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Channelling Dreamcast: 3 games doing what Sega won't

If you spend any time traversing the corners of the internet that many gamers of a certain age do (*cough I'm nearly 40, cry, cough*), you'll no doubt be familiar with the notion that Sega continually fails to capitalise on its rich, diverse and - quite frankly - incredible back catalogue. Before you spit your Earl Grey all over your comfy slippers dear reader, allow me to retort to your exasperated tea-infused convulsion. See, while Sega is very adept at re-releasing its 16-bit hits with (alarming) regularity, there are several generations' worth of titles which the fallen giant, for one reason or another, has failed to re-release or reimagine for a new audience.

We've never really seen the Mega-CD, 32X, Saturn or Dreamcast libraries plundered and re-released like we have the Master System and Mega Drive, and granted that's mainly due to the limitations of both hardware and software emulation endeavours, even today. Yes, we saw Sonic CD on iPhones and the Dreamcast Collection on the Xbox 360 and Steam, and even Streets of Rage was successfully rebooted recently; but post Mega Drive, the re-release choice has been decidedly threadbare.

Christ...again?!

Gamers - this one included - are crying out for reboots or revisits to the likes of Jet Set Radio, Sega Rally, Virtua Fighter, Spirit of Speed 1937 and many other first and third party Dreamcast titles; and while some IPs have been reluctantly resurrected (I'm looking at you, Shenmue); it almost feels like we'll never see a return to some of the most popular and beloved franchises of the Dreamcast era. Almost.

See, even in the face of Sega's reluctance to revisit some of its most famous titles for a modern era, it looks as though other developers have taken the initiative themselves. Several games channelling the Dreamcast's unique visual and design styles have either already been released or are coming to modern platforms in the near future, taking the baton from Sega with varying results. And naturally, as advocates of the Dreamcast, we thought we'd take a glimpse at some examples of Dreamcast vibes on modern systems...


Last Fight

Released back in 2016, Last Fight was met with fairly average reviews on both console and PC, and a Switch release followed. Initially expectations were high, especially since the developers openly mooted Power Stone as an inspiration. 

Yes, we know Power Stone was developed and published by Capcom and not Sega, but really...is there any other top down, 3D fighter of this ilk that isn't as instantly recognisable as a Power Stone derivative? I think not. And by association, Power Stone is inextricably linked with the Dreamcast. Yes, it was later released on other systems...but the Dreamcast is synonymous with Capcom's 3D chaos-em-up. So there.

Capcom's seeming reluctance to remaster Power Stone for anything other than the Sony PSP undoubtedly lead French developer Piranaking to go it alone, putting together a similar - if not entirely equal - alternative for those yearning to run around a 3D arena throwing fists, feet and inanimate objects at their adversary. Check out Ross's review from 2016 here.


Taxi Chaos

Ah, Taxi Chaos. In a move some have described as 'not at all taking the piss,' Dutch developers Team6 Game Studios have blatantly taken the Crazy Taxi formula and...well, nicked it. While simultaneously taking the piss. Honestly, I don't think I've ever seen a game so blatantly mimic another. From the concept, to the NPC chatter, even down to the green 'touchdown' zones that appear and the 'jump' mechanic seen in Crazy Taxi 2. It's actually crazy how much Taxi Chaos apes Crazy Taxi (sorry).

That said, the fact remains that if Sega - for whatever reason - fails to give the gaming public a new Crazy Taxi title...then the onus is on someone else to do so, surely? Even if the resulting product is a bit of an Android-level mess. Copying is the best form of flattery is it not...even when done as poorly as this? The jury is out. 

Whether you agree with this sentiment or not, the fact remains that Team6 have put out a pretty faithful reimagining of Crazy Taxi and well, there's nobody to blame but Sega. There's more than likely a lawsuit in the works (or at the very least a heated Twitter debate), but for now it's fair game. I also recently learned that Team6 claimed to have gotten Sega Japan on board to publish the game in Japan...something which Sega rebuked via an official statement. Ouch. Check out Dreamcast Year One & Two author Andrew's video for The Cross Players above.


