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Review: Ghoul Grind: Night of the Necromancer

The world of indie Dreamcast games has changed dramatically over the last couple of decades. A period of cheap and cheerful, mostly puzzle-orientated titles in the mid-00s was followed by a lengthy period of time where, alongside the last official GD-ROM pressed releases authorised by Sega, we were treated to several shoot-'em-ups from a variety of indie developers. That period that was so lengthy, in fact, that we still see some social media influencers parroting the tired opinion that "the DC only receives indie shooters," instantly earning them the wrath of the collective Junkyard crew. 

By the mid-2010s, the array of titles finding a physical release was a much more diverse selection: racing, platforming, adventures, RPGs, twin stick shooters, 3D shooters and many other genres found their way to the Dreamcast, and still do! 

We're currently staring at the quite ludicrous prospect of nearly 30 upcoming releases for this incredible machine that just refuses to die. As well as a broader selection, the quality has also seen a marked improvement as well – arguably reaching a recent peak with the releases of Xeno Crisis, Xenocider and Intrepid Izzy - three impeccable independent releases that have pushed the boundaries of quality; not only with their gameplay, but in the presentation department as well. Whilst not every game will reach the lofty heights of that trio, the days of any old game being released and instantly receiving praise just because it's 'on the Dreamcast' are long gone. 

Indeed, while I and the rest of the Junkyard crew are overjoyed that so many talented developers are bringing new games to the Dreamcast, we are now in an era - bizarrely - where we can be more objective about new titles than ever before.

Ghoul Grind: Night of the Necromancer may not be a candidate to sit alongside the Izzys or Xenos at the very top level of what's available, but that doesn't mean it's a bad game. Developer Woog Worx's main goal was to Kickstart a brand new NES physical release, with a Dreamcast port as a stretch goal. Ghoul Grind is a 2D, 8-bit, auto scrolling platformer with a distinctly Halloween theme. Due to it being a port of an NES game, on a technical level, it certainly doesn't push the Dreamcast in any way whatsoever. A successful Kickstarter campaign, which didn't seem to elicit much attention from the DC community (if you had listened to us, you would have backed it, so don't complain now!), was completed back in April 2021, and by the end of that year, the game was already in backer's hands - the sort of quick turnaround story that we can always get behind at the 'Yard!

The plot (played out through a short introduction sequence and in the game's lovely full colour manual - more about that later) sees Nox and Veronica - boyfriend and girlfriend - tasked with saving the townsfolk of Saint Crypton from their best friend Vladimir; who is raising the dead, bringing ghouls, ghosts and goblins out onto the streets, forests and crypts of the town. As someone who lives quite happily year round with the oranges and blacks of Halloween decorations decorating my house, the aesthetic on offer really hits a sweet spot. 

The game oozes a charmingly nostalgic All Hallows Eve atmosphere, with a suitably ghoulish 8-bit soundtrack (which may not be to the masterful level of some indie offerings, but considering the limitations of the original hardware, is rather good) and a colour palette full of oranges and browns to give it an autumnal look, as well as eerie blues, blood reds and the blackest blacks, really making the most of those hardware limits again. Woog Worx really do deserve credit for their character design and spooky atmosphere. Ghoul Grind sits in a perfect cross-section of 8-bit, Tim Burton and horror aesthetic.  

Gameplay is pretty straightforward: your characters auto run through the levels, with your control being limited to one button to jump, and one button to fire your weapon. You can change between the two characters on the fly throughout - and need to do so to get past certain sections - but there is little in the way of complexity here. The levels have all manner of suitably Halloween-themed enemies (with some great accompanying artwork in the manual), and are chock full of tricky jumps and platforming elements to challenge the player. 

Chances are, on your first attempt at each stage, you will die a fair few times before you know exactly when to time the action required. When you do die, it's straight back to the beginning where you attempt to traverse the level again, your knowledge of what you've already seen aiding your progress. There are 18 levels in total, as well as six boss encounters, which change up the obstacles you come across, but the gameplay remains broadly the same throughout. 

