Showing posts with label Clone Consoles. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Clone Consoles. Show all posts

Treamcast DreamPhoto DC Photo Hunter is now playable with a standard Dreamcast controller

I know you clicked on this article because you're dying to know what the hell that title means. But first, a confession. This is not a 'new' news story. It's fairly old news - especially for those who spend their time poking around the more obscure corners of the Dreamcast online community. But it's something I saw several months ago while absent-mindedly wandering the lesser-travelled backroads of the information super-highway, and subsequently forgot to write a post about. So now, months later, I'm making amends for that criminal oversight.

What am I blathering about? It's convoluted, but bear with me and we'll get there. Back in 2015 I happened across a rather odd peripheral on eBay and so - naturally - I bought it. Said peripheral was the Treamcast DreamPhoto mouse (pictured above). Treamcast in itself is quite an obscure little device, and for those not in the know, it's basically a semi-portable clone Dreamcast that comes with a 5" TFT screen attached and its own carry case (the image below shows two units loaned to us by Quang of Asobitech at Play Expo Blackpool 2018). They are very cool little units and quite rare these days, and will set you back a healthy chunk of change if you want to own one in present year. Still with me?

The two colour variants of the Treamcast

Relatively little is really known about the Treamcast, other than it originates from China, but what we do know is that the outfit which manufactured the system also released - in very limited quantities - bespoke peripherals and even software designed specifically for the Treamcast. One such peripheral was the aforementioned DreamPhoto mouse, which we investigated here at the Junkyard back when I originally bought one in 2015. The thing is, even though it could operate as a standard Dreamcast mouse and was compatible with official (or rather, genuine) Dreamcast consoles and software, the 'game' that the DreamPhoto mouse was intended to be used with was something of an enduring mystery.

"Dring you play the DC Photo Hunter..."

As detailed in our original DreamPhoto mouse article, the broken English on the sides of the box made reference to something called DC Photo Hunter, but searching online back then turned up practically nothing. Since 2015, more information has surfaced online as to what DC Photo Hunter actually is, and earlier in 2020 the software also miraculously turned up. But not just as the original DC Photo Hunter. No, that would be too simple for this tale. What actually turned up was DC Photo Hunter as a downloadable .CDI, but with the added bonus that it had been reverse engineered and compatibility with standard Dreamcast controllers added.

So in summary, a super obscure piece of unofficial software, designed for use with an unofficial, bootleg mouse designed for use with an unofficial bootleg system, has been released...but with a hack added to allow you to play it with an official Dreamcast controller...which is - as far as I can tell - not a feature that the original, unhacked version of DC Photo Hunter shipped with. Got it?

Attack Of The Clones

Clone systems are nothing new and they're not going away any time soon either. If you don't know what a clone system is, let me enlighten you. A clone is a console usually manufactured and sold in countries where laws are lax and cheap electronic manufacturing processes are a way of life. Using the (nefariously reproduced) innards of older 8-bit systems such as an Atari 2600, Nintendo Entertainment System or Sega Master System, a clone invariably comes with roms pre-installed, a controller that is a piece of shit and a shell that looks like the bastard lovechild of Sloth from The Goonies and the morbidly obese red car from that old Milky Way advert.
The Chameleon refuses to die.
In truth, most clone consoles are utter crap, but in some places they're the only way to play games simply because owning a PS4 or any other genuine gaming machine just isn't financially possible. Please be assured that I'm not mocking the societal hardships of fellow gamers in less developed nations, but that's just how it is. Saying that, calling the UK a 'developed nation' is pushing it - I saw a human turd in the street the other day.

Now, the reason I bring up clones is that it's become apparent that there are a couple that borrow heavily from the shell designs of legit systems...and some of them even mimic the hallowed Dreamcast. There aren't that many (not as many as ape the PlayStation, for example) but I thought it'd be interesting to have a look at the ones I could find. And by 'find,' I mean copy from a Google image search. Cough.

Dorikyasu Game Corner
This contraption is basically a NES in the shape of a Dreamcast. According to the almost impenetrable description from the website it is listed on (after being translated by Google, natch), the Game Corner features a cartridge slot under the lid and a handy eject button. The bundled controllers are N64 rip-offs and it also comes with a knock-off Namco GunCon for some reason. Could be handy for Duck Hunt I guess. Sadly, the Game Corner is no longer available, but I think it's safe to say no-one will be losing any sleep over it. Interestingly, the same site also lists handheld Dreamcasts that are built to order, but those are no longer for sale either.