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Sonic Adventureland: A Roller Coaster of Love

If you’ve visited a Disney theme park in the last half century, you may be familiar with Space Mountain (or “Star Wars Hyperspace Mountain” per its Disneyland Paris branding). Originally conceived as Walt Disney’s roller coaster homage to the boundlessness of human ambition, today the attraction wallows in retro-futuristic parody. Steeped in the influences of iconic ‘60s and ‘70s sci-fi films – however superficially – Space Mountain evokes the unsettling, sinister tone of a future we'd never want but may only be marginally worse than the one we got. As we wait in the queue, its dim spaceport catwalks usher us through a thematic mess of obtuse angles and space-age mainframe panels. We lift off in garish pod cars and uneasy anticipation mounts as we ascend its pulsing blue tunnel. And then, the pitch-black void of space.
Image credit: TheCoasterViews

Over the next couple minutes, Disney’s spacefaring voyage pulls us up to 3.7Gs through a flurry of drops, twists, and jolts. The darkness deprives us of just enough senses for a more potent and unpredictable thrill; one we feel more than see. In the void, we’re blind to its gaudiness. It becomes clear Space Mountain was born out of the calculated ingenuity of chain-smoking Imagineers at the peak of their craft. It's almost viscerally Kubrickian, however lacking in allegory or irony. Primitive and unpolished in its interstellar kitsch, Space Mountain’s artistry endures in another sense: it’s just a darn fun ride.

And so it goes for Sonic Adventure.
If you’ve played a Dreamcast in the last quarter century, you may be familiar with Sonic Team’s ambitious 3D platformer (also the console’s best-selling game). You’re also likely to have an opinion of it. I can relate, I’ve had many. My volatile views on Sonic Adventure have practically been a roller coaster of their own. It was the reason I bought a Dreamcast and I loved playing it back when it was the first and only game I owned at launch. I soured on it in the decades since, often echoing the criticisms people spout whenever the internet convenes to complain about the game. More recently, I replayed all its characters' campaigns and it is safe to say I’ve opened my heart to Sonic Adventure once again. These days, I revisit it more often than just about any video game, period.

I’m still recovering from the whiplash.
Sonic Adventureland: A theme park where the only lines are the load times!

For me, Sonic Adventure is best enjoyed as an amusement park, and it is in that spirit that I am always eager to jump back into its queue.

English translation patch for Panzer Front released!


After a year of development, DerPlayer and PhilYeahz have completed an English translation patch for Japanese-exclusive Dreamcast title Panzer Front!

Developed by Shangri-La and released for the Dreamcast (and PlayStation) in 1999, Panzer Front is a World War II tank simulation game that combines strategy and action gameplay. It allows you to take control of many different WWII-era vehicles, with a number of historic missions available to play through. While the PlayStation version received English localisations and went on to garner itself a quiet but passionate fandom, the Dreamcast version remained only accessible to Japanese speakers. That was until now!
Very cool box art, if I do say so myself.
Check out the project's rather nifty retro-looking webpage here. At the site, you'll find more information about the game, cool resources, and most importantly, the translation patch, along with a patching utility (developed by our pal Derek Pascarella) which you need to use to apply the patch to an existing CDI or GDI of the game. Then throw that file onto your ODE of choice or burn it onto a CD-R and you're off and away blasting the crap out of things with historic military vehicles!

Will you be grabbing this latest English translation? Let us know in the comments!

The Dreamcast commercial indie scene enters a 'Golden Age'

We love to feature guest articles here at the Junkyard, and are always keen to hear from readers who would like to submit something for publication. Here, Laurence Goodchild (aka Lozzdude) takes a look at the burgeoning commercial indie scene that has furnished the Sega Dreamcast with some of the finest examples of independently developed games on any system. Lozz, over to you...

When Sega pulled the plug on the Dreamcast in 2001, few would have predicted that our beloved little white box would still be pushing out new titles 20 years later. Flicking through the pages of the multitude of gaming magazines that were vying for market share at the time, readers were presented with a journalistic consensus that the Dreamcast was well and truly dead (note: for younger members of the audience, magazines were bounded sheets of paper with writing and artwork printed on them).

Of course, by industry standards, this assessment was bang on the money. The gaming reporters may well have known that a trickle of official releases would continue to see the light of day for a few more years, or had an inkling that a sizeable portion of the Dreamcast’s enthusiastic fanbase would continue to support homebrew projects, some of which could conceivably be released in physical form on a small scale. In the terms of reference that mattered to the industry and the wider public though (revenue, profit, audience size), the writing had already been on the wall for some time.

