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Retro Surge Games - A New Dreamcast Software Publisher


The recent resurgence in the popularity of the Dreamcast shows little sign of slowing down, and a brand new publisher that will deal exclusively in Dreamcast games has recently been launched. Retro Surge Games is a subsidiary of retro game online store The Bit Station, and will be the publisher of upcoming Dreamcast isometric puzzle/RPG title Reaperi Cycle.

"We are so excited to see what this new venture will hold and to have the opportunity to help the Indie Dreamcast community continue to grow and prosper. Over the last 2 years, we have had the opportunity to serve one of the most devoted and friendly communities in the gaming world. If it wasn’t for the support of this community, we wouldn’t be this confident about expanding our involvement with the Dreamcast even further."
- The Bit Station / Retro Surge Games

We looked at the mysterious Reaperi Cycle some time ago, and this new development all but confirms that the Dreamcast will indeed be getting yet another brand new release in the near future. According to the Retro Surge press release, the publisher hopes to start putting out new Dreamcast titles in 2019 so we won't have to wait very long.
This latest addition to the stable of publishers putting out brand new Dreamcast software is encouraging, and alongside Josh Prod, Retroguru and Orion et al we hope Retro Surge Games can continue to breathe new life into the Dreamcast's indie library.

Source: The Bit Station / Retro Surge Games

PLAY Expo Blackpool 2018 - Show Report

The weekend of 27 - 28 October saw the return of one of the UK's biggest retro gaming events to the northern seaside town of Blackpool. PLAY Expo Blackpool was a dedicated retro showcase, with hundreds - possibly thousands - of classic consoles, computers, arcade cabinets and pinball tables available to be played by event goers. Naturally, as 2018 marks the 20th anniversary of the Dreamcast, we were in attendance to promote the system, its games and some of the more interesting hardware to come out of the whole Dreamcast story.
A surprisingly quiet moment at the DCJY area
On top of our fairly sizeable display section where we had almost 30 consoles available for people to play on, we also took part in a panel talk about the Dreamcast. The panel was organised by The Retro Hour, which for those who don't know is probably the biggest weekly retro gaming podcast there is. The panel was also made up of myself (Tom), Mike Phelan (author of our awesome A to Z of Dreamcast Games), our good friend and YouTuber Adam Koralik, and the whole thing was chaired by Daniel 'DJ Slope' Ibbertson of the awesome Slope's Game Room. It was a great panel and we took a range of questions from the audience, and thanks to the wonders of modern technology you can view the panel below from the comfort of your own home.


I'm going to get the panel uploaded as a podcast with an introduction too, so keep your ears peeled for that aural treat. Basically, the event was a roaring success, and our section of the main hall was bolstered by the inclusion of a couple of rare Treamcast consoles and a super-rare Divers 2000 Dreamcast; both of which were supplied by Quang of Asobitech.
Me with Quang of Asobitech
Huge thanks go to Quang and we have to give him kudos for the sheer number of other outstanding and rare consoles he had on display in his area of the hall. The FM Towns Marty, an N64 DD and even a Nuon made up the numbers at the Asobitech display and Quang could quite easily have put his Dreamcast rarities on show alongside them, but he loaned to us and that was an awesome gesture.

SEGA Launches UK & European Online Stores

The SEGA Shop has been online for a while now in the United States, but now the United Kingdom and Europe both have their own dedicated web stores from which a range of SEGA-branded official merchandise can be purchased.
Naturally, the stuff we're interested in mainly features swirls and if you're in the market for PAL-branded Dreamcast tee shirts, socks, hats and mugs then you're in for a treat. All of the apparel looks to be of decent quality and - as stated - is officially licensed. Personally, I'd like one of the beanie hats complete with a light blue bobble on top and a nice clean Dreamcast logo across the front - that'd top off any outfit this winter.
The prices too seem to be perfectly reasonable, and if you sign up to the SEGA Shop newsletter you can also get 15% off your first order. Can't say fairer than that! Of course, there are other SEGA-branded items on offer too, with Yakuza and Mega Drive classics all represented. Check out the respective SEGA Shops at the links below, and let us know what you think and whether you'll be making a purchase this autumn/winter season.

Choose your region below:

DCHDMI: Full Speed Gameplay Footage

It became apparent after I uploaded the review of citrus3000psi and chriz2600's internal Dreamcast mod - the DCHDMI - that the footage included in the video was actually throttled to 25fps due to the introductory part of the video (the bit with my hands). Naturally, this caused quite the drama in the comments section on YouTube. And so, as a result of the ensuing cold sweats, night terrors and feeling like a total twunt; I decided to rectify said issues by recording a load of gameplay direct from the DCHDMI, eschewing an intro, and slapping the results on YouTube.
So here, for your enjoyment, is 18 minutes of pure gameplay. Recorded in 1080p mode (which is 960p windowed...which is itself 480p doubled by the FPGA on the board) at full speed 60 frames per second where applicable. I haven't altered anything, just recorded some gameplay from a range of titles. Here you go:


The full list of games in the video is:
  • Ferrari F355 Challenge
  • Sonic Adventure
  • Shutokou Battle 2
  • Dead or Alive 2
  • Sturmwind
  • Daytona USA 2001
  • Virtua Striker 2
  • Fatal Fury: Mark of the Wolves
  • Le Mans 24hrs
  • Quake III: Arena
  • V-Rally 2: Expert Edition
  • Virtua Tennis
  • Crazy Taxi
  • Marvel Vs Capcom 2
  • Metropolis Street Racer
  • Sega Rally 2
  • Soul Calibur
I apologise for how shit I am in some of the footage but I'm sure you can see that the DCHDMI is pumping out some seriously sharp images. I'm anticipating that people will still complain in the comments section (on YouTube) about something...but hey. What can you do?
Read our full written review here, and find the DCHDMI modification for sale at citrus3000psi's dedicated web store here. It costs $150 and will be available from mid November 2018.

