Showing posts with label DCJY News. Show all posts
Showing posts with label DCJY News. Show all posts

Sturmwind Reissue coming from VGNYsoft - Includes Sturmwind VMU Shell!

 

Duranik's shooter Sturmwind is renowned by Dreamcast fans the world over, often seen as the best indie game on the console - whilst it held onto second place in both our 2016 and 2024 Top Dreamcast Indie Games votes, it also ranked at 35 in our 2023 Top 200 Dreamcast Games poll, becoming the highest-ranked indie game on the list, and beating out many beloved contemporary releases on the console. Just shows how much love the game has.

Of course, with such acclaim comes demand, and unless you look to eBay, the last proper re-release of this title (from PixelHeart) is now sold out. Step in, US-based outfit VGNYsoft, who have a brand new reissue of the game now up for pre-order, and most exciting of all, there is also a limited edition available which comes with a Sturmwind-branded VMU shell!
No CD-Rs! 😉
VGNYsoft recently went to Kickstarter with their brand new injection-moulded VMU replacement shells. We chatted to Dan from VGNYsoft when the Kickstarter launched, and he made us aware that they were planning to include indie game-branded VMU shells as part of future indie releases. Well, they are certainly starting this new wave of limited releases off with a bang by starting with Sturmwind!

The regular edition of the game will cost $39.99, while the VMU edition, which is limited to 500, retails for $59.99. This limited edition will include the regular game in a box with the Sturmwind VMU shell. The parts included are a black silicone pad, the D-pad and the outer shell itself. YGNYsoft previously sent us some of their shells to look at it, and they are really high quality, built as tough as official VMU shells. You'll of course need to supply your own donor VMU, but it'll thank you for it when it looks cool as hell. 

The pre-orders launch at 10am EST (that's 3pm UK time) on the 15th of May, and are available from VGNYsoft themselves. For those outside the US, you can order from Video Games Plus. VGNYsoft have also told us that they may have some available to order from suppliers based in Spain and Japan, along with Play-Asia at some point in the future.
Looks legit.
Are you going to grab this reissue of Sturmwind? Are you excited for more indie-branded VMU shells? Let us know in the comments below or via one of our many social media pages!

GladMort: New Kickstarter from JoshProd/PixelHeart!

It's been a little under a year since SEGA Dreamcast indie scene stalwart publisher Pixelheart (also known as JoshProd) last released something new for the console, with their most recent release Andro Dunos II finally landing back in July - but it's been even longer since they last turned to Kickstarter to gauge interest for a new project. It was Arcade Racing Legends the first time round, and now it's GladMort, a 2D action-platformer that pays homage to titles like Ghouls 'n Ghosts, Metal Slug and Magician Lord.

Like quite a few of PixelHeart's releases, GladMort was developed for Neo Geo first and foremost (by Chipsonsteroids), with Dreamcast (a full port with enhanced music) and PC ports also available. The game is 95% complete, but just needs backer support to push it over the line and finally get it released. At the time of writing, the Kickstarter - which launched earlier today - has already soared past its funding goal, so you can now back the campaign with confidence knowing that everything will definitely be going ahead.
Looking at the gameplay footage, the game looks excellent visually, as is most often the case with Neo Geo games. Playing as the titular GladMort, the gameplay has you traversing through five levels, dispatching enemies, while also trying your best to avoid traps and... death. Considering GladMort pays homage to Ghouls 'n Ghosts, though, you might end up doing that a lot... Challenge is something the game wears as a badge of honour. The developers have made a demo available for download that you can play on your computer. Give it a try and see how you fare.

Obviously PixelHeart will be producing the physical Dreamcast editions of the game in their typical "configuration", i.e. the Japanese and American style versions will have a reversible manual that allows you to choose between the Japanese and American cover to display (with the separate backer tiers simply being for sealed game collectors to choose which cover is displayed when the game is sealed), while the PAL-style edition comes in a PAL case with a bonus soundtrack CD (there is also a stretch goal for a reversible PAL manual as well).
Provisional covers, not final.
So there you go, something new from PixelHeart! Once again, click here to go to the campaign page. Will you be backing GladMort on Dreamcast? Maybe even Neo Geo?! Let us know in the comments below, or via one of our many social media pages.

Orc Face Games: New SEGA Dreamcast Indie Game Publisher from HarleQuest! Developer

The Kickstarter for Ross Kilgariff's 3D Dreamcast dungeon crawler HarleQuest! may have launched on April Fool's Day 2023, but it is quite clear from the community hype surrounding it that it is definitely no joke. Back in January, we asked Junkyard readers to tell us their most anticipated indie release as part of our Top 25 Dreamcast Indie Games poll, and HarleQuest! won out unanimously, receiving 80% of the total vote.