Where it all began...

Although by these standards the Dreamcast's new releases are still undoubtedly small fry, the commercial Dreamcast indie scene has been through an astounding boom in recent years; one which is becoming hard to ignore. The tongue-in-cheek opinion shared amongst Dreamcast fanatics for many years that "the Dreamcast is a current gen console" is getting less and less absurd by the day. What began with the release of Cryptic Allusion’s Feet of Fury in 2003 (more info here) has snowballed to a point where 14 indie games were released in 2021. Furthermore, there are as many as 30 Dreamcast games forecast for release on a commercial basis in 2022 and beyond - a figure that is edging close to the 50 or so officially licenced releases seen in Europe in 2001, and which far outstrips the 9 released in 2002.

Of course, the rocketing quantity of releases doesn’t single-handedly uphold the claim that we’re in a “golden age” for the Dreamcast indie scene, but there are many other signs that accompany this trend. For one, the variety of games available is wider than ever, putting to rest the persistent trope that all the Dreamcast indie scene has to offer is shooters (which to be fair, had some validity in the mid to late noughties). Everything from platformers, fighters, puzzlers, RPGs, racers, and visual novels are finding a home on a professionally printed Dreamcast-compatible MIL-CD these days. Furthermore, there has been a diversification of contributors who are throwing their hats into the ring. Longstanding Dreamcast developers with a mountain of credibility stored up, such as Senile Team, are thankfully still here, but they have also been joined by a new wave of developers and publishers that are rapidly earning their stripes, including the likes of PixelHeart/JoshProd, LowTek Games, RetroSumus, The Bit Station, and WAVE Game Studios to name but a few.

What really adds weight to the hypothesis that the Dreamcast indie scene is entering a golden age though is the quality of many of the games - something which is undeniably more subjective and harder to pin down, but which will be recognised by many. Throughout the lifespan of the commercial Dreamcast indie scene there have always been standout titles, such as Wind & Water Puzzle Battles (2008) or Sturmwind (2013), which drew worthy praise at the time. Dreamcast enthusiasts would often wait in anticipation for years at a time for these gems; games that had clearly benefitted from the great care and attention to detail of their developers. Yet in 2020 and 2021 we were spoiled rotten with the release of three extraordinarily good titles in Intrepid Izzy, Xenocider and Xeno Crisis. These have all been extensively reviewed elsewhere too, so I won’t pour out my adoration here. Suffice it to say that they each set a high standard which others should be aiming for.

Three of the recent 'big' indie releases on Dreamcast

So, what exactly is driving this boom? Through the highly scientific method of poking around the internet, chatting with fellow devout Dreamcast fans, and mulling it over whilst munching on Hula Hoops, here's "what I reckon."

First and foremost, there is a longstanding healthy demand for commercial indie releases. Folks are willing to part with their cold hard cash for these games, and fundamentally that is what makes it viable for them to be released, especially in a physical format. Many indie games that see the light of day in a commercial form on the DC are undoubtedly labours of love and have had countless hours of voluntary or underpaid labour poured into them. Yet, however much these development costs can be kept in check, and no matter how much cheaper printing a CD is compared to producing another medium (such as a cartridge), it still requires funding, and so a reasonable level of demand is essential. 

Sales vary heavily from game to game, but it isn’t unusual to hear of indie Dreamcast releases selling over a thousand units, while those that sell well have the capability of reaching far beyond this over the course of their shelf life. For example, we know that Intrepid Izzy rapidly sold out its initial 700 copy print run within weeks of its release date, while the numbers shown on the PixelHeart website imply that a game such as Arcade Racing Legends has sold 2,500 copies of its PAL variation alone to-date. To put this into perspective, Radilgy, one of few final officially licensed Dreamcast games, was purported to have a print run of just 4,000 copies. When you add highly priced collectors’ editions into the mix - something that a section of the Dreamcast scene’s sizeable ‘adult-with-disposable-income’ demographic keenly buy into - then breaking even is a realistic, though not guaranteed, goal.

Arcade Racing Legends

On the other side of the coin, there are many factors that help facilitate the supply of games. Front and centre is the fact that Sega have thus far been very liberal (touch wood!) in their stance on the Dreamcast indie scene. Perhaps there is just no valid business rationale for them to dedicate resources to making things difficult (as opposed to genuine goodwill), but a laissez-faire attitude from multinational corporations under circumstances such as these is not always a given. Pair this with the Dreamcast’s capability to play games pressed to regular CDs without modification, and the relative ease of developing games for the console when compared to other platforms (often cited by developers in their DCJY interviews), and we have the foundations of the whole commercial indie scene.