It'd be fair to say that this can lead to some challenging moments, but the instant restarts lower the sense of frustration. There is the occasional instance of a button press seemingly missed, although I didn't notice this too often. For the most part, this is as smooth as an NES port to the Dreamcast would be expected to be. Smooth can also be used to describe the packaging of the game. We have come to expect good quality packaging in recent years, what with the rise of JoshProd and Wave Game Studios, and Ghoul Grind lives up to that. 

A full colour manual contains loads of excellent illustrations, and the overall package is professional looking. Originally, you could only obtain the Dreamcast version of the game when backing a level with a physical NES cart as well, and whilst we're not the NES Junkyard, I have to say that the high quality of packaging crosses over to that release as well. For those who weren't interested in getting the NES cart too, standalone purchase option for the Dreamcast release are now available.

There isn't much more to say about the game, really. It's a decidedly simple premise, well executed, with a great gothic Halloween-loving atmospheric style (and an awesome name to boot - although it sounds more like the sort of blackened Death Metal band and album title that I'd happily lap up). Just remember that it's not something which was made with the Dreamcast in mind (although, kudos to Woog Worx for replacing the NES controllers featured in the background of the training levels, with Dreamcast controllers); or a game that will thrill those that want indie games to push the envelope of what we've come to expect on the console.


You can purchase your own copy of the game at the Woog Worx store here. You can download a demo or buy a PC version of the game at their itch.io page here. The Woog Worx main website can be found here.

Have you purchased Ghoul Grind: Night of the Necromancer for Dreamcast? If so, please do let us know your thoughts on it in the comments.

Shadow Gangs Kickstarter re-kicked with lower goal

We recently reported on the promising Shadow Gangs Dreamcast port and its Kickstarter campaign. Though the game is a top quality side scrolling punching simulator, one of the most common concerns we saw raised was how high the Kickstarter funding goal had been set. It appears that the team behind Shadow Gangs saw similar cause for concern and as a result, the original campaign for this excellent addition to the Dreamcast indie library has been cancelled with a new one launched in its place. The new campaign has a much more realistic goal of £25,000 (the previous target had been set at a fairly optimistic £140,000) and it can be found here.

Naturally several of us here at the Junkyard backed the previous Kickstarter, and have also now pledged towards the new campaign. If you're wondering what all the fuss is about though, below is a preview of the game running on a GDEMU equipped DCHDMI system:

Honestly, this is a really high quality, hard as nails scrapper and I'm very much looking forward to playing the final game on a Dreamcast. Not sure I'll be seeing much more than the first level judging from my shockingly bad playthrough of the demo, but cest la vie and all that.

Anyone who wants to try the demo on actual Dreamcast hardware (or an emulator) themselves can do so by heading over to the new Shadow Gangs Kickstarter here, and grabbing the file via the handy download link. Oh, and maybe support the campaign too. New Dreamcast games, especially ones with Shadow Gangs' level of quality, are never a bad thing to back. Unlike that coffee maker I backed two years ago and still haven't recieved. Yes Oomph, I'm looking at you. Harrumph.

Let's take a look at SEGA Powered magazine

SEGA Powered is a brand new Sega-focused magazine that was successfully funded on Kickstarter back in 2021. Naturally, several of us here at the Junkyard threw our cash at the campaign when we heard that somebody was attempting to bring us a games mag that echoed the feel and style of those 90's rags we grew up reading. And now that it's finally here, how does SEGA Powered live up to those lofty expectations?

