10 Times Rappers Have Referenced the Dreamcast in Songs

Continuing with the music theme of Mike's article "12 great punk albums featuring songs from Dreamcast games", I found a way to tie the Dreamcast into an article talking about the second best genre of all time: hip-hop. Or Rap, if you prefer. Being a genre focused so heavily on lyrics, you'd expect the Dreamcast to have been mentioned at least once. Well, turns out it's been mentioned quite a lot. Turns out there's quite a few Dreamcast stans in the hip-hop industry. As you can imagine, a lot of these songs contain naughty words and references to sex and nefarious happenings, so if you don't want to get your sealed game collection confiscated, don't play this round your Mum's house.

1. Del the Funky Homosapien featuring Khaos Unique - "Proto Culture" (2000)
You may know Del the Funky Homosapien from his work with legendary hip-hop group Hieroglyphics. If you don't know who they are, you should at least know him from his rap verses on the song "Clint Eastwood" by Damon Albarn-fronted cartoon megastars Gorillaz.

What you need to know is that Del and collaborator Khaos Unique performed for North American Sega employees at a Dreamcast launch party in San Francisco back in '99. You can view their performance of their song "Proto Culture" here. From the on-stage chatter prior to playing the song, you can really tell that they are hardcore video game heads, and have a lot of praise for Sega. Del even says that he had already been playing Dreamcast games from Japan prior to the US launch.

The beat to "Proto Culture" features a tasty sample of Morrigan's winning theme from
Darkstalkers: The Night Warriors, and lyrics to further exemplify Del and Khaos Unique's love for video games and Sega.

"Rival schools, Batsu - purchase you ought to. It came with one free CD, it's like I bought two. I hope they make part II for Dreamcast."

This song was released on Del's album Both Sides of the Brain in April 2000. A sequel to Rival Schools was released on the Dreamcast in Japan during December of the same year, so I'm sure Del was happy to see the sequel he was desiring in his raps.


12 great punk albums featuring songs from Dreamcast games

There are many reasons to love the Dreamcast. We assume you agree with us, as you're currently reading a blog entitled the 'Dreamcast Junkyard'. Arcade perfect gameplay? Check. State of the art graphics (for it's time)? Check. The last great 'hurrah' of the Sega of old? Possibly controversial, but check. Some of the best music ever committed to a video game library? Oh, you're damn right.

Whether it's the funky beats of Jet Set Radio, orchestral magnificence of Shenmue or Skies of Arcadia, eclectic soundtrack of MSR or the pure joy of the Marvel vs Capcom 2 character select screen...well maybe not the last one.. the musical magnificence of the Dreamcast can not be overlooked.

With that, we also had a fairly large number of games featuring licensed soundtracks. Ever since the compact disc became the games medium of choice in the 90's, games have not been shy about popping on some killer tunes to please their consumers. The Playstation was the epitome of this new gaming frontier, as a Sony product was always likely to be, and the merging of games with music was an integral part of the cultural impact the console had on a whole generation.

Thing is, whilst many of my fellow Junkyard writers were probably spending that period in their lives chilling out to the latest trance hit, or techno rave masterpiece (or whatever it's called, it's not my area of knowledge!), I was happily indulging in my own musical journey - one that very much consisted of a bunch of sweaty gigs, slam dancing lunatics and a healthy disliking of authority. Punk. A misunderstood genre, if ever there was one, was in many ways my first love, and it is a love that is well catered for on that little Sega made mistress of my dreams. Whether it's a nod back to the spit covered, pogoing era of the 70's, the DIY led revolution of the 80's or the ska and skate infused 90's revival, there's plenty for the discerning punk fan to enjoy whilst indulging in some Dreamcast gaming.

But I'm not just going to list a top ten of DC punk songs. Anyone who has read anything else I've ever written for the Junkyard knows that ain't my style. Being a punk fan that just about remembers a time before streaming services were king, it's always been about the mighty album for me. Punk albums are wondrous, beautiful things - full of unheard delights, musical experimentation and just plain weirdness, far beyond the narrow view that some have of punk rock. They're often overlooked, criminally so, dismissed as having just one or two good songs - but nothing could be further from the truth. And I think it's time to start setting the record straight.