Bomb Rush Cyberfunk

Jest Set Radioooooo! Ah, the sound I wake up to every morning...as Professor K screams into my ear after another night spent lying in a drunken stupor as my Dreamcast plays the Jet Set Radio demo on repeat. Good times. Once I wipe the vomit from my face though, I realise it's 10am and I need to be in a Teams meeting I'm hosting...but I digress.

Jet Set Radio is the Sega franchise most people would like to see rebooted and brought to modern systems (probably). I mean, back in 2017 there was the news that Dinosaur Games tried to woo Sega with a concept for a reboot (titled Jet Set Radio Evolution) which was subsequently turned down. Yes, there was Jet Set Radio Future that most people got for free with their Xboxes alongside Sega GT 2002, but now Team Reptile has taken the concept (of love) one step further and basically created Jet Set Radio 3 in all but name. 

Ladies and germs...Bomb Rush Cyberfunk:


Bonus content

The following games have been added as a sort of footnote, as they do kinda channel the Dreamcast in some way, even if they aren't really direct homages. The first one is a platformer called Balan Wonderworld which is actually being directed by Yuji Naka, the father of one Sonic the Hedgehog. The game does look like a fairly run of the mill 3D platformer and the main character's design does have more than a passing resemblance to NiGHTS wearing Isambard Kingdom Brunel's stovepipe hat than the aforementioned spikey blue one. That said, the bright colour palette and general whimsical tone do have a feint whiff of Dreamcast platformers of yore. By all accounts, the latest demo version wasn't well received but you never know - Balan Wonderworld could be one to watch in the future.

The second game worth mentioning is Wigmund: The Return of the Hidden Knights from The Scholastics. This is a top down fantasy RPG very much in the vein of Dreamcast and PC title Silver, and - so the developers tell me - takes a lot of inspiration from Spiral House's role player-lite. Wigmund is designed from the ground up for people who aren't really into menu-heavy traditional RPGs, with a unique mouse-driven real-time combat system and some very straightforward (and action heavy, puzzle light) dungeon crawling. I've played Wigmund on Steam Early Access for several hours and it's right up my street as a gamer who isn't that interested in role players. Might be worth a look if you're of the same mindset.

Finally, there's a game that has been out on other platforms for quite some time now, and which is most definitely channelling ChuChu Rocket! - that game is Blobcat, and it was reviewed right here at the Junkyard back in 2018 by our very own Kev. It's essentially ChuChu Rocket! but with cats...that look like blobs. I should probably have added this to the top section and called this article '4 games doing what Sega won't'...but I'm not doing that, simply because ChuChu Rocket! got a modern sequel in the recent past so technically Sega is doing what Sega won't...in some cases. Sort of. What?

Anyway, I have no more words. What do you think? Happy? Sad? Indifferent and want to just eat a sandwich without your dog staring at you? There are probably more Dreamcast-infused releases too. Let us know in the comments.

Mortadelo y Filemón: Spanish Point & Click Kickstarter for Dreamcast


Appearing on Kickstarter recently out of nowhere, Mortadelo y Filemón is the Dreamcast game coming in 2021 that you never knew you wanted until now! The game is a point and click adventure which is based on a popular Spanish comic series. 

From the project overview:

"Mortadelo y Filemón: El Sulfato Atómico is a point and click style adventure game, available in Steam, which has players trying to steal back a spray that turns insects into giants.

In this game our characters must rescue the atomic sulphate created by professor Bacterio of the claws of Bruteztrausen, general of an enemy state. This sulphate is a spray that increases the size of the insects, making them reach measures of meters! They will have to enter the State slyly to arrive at the governmental palace and take the sulphate.

DCJY welcomes Video Game Esoterica

In the latest episode of our podcast DreamPod, Tom, Lewis and Martin are joined by Anthony Bacon of the excellent Video Game Esoterica YouTube channel. In this episode, we discuss Anthony's YouTube journey thus far, as well as everything odd to do with the Dreamcast, legendary developer Kenji Eno, and his game D2. They even squeeze in some chat about the 3DO's failed follow-up; the Panasonic M2, and even the Apple Pippin. You don't want to miss this one!

Use the embedded player below to listen here on the main Dreamcast Junkyard blog, or alternatively you can grab the episode on either your podcatcher of choice or over on our YouTube channel.