Where Are They Now? Official UK Dreamcast Magazine's '100+ New Games'

Who remembers the July 2000 issue of Official UK Dreamcast Magazine (Issue 09)? The cover was adorned with its usual demo disc, sporting demos for Resident Evil CODE: Veronica, Tony Hawk’s Skateboarding and Silver (plus an interactive tour of the Dreamarena website), but rather than a single game gracing the front as usual, brown paper was torn away to reveal the headline ‘100+ New Games: Exclusive shots and insider information the the games you’ll be playing for the next year… and beyond!’

This was a bold, simple cover, aiming to reassure readers that things were all good in the world of Dreamcast, that many new games were on the horizon. Of course we all know how this story ends, but at the time we were still over 6 months away from the announcement of the DC’s discontinuation and the PlayStation 2 was already out in Japan. With more and more people choosing to wait for the launch of Sony’s sophomore system in Europe, sales were slowing and confidence was starting to wane.

I recall at the time that the issue did its job. I picked it up ostensibly for the CODE: Veronica demo disc, having only just gotten a Dreamcast myself, but the promise of so many new games on the horizon certainly shored up my belief that the Dreamcast was going to be around for some time to come. Hindsight is 20/20 though, right? Sigh...

Looking at the issue while doing my continued research for ‘Dreamcast: Year Two,’ almost 22 years after it was first published, I found the most interesting thing about the ‘100+ New Games’ feature to be the stats. You see, readers, I took it upon myself to start a spreadsheet and list every single game mentioned in the 22 pages of this feature (written by Ed Lomas, Warren Chrismas and Steve Owen - Ed even mentions it in my interview with him for ‘Dreamcast: Year One’). I then worked out which of the mentioned games actually released on Dreamcast, which of them released in PAL territories, if any of them were released elsewhere and whether any that didn’t release on Dreamcast had any sort of playable version in existence today.

I’ll end this piece with a link to the spreadsheet for you, but first those sexy stats. Check out this bullet-pointed list of factoids that stand out all these years later:

  • In actuality the feature mentions 153 games, although only 99 are given their own sections (of various sizes). The other 54 are listed on one page under the title ‘And There’s More...’. These were games known of, but not seen by the ODM team.
  • Of those 153 games, 104 saw a Dreamcast release.
  • 17 of the released games were home platform exclusives, meaning they never saw release on any platform besides Dreamcast or in arcades. These are: NBA 2K1, POD: Speedzone, Illbleed, Sonic Shuffle, Super Runabout, Outtrigger, WWF: Royal Rumble, Alien Front Online, Tokyo Highway Challenge 2, Magic: The Gathering, Cannon Spike, Max Steel: Covert Missions, NFL 2K1, Super Magnetic Neo, D2, Floigan Brothers and Draconus: Cult Of The Wyrm. Who says the Dreamcast has no exclusives?!
  • 17 of the released games never ended up being released in PAL territories. These were: NBA 2K1, Illbleed, Sega Marine Fishing, World Series Baseball 2K1, Prince Of Persia: Arabian Nights, Alien Front Online, Magic: The Gathering, Seaman, Bang! - Gunship Elite, NFL Blitz 2001, Max Steel: Covert Missions, NFL 2K1, D2, Namco Museum, Demolition Racer: No Exit, Frogger 2, and Ms Pac-Man: Maze Madness.
  • Evolution 2 was very nearly a Dreamcast exclusive, apart from a PC port released only in Taiwan.
  • Of the 49 games from the feature that never saw release on the DC, 10 never saw the light of day on a home system at all (though Jambo! Safari and Brave Firefighters were released to arcades).
  • A fair few of those that never saw release were due on both DC and PC, but a heist game titled Picassio started development on Dreamcast before moving to PS2 and finally GameCube before being shelved. The only one we know was only ever destined for Dreamcast in this list was Take The Bullet.
  • The other 39 games originated on other systems or were eventually released on other platforms.
  • Of the unreleased games in the ‘100+ New Games’ feature, 4 have some kind of version playable on Dreamcast today. You can download a fully working version of Half-Life thanks to review copies that were sent out before the completed game was ultimately pulled. Versions of Take The Bullet and Heroes of Might & Magic III have been found over the years, in various guises, though neither game is complete or fully playable. Colin McRae Rally 2.0 is known to have a version that is around 30% complete, though this isn’t available to the public (our own Tom Charnock was able to give it a go though).
  • There are some games with either limited or no information known, such as Legend Of The Blade Masters, M.O.U.T.: Urban Warfare 2025 and Gorkamorka. It’d be great to find out more about titles like these.