So come join me as I take a look at a dozen great examples of punk albums, all of which feature songs from Dreamcast games.
Bad Religion - No Control (1989) 
(featuring 'You' from Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2)

Bad Religion, more so than probably any other band, were responsible for helping shape the sound that punk became in the early 90's. Whilst they were part of the early LA hardcore scene (the fantastic 'How Could Hell Be Any Worse?' standing right up there with the best of that cities output), they didn't truly come into their own until they ended the 80's with a trio of masterpiece albums, 'Suffer' came first, 'Against the Grain' rounded them off, and this, 1989's 'No Control' is slap bang in the middle. It builds on what came before, 'Suffer' being the template of what the band's sound would become, but everything is that touch quicker, that touch harder, and that tad better sounding (although 'Suffer' remains one of my all time favourite albums). Greg Gaffin's lyrics are always a level above the often simple anti-authority diatribes, and on this he effortlessly melds philosophy, politics and the human condition, all laid on top of a melodic, fast southern Californian hardcore punk sound. Bands like the Descendents, Adolescents and D.I. had done similar things before, but it was Bad Religion who perfected this sound. Songs from this album still make appearances in the bands live sets, and there's a very good reason for that. No Control is one of the very best US punk albums ever recorded.

'You' featured in Tony Hawks Pro Skater 2, and is a favourite amongst many, it's upbeat, high speed skate punk sound perfectly fitting the game.

Stand out songs:
- Big Bang
- I Want to Conquer the World
- Henchman

You can listen to 'No Control' on Spotify here.

Xeno Crisis for Dreamcast has gone gold!

Bitmap Bureau have announced via a Kickstarter update that the long-awaited Dreamcast version of their 16-bit styled, Alien-inspired shooter has finally gone gold! This means that the game has been finished and production is due to start imminently; and means it will undoubtedly join the line up of Dreamcast games heading our way in 2020. For the uninitiated, Xeno Crisis was a funded on Kickstarter back in 2018 and the Dreamcast version was added as a stretch goal alongside the standard Mega Drive, Switch, PS4 and Xbox releases; with a NEO-Geo port also on the way.
We've kept an eye on Xeno Crisis ever since it was announced, and several members of the team here at the Junkyard have played the game to death on other formats...but the wait for the Dreamcast version is almost finally over.

Mike Tucker of Bitmap Bureau says in his May 2020 update: 

"We’re sorry that this update has been delayed several times, but these updates often take a few days to put together and we thought we’d push on whilst the development of the Dreamcast version was going well, and the good news is that it has gone gold and has been sent for manufacturing! We’ve tested the gold build thoroughly on all of the Dreamcast variations we have, using a range of controllers and peripherals, and everything seems extremely solid - thanks in particular to Tom Charnock and Mike Phelan of The Dreamcast Junkyard for supplying us with various bits for testing."
- Mike Tucker, Bitmap Bureau

In the name of transparency, the various bits mentioned include an Ascii control pad and a Dreamcast Twin Stick controller, the latter of which can be seen in the video Mike posted on Kickstarter and YouTube:


Personally, I've only played the Switch version of Xeno Crisis so far, and it really is a corking retro style shooter. As alluded to earlier, it does lean heavily on the 'space marines kicking alien ass' tropes laid down in popular works of fiction we probably don't need to name check; and for that it should be applauded. It's a no-nonsense nostalgia trip, which takes you back to when games were hard as nails and there were no save points.
The premise is a simple one - enter the infested base, shoot alien scum in the head, rescue civilians and escape with your life. Power-ups and additional weapons can be collected along the way, and the stats of your chosen marine can be boosted between stages to help level the playing field when taking the fight to the xenomorph hoards and their huge end of level overlords. It's rollicking good fun and is tough as old boots...and that's part of the appeal.
The Dreamcast version in particular looks to make great use of the unique features of the system, with VMU screen logos (above), support for VGA monitors and the aforementioned Twin Stick and Ascii pad compatibility. It looks like we won't have long to wait until Xeno Crisis starts landing in GD-ROM trays around the world, and we'll be sure to give it a thorough play test here at the Junkyard when it hits.
Excited for another new Dreamcast title? Have you played Xeno Crisis on other formats? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter.

