triggers a memory in the mind and then, bam, the floodgates open and you are awash with people, places and events that you thought you had forgotten but actually were buried back there, nestled deep down in the little grey cells.

I think, more often than not - well it certainly is the case for me, anyway - these retrospective mental walkabouts end badly. It either leads to regret or, if not, a rose-tinted view of the past that makes the present appear dull, pale and inferior to those bright and sunny days. You can’t really win, to be honest - both lead you down a path that ends with a desire to recapture the past so that you can experience it or alter it. In reality you can do neither.

IO SATVRNALIA, er... I mean Dreamcastalia?

It's the most wonderful time of the year, when we honour the ancient Roman goddess Saturn for her bountiful harvests and superlative 2D software library. Where masters and slaves come together to eat, get drunk, puke, eat some more, puke again and then eat some more. Don't worry about the mess, the slaves only get one day off a year.
She's the reason for the season. No joke.
But I digress. An equally important aspect of this time of year is gift giving, and more importantly, gift receiving. And lucky for you, I've been beavering away on a little surprise for you all, our fantastic community, with a little Dreamcast related gift this year. Note: if you're a Sega lawyer, you can skip to the last couple of paragraphs now.

Dreamcast Magazine Issue 2

The second issue of Paragon Publishing's Dreamcast Magazine went on sale in the UK on 21st October 1999 for the princely sum of £2.95. While the first issue was more of a preview and had practically zero reader participation (for obvious reasons), issue 2 was more fleshed out and had a mail section for reader letters and a high score section to which readers could submit their best attempts at various Dreamcast games. Other new sections introduced for issue 2 included import reviews and the free gift was a Virtua Fighter 3tb solutions booklet.

Dreamcast Magazine Issue 1

Dreamcast Magazine from Paragon Publishing was the UK's best-selling unofficial Dreamcast publication during the system's natural lifespan. I bought it on more regular occasions than I purchased the official Dreamcast magazine because it was a bit cheaper, and was a little bit more tongue in cheek when it came to reviews and commenting on the Dreamcast's performance in the console war of the era. Sure, the official mag had the Dream On demo discs, but Dreamcast Magazine had total freedom to be as honest as possible, and this usually lead to some interesting exchanges between the editorial staff and software publishers which were usually printed in the mag, much to the amusement of readers.

Developer Interview: Duranik

Sturmwind is widely regarded as one of the most impressive independently developed titles on the Dreamcast, and having played it extensively I would be inclined to agree. Published in 2013 by RedSpotGames, Sturmwind was released to almost worldwide critical acclaim and popular website and YouTube/Dailymotion channel Classic Game Room even went as far as naming it as their Game of the Year.

I admit that I came to the party a little late, having only played Sturmwind for the first time earlier in 2015, but I thought it would be cool to catch up with Johannes Graf of developer Duranik to find out a little more about the team, the Atari Jaguar CD origins of Sturmwind and to ask more about the mysterious upcoming title Midsummer.
DCJY: Hi Johannes, thanks for taking the time to answer our questions. First off, could you tell us a little bit about Duranik? Who makes up the team and what are your roles?

Johannes Graf: We are two brothers. Each one is doing a different part, more or less split into coding and graphics/level and game design. For Sturmwind, there were also a couple of other people contributing in different areas. For example 505 did the soundtrack and we were also happy for the help of a very enthusiastic DC fan who did endless testing and a lot of other things.

Sega Marine Fishing Vs Reality

Which is better? Sega Marine Fishing on the Dreamcast, or actual marine fishing? It's a valid question and thankfully my good pal Andy Pryer of Gamesyouloved.com was on hand to find out...