Pretty well, actually. For starters, SEGA Powered is helmed by Dean Mortlock, a veteran of the games journalism scene of the 1990s. Dean was the Editor of both SEGA Power and its successor Saturn Power - the pair of them magazines I read as a child and later a teen - and so I knew this was going to be decent. Dean is supported by former DC-UK and Edge staffer Neil Randall as Dep Ed, along with Staff Writers Paul Monaghan (who you may know from the Maximum Power Up podcast); and Marc Jowett from SegaMags. There's enough gaming experience, credibility and knowledge contained within the noggins of this foursome that you know these guys know what makes a good games mag. And I know that you know that I like a good games mag. And you know what? SEGA Powered is a good mag. Check it out in the video below:

SEGA Powered issue uno weighs in at 78 pages, and there's a really good mix of content covering modern Sega news and games, alongside a healthy serving of retro themed reviews and features. Sonic features on the cover and Sega's mascot is treated to a multi page 30th anniversary spread. What's especially nice for us Dreamcast fans though, is the amount of Dreamcast-specific content. There are reviews of Virtua Tennis and Intrepid Izzy, some good information on Dreamcast indie titles, and an interview with Roel van Mastbergen from Senile Team. There's also a rather excellent 'directory' of the essential games for every Sega console, along with prices you should expect to pay for them. No Spirit of Speed 1937 in the Dreamcast section though, which is honestly quite alarming.

I'm reliably informed by Paul that issue 2 of SEGA Powered is already well underway and we're excited to see what's next for the magazine. As a passive-aggresive suggestion, I'd very much like to see a revival of Mean Yob's letters page in future issues, and possibly even Games Master Magazine's Grip Chimp for highly specialised peripheral reviews. Oh, and an Amiga Power style 'reader art' section where the editorial staff essentially laugh at how bad the submissions are. If you build it, they will come.

Jokes aside, SEGA Powered is yet another high quality physical gaming peridocal that has been funded by fans and lovingly crafted by people who clearly know what they're doing. If you missed the Kickstarter campaign and would like to get hold of a copy of issue 1 though, be sure to head to the SEGA Powered website (when it launches in early 2022) or grab a copy from one of the gaming events the team will be attending in 2022. Oh, and give them a follow on Twitter here.

Two Dreamcast shooters now playable in English!

We're not even a week into 2022 and we've already received not one, but two English fan translations of Japanese Dreamcast games! This community sure works at a rapid pace. Both of the games are vertically scrolling shooters, or 'shmups,' as the cool kids like to say. Let's check ‘em out...

First up is Radirgy, which was originally developed by MileStone, Inc. for the Sega NAOMI arcade platform. It was eventually ported over to the Dreamcast in 2006, exclusively in Japan, years after the West presumed the rest of the world had given up on Sega's swan song console. Radirgy replaces the usually dark, space theming of other shoot-em-ups with a colourful, cel-shaded anime style. With gameplay that verges on bullet hell, and a protagonist that is allergic to radio waves, this one is about as Japanese as they come. Even the box art is slightly odd, simply opting to feature said protagonist pushing her glasses up her nose in that cool way anime people do (should probably go to your local optician and get those adjusted, bud). Check out our Radirgy retrospective here.

An English translation of Radirgy appeared seemingly out of nowhere on the 2nd of January, submitted to RomHacking.net by user wiredcrackpot. The translation is based on the official US Wii release of the game, which wiredcrackpot admits isn't the best translation ever, but it's at least something that can serve to help us non-Japanese speakers understand the bonkers story that is taking place. 
You can download the translation patch at RomHacking.net. If you can't be bothered with all that patching stuff, though, you can simply go to the Dreamcast-Talk thread, where you will find an already patched .CDI and .GDI available for download. Burn the game onto a CD-R or throw it on to your GDEMU. Whatever you do, take a moment to speculate what drugs the people over at MileStone were taking when they made Radirgy. We'll have a debate about it next time we talk.

If you are also interested in playing an English translation of Radirgy's darker kind-of sequel, Karous, head here to download that.

Next up is Chaos Field, which was the first game ever developed by MileStone Inc. and was released in 2004 for the Sega NAOMI, with a Dreamcast release following a few months later. Perhaps a more standard shmup affair compared to Radirgy (stylistically, at least), the game consists entirely of boss battles, and has a pretty unique mechanic in which players can flip the environment at will between two parallel worlds. 