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Start your engines - a Dreamcast Test Drive Cycles prototype could be released soon!

The internet is still reeling from the epoch-making news that the long lost Dreamcast port of Heroes of Might & Magic III has finally been dumped, but the potential releases of lesser-spotted cancelled Dreamcast titles don't stop there. The same collector who released Heroes has now started a Go Fund Me in order to release Infogrames' canned motorcycle racer Test Drive Cycles.

As you can see from the footage uploaded to YouTube by FatalistDC (below), Test Drive Cycles for Dreamcast is barely a game in truth - there's only one playable course and it is very early, and is thus full of graphical glitches and bugs. That said, it's still cool to see yet another game dragged back out of the abyss and now tantalisingly close to being dumped online.


The story of Test Drive Cycles is a familiar one. It was released for the Game Boy Color as a full retail game, but the PlayStation, PC and Dreamcast versions were all scrapped in mid 2000 according to Wikipedia. No real reason is given, but it probably came down to money in the end - there's no evidence to suggest the Dreamcast would have had any issues playing what looks to be a fairly bog standard arcade racer; unlike with Heroes of Might & Magic III, which was apparently cancelled due to technical limitations of the Dreamcast hardware.
As a motorcylist in real life, I'm always keen to see any digital recreation of the act of riding bikes - especially so it they also involve the Dreamcast in some way. That said, the very early nature of Test Drive Cycles doesn't fill me with too much enthusiasm. It's doing some interesting things - I especially like the  rear view mirrors effect employed...but there just doesn't really seem to be a lot to do in this prototype as is (although the way the rider appears in various bizarre seating positions after a crash is probably worth the entry fee alone!).
The GoFundMe for the release of the Test Drive Cycles is set at a rather modest €160 and is similarly being run by Jan Baumgartner - the same man responsible for the Heroes of Might & Magic III campaign and also the awesome CF modded Dreamcast we reviewed a while back.

Are you intrigued by this Test Drive Cycles prototype? Willing to chuck some cash at the GoFundMe to get your hands on it? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter.

Preview: Arcade Racing Legends

Announced back in June 2019 and successfully Kickstarted a month later in July, Arcade Racing Legends is a brand new Dreamcast title originally due for release at the end of 2019, but was subsequently delayed until later this year. My Dreamcast Junkyard colleague Mike Phelan wrote a great article documenting the initial project and what it’s all about, so rather than regurgitate that information I’ll direct you here if you want to know the background story for JoshProd and PixelHeart's Arcade Racing Legends.

It’s no secret that I’m a pretty big fan of the racing genre, and nostalgic arcade racers have always been high on my list, so naturally I was quick to back the project in the hope it would turn into a reality. As a backer, one of the most recent perks offered was a downloadable demo, so I grabbed it and thought it would be a great opportunity to let you all know how the game is shaping up.
Graphically, Arcade Racing Legends ticks all the boxes. No, it isn’t a “realistic” setting like you might find in something like Tokyo Highway Challenge but the game screams 90’s arcade racer at you, which is literally the whole point of this release. A bold colourful palette, plenty of variety from one course to the next (there are three available in the demo: Arctic, Desert and Forest), and a lovely garage menu system meant I was very pleased with what my eyeballs were treated to. It certainly looks like a game that could’ve been released back in the day, and a beautiful one at that.