As the release of HarleQuest! draws closer, and our mitts frankly perspire at the prospect of getting a physical CD copy of the game in them, the universe (or rather, Ross!) has thrown us a curveball with regards to how the publishing of the game will now be handled.

Originally WAVE Game Studios were announced to be producing all the physical versions of HarleQuest!, but Ross has now chosen to self-publish the game through his brand new indie development and publishing studio, Orc Face Games. On Twitter, the brand new Orc Face Games account tweeted the following:

"Hi everyone! With the recent decision to self-publish HarleQuest! for the SEGA Dreamcast, we have started Orc Face Games - a new development and publishing studio! Stay tuned for a video announcement next week, along with the results of our recent Dreamcast indie game survey."

The survey that Ross is referring to in this tweet is one he put out at the beginning of the month, which asked a variety of questions that aimed to "gain a better understanding of the people who play independently made Dreamcast games in 2024". It's a great sign that Ross has looked to the community for feedback when setting up this new studio, and I'll be intrigued to find out what the consensus is from those who voted in the video he'll be putting out next week on his YouTube channel.

We reached out to Ross to get the scoop on everything Orc Face Games…

DCJY: Great to chat to you once again, Ross, and congratulations on the new venture! What can the Dreamcast community expect from Orc Face Games going forward?

Ross: As a publisher, our top priority is to build trust with developers. We live in the indie/homebrew community daily and want to do our part to help developers actually get things over the line into a polished physical release at a reasonable cost. A little down the road we will offer help with every aspect of development including funding, our 3D engine + tools, creative (art, music, sound, branding), porting... but for now we're looking to team up with developers who have an existing game or demo in the works and want to get the physical version made and into players' hands. In any case, if you're a developer at any stage, please reach out to us! We'd love to hear from you even if it's just for a chat!

That sounds great. Obviously HarleQuest! will be the first release from Orc Face Games, but do you have any plans for future titles that you can let us in on?

There is a concrete plan for what's happening after HarleQuest! and it involves a full 3D remake of an indie Megadrive/Genesis game for the Dreamcast. We know exactly what that's going to look like and it's going to be insane! After that, we will be starting a larger project again with a new IP which is still in the early stages, but it'll be bigger than HarleQuest! - that's all I'll say on that for now! As a developer, our focus is finishing HarleQuest! and making it the best game possible.

We’re certainly excited to get our hands on HarleQuest!. For those who missed the Kickstarter, where can they pre-order a copy? 

HarleQuest! pre-orders are now up on the Orc Face website for anyone who missed the Kickstarter! The site is still pretty simple but it works. We'll spruce it up a little before the HarleQuest! launch. In the meantime, you can visit [the Orc Face Games website] to pre-order the game in your preferred region style.

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I look forward to seeing Orc Face develop into the next big-deal Dreamcast indie publisher. With an experienced developer like Ross at the helm, passionate developers could really get the help they need to help get their games pushed out to the community at large. With that in mind, I wish Ross the best of luck with this new studio. You can follow both him and Orc Face on Twitter for updates.

Are you excited to see what the future holds for Orc Face Games? Let us know in the comments below, or on any of our usual social media hangouts.

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Let's Take a Look at Replacement Dreamcast VMU Shells - Kickstarter from VGNYsoft

 

Back on the 14th of March, VGNYsoft (aka Videogamesnewyork) launched their Kickstarter for replacement Dreamcast VMU (Visual Memory Unit) shells. These new VMU shells are formed of five parts, will be injection moulded, and available in a variety of colours. For more information, including a talk with Dan of VGNYsoft, check out our previous article about the campaign. The campaign has already reached its funding goal, and at time of writing has five days left to go.

VGNYsoft were kind enough to send us some samples of the upcoming VMU shells; a clear one and a silver one. It took me about 10 minutes to put the shells on two of my grubby old VMUs, and, well, the result is amazing. The build quality of the new parts is frankly rock solid, and held up during the replacement process. If it wasn't for the lack of Dreamcast logo and text above the buttons, these could easily be mistaken for the original Sega VMU shells. 

For a more detailed overview, check out the video below that I slapped together, where I um and ah a lot.


A big thanks goes out to VGNYsoft for sending us these shells. Are you excited for these replacement VMU shells? Have you backed the Kickstarter? Let us know in the comments below, or via one of our many social media pages.

Replacement VMU Shells head to Kickstarter - VGNYsoft give us the Lowdown!