A Quick Look At Real Sound: Winds of Regret

The power of sight. I'd wager that pretty much everyone reading this is using it and is dependant on it; and I am no different. As a gamer, a writer and a movie fan, it is sometimes lost on me just how much I take my sight for granted. Without glasses or contact lenses I can't see further than about 6 feet before everything turns into San Francisco Rush on N64, but if the usage of my peepers was taken from me for whatever reason, I really don't know what I would do.
But what of those of us whom have had this life-changing thing happen to them? Or those who were born without the ability to see? Should they be excluded from a pastime like gaming? Accessibility and gaming for the blind and visually impaired is something I personally find absolutely fascinating, and very recently I learned of a game for the Dreamcast which aimed to allow partially sighted and blind gamers the opportunity to enjoy an adventure in the same manner that a sighted gamer might. That game is Warp's Real Sound: Winds of Regret.

A Rare Shenmue Prototype Appears!

It's one of those posts about something cool that's popped up on eBay! Huzzah! This is quite cool though: a prototype copy of Shenmue, complete with a smorgasbord of hastily labelled VMUs that were apparently used for demoing sections of the game to the press back in those halcyon days of the late 1990s. Indeed, the seller goes on to detail the exact circumstances in which these labelled VMUs would be used:

This is the exact bundle my husband used when he demoed to the press, including save files from multiple points in the game so that he could easily show the various scenes. This was given to him as a gift upon completion of the Shenmue project.

We don't know who her husband is, but damn this is a nice leaving gift. Edit: this has been confirmed as belonging to Mike Rhinehart, the lead tester of the NTSC-U version of Shenmue. I know for a fact that I can't afford this bundle (which also includes a System Disc), but it'll be interesting to see what the lot eventually goes for. Here's the link to the auction. Oh, and the gallery is below...

Thanks to Gameboyle for the heads up. Be sure to check out his Gameboy-tastic YouTube channel!

Pier Solar Collector's Edition Gallery

Pier Solar has finally shipped and the general consensus is that it's a fine game, and that Watermelon has done a really good job with the packaging and variations on PAL, NTSC-U and NTSC-J Dreamcast boxes. The ultimate variant of Pier Solar appears to be the Collector's Edition, and fellow Dreamcast collector and blogger Blue Swirl has supplied me with some images of the packaging, extras and guide book that come as part of this lovely set. The gallery is below, but here's what Blue Swirl had to say about the Collector's Edition:

I recently received the Collector's Edition of Pier Solar for Dreamcast and thought you might like some photos.

I went with the PAL variation, it came wrapped in custom gold wrapping paper (an early Christmas present!) and it's really nicely done with gold ink on the game cover, inlay and manual. They also authentically recreated the PAL Dreamcast cases too - hopefully the plastic hinges are a little stronger though!

There are some pictures of the guide too, which comes bound in a faux leather cover embossed with the logo. I have to say they do go to some extremes for an indie developer, it's very professionally done.
Click on the little icon in the bottom left of the gallery for a fullscreen toggle.
We have to agree that it does look very nice, especially the guide book. Pier Solar is out now and available to buy from Watermelon's website and you can visit Blue Swirl's Dreamcast blog here. Also, be sure to check out Caleb's Pier Solar first look video here.

A Quick Look At Arabian Nights: Prince of Persia

I loved Flashback. It was such an epic game. The rotoscoped animation of Conrad B. Hart, the cinematics, the fantastic storyline and pacing of the adventure. You really felt like you were playing a role in the greatest sci-fi caper ever told; you literally had the fate of mankind in your frail, meat-based human hands. I initially experienced Flashback on the Mega Drive (and later the Jaguar and 3DO) and once I'd finished it, I looked into other games that were similar in scope and design and eventually my quest lead me to buy an earlier title from the bountiful table of Delphine Software and US Gold: Another World.
I'm not going to lie in an attempt to look like some learned and well-versed gaming expert: I thought Another World was shite. Even though it was lauded by the press, I couldn't even get past the first couple of screens with that big black dog and those stupid snaggle-toothed slug things nipping at my ankles. Ultimately, Another World (or Out of This World if you're American) was tossed aside after about an hour of trial and error (and random outbursts of rage at the TV screen if I remember rightly). Before you start foaming on your yellowing, crumb-filled Amiga keyboard know this: I have since played it as an adult and fully appreciate the game now; but back then in my youthful 'fresh from Flashback' comedown period, I thought it was an impenetrable mess. A good looking mess with excellent cut scenes, but a mess all the same. I can only apologise for such adolescent idiocy.