The Chaos Field translation patch was created by Derek Pascarella, whose work we've previously featured on the Junkyard (multiple times, in fact) and has also appeared on an episode of the Dreampod (check that out here). Inspired by wiredcrackpot's Radirgy patch, Derek started poking around in the code of Chaos Field to find the game actually shipped with about 80% of the text and images already translated into English - it had just been hidden away in the game’s code this entire time! Derek then translated the remaining 20%, and voilà! We now have Chaos Field completely in English, for the first time on Dreamcast.

You can download Derek's patch by going to this project’s GitHub repository. Patched CDIs and GDIs are available from the Dreamcast-Talk thread.
These projects are a good start to what is hopefully another big year for the Dreamcast community. Have you played any of these shooters before? Are you excited to play them in English? Let us know in the comments below, or by sounding off on our various social media channels.

Voting is open for The Dreamcast Junkyard Top 200 Dreamcast Games 2022!

Long time readers of The Dreamcast Junkyard may recall that back in 2016 we asked you, the loyal legions of Dreamcast gamers out there, to vote for your favourite titles. The Dreamcast Junkyard 'Top 200' 2016 has been a favourite online destination for many people looking for a definitive run down of the best games for Sega's final console - as voted for by you, the people who actually play them. Well, it's now 2022 and the 2016 listing - while still a solid representation of the finest games on the Dreamcast - just feels a bit...outdated.

Since those heady days of 2016, when Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and Captain America: Civil War dominated the movie charts; and Cake by the Ocean from DNCE drifted from Bluetooth speakers across the world, a hell of a lot has changed. Petrol prices have gone through the roof, buying plastic carrier bags at supermarket checkouts now comes with a complimentary death threat, and the size of a KitKat has shrunk at least 8 fold. Oh, and something about a pandemic? Drawing a blank on that last one to be honest.

No, in the last 6 years the Dreamcast indie scene has really hit its stride, with titles from independents genuinely starting to match the efforts of big name studios from the time of the Dreamcast's natural life. Elsewhere, other games have garnered almost cult status, with Spirit of Speed 1937 in particular being treated to a bizarre underground subculture of surrealist revisionist history; and let's not forget that a whole new generation of gamers is discovering the Dreamcast and they want us old gits to move aside so they can tell us that yes, Kao the Kangaroo is a better game than Super Magnetic Neo. Because reasons. Get over it, grandpa. "Can't believe you remember the 80s. That's weird." But enough about what my nephew said to me mere days ago, as I tried to explain what a Dreamcast was. Kids these days...


The point is, we thought it high time to refresh our Top 200, and now we are once again turning to you - the Great Dreamcast Nation - to vote for your top Dreamcast titles. Voting is simple - visit our voting form here and nominate your top 10 Dreamcast games. They can be official releases, indie or homebrew titles...the only rule is that the game needs to have been released on Dreamcast as a Dreamcast game or port. Obviously don't vote for emulated Super Nintendo or Genesis roms or things like that, but stuff like Breakers or 4x4 Jam or Flashback is allowed as they were given proper Dreamcast ports. Essentially any Dreamcast title that you enjoy is fair game. Pun intended.

So that's it really - head over to the voting form, add your games and hit submit. In the near future we'll collate all the votes and then update the Top 200 with the new list, and I dare say our crack team of in-house statisticians (that's Mike and James, in case you wondered) will pore over the data and initiate a lockdown give a full analysis and update the Top 200 to reflect modern tastes. 

Click on the button below to vote. Just remember: we gonna have have some fun, are you ready? Here we go...!

DCJY welcomes Peter Moore

After almost 6 years, our podcast DreamPod has finally reached the magic number of 100 episodes. Every single one of the previous 99 has been a pleasure to produce, but for episode 100 we thought we needed a guest that could help us really celebrate reaching this not insignificant milestone. First and foremost we invited you, our valued listeners to send in recorded voice messages and email questions that the DreamPod crew could answer with varying degress of idiocy authority. 