Links to things discussed in the Podcast:

Thanks once again to Anthony - be sure to check out Video Game Esoterica on YouTube and give Anthony a follow on Twitter.

5 Dreamcast Fan Translations You May Have Missed

In DreamPod Episode 86, where we discussed what we'd like to see from the Dreamcast scene in 2021, I was quite vocal about my desire to see more English fan translation patches produced for Dreamcast games. If you're anything like me, you're too lazy to learn Japanese, but absolutely long to play many of the very intriguing text-heavy Japanese Dreamcast releases. I've covered the Evangelion typing tutor translation by Derek Pascarella, and James also wrote a great retrospective on Taxi 2, going over Derek’s patch for that, but today I wanted to shine the spotlight on some completed translation projects that we (perhaps criminally) haven't covered here on the blog before. 


Blue Submarine No. 6: -Time and Tide-

Blue Submarine No. 6 started out as a manga that was first published in 1967, with an OVA (essentially a straight-to-video anime) adaptation released in 2000. The story of BS6 is set in a post-apocalyptic future, where the sea levels have risen and flooded most of the land on Earth. What remains is being attacked by half-animal hybrids, which are fought back by humanity's submarine forces, including the titular Blue Submarine No. 6. Time and Tide was developed and published by Sega, and released in December 2000. 

This very cool game mixes some excellently-presented visual novel-style sections (that utilise cel-shaded animation to present the game's characters), with 3D underwater segments in the submarine that control really well. While this game is playable without knowing Japanese, it is vital to understanding the plot. Thankfully, over the space of year, a team comprising of Rolly, RafaGam, esperknight and Eyl put together an English translation patch for this awesome game, and released it at the tail-end of 2020, to celebrate the game's 20th anniversary, as well as the 22nd birthday of the Dreamcast console. 

All in-game text is now understandable to non-Japanese speakers, anime cutscenes now have English subtitles, and pesky spoken dialogue during submarine missions where the translators couldn't insert subtitles have been overdubbed with English text-to-speech voices. The Blue Submarine No. 6 -Tides of Time- website was also restored and translated into English as part of this project, allowing players to download the game's original DLC to grant bonus items in the shop. To download the patch, check out the project's page on SEGA-SKY.


Napple Tale: Arsia in Daydream

Developed by a largely female-orientated development team, Napple Tale released to Japan in October 2000, and was never brought over to the West for... some reason. This colourful adventure combines a 3D hub world with 2.5D platforming stages, complete with an absolutely terrific score by acclaimed composer Yoko Kanno. Similar to Blue Submarine No. 6, Napple Tale is perfectly playable without the need to know Japanese, but its whimsical, fairy-tale inspired story is definitely something worth experiencing. 

In October 2019, a team led by translator Cargodin released an English patch online, allowing non-Japanese speakers to experience Napple Tale's story 19 years after the game's initial release. The game's original website was also restored and translated into English, allowing the game's DLC to be downloaded, unlocking a bonus stage called "paffet rally". If you fancy a trip to Napple World in all its English-translated glory, you can download the patch at Romhacking.net.

 

Retrospective: Taxi 2 (French-exclusive Dreamcast title now translated to English)


Thanks to the efforts of Derek Pascarella and his team, for the first time in history we can enjoy the obscure French-exclusive Dreamcast title, Taxi 2: The Game, in English. Derek has released the English translated version of the game just a few weeks ago and as a result I thought it was a perfect time to dive into this curious Dreamcast game that I’d never played before.

Before we dive into the game itself, let’s have a quick recap of the movie it is based on:

Taxi 2 is a French action comedy film directed by Gérard Krawczyk, released into French cinemas in 2000 with pretty significant commercial success. According to their website, the film attracted more viewers in its opening week than the latest Star Wars movie! Taxi 2 would go on to enjoy 10.3 million admissions in France, underlining its relevance. After discovering just how popular the movie was, maybe it isn’t such a crazy thing that this game exists after all!

As you’d expect, the plot of the game follows the storyline from the movie. Things get pretty wild. In a nutshell, the overall plot is that the Japanese minister of defence is traveling to Paris to sign a weapons contract between Japan and France. During the visit he is kidnapped by a group working for the Japanese Yakuza. Throw in some more kidnappings and law-breaking incidents before our very own protagonist, Daniel the taxi driver, has to step up and save the day with his high speed driving skills and blatant disregard for the law.