Handling-wise, I was pleasantly surprised. It was my most feared element of Arcade Racing Legends even when I originally backed the project. After watching a few videos of early footage, the car handling looked a bit suspect, but after getting some hands-on time with the demo I was thankful that your car doesn’t constantly feel like you’re driving on ice. It’s still a bit floaty, sure, but the developers seem to have found a good balance here and kept it feeling arcadey without it being too ridiculous. It's actually really enjoyable to play and - for me at least - feels better to play than some original arcade racers.
Available to try in the demo are Career and Time Trial modes. I headed straight to start my Career mode and was presented with a day by day set of challenges as you advance towards turning yourself into a “professional arcade racer”. The challenges do a great job of easing you into the game step by step. On day one, for example, you just have to drive to the goal without any time pressures, just to get a feeling for the car. Day two sees you tackle a different circuit, this time against the clock, in a race to the finish. Day three puts you in the daunting position of not being allowed to use your brake pedal and yet still complete the course within a set time, and so on. It's a nice way of building things up and adding a bit of variety.
Three different cars are available in the demo, all of which have basic tuning options affecting their overall performance on the track. Followers of the Kickstarter will know there are going to be a whole load of different cars in the full release, many of which are based on vehicles from classic Sega arcade driving games like Sega Rally and Crazy Taxi, which is one of my most anticipated things about playing the full version.
The one thing I think really hurts Arcade Racing Legends, from both a gameplay and visual perspective, is that the circuits are all blocked off on both sides by continuous rows of sponsor boards. It very much lessens the experience quite a bit as you’re never in a position where you can run wide, and a mistake is rarely punished as you can just ride along the walls with very little slowdown. It all feels, and looks, just a bit bland and very lazy.
Original screenshots from the Kickstarter showed a few tracks where these sponsor boards did not appear right next to the asphalt or racing surface itself, so I really hope the full release has some wider play areas - I’d go so far as to say it’s the most important thing that PixelHeart need to address between now and the final release. The game won’t have much replayability if it remains as-is, simply because the challenge of learning the layouts of the circuits just isn’t there with the current setup.

Despite this, I’m still really looking forward to the release of Arcade Racing Legends and getting stuck into the Career mode proper when the game does finally get released. The demo did a great job of easing my concerns about the handling, and I just hope they take feedback onboard around those pesky track barriers. If they do, this could be a genuinely enjoyable game to play frequently on Dreamcast in 2020.

For those who missed the original Kickstarter campaign, pre-orders are now available here.

How about you, are you going to pick this up? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter.

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Fun with (Dreamcast) flags: a study on the accuracy of flags in Dreamcast games

Hi, I'm Mike, chairman of the 'Junkyard Geographical Society,' Dreamcast department (JYGS for short) - the world's leading authority on the geography in Dreamcast titles. We here at Dreamcast JYGS have one mission in our lives: to investigate, promote and generally get a bit weird about real life geographical elements that find their way into Dreamcast games. We're a relatively new organisation but, if like us, you like to criticise minuscule details on flags, point out incorrectly placed landmarks, or otherwise just generally like to be a bit of a dick when it comes to tiny details in Dreamcast games, then we may very well be an organisation that would appeal to you.
Our flag. Merchandise line coming soon (possibly?)
I've had conversations with Tom (I think he's blocked me now, I don't know why, I only sent him 43 messages), reputable creator of The Dreamcast Junkyard, and he agreed to let me have this space to talk to you all about this vitally important sub-sector of the Dreamcast scene. For too long have my fellow JYGS members been hiding away in their musty rooms, afraid of making their presence known amongst all you cool kids with your talk of 'fast cars,''alien space ships' or 'epic Japanese martial arts revenge story/capsule toy simulators.' The times, like that Bob bloke said, they are a changin' – we draw the line here, this far, and no farther! It is time for us to make our presence felt. Geography Nerds of the (Dreamcast) world...unite!