These are just games listed in one article too. We know there are many more games that were due to arrive on the Dreamcast but never did, however it’s very interesting to take a look back in time and see what might have been had the console's lifespan not come to such an abrupt end.

See the full list of games mentioned in ‘100+ New Games’ via this link, or grab the PDF of the magazine (which we used to recreate some of the feature pages) here, and let us know which of them you would like to have seen come to fruition in the comments. If you have any information about any of these ‘lost’ games too, please hit us up!

Dreamcast officially goes Postal this June!

We looked at the beta version of Dan Redfield's excellent Dreamcast port of Postal in the recent past, and decreed it to be about as faithful a recreation of the 1997 PC shooter as we could have hoped. The work-in-progress version was released in December 2021, and was available to try by downloading the file and putting it on a CD-R or a GDEMU. It was a great example of an indie developer porting open source PC code onto the Dreamcast - not least because it featured full Dreamcast controller support and pretty much every bit of content from the original game.

The story of Postal on the Dreamcast is a fairly interesting one, as the source code was released by original developer Running with Scissors back in 2016, along with an appeal for a willing indie dev to port it to the Dreamcast. Just shows you good things come to those who wait though, as the game is now being given a full official physical release - and you can get your hands on it on 2 June 2022 via WAVE Game Studios, with pre-orders now live on their website. The press release reads: 

Retro gaming fans will be able to experience the rapid-fire action enjoyed by millions of PC gamers later this year when WAVE Game Studios releases this officially licensed port of the classic title on Dreamcast, marking the franchise’s first appearance on the console.

Twenty-five years after the game’s original release, the dream of a professional release on the classic console is finally a reality. POSTAL™ developers Running With Scissors have given their blessing for this brand new no compromises version for Dreamcast, built with love from the original source code.

For more information about POSTAL™ for Dreamcast please visit the WAVE Game Studios website or for more information about the POSTAL™ franchise please visit the Running With Scissors website.

So there we go - yet another new game heading to the Dreamcast in 2022 - and they don't come with much more fame/infamy than Postal. Rather superbly, this release will also come in a choice of PAL, NTSC-U and NTSC-J packaging. Check out some gameplay from the Dreamcast beta version here, and read our interview with WAVE Game Studios here.

Look out for our full review when Postal lands on Dreamcast later this year.

The hunt for Premier Eleven - the lost Atomiswave soccer title

As we've detailed here in the recent past, the Sammy Atomiswave is a gold mine of interesting and lesser known titles that are now playable on the Dreamcast. This is thanks to talented Dreamcast community members such as megavolt85, yzb and others; and is possible in part due to the hardware similarities between the prematurley cancelled arcade system and the Dreamcast on which it is based.

Although the vast majority of the games released on Atomiswave have now been ported to the Dreamcast, there still remain several 'lost' titles that are either in the hands of private collectors; or really are lost to the annals of gaming history. One such game is the now almost legendary Chicago 1929/The Roaring Twenties - a racing game set in prohibition era America. Another of these lost 'holy grail' Atomiswave titles is a football/soccer game developed by Dimps Corporation and titled Premier Eleven.

Source: The Arcade Flyer Archive

As is well documented, the Dreamcast's stable of soccer titles never really hit the heights of titles on contemporary systems, with PlayStation, Nintendo and Xbox owners all having superior kick ball experiences at their disposal. But what of Premier Eleven then? Details are relatively scant on just how good this game could have been, but the small amount of video available online shows a Virtua Striker style experience with some outstanding animation and excellent visuals. Regardless, I for one would love to sample Premier Eleven simply out of pure curiosity (and my love of soccer games); and who knows - Premier Eleven could be the top tier football game Dreamcast owners have been waiting for.

Alas, that's unlikely to happen. Not least because Premier Eleven was never relased. Or was it? Here's where things get interesting. Over on Dreamcast Talk, there's a thread all about a Premier Eleven arcade board coming up for sale on eBay. The thread was started back in January 2021 by user Ro Magnus Larsson and the eBay auction is still live, with the seller 'neotropolis' asking for $15,000 in return for a 'fully working, 100% complete' example of Premier Eleven. The listing goes on to claim: "To my knowledge, this game only exists in the form you see here; a true holy-grail centerpiece for any arcade-gaming collector!"