However, to really mark this momentous episode, we knew we also had to invite a Dreamcast related special guest onto the show; someone with real stature in the storied history of the Dreamcast to come and tell us their story. In this case, we welcomed former Sega of America president Peter Moore onto the DreamPod to chat all things Dreamcast with us.



It was a real pleasure speaking to Peter and we would like to thank him for taking the time to answer Tom and James' questions. We would also like to thank our listeners for downloading our previous 99 episodes and making the DreamPod the success we like to think it has been.



You can either listen to DreamPod 100 using the embedded player above, or you can watch the recorded video call with Peter on our YouTube channel or by simply clicking play on the YouTube video embedded. You might want to watch the video all the way to the end too, lest you miss the reveal of the greatest piece of Dreamcast branded attire you're ever likely to see...
The must-have outfit this season...
As ever, all of our previous podcast episodes can be found on your favourite podcatcher by simply searching for 'DreamPod.' Once again, a huge thanks to those involved and here's to another 100 episodes! 

Oh, and if you like interviews with former presidents of Sega of America, you can find our interview with Bernie Stolar here.

Xenocider 'next-gen' demo now available

Remember Xenocider? We do - Retro Sumus' excellent Dreamcast shooter burst onto the scene in early 2021 and wowed us with its lovely graphics, challenging gameplay and incredible amount of unlockable content. Check out our review here

The good news is that Retro Sumus are bringing Xara's adventure to modern gaming platforms in 2022, with PlayStation, Nintendo Switch and Xbox One / Series gamers all being given the opportunity to engage in a friendly bit of interstellar planetary genocide. Of course, alongside the consoles, there's also a PC version planned and you can try a demo of Xenocider's non-Dreamcast remaster on Steam right now.

Xenocider was - and still is - a great looking Dreamcast game, and is probably the best looking 3D indie title we've yet seen on Sega's console. Naturally though, the modern remaster takes advantage of the more powerful hardware offered by contemporary consoles and gaming rigs, meaning everything has a rather nice visual upgrade. No floating Dreamcast power-ups though, which will no doubt mark it down in our view.

The updated version of Xenocider is being published by Eastasiasoft and no doubt once the game is released in 2022 we'll cast an eye over it and see how it compares to the Dreamcast original. Grab the Steam demo here, follow Retro Sumus here and buy a digital copy of the original Dreamcast version of Xenocider here.

A Dreamcast port of Postal appears!

Back in 2016 Postal developer Running With Scissors released the source code for their blood-soaked isometric shooter. Alongside this release, an appeal was made for a developer to step forward and create a Dreamcast port, should anyone be so inclined. Fast forward to December 2021 and a beta version of Postal for Dreamcast has now been released.

Coming from developer Dan Redfield, with a little help from fellow Dreamcast developer Ian Michael and members of the Simulant Engine Discord and Dreamcast-Talk forum, Postal for Dreamcast is free to download and play on actual hardware...and it runs really well.

Before booting this beta, I had never previously played Postal. I was familiar with the game's rather unsavory premise, reputation and legacy (and the fact that there's an Uwe Boll movie based on the franchise), but I was pretty much going in blind. What I discovered though, is a fairly playable isometric shooter with a definite leaning towards the 'mindless running around with the trigger held down' gameplay style. And gore. Lots of gore. And shooting. And explosions. 

The Dreamcast port, as stated, is a beta; and the intro does say to expect crashes, although I didn't experience any personally (I'm using a GDEMU enabled console with a DCHDMI fitted). Controls are well mapped to the Dreamcast controller and other than when the screen is absolutley filled with characters running around in terror (understandable, considering the nature of the game), there's hardly any noticeable slowdown or hitching. Here's some gameplay I grabbed while playing the first three levels (badly):

Thanks to Dan Redfield and the other community members who contributed to yet another Dreamcast release. The full version of Postal for Dreamcast is pencilled in for an early 2022 release and we'll no doubt have a full review of the game once it lands.

Dowload the Dreamcast Postal beta here, and be sure to follow both Dan Redfield on Twitter here and Running With Scissors on Twitter here.