Unknown Tantalus Shooter Revealed

This is the latest in our series of unreleased games reveals, and to be honest we're not really sure what to call it. The game - if you can call it such - is contained on a GD with the word 'Tantalus' scribbled across it with permanent marker. That's it. No name, no version, no date. For those who don't know, Tanatalus is a developer that did several ports for the Saturn including Manx TT Superbike, Krazy Ivan and both WipEout and WipEout 2097. They also supported the Dreamcast, with the most notable game being Looney Tunes Space Race, the cell-shaded kart racer.
According to Wikipedia, Tantalus are also working on The Legend Of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD for the Wii U, which is cool. However, this post is about a game lost to the mists of time. A four player split screen demo with no name but a hell of a lot of Nazi imagery and more questions than answers. Is it the multiplayer component for a lost Dreamcast version of Return To Castle Wolfenstein? This sounds likely, but the video below will hopefully jog some memories...

Update: the CEO of Tantalus has revealed the story behind this demo!
Nice work guys! As far as we remember, this is a tech demo we produced, and presumably sent around to a few publishers. As much as anything, it was probably to showcase the fact that our Dreamcast tech supported four-player split-screen multiplayer. It never became an actual game.

Fantastic to see it though, we love a blast from the past.

Tom Crago
CEO - Tantalus
The mystery is solved...thanks Tom! 

The World's Smallest Dreamcast?

OK, so you've probably seen the Yujin Sega History Collection Dreamcast that comes in a plastic egg like something out of a Dobuita toy machine, but we're confident we've found an even smaller example of Sega's lovely white system. Behold:
This is available from Etsy seller Bricksanity for the equally minuscule price of £1.99, is based on a Lego brick, and is a pretty darn cool novelty item - even more so if you collect Lego. One of these Dreamcast bricks would look amazing in any Lego house, and it comes complete with a controller, VMU, mains plug and RGB Scart cable. Sadly this, much like the fabled cake in Portal, is a lie. In actual fact you only get a controller (of sorts):
This is in no way official, but it's pretty awesome. I wonder if Sega Europe will order the seller to cease and desist...surely not!

Cease & Desist

If you managed to snag a Collectors Guide, you'll be pleased to know that it itself is now a collectable. That's because Sega's legal department has asked The Dreamcast Junkyard to cease sale of the guide as it isn't an official product, and naturally we will honour the request. For transparency, here's the email:

Dear Sirs,

We are pleased that you support the SEGA video game console Dreamcast and we note your creation of the Dreamcast Junkyard Ultimate Collectors Guide Book. This is however an unofficial title which is not authorised nor endorsed by SEGA and for that reason, we ask that you kindly cease sale of this book on your website and/or any other online channels as soon as possible. 

Please can you confirm that you have removed the book by emailing the Legal Dept.

As you will understand, in order to protect the brands within our group companies, we are only able to allow the creation of and promotion of authorised products and platforms.
We thank you for your understanding.

Yours faithfully

Legal Department
SEGA Europe Ltd.

For and on behalf of SEGA Holdings Co., Ltd.

Fair enough. It's not an official product and Sega have every right to request this. After all, they own the Dreamcast copyright and all that jazz. I have replied asking if there's anything we can do to make the book available again, so we'll see what they say. In truth, the upcoming Pix'N Love Dreamcast publication has probably had something to do with this...but c'est la vie! Once again, there is no love lost here (from our side anyway!).
Thanks to everyone who bought one and keep dreaming!