Will you be getting involved in the DCHDMI? If you'd like a closer look we'll be showing it off at Play Expo Blackpool at the end of October. Let us know in the comments, on Facebook or on Twitter. If you want to leave a negative comment on YouTube,  please feel free to join the other 367,000,000 people doing that daily. Cheers!

Hardware Review: DCHDMI - The 1080p Dreamcast

Playing older games in higher resolutions than they were ever intended to be played in is all the rage these days. Be it through emulation, or via the relatively recent trend of the remaster, getting titles of yesteryear to play on modern display screens in the best possible quality is a prize many are willing to go to extraordinary lengths to attain.
The Dreamcast CD player in 1080p (960p bordered)
Here in our little corner of the gaming sphere, things are no different. There are some people who will never plug their Dreamcasts into anything but a CRT television through an RGB SCART connection. Others champion the clarity of a good old fashioned CRT computer monitor and a VGA box. And for those who simply don't have the space for the luxury of a proper old television or monitor, there's the HDMI passthrough boxes from Beharbros and Pound Technology.
The Akura and Gekko are both well built, high quality devices
The limitations of these HMDI boxes and cables are well documented, but for those with either limited space or on a budget, simply connecting a Dreamcast to a flat panel HD display and enjoying their favourite games in 480p is a perfectly acceptable and affordable way to continue gaming on Sega's old warhorse in the modern era.


Of course, what the Pound and Berharbros adapters do is simply take the VGA signal from the Dreamcast and spit it out through a HDMI cable. There's no upscaling at all, and the larger the screen, the poorer the image. It isn't really true high definition gaming, in all honesty. Things are about to change though, as a new contender has entered the ring: DCHDMI.
The DCHDMI board is an internal mod replete with an onboard FPGA
The DCHDMI is an internal board that is slotted into the Dreamcast shell, beneath the main board and is connected directly to the Dreamcast's GPU. What this means is that a digital signal is taken directly from from the GPU and is output in true HDMI through a mini HDMI port on the back of the console. The results are truly staggering, and as we'll see in this review, outside of emulation, the image quality and clarity afforded by the DCHDMI is leagues ahead of anything ever seen before from a Dreamcast console...

Play Test: After The Fall

Recently, we broke the news that one of the more elusive Quake total conversions, After The Fall, was finally being ported to the Dreamcast after years in the wilderness. The reasons for this were numerous and included technical limitations related to the Dreamcast's RAM, amongst others. A talented programmer called Pip Nayler stepped forward to resurrect the game however, and we have been lucky enough to sample the fruits of his labour.


If you want to know more about After The Fall's history, please check out our previous article here, but for this play test we'll be focussing on the current build Pip was kind enough to let us experience. First things first - this is still pretty early and as such there are a few rough edges. Also, it's running on Mankrip's Makaqu engine, so it doesn't look like a first party, official Dreamcast game. However, if you can look past the low resolution, occasionally low frame rate and the stock Quake sound effects and gameplay elements, what you'll discover in After The Fall is a very enjoyable and pretty engaging first person shooter.
From the off, you'll feel acquainted with the set up if you're a Quake veteran. After The Fall offers you a familiar hub level that acts as a way to select which difficulty you'd like to play. It's probably worth stating at this point that choosing 'easy' is your best bet initially, as the game is brutally difficult from the off - not that this is a bad thing...just don't accidentally chose the 'nightmare' option by pressing the button by the slipgate!

As mentioned, the Quake engine origins of After The Fall are pretty clear to see, with architecture blatantly taking cues from id's original blueprint. That said, After The Fall does take things to some fairly unorthodox places almost out of the gate...

Stampede: The Lost Dreamcast Sheep Herding Sim

Of all the aspects of being a Dreamcast fan, discovering lost and cancelled games is by far the most fascinating to me. Yes, the games we actually got are numerous; and a large proportion of them are pretty darn good, but the merest glimpse at titles that never made it give us a tiny peek into an alternative reality. A reality where the Dreamcast was the commercial success it could have been, and a reality in which all those titles that were unceremoniously shelved received full retail releases.
There are some cancelled games that are widely known about and that have even been released in some form or another. Half-Life, Propeller Arena, Hellgate, Geist Force and PBA Bowling are famous examples; and more recently titles such as Agartha, Deer Avenger and Millennium Racer: Y2K Fighters have shown us that there are still lost games waiting to be discovered. We can now add another to that ever growing list: Stampede.
You'd be forgiven for scratching your head at this point, as Stampede is likely a title you've never heard of. But there's a reason to be excited about this one - Stampede for Dreamcast was running well on Dreamcast hardware when it was cancelled, and now a playable build has found its way into the hands of Xeno Crisis developer Bitmap Bureau. What's even more interesting, is that the guys who make up Bitmap Bureau (developers of the upcoming Xeno Crisis) were part of the development studio that originally worked on Stampede all those years ago.

With this in mind, there's a very real chance that Stampede could finally see the light of day, nearly 20 years after it was canned. But what exactly is Stampede? And why should you care? Read on for the answers, and an exclusive interview with the game's creative director...