What would appear to back this claim up is that the only footage of this game actually running comes from the previous owner of the Premier Eleven board up for auction. Upon learning of the video, several members of the Dreamcast Talk forum commented on the upload pleading for owner 'bowser 123' to dump the rom, but they responded saying that they'd already sold the board to the person who now has it listed on eBay: "I made this video because I sold the game for USA, specifically for an ebay seller called neotropolis, I think he is still selling it for a fortune, even if I wanted to make the dump I couldn't because I don't have it anymore."

So end of story right? There is one known copy of Premier Eleven for the Atomiswave. The person who owned it made a video to show it working, and then sold it. The buyer now has it listed on eBay for $15,000 and it's unlikely that the rom will be dumped unless a super wealthy Dreamcast fan buys it and releases the rom online out of the goodness of their own heart. Well, not quite.

There is some proof that this copy of Premier Eleven is not in fact the only known version out there. First, back in 2017 when we covered the discovery of a dev kit containing previously unseen Chicago 1929 assets, friend of the Junkyard and MSR authority RJAY63 commented: "I actually played Chicago 1929 at Southsea Island Leisure Arcade (Clarence Pier, Southsea, UK) circa 2005. They briefly became a test site for Sega Amusements with an Outrun 2 SP set-up and quite a few Atomiswave titles. Only played it once but I wasn't very impressed so I'm not surprised it got canned."

The key information here is the Southsea Island Leisure Arcade in Hampshire, UK. And furthermore that this location was a test site for Sega Amusements back in the 2000s. This could be written off purely as a baseless rumour, if not for the further evidence backing this up in the form of photos. Photos of a Premier Eleven arcade cabinet running at Southsea Island Leisure Arcade, circa 2004:

Dreamcast Talk forum member Baseley0o frequented the same arcade as RJAY63, and also took photos of the machines at the time, stating: "This game deffo went out into circulation/arcades. I took these snaps at my local arcade Clarence Pier, Southsea (UK) not too long after Atomiswave came out and one of them was Premier Eleven. I'm unsure if the 2004 date my camera shows is accurate. I thought maybe 2003 but it's a while back now! The arcade in question wasn't a test site for anything that I recall, though did have the odd surprise like these."

So what does all this mean? To me, it points to the very real possibility that there is more than one single copy of Premier Eleven in existence. That there is a small chance that somewhere - possibly even in the UK - the Premier Eleven Atomiswave cartridge in final, working form exists. And this is very exciting, for various reasons - not least for video game history preservation.

All of this would not have been possible without the investigation of the Dreamcast Talk forum members and people like RAY63 and Baseley0o; but there's still a lot of work to be done to discover the fate of the Premier Eleven game that was playable in Southsea in the mid 2000s. 

To this end, I have contacted Sega Amusements to ask if they have any records of what happened to Premier Eleven and if they can help to shed any light on this mystery. Likewise, for what it's worth I've emailed Dimps via their corporate website. Furthermore, Southsea Island Leisure Arcade is still in operation to this day, and according to the UK Government's Companies House website, the same directors who ran the location in the mid 2000s are still in charge. It's probably a long shot that they would even remember the Premier Eleven machine being placed in the arcade (or indeed what happened to it), but I've also reached out to them, too. If this article can help to shine even a slither of light into the darkness and assist in the release of this long lost Atomiswave title, then all the better.

For now though, I guess waiting for a reply from Sega Amusements or Southsea Island is our best bet. Unless anyone wants to cough up $15,000 for the copy on eBay...


Update

After I published this article, I took a trip down to Clarence Pier in Southsea and located the very arcade in which the photographs above were taken. Naturally, in the intervening decades since Baseley0o took the photos, the arcade has been completely redecorated and there relatively few recognisable video arcades on offer; much of the floor space now being taken up by gambling machines and toy grabbers. 

I'm not sure what I was expecting really - maybe a faint glimmer of hope that the passage of time had somehow avoided this little corner of Hampshire and that the Premier Eleven Atomiswave machine might still be there in some forgotten corner, covered in dust and be happily chiming away to itself in attract mode. Alas, this wasn't the case - the machine had obviously long since been removed. I asked a member of staff but they had no recollection of it either, again this is not surprising considering how long ago the photos were taken.

In a slightly more bountiful turn of events, I did recieve a response from Sega Amusements, with several members of the team responding to my emails. The most interesting reply came from Martin Riley, the International Sales Manager:


Hello Tom,   

Yes, actually I was the one who placed those games into the Southsea arcade, but it was later than 2000.   