Let's take a look at Shenmue World from Shenmue Dojo

You may recall we featured the upcoming Shenmue World magazine Kickstarter here at the Junkyard in the recent past. Well, the day has arrived. What day is that? The day of Shenmue World's arrival, of course! Yes, Shenmue Dojo's crowd funded ode to all things Shenmue has started to drop through letterboxes around the world, and we thought we would give you a bit if a sneak peak at what comes in the package.

Please note that if you'd rather wait to see all this stuff for yourself, probably don't watch the video below as it contains major spoilers. Well, major spoilers if you backed the project without reading what you might get in return for your cash. Also, sorry about the little noise in the video. It's just something my ancient Sony camcorder does. I'll invest in a new one at some point. Suggestions for a decent, cheap camera that doesn't make a whirring noise appreciated!

The magazine weighs in at 162 pages and is packed with interviews, character profiles, Shenmue history, facts and figures and a history of the Shenmue Dojo itself. There's a lot stuffed into this inaugural issue, and anyone who backed it is unlikely to feel short changed. Furthermore, the additional items that come with the magazine are really rather cool and comprise a music CD, postcards, signed photos, stickers and a poster. It's a great package for the price (it was £20 including shipping, if I recall), and James and the rest of the team should be congratulated for creating a top quality magazine.

Check out the Shenmue Dojo website and Twitter, and the Shenmue World Twitter if you'd like to find out more. Let us know in the comments if you backed Shenmue World and what your thoughts are.

The original Rez website has been fully restored

We love a story with a happy ending here at the Junkyard, and this one fits right in with that philosophy. Remember Rez? Of course you do. It's that psychedelic shooter with the wireframes and the flashing lights and the thumping soundtrack. You know the one. It's quite good too, apparently. Anyway, in the name of digital preservation and the fight to stop the internet simply becoming a portal to Facebook and YouTube, one man has taken it upon himself to resurrect the original Rez website. Well, the 2001 iteration, anyway.

That man is Brian Hargrove, and as described in his semi-viral tweet on the matter, he somehow managed to acquire the United Game Artists domain and restore the site to its former glory, with all of the content intact:

Naturally, wanting to know more we reached out to Brian to ask what the story was here - skin care products? What's all that about then? Brian explained in his own words:

"I don't think the domain was held captive or anything, just never really used since 2003. After UGA was transferred to Sonic Team in late 2003, the site went down. I have no way of telling if registry ownership changed over the years, but there was an attempt at one point to make a WordPress blog, then it turned into some kind of skin care information site. 

"I knew I had always wanted to pick up the domain and at least restore the Rez homepage. I would check every few years, taking note of the domain expiration date on a Whois lookup. Every time it expired, I was never able to purchase it. Until 2020.

"Early in 2020 I checked the Whois and did see that it was expected to expire in November. So I made a note in my calendar to check back. November rolls around and this time I try Godaddy's expired domain auctions, and it was actually there! The owner finally let it expire and I knew it would probably be my only chance save it. I won the auction and collected all the site backups from Archive.org

"With a Linux utility, I was able to bulk download multiple years of the backup directly from Archive. The majority of the files were recoverable, with only a few images missing. I was able to restore it to what it was right before the site went down."

- Brian Hargrove

It's a pretty cool story, and definitely qualifies as what we like to call a labour of love. So what can you do with the Rez website? Well, you can read upcoming 2001 news, look at screenshots, download assets and do pretty much anything you could with a website from 2001. 

It's worth noting that the site predominantly features the later PlayStation 2 release of Rez along with the Trance Vibrator (and it's curious that the Dreamcast release of Rez is seemingly absent), but seeing as Tetsuya Mizuguchi's masterpiece is a game that's more synonymous with the Dreamcast, we thought it was worth sharing Brain's work here.

If you would like to see first hand how the superb Rez holds up on more modern systems, be sure to check out the official Rez Infinite site too.

JoshProd announce 5th wave of Dreamcast releases - 8 games incoming! (updated)

[Updated, originally posted September 2020 and updated February 2021] 

With JoshProd now releasing a video preview of their upcoming games for 2021, we can confidently say that any fears we had about the games running poorly have been addressed, at least for the most part. This article has been edited to reflect that.