Japanese Dreamcast Promotion Disk

What with all the writing and playing of Dreamcast games lately, I'm developing gnarled claws where my hands should be. I blame that infernal controller with it's guillotine edges. No matter how much lard I rub into my palms, I just can't rid myself of the cramp and so I decided to make a lovely video for your delectation, rather than spend ages hammering out guff on my internet-enabled steampunk typewriter, while simultaneously listening to whale song playing on an 8 track. Hipster? You don't know the half of it squire. 

Anyway, a few weeks ago a chap named James sent me a rather spiffing selection of Dreamcast demos from the shores of Japan, and in amongst said collection was a GD labelled simply as a Dreamcast Promotion Disk. It also has 'not for sale' printed on it, and this piqued my interest. In all honesty, it's probably just a disk for use in shop-based demo pods and the like, but I thought it was worth investigating further. Cast your eyes downward, hit play and all will be revealed!

As ever, if you know more about this disk than I, please share the knowledge in the comments. Edit: it turns out the demo is from the Japanese Dreamcast Magazine, which I kind of suspected seeing as the logo for said periodical popped up at one point in the video. Still, an interesting item nonetheless as all of the other demos from that magazine are numbered and have a completely different look to them. More on those coming very soon!

10 Years Young!

Well, we made it. Today - the 7th December 2015 - marks a decade since this blog first started. Back in 2005 it was simply a place where I intended to document the reconstruction of the Dreamcast collection I had traded for a PlayStation 2 in 2001, but in the ensuing months it became something of a labour of love where every new game and peripheral I snagged on eBay was photographed and 'added to the 'Yard.'

Soon after I started it,  The Gagaman joined the Junkyard and it became a two man operation, with the pair of us adding the occasional post about things we'd bought or games we'd played. We became a threesome (er...) when Barry joined, adding an international flavour with his views from across the pond in the US. The team and the variety of posts continued to grow as we later welcomed Father Krishna and Caleb, and then Martin and NebachadnezzaR, both of whom are no longer on the team here at DCJY but will live on as legends in the Junkyard's hall of fame. Yes, the line-up here at the 'Yard has undergone a few changes over the course of the last decade, but we like to think that the tone has remained constant - one of true passion for Sega's final console.

10th Anniversary Competition Bonus Stage - Winners!

Once again, massive thanks to Play-Asia.com for supplying us with the prizes for this, our final 10th anniversary competition; and thanks to everyone who entered. The VMU images seem to have flummoxed most of you (it wasn't meant to be easy!), but that said most of you got the vast majority of them right. So well done. Before we announce the winners, here are the answers:

How many did you get right? In truth, nobody got them all 100% correct but as stated in the original post, if that happened, the entrants with the next best number of correct answers would be crowned winners and recieve a prize. And so here they are:

1st Prize Winners: Mike Lodato & Alex Young
Runners Up: Yu Kajima, Ricardo Almeida & Anna Frohling
Well done to you all, and thanks again to Play-Asia.com for supplying us with copies of Dux and ReDux. Winners will also get a copy of our DCJY Collectors Guide. We hope you enjoyed the competition, and remember: keep dreaming!

Pier Solar Sega Dreamcast Version First Look

Here's a quick look at Pier Solar on the Sega Dreamcast! As you can see the pixels are all there, but I never found out how to hunt those evil bunny rabbits. Next time they'll get what's coming to them...

Apologies for the wonky sound. My Snowball mic is on the way out. Time to get a better setup.

Rez Infinite Coming To PS4

Rez is one of the Dreamcast's most iconic titles and the blend of trippy visuals and great music mean it is still a favourite with many gamers. The game has been re-released several times since the Dreamcast original in 2001, with PlayStation 2 and HD remakes but now Tetsuya Mizaguchi's musical shooter is heading to the PlayStation 4 with full 1080 HD visuals and VR support. Check out IGN's video below of the Rez Infinite reveal at the recent PlayStation Experience press conference.
It is quite ironic that after all this time, we are still seeing titles that started on the Dreamcast being brought to a new audience in 2015. You can read more about Rez Infinite at the PlayStation Europe blog here. Also, thanks to Ted for the heads up on this.