I was the Sales Manager at Sammy Europe based in London at the time that we launched Atomiswave into the UK. In your picture you can see the standard modular version first launched, and then the squarer box cabinet which was the deluxe version for the larger arcade. 

Premier Eleven was indeed a game we looked to launch in UK market and only really tested, but it didn’t go into wide circulation. However, I’m not 100% sure it was the only prototype. This was from either Japan or USA Sammy studios and was supposed to be an on-line version with servers in each country, but was a little before its time and wasn’t popular, or worked as planned, if I remember correctly, and in the end was never continued. So, you are right that there are very few of these cartridges around as it was never on general release in the UK.

I hope this helps.

Martin Riley

International Sales Manager


This update doesn't really add a great deal to the quest to locate other copies of Premier Eleven, although it is cool that we managed to track down the very person who put the Premier Eleven cabinet into that arcade in Southsea.

Is video of the Sega Spud Dive PR events 'lost media'?

Long time readers of the Junkyard will no doubt be aware of my penchant for the obscure, the esoteric and the forgotten. Naturally, due to my obsession with the Dreamcast, there's something of a Venn diagram crossover where all of these ingredients are thrown together - obscure, esoteric, largely forgotten stuff relating to the Dreamcast is my bread and butter. But never Marmite. Yuck.

Take for example, my quest to unearth the actual court documents relating the the City of Milwaukee's failed attempt to probhibit the US release of Jet Set/Grind Radio owing to the conurbation's battle with unauthorised graffitti. Or the (currently dormant) attempt to discover the identity of the female voice artist responsible for the "This is a Dreamcast disc..." warning that PAL Dreamcast owners are undoubtedly familiar with. And who can forget the publication of the Sega internal email that heralded the end of the Dreamcast, but recreated in the style of House of Leaves? There was something about the barber from the European Dreamcast TV adverts too. Another one of these wild flights of fancy was my attempt to document the lesser known Sega Spud Dive PR events - something I was even able to quiz none other than former Sega of America President Peter Moore on when he appeared on episode 100 of our podcast DreamPod.

1998 Spud Dive winner Daniel Aguilar receiving his prize from Peter Moore

I'm not about to retread old ground here though. No, as stated, we've covered the Spud Dive previously. What I'm specifically focusing on now is the fact that while the Sega Spud Dive events were reasonably well documented with photographs in magazines of the time; have seen first person blogs on the event posted online; and were also recapped on some PR focussed websites of the era, there doesn't seem to be any video of either Spud Dive event anywhere online.

Proof that Mark Wahlberg took video of a Spud Dive

To clarify, there were two seperate Spud Dives - one held in 1998 to mark the Japanese launch of the Dreamcast, where the prize was a US launch day console and all of the launch games (later presented by Peter Moore); while the second event was held around Thanksgiving of 2000 to raise awareness of the console during the height of PlayStation 2 launch window fever. The second event also featured two actors dressed as Presidential candidates Al Gore and George W. Bush, to give a 'newsy' angle, apparently.

Source: Retrovolve

That no video exists of either Spud Dive (or indeed a prior similar event held in 1997 to mark the launch of Sonic R) is particularly puzzling, especially because this article from organiser Provoke Media's website claims that several TV crews were in attendence at the 2000 re-run, and the event was featured in a news segment by the Craig Kilborn Show - a US TV show which was hugely popular at the time.

"All coverage of “The Sega Spud Dive” aired the week of Thanksgiving, the busiest shopping time of the year.  More than 82 broadcast results appeared, including the Craig Kilborn Show and the ABC, CBS and Fox affiliates in Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Miami, Atlanta, San Diego, Phoenix, Chicago, Dallas, Boston, Indianapolis, Denver, Cincinnati, Oklahoma City, Milwaukee and many others. 

"Los Angeles Daily News sent a photographer and ran a photo with a large caption featuring Sega Spud Dive.  95% of the results mentioned both Sega and Dreamcast.  Dreamcast sales went up 82% during Thanksgiving weekend, from previous weeks."

- Paul Holmes, Provoke Media

I have searched high and low for some footage from either Sega Spud Dive event, mainly because I want to witness the absurdity of people swimming through cold mashed potatoes in an attempt to win a Dreamcast/Dreamcast related goodies - but to date I have found zero evidence that actual video of the procedings still exists. I've searched for local news channels that focus on the Los Angeles area and also episodes of the Craig Kilborn Show from around the time period, but even these appear to be lost media in themselves. The article linked above also states that:

"After the event, B-roll was hand-delivered to stations that did not send a camera crew and submitted the photo to the Associated Press, Reuters, Entertainment Wire and LA News Wire, which was distributed via satellite and hand-delivered to local network affiliates to increase national exposure."