The brand new February 2021 trailer can be watched below:


The last few years have seen a surge of new independent releases on the Dreamcast, keeping this 20 year old love affair we have with the console going strong. This year we've already seen Xeno Crisis from Bitmap Bureau - a multi platform, multi directional shooter that we liked quite a lot - and we're not far away from seeing the release of Xenocider from Retro Sumus, another title that is shaping up very well (something we can personally guarantee here at the Yard). The masters of the recent surge of releases, however, is undoubtedly JoshProd/Pixelheart. The French indie publisher has now released over 20 titles on the Dreamcast, and already had us excited for their upcoming release of the very promising looking Arcade Racing Legends, but have now upped the ante once more, with the announcement of a 5th wave of releases - all due (currently) to be released before the end of the year. I don't know about you, but any good news in this year of unpredictable craziness is most welcome.

As with their previous titles, JoshProd like to announce a batch of games at a time, with varying developers, genres and packaging formats. This wave we see 6 titles that cover platforming, fighting and lots of shooting, the return of a popular indie developer and a rather interesting multi-game set. Before we get ahead of ourselves, let's have a look at the list of titles announced:
  • Alice Sisters (Orionsoft)
  • Rocketron (Astro Port)
  • Satazius Next (Astro Port)
  • Tough Guy (Panda entertainment)
  • Supercharged Robot Vulkaiser (Astro Port)
  • Wolflame (Astro Port)

As well as these, there's two other new titles coming to the Dreamcast - we'll get on to them later:

  • Gigantic Army (Astro Port)
  • Zangeki Warp (Astro Port)

Retrospective: Q*bert

Even though I started my gaming odyssey back in the late 1980s with an Amstrad CPC 464, there are some mainstays of the retro scene that just never really resonated with me. Whenever I take a cursory glance at the smouldering hellscape that is Twitter, I will invariably see stuff from people who are of a similar age, frothing about games such as Horace, Jet Set Willy, Manic Miner et al. For me, these titles hold zero nostalgia. I realise their importance as the foundation of what we now view as the vidya gaem industry, but I just never really saw any appeal in them, even at the time. Another title that fits neatly into this bracket for me, is Q*bert.

I do vividly remember being aware of Q*bert when I was a kid, but something about the name and design of the character itself left me cold; and the actual game, with its isometric boxes, bouncing deathy spring things (which I later learned was actually a snake) and fairly simplistic gameplay did nothing for me. I was much more of a Heroes of the Lance or Heavy on the Magick type of urchin. Although I did enjoy a spot of Super Robin Hood every now and then, if only for the high fidelity speech samples. Cough.

Why am I talking about Q*bert though? What's this got to do with the Dreamcast? Well, here's why, dear reader: Q*bert made an appearance on the Dreamcast, his orange tubular schnoz recreated in fully realised 3D texture-mapped ray-traced polytriangulargons™. This won't be news to a lot of people reading this, but as Q*bert was an NTSC-U exclusive, I'm guessing there are at least a few people who didn't know the foul-mouthed, mutated little aberration was given an outing on Sega's final console.

It is curious that a lot of these early 2000s reboots of classic titles were only released stateside. Many of those original titles were quite popular in Europe - the UK especially - back when they were contemporary so why PAL releases were off the table is a bit of a mystery. The Dreamcast releases of Frogger 2, Centipede, Mrs Pacman and the Atari Classics Collections are all missing in action, presumed dead (and don't even get me started on Yu Suzuki Game Works), and I'm at a loss as to why this is the case. 

Indeed, the gaming scene was massive in the UK during the 1980s, plus there was no 'gaming crash' as there was in the US. The aforementioned titles (or their prequels at the very least) were huge hits on this side of the pond. But no, none of these Dreamcast sequels to classic games of yesteryear were released in PAL territories, and you can add to that list Q*bert. Here's the rub though. While some may lament the lack of blue box releases of those aforementioned titles, you need not shed a tear for Q*bert's Dreamcast release, as it is - for lack of a better term - cack.