The Dreamcast Junkyard's choicest cuts and hottest takes of 2021

We close our eyes, and the world has turned around again. We close eyes and dream, another year has come and gone. So wrote the talented 16th century poet Allister in his priceless first folio. Ancient as these words may seem, they ring true even today, and here we are. It's approximatley 365 days since our last review of the year 2020 and we are back once again for the renegade master with another review of the past twelve months here at The Dreamcast Junkyard. 

Twelve whole months of reviews, news, podcasts and features; and we thought it only right to round them all up for your ease and enjoyment, just in case you missed some of them. We know you have busy lives, San Diego. Personally I'd like to say a huge thanks to the entire team here at the 'Yard, to the developers and community that still endeavours to create really awesome Dreamcast software/news content; and also to you - our readers - for continuing to visit and make what we do here worthwhile. Anyway, here's some curated highlights from 2021...

Reviews

  • Intrepid Izzy - Lewis took a look at Senile Team's awesome action-platformer, declaring it a rather special experience that all Dreamcast owners should own.
  • Xenocider - Tom cast a critical eye over Retro Sumus' years-in-the-making 3D into-the-screen shooter, decreeing it to be the Sin and Punishment homage we all deserve.
  • Drascula: The Vampire Strikes Back - Mike took a look at this less than spectacular release that seemed to slip under many a radar.

Retrospectives

  • Surf Rocket Racers - James dipped his toe into the waters of Crave Entertainment and CRI Middleware's jet-ski racer, and found it to be quite a pleasant experience if not a Wave Race beater.
  • Stunt GP - RC vehicles tearing around locales strangely devoid of any human life? That's Stunt GP and Tom rather liked it.
  • Bang! Gunship Elite - Some see it as Starlancer's poor relation, but Bang! Gunship Elite is a decent space shooter in its own right. Find out why here.
  • Q*Bert - One of gaming's most well-known and foul-mouthed characters made an appearance on the Dreamcast, but was it really worth the effort?
  • Taxi 2 - Derek Pascarella released an English language translation of the French exclusive Taxi 2 earlier in 2021, and James decided it was time to take a fare in this elusive movie tie-in.
  • Wetrix+ - Earthquakes and torrential rain are the name of the game (poetry?) in this Dreamcast remaster of the Nintendo 64 puzzler...but is it worth a punt?
  • European Super League - One of the Dreamcast's numerous PAL-exclusive soccer titles, we thought it was a good time to take a look at Virgin's poor effort in the wake of the collapse of the real-life Super League.
  • F1 World Grand Prix II for Dreamcast - Tom did a few laps with Video System's Dreamcast F1 sequel, and included a potted history of the series too.
  • Sega Extreme Sports - James decided it was high time to catch some radical air with Innerloop's extreme sports title, and found the time to chat with the studio's CEO Henning Rokling, too.
  • UEFA Dream Soccer - At the other end of the footballing spectrum to European Super League, UEFA Dream Soccer is perhaps the finest recreation of the beautiful game on Dreamcast...for now at least.

Features and News

Interviews

  • Out of Print Archive - Andy and Neil, curators of the Out of Print Archive dropped by the Junkyard to discuss all things gaming magazines of yesteryear. In this revealing interview we covered the origins of the Out of Print Archive, the ingestion process and how the team decides which magazines should be preserved digitally.
  • WAVE Game Studios - Daniel from WAVE Game Studios stopped by to tell us about the origins of the newest publisher of indie Dreamcast games, and how they hope to kickstart a renaissance of Dreamcast physical game releases on store shelves.

DreamPod episodes

All of our podcast episodes can be found on your favourite 'podcatcher,' or simply by going to our Buzzsprout site here. Alongside our usual chaos, we did have some great guest epsiodes in 2021 and those are detailed below.