Where is this B-roll? Where are these news items that were distributed via satellite? Associated Press, Reuters and Entertainment Wire aren't exactly small outlets or organisations, so why can't I find a single trace of any of this online? There's even a camera operator in the background of the image at the top of this page! I realise that 1998 and 2000 were different times, and people didn't walk around with 4K video cameras in their pockets; but there were news camera crews in attendance...where is the video? I clearly have more questions that answers when it comes to video footage or TV news reports of hapless members of the public swimming through mashed potatoes to win a Dreamcast.

To this end, I'd like to know if anyone out there reading this has any more first hand memories of either of the Sega Spud Dives? Did you take part? Do you have video or do you recall seeing video on TV? Hell, are you Daniel Aguilar - the guy who won the original Dreamcast and took delivery from Peter Moore himself? Or are you Levi Buchanan who won the second Spud Dive competition? I know this is a massive long shot and I know that this obsession of mine is ultimatley pointless, but for some reason this bizarre publicity stunt absolutley fascinates me; and it is the relative lack of documentation, outside of a few magazine articles and online snippets (look here and here, and also from the 8:55 mark during the Video Game History Foundation's Dreamcast launch podcast episode) that makes it all the more alluring. Alas, approximately zero videos.

Anyway, that's all I really have to say on the Sega Spud Dive for now (promise!). Maybe video does exist, but I'm either looking in the wrong places or simply using the wrong search terms. Either way, I'm hoping someone will be able to point me in the direction of some video taken of either event, but for now I'm inclined to file Sega Spud Dive video footage under 'lost media.'

[lock-on] Volume 003 Dreamcast special smashes crowdfunding goal in 6 hours!

[lock-on] from Lost in Cult has established itself as a high quality gaming journal ever since Volume 001 was successfully funded via Kickstarter back in April 2021. Featuring long form features from established games journalists, bloggers, YouTubers and influencers; and interviews with high profile game developers, alongside stunning bespoke artwork; [lock-on] has truly carved out a niche for itself as a proper high brow publication. I'm purposely trying not to use the word 'magazine,' because that's not really what [lock-on] is - it's every bit the journal it claims to be. Think a collection of essays peppered with amazing visuals and you're on the right track.

Anyhow, [lock-on] Volume 003 hit Kickstarter at 6pm on Monday 7 February, and was fully funded to the tune of £24,000 just 6 hours later. And why am I telling you any of this? Well, its because Volume 003 is a full on Dreamcast spectacular! Full disclosure alert here though - [lock-on]'s Editor-in-Chief is one Andrew Dickinson, who you may know as one of the hosts from our podcast DreamPod (as well as Dreamcast Years), and furthmore three of the team here at the Junkyard - myself, Rich Elsey and Lewis Cox - will have Dreamcast-related features published in the journal.

Don't let me contributing put you off though - there are many, many familiar and talented folk from the world of gaming content creation involved with [lock-on] Volume 003, many offering Dreamcast related musings which will make up a large percentage of the 200+ page tome. Names such as Adam Koralik, John Linneman, and Simon Cox and Jörg Tittel from the Official US Dreamcast Magazine head up those writers known for their affinity with Sega's little white box; with many more also contributing.

As with Volumes 001 and 002, [lock-on] Volume 003 will be adorned with incredible artwork, with the hard cover version in particular featuring a lovely Shenmue inspired illustration (the soft cover features equally impressive Sable art); and pretty much every square centimetre of available real estate is plastered with some of the most amazing illustrations from some of the most well known and respected artists in the gaming space.

That's not all though, as some tiers of the Kickstarter come with a digital EP from synthwave musician RyoX - titled Visual Memories EP - which features remixed music tracks from Shenmue, Resident Evil CODE: Veronica, Skies Of Arcadia, Space Channel 5 and Sonic Adventure. That'll sound lovely wafting out of your stereo on a warm summer's evening - mark my words.

[lock-on] Volume 003 looks set to be a real treat for fans of Sega's final console, and though the Kickstarter has been successfully funded, you can still back it to recieve a copy of the physical journal (at the time of writing). Previous copies of [lock-on] tend to become quite sought after as publisher Lost in Cult doesn’t generally do reprints, so my advice would be to head over to the Kickstarter campaign page and chuck some money at it, pronto!