 

Based out of New York video game boutique Videogamesnewyork, publisher VGNYsoft have been well known in the Dreamcast scene for a long time now for publishing a whole load of indie games stateside for our beloved Sega console. For a list of what they have released in the past, check out Mike's Complete Guide to Commercially Released Dreamcast Indie Games.

I was particularly excited last year to see them venture into releasing custom VMUs, starting with a limited edition of Hermes featuring a Hermes-branded VMU, which I showcased on the blog back when it came out. This was then followed by a Blockbuster-branded VMU (actually authorised by the Blockbuster's owner Dish) which was offered as a prize for the fourth World Video Game Championship at the Portland Retro Gaming Expo. I rightly presumed these two VMUs were a sign of more to come, and today at 12pm EST VGNYsoft will launch their campaign for replacement VMU shells in a variety of unique colours.

We got a chance to talk with Daniel Mastin of VGNYsoft and get the scoop on this brand new Kickstarter campaign, along with some teases about upcoming indie releases.

Credit: Adam Koralik

DCJY: Hi Dan! Thanks for chatting to us about your Kickstarter. I think we can speak for a lot of Dreamcast fans when we say that we are excited for the prospect of replacement VMU shells. What can people expect from the Kickstarter? And what was your reasoning for going to Kickstarter as opposed to just selling them via your normal store?

Dan: The Kickstarter is a way to connect with the community before all of the production numbers become finalized. The initial production is set to include six colors, with stretch goals and a community vote to help add additional colors. Each VMU shell includes five injection-molded parts: the front, back, cap, battery door, and the D-Pad, and will have an MSRP of $16. In future productions, we will continue to introduce new colors as we produce more. 

Where did the inspiration come from to produce replacement VMU shells?

The idea came to light as a culmination of circumstances. Our retail store handles a considerable number of repairs and shell swaps for customers. Additionally, our publishing company (VGNYsoft) continues to produce and release numerous indie games for the Dreamcast, and our warehouse happened to have an abundance of new, sealed clear green VMUs. With some creativity, we pieced together the concept of elevating Dreamcast indie releases to the next level! 

So were the Hermes and Blockbuster VMUs early tests for this idea?

Hermes was our proof of concept, we used new [official] VMUs for that production. The Blockbuster VMUs were a very small batch built using some of our early production samples.

You are based in the USA, will fans overseas be able to get hold of these VMU shells?

The Kickstarter will ship to most international countries, and we will also collaborate with international retailers to offer additional overseas solutions once the production is complete. 

You previously released a Hermes-branded VMU. Can we expect to see more custom VMUs to tie in with other Dreamcast indie releases?  

Custom VMUs are the secret sauce behind the entire production and the foundation for funding the very expensive injection molding process. We have a lineup of future limited edition releases that will feature custom-printed VMU shells. The first one will be announced in just a few weeks before the VMU shell Kickstarter is finished! 

That's exciting to hear! Finally, is there anything else that Dreamcast fans can expect from VGNYsoft in 2024?

VGNYsoft recently released North American versions of Ploid and Reknum from Nape Games (who also has a new game currently on Kickstarter). We have a few titles in the works for 2024 as well, which will be announced soon. In general, we are always looking to build deeper engagement with Dreamcast indie developers. Our goal is to help uplift their projects and bring them to a wider audience through high-quality physical productions.

***

Thanks to Dan for giving us the lowdown on the Kickstarter campaign. Click here to go check it out for yourself, and be sure to let us know in the comments below which colours you'd like to see VGYNSoft produce next.

Star Wars: Dream of the Rebellion - Rogue Squadron Inspired Prototype Playable on Dreamcast!

As casual Star Wars fans tie themselves in knots with questions such as "who shot first? Han Solo or Greedo?", homebrew developer Frogbull is asking the real questions. There were three Star Wars games on the Sega Dreamcast; Jedi Power Battles, Demolition, and Episode I: Racer, but why do none of them let you pilot an X-Wing?!?

If you haven't encountered Frogbull before, they are the talented individual who showed off a proof-of-concept back in November of Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty running on the Dreamcast, which was actually built using Luke Benstead's Simulant Engine and other homebrew tools. They also showcased similar prototypes of the first Metal Gear Solid and Final Fantasy VII running on the Sega Saturn, too. Their mission as a developer is clearly to prove these games can run on these Sega systems that they never got a chance to release on.