I'm sure like me you are all fans of the wonderful sitcom 'Fun with Flags' (we weren't a fan of the fluff around it with those other people though) - so to announce our arrival, we thought we'd take an idea from one of my personal heroes, Dr. Sheldon Cooper, and delve into the world of vexillology within the Dreamcast games. Vexillology - as I'm sure you all know - is the study of flags.
An inspiration to us all.
Whilst some may talk about gameplay, depth, graphics or - God forbid - 'fun' as being the most important part of gaming on Sega's last console, we hope you agree with us at the JYGS that flags are really the most important element in any video game. Would Mario have ever reached his princess if it wasn't for that flag pole? Were first person shooters any good until we got 'capture the flag' modes? We know the answer, and you do too, so let's not beat around this particular bush any longer.
Look at Mario, he loves a good flag.
I'm here today to take you on a short journey through a carefully curated selection of games on the Dreamcast, in which I will painstakingly look at how each title depicts flags, praising the very best with years of unwarranted fan-mail and possible restraining orders from the developers, whilst condemning to the fiery pits of Hell those that dare take a relaxed attitude in vexillology matters. The much coveted JYGS ribbon will be awarded to those games who take flag matters seriously – multiple ribbons if a game goes above and beyond.
Are you ready? Then let us embark on this vexillological adventure of Dreamcast proportions...

Shenmusings of Dobuita, Community, and the Friends We Stalked Along the Way

In better times, my neighborhood reminds me of Dobuita, the vibrant business district setting of Sega and AM2’s pedestrian stalking simulator, Shenmue. It bustles with life as people pack the restaurants, bars, shops, parks, arcades, and the streets in between. I can take a quick jaunt down the road and be surrounded by patrons, workers, shop owners, cooks, bartenders, barbers, and even sailors (well, commercial fishermen, actually). These folks are more than cursory non-player characters. They are my neighbors. They are my friends. They are the very fabric of my community.

But for now, they are gone.
These days, walking through my neighborhood feels like I’m in a typical late '90s video game town. Clusters of buildings line the street but the developers were unable to render more than a handful of NPCs to populate it.

Taking a step back: My heart goes out to everyone struggling through this uncertain and challenging time. If there’s a silver lining, it might be that we’re fortunate to have a hobby like video games to help bide our time as our non-virtual world lies in stasis.

It also helps that gaming is a uniquely personal medium. Through our interaction and immersion, games invite us to co-author a broad range of experiences which we can enjoy on a multitude of levels. Games can bring welcome moments of reprieve and distraction. We can find comfort in their escapism and nostalgia. Whether from across the couch or the internet, we can share experiences with old friends and make new friends of strangers. Beyond that, games can challenge us – and not only in terms of precision, reflexes, or strategy. They can push us to expand our understanding, grow our perspectives, and stretch our imaginations through memorable experiences that we carry with us long after we’ve put down the controller.
In its own way, this situation is a unique opportunity to slow down and consider what is most important to us, whether that's friends, family, community, altruism…and video games, of course. Lately, I’ve been reflecting on my time with gaming, what I appreciate most about the hobby, and what I really want out of it going forward. I’ve also thought about the games that significantly shaped how I engage with the medium. In that sense, I can’t help but keep coming back to the Dreamcast’s library.

Nostalgic attachment aside, Sega’s swansong console simultaneously defined and challenged my perceptions of video games. Although the Dreamcast initially drew me in on its promise of more-than-faithful arcade conversions and the triumphant return of a blue childhood icon, it ultimately forged its legacy by striving to redefine gaming’s future more than rehash its past. It showed me how games can be more unique, interesting, and meaningful experiences well beyond their fun factor and replay value. Through its culture of unbounded creativity, the Dreamcast was refreshingly unorthodox and innovative in ways the industry rarely allows.

In some ways, the Dreamcast was as much an art collective as it was a consumer product. Nowhere was this clearer than in the unchecked (and frankly, fiscally reckless) authority Sega gave its development studios and publishing partners to create whatever the hell they wanted for its wacky white box. In that spirit, this essay could've been about any one of the Dreamcast’s unabashedly inventive works: Rez, or Jet Set Radio, or L.O.L.: Lack of Love, or the VMU, or Illbleed, or Maken X, or Chu Chu Rocket, or D2, or Roommania #203, or Seaman, or Samba de Amigo’s maracas, or…you get the idea.

But this is about Shenmue, because of course it is.