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Showing posts with label 2021. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 2021. Show all posts

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.

Upcoming Dreamcast Indie releases - 2021 and beyond!


We're quite lucky to be Dreamcast fans at the moment, living through what feels like a renaissance for the machine -  with Sega giving a little bit of merchandise love to the machine, a proliferation of hardware mods that allow access to older titles, full HDMI support, new controllers, a growing collection of Dreamcast related literature, ports of Atomiswave arcade titles, and an ever impressive indie library. There's a remarkable amount of activity around a machine which is approaching 23 years of age, and we here at the Junkyard are embracing it with a smile on our face, a VMU in our pocket, and a dwindling bank account as we welcome the second coming of our digital dream box. And long may it continue!

The year 2021 is set to be the biggest - by some way - year for indie releases in the systems history though. There is a quite staggering number of titles on their way - more than 30 by some counts - and a fairly large number of those will be in our hands sooner, rather than later. Whilst most of you will have already backed the titles you've seen, there's a good chance some may have slipped you by, or maybe you've just not been aware of the tremendous indie barrage about to assault the console. Fear not, for we're hopefully going to set that straight today.

Before we list all the indie titles on their way, we want to make a couple of observations. This list only includes titles that are set for a physical release. That will preclude some of the homebrew software being developed, and of course won't touch on any ports being developed. We're also not going to include anything which is *only* based on rumours. As you can imagine, we have heard several of these! Furthermore, expect some *big* announcements of titles in the coming months - we can't say anything about them at the moment (we're such teases), but this article will be updated as new titles are announced!

On with the list!

Alice Sisters

Published by JoshProd - set for release early 2021

The first of numerous JoshProd titles in this list, Alice Sisters is a follow up to previous indie platformer Alice's Mom's Rescue, a quite charming little game from prolific previous indie developer Orion. Like the original, this appears to be a 2D platformer, but with the interesting addition of co-op mechanics. Each player guides one of the sisters (or a single player can switch between them) through a promised 28 stages, each using different abilities to combat the games puzzles. 4 game modes are also promised, and screenshots show a charming, colourful world, very much in the style of Orion's previous titles.

A DC release was hinted at in the summer of 2019, but little was revealed for this cross-platform release (a Steam and Mega Drive/Genesis release are also on the cards), but the trailer dropped by JoshProd in February 2021 has the game running and looking as charmingly fun as I hoped it would. I'm looking forward to this one, a proven developer, a genre we've not seen much of, and an intriguing co-op mode which could be very enjoyable indeed.

You can pre-order the PAL version here, the US version here and the Japanese version here.
You can also download the PC version of the game from Orion's itch.io page here.

Andro Dunos 

Published by JoshProd - set for release September 2021

Whilst Pixelheart / JoshProd made a big deal about the release of a brand new sequel, going as far as presenting a special event on Youtube for it's launch, the pending release of the original Andro Dunos went a little under the radar. It's perhaps not surprising though that this early 90's horizontal shooter is making it's way to the Dreamcast. It'd been rumoured for months, the acquisition of Visco's library by the publishers made it an obvious choice, and for many DC players, they've been enjoying the game via emulation for some time anyway. A decent, colourful example of the genre, it's become a minor cult favourite with some fans, and certainly won't be out of place in the plentiful supply of indie shooters the system is home too. There are possibly a few issues regarding how the emulation (presuming it will be played via emulation, like other Neo Geo ports from JoshProd) will work, and it's own sequel is now taking much of the attention away from this release, but it's a welcome addition to the library.

You can pre-order the PAL version here, the US version here and the Japanese version here.

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)