  • DreamPod Episode 87: Caspar Field - Former editor of Dreamcast print magazine DC-UK Caspar Field joined the DreamPod team in January to speak about his memories of the magazine and how it all began; the short lived Mr Dreamcast magazine project; and Caspar also recounted his experiences working in game development.
  • DreamPod Episode 88: Video Game Esoterica - Game preservationist extraordinaire Anthony Bacon, of YouTube Channel Video Game Esoterica, joined the DreamPod to speak about Dreamcast oddities, Kenji Eno's D2, and his own quest to educate the world on the fate of the 3DO M2.
  • DreamPod Episode 90: Dreamcast in 1999 - The Dreamcast Years podcast crew joined the DreamPod for the first of 2021's crossover episodes, this time to talk about the Dreamcast scene in 1999.
  • DreamPod Episode 91: Dreamcast in 2000 - Once again co-hosted by the Dreamcast Years crew, the second crossover episode of the year focussed on Dreamcast and wider pop culture in the year 2000.
  • DreamPod Episode 93: Dreamcast translations - The DreamPod welcomed stalwarts of the Dreamcast fan translation scene Derek Pascarella and Burntends to talk all things Sakura Wars Colmuns 2 and the wider efforts by the translation community.
  • DreamPod Episode 100: Peter Moore & Listener Questions - For the momentous occasion marking 100 episodes of DreamPod, the crew answered listener questions; but also welcomed former SEGA of America president Peter Moore onto the show to talk about his history with the Dreamcast.

Videos

You may already know that we have a YouTube channel, but we also have a Twitch channel too so be sure to check that out. On our YouTube we regularly hold livestreamed discussions (lovingly titled 'bookclubs'), and below you'll find links to some of these Kev-hosted video chats.


Things we were asked not to feature because we're 'content thieves, and everybody in the Dreamcast community knows it'

  • Castlevania Resurrection


Once again, thanks to you for reading, listening to and watching our Dreamcast related nonsense over the past year (well, past 16 years!). If you'd like to support what we do, you can do so at Buy Me a Coffee. Please also feel free to join our Discord and get involved in the chat.

Remember to stay safe, stay cool, keep Dreaming and stay tuned in 2022 for even more of the same.

Blue Stinger: On a Hello Market Slay Ride


"And when those blue snowflakes start falling

That's when those blue memories start calling

You'll be doing all right

With your Dreamcast of white

But I'll have a blue, blue, blue, Blue Stinger"

- Elvis Presley

Every year, I must indulge in a series of holiday rituals before I can even think about getting into the Christmas spirit. First, I’ll string up multicolor lights around my living room. Then I’ll help bring cheer to the folks of Twin Seeds City in Christmas NiGHTS into Dreams. Inevitably, I’ll watch Clark Griswold be an irredeemable asswart to his neighbor Julia Louise-Dreyfus in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. It’s a process.

With those nostalgic boxes checked, I’ll then turn to more subtle, personal ways of rediscovering the holiday magic. That can include taking a simple reprieve from the stressful work season with my puppy. Or I’ll stuff my gullet with my mom and aunt’s dueling Christmas cookie platters. My girlfriend and I also tried hate-watching Lifetime holiday movies until we realized we were really just regular-watching them. BTW, shout outs to the one about the family's struggling fruitcake company and the one with Reba McEntire. By this point, I’m really starting to feel the Christmas spirit.

Then – just when the time is right – I’ll pop the star atop the proverbial tree: Climax Graphics’ Christmas-adjacent Dreamcast classic, Blue Stinger.

Here comes Santa Dogs, Here comes Santa Dogs...

Whether the Dreamcast fan community regards it as a brilliant cult classic or a survival horror(ible) jankfest, Blue Stinger doesn’t much give a fuck what we think of it. What it is, though, is an absurd and campy holiday action game that makes my cup runneth over with Yuletide cheer.

Driving Strikers announced for Dreamcast!

In a rather unexpected announcement, Luke Benstead and David Reichelt have premiered their upcoming homebrew Dreamcast game Driving Strikers to the world, via a short reveal trailer on YouTube.