Official Dreamcast Keyring

Last week I received a small package and inside was a random Dreamcast-related item I bought off eBay. I wasn't totally sure what it was, but after I made this video (and also contacted the seller), it became apparent that it is in fact a somewhat rare, and totally official Dreamcast branded keyring that was given exclusively to staff of Sega Europe back in the day. The seller is an ex-employee and had been using it as a keyring up until the day they decided to flog it. I've never seen a keyring of this design, hence my bafflement at the thing once it appeared in the mail, but I thought it might be cool to share some images of it. The main body is made of solid metal (I'm not sure what type) and is quite weighty, and the wire has unscrewable ends that allow you to loop it through your keys. As I said, I've never seen a keyring of this design before, and certainly not one that's branded with the Dreamcast logo (it appears to be engraved onto the metal). Do you have one of these? Do you know anything more about it? Let us know in the comments!

An Open Letter To Discotek Media

Dear Discotek Media,

Congratulations on securing the rights to release Hi☆sCoool! SeHa Girls on physical media in North America (and by default, the rest of Western civilisation). As self-confessed Sega fans, we are eagerly awaiting this release and look forward to the extra content and interviews you will be including alongside the full 13 episode series.

We suspect you guys and gals may also be big Sega fans yourselves, as many of the older series you've published have ties to classic Sega titles as well, such as Fist of the North Star, Golgo 13: The Professional, and Super Dimension Century Orguss. There is certainly a lot of scope for overlap between the Sega and Anime fandoms and markets.

Fist of the North Star (aka Hokuto no Ken) was released as
Black Belt in Western markets. 
This is why we are penning this open letter. There is an exciting opportunity for you to capitalise on the recent “Dreamcast Renaissance.” No less than six new independently published games were released this year, two successful kickstarter campaigns funded additional games for the coming years, and the phenomenal success of Shenmue III took everyone by surprise and elevated Sega and Dreamcast nostalgia back into the mainstream consciousness. The Dreamcast is once again hot property and its star will only continue to rise.

DreamPod - Episode 20

UK Podcast Directory

Massive thanks to Carlos for taking part in this episode. For further information on Xenocider and AMEBA, be sure to visit Retro Sumus' official website, Twitter and Facebook. You can also check out Dreamcast.es here and read all about Retro Barcelona here. Enjoy amigos!

MSR Alpha Gameplay Footage

A few posts ago we looked at the newly-discovered alpha version of Bizarre Creations' exemplary Dreamcast driving sim Metropolis Street Racer. James, the owner of the GD kindly sent me some gameplay footage of this November 1999 alpha which he recorded from his TV, and so I set about creating a little video showing some of the more interesting aspects.
Below you will find the fruits of our combined efforts, and the video highlights some interesting things from this early version of MSR that are missing from the final build. For instance, the 'lens flare' effect from the vehicle brake lights and the real-world shop front textures. Other things such as the audio placeholders, the real-life recordings of actual radio stations (complete with traffic updates for the M4 and British Telecom adverts) and a very early recording of Live Your Life as sung by Richard Jaques in what sounds like a broom cupboard. Anyway, enjoy the video.

A Quick Look At Jikkyou Powerful Pro Yakyuu

Of all the popular American sports, ice hockey is probably my favourite. I know other countries (including the UK) play ice hockey and have domestic leagues, but for me the NHL is the go-to for fast, ice-based violence/fun; and the similarities it shares with soccer make it quite easy for me to enjoy. There are two teams, two goals, two goalkeepers, and a thing that needs to be put past said 'keeper to score a point. Simple.
At the other end of the spectrum, NFL - or American Football - is the least penetrable to me. To my stupid foreign eyes it looks like a chaotic mishmash of rugby and Gaelic football, two other sports I have very little interest in. Sandwiched betwixt these extremes like two slabs of pastrami are basketball and baseball. Basketball is alright, but it just seems like the teams take it in turn to score (yawn), and baseball is just rounders with a bigger bat and 90,000 screaming drunks lining the field (probably). Oh, and there was a film starring Kevin Costner about it once. I think it was called The Postman. But I digress.