Lost Atomiswave fighter KenJu ported to Dreamcast

The number of Atomiswave games ported to the Dreamcast continues to grow, and one of the latest offerings from developer megavolt85 over at Dreamcast-Talk is one we thought deserved a bit of attention. 

KenJu is a 3D fighting game from DreamFactory which was intended for release on Sammy's arcade system, but was apparently cancelled before it could be launched into brick and mortar arcades. The KenJu story has a happy ending though, as you can now get a glimpse at this fairly enigmatic polygonal scrapper either on actual Dreamcast hardware or via emulation! Here's a video of some (ham-fisted) gameplay by yours truly:

There's not a great deal known about KenJu, other than it was in development by DreamFactory (of Tobal No. 1 fame), who for unknown reasons decided not to release the game and consign it to the dustbin of history. Until now, that is. As far as I can ascertain, KenJu was due to hit arcades in 2005 before it mysteriously vanished without trace. KenJu did resurface in 2016 when a collector of Atomiswave boards released footage of it running, and then it slipped back into obscurity once more. The game has a fairly appealing visual style, with psuedo cel-shaded polygonal characters fighting in some nice looking 3D arenas.

The general consensus is that KenJu looks a little like Project Justice: Rival Schools 2, but for me that's pretty much where the similarities end. It has some interesting characters and plays pretty well, but it seems to be missing that certain something...which may hint at the reasons for why it was quietly canned. That said, it's quite good fun and the fact that the Dreamcast is able to recreate the game so flawlessly opens up the door for even more ambitious Atomiswave games such as Premier Eleven. Who thought we'd ever see the day the Dreamcast got a decent footy (soccer) game?!

It's worth noting that as with the other Atomiswave to Dreamcast ports released so far, KenJu is only available as a GDI file, so you'll need some additional hardware to play it on an actual Dreamcast. Personally, I had no joy getting the game to run under either DreamShell or RetroDream using both a Compact Flash modded system or an SD Card reader via the Dreamcast's serial port. It did however run using a GDEMU, so you may want to give that method a go if you're determined to play KenJu on original (well, original modded) hardware. That minor hiccup aside, KenJu seems to be perfectly playable and also mostly complete.

If you'd like to download the game for yourself, visit the Dreamcast-Talk forum thread here. Huge thanks once again to megavolt85 and other forum members who not only continue to expand the Dreamcast collection, but are also preserving some of the Atomiswave's most intriguing and lesser known titles.

Have you played KenJu on your Dreamcast or on an emulator? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

Interview: Out of Print Archive

Many gamers of a certain age will no doubt recall those halcyon days when the only way to really get your fix of gaming news, was to await the monthly publication of your favourite magazine. The internet of the early '90s was far removed from the internet of present year, and as such watching video of new releases or flipping through hi-resolution images direct from developer on social media wasn't something you could do. Indeed, most of my early memories of using the internet to find out about new game releases involve sneaking into the school IT suite at lunchtimes to employ Alta Vista in my insatiable quest for knowledge. Oh, and using Game Sages to get cheats. Does anyone else remember Game Sages or am I just making that website up?

Kids these days will never know the anticipation of that illuminated N *shakes fist at cloud*

Yes, back in the day, the magazine was king and it was through reading those printed materials that I took an interest in pursuing games journalism as a profession. Nowadays, I'm actually quite glad that I am not a professional games journalist, such is the the way online discourse has morphed, but for a period back in the late '90s and early 2000s it was all I wanted to do with my life. I'm pretty sure I'm not alone in that ambition either. 

Magazines of that period, and more to the point - the people who created them, were our heroes. They were the influencers of their day. Gus Swan, Marcus Hawkins, Caspar Field, Les Ellis, Jaz Rignall, Radion Automatic, Zy Nicholson, Wil Overton, Paul Davies, Keith Stuart, Simon Phillips, Ed Lomas, Tim Weaver, Mean Yob...just a few of the names I can instantly rattle off as an avid reader of a plethora of UK magazines from the 90s and 2000s. And I'm sure those in other parts of the world, and of a certain age can name the authors of their favourite magazines too.