Made with the Simulant engine over a period of just six weeks, Driving Strikers very much looks like something Rocket League fans will enjoy when the demo becomes available. As you'll see from the trailer below, the gameplay shows teams of two cars battling to score more goals than the other.

I spoke to Luke briefly to find out what Driving Strikers was all about: "The demo has a single stadium and fixed teams and it's 1-4 local multiplayer. You can choose which side to play for and decide whatever mixture of real players and AI you'd like! You can boost and jump, and matches are currently fixed at 3 minutes for the demo."

This is just the beginning for Driving Strikers however, as the team have more exciting things planned for the full release: "When we expand the demo into a full game we hope to have various game modes and options". Something to look forward to in the first half of next year, for sure!

With the help of other community members, Luke expects the demo will be available to download before Christmas, so Dreamcast gamers can plug in four controllers and settle those family disputes from Christmas dinner with a friendly match or two.

The game looks great and as you can see from the visuals, the stage available has a distinctive festive theme - this really is an early Christmas present to the community and we couldn't be more thankful! Driving Strikers looks like another fantastic example of what Simulant can do after the recent Tunnels demo, and hopefully we'll see plenty more homebrew games take advantage of the engine in the future.

You can watch the full YouTube reveal trailer below:


As soon as we have the download link for the CDI of the Driving Strikers demo, we'll update this article. Thoughts? Follow Luke on Twitter here and be sure to let us know in the comments!

Retrospective: UEFA Dream Soccer

If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. So goes the age old mantra; and try, try again Silicon Dreams did with its Dreamcast reimagining of the World League Soccer franchise. See, Sega Worldwide Soccer as it exists on the Dreamcast is not Sega Worldwide Soccer at all - it is in fact World League Soccer - a totally different game rebranded at the behest of Sega Europe desperate as it was to get a semi-decent footy title onto the Dreamcast. You may be confused as to why I mention Sega Worldwide Soccer here in a retrospective focussed on UEFA Dream Soccer, and this is because UEFA Dream Soccer is the threequel in the Sega Worldwide Soccer trilogy on Dreamcast. Clear as mud, no?

As a follow up to Sega Worldwide Soccer 2000 and Sega Worldwide Soccer 2000: Euro Edition then, UEFA Dream Soccer had a fairly steady, if not spectacular platform to build upon. Those previously mentioned titles were - as alluded to - remasters of sorts of the World League Soccer games from the PlayStation, Saturn, Nintendo 64 and Windows. As standalone titles, they were passable but not really in the same league as the original Sega-developed Worldwide Soccer games from the Saturn. The Saturn titles were an evolution of the Victory Goal series and completely unrelated, and I dare say if Sega had continued this franchise onto the Dreamcast instead of charging Silicon Dreams with taking the baton, then things could have been totally different. But I digress.

Released in 2001 (and previously known as Sega Worldwide Soccer 2001 during development), UEFA Dream Soccer arrived on the Dreamcast to relatively little in the way of fanfare. The stable of pre-existing football games on the platform boasted very little in the way of competiton to the FIFAs and the PESs of the world, and so there wasn't really much buzz around Dream Soccer. The fact that it was released exclusively in PAL territories probably didn't help, either.

The Dreamcast is often cited as a console that has no good football games, and EA's reluctance to bring FIFA to the platform (or indeed support it at all) is usually mentioned when reasons for its failure to gain mass market appeal are discussed. Likewise, the lack of a Pro Evolution Soccer/International Superstar Soccer game is somewhat puzzling when you consider that Konami did offer some decent support to the Dreamcast. So what you're left with if you want some kick-ball action on Dreamcast is a rather threadbare lineup consisting of a collection of titles that range from utterly dire (90 Minutes, European Super League) to average at best (everything else). 

But allow me to contradict my previous statement, because after spending some considerable time re-playing UEFA Dream Soccer and learning its foibles and accepting its flaws, my opinion on it has changed somewhat; I'd probably now go as far as saying not only is UEFA Dream Soccer the best football game on Dreamcast...it's also actually a pretty damn good game of footy in its own right.