T3's Sega Dreamcast Anniversary Special

November 27th 1998 marked the Japanese release of the Dreamcast. It was a momentous occasion, and while not on the same level of notoriety as the bat-shit crazy European launch that featured drunken cameos from Chris Eubank, Nigel Benn and Verne Troyer, it's still an important event. 
As it's November 27th 2015, the 17th birthday of the Dreamcast, T3.com has featured the story as one of its main articles. In the name of transparency, I must admit that it was written by me and the process involved the laying out of most of my peripherals and random Dreamcast components all over the living room table so they could be photographed (much to the annoyance of my girlfriend), but thanks must go to Rob Jones for asking me to write a feature for such a prestigious website. If you don't know, T3 is one of the world's foremost technology and gadget magazines and websites and is published by Future Publishing. You can find the article here.

16ths: The Dreamcast Start-Up Theme

Hey! I started doing YouTube videos just this past year, and one of the series I do is about short pieces in video game music. The Dreamcast's boot tune is one such piece. Even though some older systems had musical start-ups, most of the others weren't as good - certainly, they probably didn't have the same caliber of composer. Anyway, prologue aside, here's the video:

Sega Central Features The DCJY Collectors Guide

Sega Central is Sega Europe's regular YouTube series in which presenter Dan gives details of competitions and shares Sega-centric news and developments. The latest episode offers viewers the chance to win some great Sega-related prizes and also looks briefly at the upcoming Warhammer: Night Goblins, but by far the best bit - to us anyway - is that the Dreamcast Junkyard Ultimate Collectors Guide gets a mention! Fame, fortune and stardom...at last! Well, almost. The video is below, but remember you can also purchase the Guide (which also doubles up as an incredible Christmas present, I hasten to add) by moving your mouse pointer thingy and clicking here.

Massive thanks to the lovely people at Sega Europe for the shout out, make sure you go and subscribe to the YouTube channel after reading this! Meanwhile, I'm off to go and have the Sega logo tattooed onto my forehead.

We See In Pixels

This week I was privileged enough to guest on the brilliant We See In Pixels podcast. While the normal state of play on the podcast is to focus on modern gaming news and releases, regular hosts Mike, Jas and Amy do occasionally discuss retro games and systems. As the Dreamcast is enjoying something of a renaissance at present, I was asked if I'd like to appear on the show and wax lyrical about our favourite white box of tricks, and naturally I said yes! Being a regular listener of the podcast anyway, it was something of an honour to be asked to guest host, and in turn I'd be honoured if you'd take the time to go and have a listen to We See In Pixels Episode 24: The Dreamcast...cast.

You can also find and subscribe to We See In Pixels on iTunes here.

A Quick Look At The Dreamconnector

For some reason, the notion of using peripherals designed for another console with the Dreamcast has always fascinated me. Much like emulation, it's the idea of tricking the hardware into doing something it wasn't intended to do. Stupid machine. Look at it, doing my bidding. Oh how I laugh at the stupidity of machines. And, until Skynet gains self awareness and smites me for my hubris I shall continue with my arrogant taunting. To this end I recently purchased the Dreamconnector, a cool little device hailing from China that promises to allow the user the God-like power to trick the idiot Dreamcast into accepting Sega Saturn, Sony PlayStation, PC PS/2 keyboards and even steering wheels as legitimate input devices.
Who's 'thinking' now? Eh?! And as I stand here in my pants screaming hysterically at an inanimate console, I find myself and return to a reality in which I'm aware that a device called Total Control also exists, but as far as I know it doesn't allow for the use of a PS/2 keyboard as well as controllers.