The point I'm trying to make is that magazines were a huge part of many gamers' formative years, and the popularity of podcast Maximum Power Up's superb series of interviews with journos of yesteryear proves this. Furthermore, one website which encapsulates the magic of print media and preserving those memories is the excellent Out of Print Archive. A repository for digitised copies of print magazines of a bygone era, the Out of Print Archive has cemented itself as one of the premier online destinations for anyone who is looking to re-read those magical tomes of their childhood and take a walk down memory lane.

For this reason, we thought it would be pretty cool to speak to the people behind Out of Print Archive, ask them where the inspiration for the site came from, their digitisation process for various Dreamcast-related (and other format) magazines, and to find out what makes them - and the Archive itself - tick. Enjoy...


DCJY: Thanks so much for agreeing to speak to us about all things magazines! Could you tell us a bit about who you are, and what your roles are at Out of Print Archive?

Andy: Hello, my name is Andy (meppi64), I’m from Belgium and I’m working my way through scanning all my UK magazines, editing and restoring them. I also do all the coding and design work on the website itself and I run the Twitter account.

Neil: Hi, I'm Neil, I'm from the United Kingdom (Scotland) and I am one of the admins at Out of Print Archive. One of my initial roles when starting the project was to reach out to the UK publishers in an effort to obtain permission (officially and unofficially) to archive their back catalogue of gaming magazines. 

This allowed us to archive classic video gaming magazines without the nagging feeling that a publisher might come along with a cease and desist order. I have also written the odd article on classic magazines and have caught up with a few important people from the magazines in questions for an interview or input for a feature.

What’s the origin story of the Out of Print Archive? When and why did you decide to set up the site?

Neil: I have always been a fan of classic gaming magazines which lead me to create my own digital retro gaming magazine called Retroaction in 2008. After the release of the first issue, Carl, a fellow retro gaming magazine fan commented on how the ‘zine reminded him of the classic magazine GameFan, particularly its design and layout. 

He asked if he could post the news of the release with a small write up on the retro gaming forums where he was one of the admins along with Andy. This in turn introduced me to the world of magazine archiving and to Andy and his fantastic method of archiving Official Sega Saturn Magazine. I knew then that I wanted my own magazines to be archived in a similar way.

By 2009, we felt we needed to start our own archiving project. One that was totally transparent: free from ads, donations, or any other hindrance. Our main reason for this was to follow on from one of our main goals, in that to reach out to the publishers from yesteryear and get their permission to archive their back catalogue of magazines.

Andy: Originally I came across just 3 digital scans of the Official Sega Saturn magazine online, this must have been somewhere around 2004-2005. No matter how hard I looked, I couldn’t find any more. Reading through these made me remember just how incredible this magazine was and how it was seemingly lost to time, hardly 6 years after the final issue was released.


So this set things in motion for me. I started the hunt down a complete set, with the goal to scan them (in a rather poor fashion at that time) and looking for various ways to get them into peoples hands again. From here, it snowballed into collecting a lot more magazines.


I met Neil as well as Carl, who has since moved on to other projects, on a message board and after a lot of trial and error, as well as seeing how several scanning projects handled things in ways we didn’t agree with, we decided to set up our own site. Focussing on putting quality above everything else, but also doing things with respect towards not just the publishers, but also the editors, writers, designers, etc.

Basically all the people who originally created these magazines we all fell in love with at one point of our lives.


Wow, so we effectively owe the creation of the Out of Print Archive in some way to the Official Sega Saturn Magazine. Not what I was expecting! You clearly have a love of print media - what are your earliest memories of print magazines?

Andy: My earliest memories of a print magazine has to be Club Nintendo. Not quite sure how I found out about it, but I believe there was some kind of postcard included with certain NES games, which you could send in to Nintendo to request a subscription. Once you were signed up, every 2 months you would receive a free copy of Club Nintendo magazine, which lasted from 1989 to 1993.

Neil: My earliest memory of print magazine is picking up C+VG in 1988. I was fairly late to notice magazines, considering I had been playing games for at least three years up until that point, but C+VG opened my eyes to the wonders that were out there. I eventually reserved a copy of C+VG and continued to receive a copy of it until the early 2000s. My other earliest memory is of grabbing a copy of Amstrad Action in 1989. It was an anniversary issue where they gave away a cover-mounted cassette tape with demos and freeware stuff. This issue also reviewed one of my favourite computer games of all time, Laser Squad.