Follow Lost in Cult on Twitter or visit the Lost in Cult website for more information.

Retrospective: Virtua Striker 2 ver 2000.1

When is a football game not actually a football game? When it's Virtua Striker, of course! The Dreamcast iteration of Virtua Striker 2 was initially released in Japan in 1999, under the slightly odd moniker of Virtua Striker 2 ver 2000.1; a title which you'd be forgiven for mistaking as a Windows update patch. This comparison isn't actually as outlandish as you might think though, when you consider that previous Model 3 arcade based versions of Virtua Striker 2 were bequeathed with similarly date specific nomenclature - Virtua Striker 2 was previously delivered to arcades in ver '98, ver '99 and ver 2000 before ver 2000.1 finally made its way into homes as part of the Dreamcast library.

Naturally, that this Sega AM2 developed soccer title has a numerical suffix hints that it is indeed a sequel, and not only that; for if you were to be even more inclined to combine inquisitive cognition and the human ability to conceive of future tenses (even though we are technically going into the past, here), then you'd also be totally correct to hypothesise that it is also simultaneously a prequel. Basically, what that absolute nonsense means in a nutshell is that there was a prequel (Virtua Striker) released in arcades 1994; and two sequels in the form of Virtua Striker 3 released on Nintendo Gamecube and in arcades in 2002; and Virtua Striker 4 released exclusively as a coin-op in 2004.

Now we've covered the potted history of Virtua Striker releases in very abridged form, let's get down to brass tacks. Cast your mind back to when you first started reading this badly constructed article and you'll recall that I rather brazenly announced that Virtua Striker is not a football game. And that's because it's not. Rather, it is football in the most arcadey format you're ever likely to see...which kinda makes sense given the actual arcade cabinet based origins of the series. Apologies if the constantly backpedaling mess of contradictory meandering is confusing the whole situation here, but I've had a long day and I just need to write something. Anything. And it's turned out to be this. Sorry.

Designed to be played in short sessions, easy on the eye and spectacular almost to a fault, the Virtua Striker games are divisive in the extreme...and Virtua Striker 2 ver 2000.1 for Dreamcast does nothing to upset this particular apple cart. Indeed, I think I'm well within my rights to pompously declare Virtua Striker the Marmite of football games - you'll either absolutely loathe it; or you'll think it is the best thing since sliced bread (and then try to spread it on said staple before ravenously devouring it, you contemptible monster).

I remember when games magazines of yore would show screens of Virtua Striker, sometimes even going as far as to state that a Sega Saturn port was in production. I would gaze longingly at those chunky-legged polygonal footballers contorted into impossible shapes while toe-poking sharp-edged footballs into bulging nets, and dream of them someday adorning my beloved Saturn. Alas, that dream never became reality, and so my first real taste of Virtua Striker's flavour of footy came when Virtua Striker 2 ver 2000.1 burst onto the PAL Dreamcast in 2000. 

Feverishly I loaded the GD into my console and was instantly mesmerised by opening cinematics of highly detailed footballers lining up for Sega-ised anthems in cathedral-like stadia. Footballing nirvana was a mere button press away. The hype was real, Virtua Striker 2 was finally in my living room and memories of ISS '98 on the Nintendo 64 were ready to be overwritten with the barnstorming return to glory of the mighty Sega. And then the game started and I almost cried. With sadness, that is.

Before I go on, I want to remind you that I'm writing this from memory - I was a teenager who had heard about how amazing Virtua Striker was, had never played it but been a fully paid up passenger on the hype train since the first time I saw the amazing screenshots of Virtua Striker 2 in magazines. And now here it was, finally being pumped into my eyeballs via the power of a Tatung CRT television (with full on mahogany surround and Fastext, I might add)...and yet I was heartbroken. Why? Because - and to be blunt - it played like absolute arse crack.

I was expecting something like ISS 64 but with CGI graphics; instead I was playing a computerised version of Subbuteo with a cloth pitch that hadn't been ironed properly so the ball never made it over the creases to the intended destination. Virtua Striker 2, here, in all it's amazing looking glory...but with no commentary, no changeable camera angles, about two buttons and a stupid 'swooshing' noise every time you attempt to tackle. Idiotic AI teammates, hardly any teams to actually play as, a daft time limit on matches, no half times, and no substitutions. I hated it. I hated what I was witnessing. How could they have gotten something that looked so right, so awfully and harrowingly wrong...?