10th Anniversary Competition: Bonus Stage - In Association With Play-Asia.com

***Competition Now Closed***

Earlier in 2015 we celebrated the Junkyard's 10th year in existence with a series of three competitions in which entrants could win a limited edition Dreamcast Collection vinyl record. These were supplied by our good friends at Sega Europe and the triumvirate of triumphant winners produced the goods when it mattered. Competition 1 was won by James Steel for his awesome Dreamcast montage, competition 2 was won by Ricardo Almeida for guessing all the games, and competition 3 was won by João Borba for his outstanding time attack performance in Sega Rally 2. Rounds of applause were initiated, party poppers were pulled and everyone had a jolly old time. Huzzah!

The thing is, the actual 10th anniversary of this hallowed blog occurs on the 7th of December and we thought it was worth celebrating the momentous occasion with another competition. A bonus stage, if you will. And so, with the help of online super store Play-Asia.com, we are very excited to announce that we're wheeling out the bunting for one last time. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to The Dreamcast Junkyard 10th Anniversary Competition: Bonus Stage!
Once again, massive thanks to Play-Asia.com for supplying the prizes for this celebration of all things Dreamcast. If you're not familiar with Play-Asia.com then you must have been living under a particularly large rock for the last decade, as they are probably the number one retailer (and now publisher) of new, independent Dreamcast games anywhere on the planet. Want proof? Go here and look at the selection on offer. Not only that, but Play-Asia.com is regarded as one of the best sources for Japanese games and merchandise across a whole range of other systems too, not just the Dreamcast.

The Gagaman's London Gaming Market Haul

So last weekend I went to the first ever London Gaming Market. Run by the same people who bring you the wonderful Play Expo further up north, it was nice to finally have an event like this nearer my way. I haven't got any photos to share of the event unfortunately but there was two reasons for this:
  • It was quite a small venue
  • It was very very very crowded
Literally the second the doors opened till near the end when I left around 2pm it was shoulder to shoulder, you could barely move in there! I was afraid it was gonna be like a mad rush to grab bargains with everyone tearing each others eyes out, but thankfully that wasn't the case. Unlike other busy conventions I've been to like EGX and MCM Expo, a majority of people all desperate to have a browse here were polite and courteous and weren't shoving in. I don't think I have both said and heard 'sorry' more times than I had here, heh!
There are photos on the Facebook page for the event, photographed by Alan Chang. You might even spot me in a couple of them!

Dreamcast wise there was quite a lot on offer at the stores, with a good selection of PAL, American and Japanese game and a few nice boxed systems and accessories like the Mr. Yukawa box console and a boxed arcade stick. I wouldn't say I spotted much in the way of rare games per say, certainly not anything from my most wanted list, but I still managed to spend quite a bit of money in total on a few curiosities.

One thing that is great about the Dreamcast is there is still a lot of games that can be picked up for less than a tenner, of which every game I grabbed were around that price. I particularly wanted to grab a few American games as they don't come up quite as often, and postage from America is usually too expensive. I bought a majority of my games from Console Passion, who had the biggest selection and some of the fairest prices.
Here was my total haul, though considering where we are you're only interested in the Dreamcast games right? I've given each game I picked up a go so here's my first impressions on all of them, after the jump!

The Dreamcast 2016 Calendar

Tokyo Game Show 2015 seemed to feature quite bit of retro tat, some of which was Dreamcast-branded. Remember those hideous shoes? Exactly. Some of the stuff on sale was decidedly less garish though - the Dreamcast desk calendar for example. Regular reader and all-round good egg Ross (he who sent me the Twin Stick from Japan) happened to bag one of these lesser-spotted calendars and overcame extreme technological difficulties over in the Land of the Rising Sun (that is, no internet connection at home. Luddite) to scan and email me the various monthly 'pages' that make up the 128-bits of the year 2016. Or something. Oh, and before you start foaming all over your keyboard I know the Dreamcast is technically 32-bit. Anyway, here's the calendar in all it's glory:

In case you're wondering, the game featured on January's page is Otsukare! Guru Guru Onsen - a Japan-only collection of online mini-games like Trumps, Mahjong and Shougi (a type of Japanese chess). These calendars have appeared on eBay for quite astronomical sums in recent weeks, but Ross assures me they were on sale for ¥700 - which is about £3.75 in real money. Beware of eBay crooks!

Who Dat? Dreamcast: Not the Console - the Anime Lady!

Did anyone here watch the anime SEGA Hard Girls last year? It was a short lived 13-episode series of only 11 minutes a pop, and starred the Mega Drive, Sega Saturn and Dreamcast as school girls attending a Sega high school where they are warped into games like Space Channel 5, Jet Set Radio and Virtua Fighter to earn medals. It's a very odd premise, and I'm really surprised that in this day and age, and so long after Sega stopped making consoles that they would make something like this. That said, it is so full of in-jokes for hardcore Sega fans it's hard not to like.

This video by friend of mine DiGi Valentine is a review/analysis of sorts of the character that represents the Dreamcast, detailing her design, personality and importance to the anime series. DiGi does a particularly good job of explaining her ditzy, zany attidtude attributed to the fact that she has a built in modem like the console. If you liked the video, go to DiGi's channel to see more character reviews including plenty of other Dreamcast icons such as Ryo from Shenmue, several Street Fighters and even Big the Cat.

MSR Playable Alpha Discovered

I remember the first time I ever saw a screen of Metropolis Street Racer in a magazine. It was a tiny little image that showed a couple of sports cars blasting through a Tokyo bus station, and what really excited me was that a game featuring real-world locations was coming to the Dreamcast. As we all know, MSR isn't one of those fabled games that was teased but never released - it went on to be one of the Dreamcast's most championed racers, and even spawned a host of semi-sequels on the Xbox and Xbox 360 in the form of the Project Gotham series.
Buses are behind barriers in the final game
But lets go back to that early image I mentioned (see above). Looking at it now, it's clear that MSR underwent some drastic redesigns before it became the game we know and love today and it'd probably be fairly safe to assume that the early alpha version had been lost to the mists of time, or at the very least rotting on an old Bizarre Creations dev kit in a rubbish tip somewhere. However, we're very happy - and slightly shocked - to report that this isn't the case.

A Quick Look At The NeoGeo Pocket Link Cable

I recently picked up a NeoGeo Pocket Link Cable for the very reasonable price of £30. That may seem expensive for what is essentially a bit of wire, but these things seem to be getting rarer all the time and so for that price I snapped it up sharpish. The only other one I've seen for sale recently was around £50 and they regularly go for upwards of that on eBay. Before I get ahead of myself, I should probably explain what the NeoGeo Pocket actually is - I sometimes forget that not everyone is as aufait with antiquated gaming technology as I am, and in turn I know there are people with far greater knowledge than I possess...so I'll try not to get anything wrong!
The NeoGeo Pocket was a handheld console released in 1998 by SNK that initially featured a monochrome screen but was later re-released with a colour screen and rebranded as the NeoGeoPocket Color (I'll overlook the missing 'u' on this occasion). It's a nifty little piece of tech and has a rather lovely clicky microswitch thumbstick like most other NeoGeo consoles do. The system's library isn't very large and the screen can be a bit hard to see sometimes due to it's lack of either a front or back light, but it does hold a certain charm and the library is brimming with cool portable versions of popular SNK franchises like The King Of Fighters and Samurai Shodown et al.

Space Channel 5 Tankōbon Guide Book

Space Channel 5 is the epitome of acquired taste when it comes to Dreamcast games. You either love the ultra-camp aesthetic of Ulala's dancerific battle against the invading Morolians, or you cringe so hard your face literally turns inside out. I fall into the latter category sadly, but I still recognise the appeal of a game that is basically a rhythm-action game with tweeness taken to the Nth degree.

As with many Dreamcast games, Space Channel 5 enjoyed a glut of merchandise - especially in Japan, and recently I was lucky enough to stumble upon the Space Channel 5 Tankōban Guide Book.
ISBN 4-575-16207-8