Yesterday, Twitter was awash with hype as Frogbull released footage of "Star Wars, Dream of the Rebellion" - a Rogue Squadron-inspired prototype - playing on the Dreamcast, which you can check out below. What's more, unlike previous efforts, Frogbull actually plans to release a playable demo of this project to the public for free in two weeks in the form of a .cdi file, for play on GDEMU, emulator, and I'm sure you’ll even be able to burn it onto a CD-R. Frogbull was generous enough to send me a playable build of it early, and I must say, I'm very impressed.

Once again running on the Simulant Engine, the Dream of the Rebellion demo currently features a single mission referred to as "Star Destroyer Pursuit". On the mission select screen, you can even press Y to hear C-3PO talk about the mission. Frogbull has utilised AI to get C-3PO's voice sounding accurate, and it really does sound good. Along with music and the famous title crawl Star Wars fans know and love, this demo is incredibly polished. 

The gameplay of the mission has you following after the star destroyer in the X-Wing, shooting down approaching TIE fighters, with your goal being to get the best score possible by shooting down as many as you can as accurately as possible. You don't actually control the X-wing's forward movement, instead being limited to moving around the screen. But with the stars moving in the background and the slight movement of the star destroyer at the top of the screen, it really does give off the illusion that you are constantly moving forwards. If you dodge the TIE fighters, seeing their 3D models zoom off screen (as seen below) really is very impressive.

Finally an X-wing on Dreamcast? Who knew it'd take until 2024 to see it happen. Anyhow, if you want to follow Frogbull, you can find them on Twitter, YouTube and Patreon. May the force be with you.

Kickstarter launches for Ambitious Multi-Platform RPG “Breath of Thunder” - includes Dreamcast stretch goal!

Update (11/03/2024): Due to online feedback, the creator of this Kickstarter has pulled all the stretch goals for retro systems, including Dreamcast.

It must be Dreamcast Kickstarter launch fever recently, as another new Kickstarter campaign was brought to my attention today in the Junkyard Discord by user Techno Hammer. For a goal of 30,510 AUD, developer Jerrel Dulay wants to develop an old school-style JRPG called "Breath of Thunder" for multiple modern systems, including the Switch, PC, the Atari VCS (the newer one that no one ever talks about, not the 2600), the PlayDate and the PS Vita (as free homebrew). But the project's ambitions for being a multi-platform release don't stop there, however...

I hadn't heard of Jerrel before, but from reading up on him, it seems he has a lot of development experience with a whole range of systems, with his survival horror series Silver Falls seeing releases across multiple platforms, such as the Game Boy, Nintendo DS, Game Boy Advance, PSP, PS Vita, 3DS, Wii U, and Switch. He has even just delivered a Kickstarter-funded Silver Falls entry on the gosh darn Pokémon Mini, of all things!

This actually looks really nice.

The game itself looks to pay homage to the kind of turn-based RPGs that were beloved on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, like Final Fantasy, Breath of Fire (it’s in the name!), Dragon Quest, and Secret of Mana; though that is probably the least interesting part of this campaign. Remember how I said Jerrel had development experience with lots of different systems? Well, if multiple stretch goals are reached, this game could come to eleven more potential systems, both modern and retro, including our beloved Dreamcast. Get a load of this list:

  • Sony PSP for 48k AUD
  • Nintendo DS for 61k AUD
  • Game Boy Color for 91k AUD
  • Dreamcast for 152k AUD
  • PlayStation 4 and 5 for 168k AUD
  • Xbox Series S and X for 168k AUD
  • PlayStation 1 for 229k AUD
  • Atari Jaguar for 305k AUD (Tom will appreciate this, I'm sure.)
  • Sega Saturn for 543k AUD
  • Game Boy Advance for 611k AUD
  • Nintendo Virtual Boy for 760k AUD
  • Other consoles that haven't even thought of yet for 916k AUD

All of the stretch goals for the retro systems mention that they are "unique" versions. On Jerrel’s channel, he showcases an early concept for the Atari Jaguar version and explains that it would have pre-rendered backgrounds instead of being 3D to avoid technical hiccups. I imagine this is most likely what would happen with the potential Dreamcast version, along with other retro versions. Also, for all the retro systems, including the Dreamcast, ROMs will be distributed for free upon completion, for play on an emulator (or maybe even an ODE?)

Jerrel also put a video out explaining how he’d be able to tackle so many systems if the stretch goals were successful, which you can watch below.


I guess we'll have to see how the Kickstarter campaign pans out as to whether or not a Dreamcast version will be available even happen at all. Anyway, if you'd like to back this project, the campaign can be found here.

Flea!2 and Super Cambur Origins hit Kickstarter - Dreamcast Versions Available!


On this leapiest of days, the Dreamcast indie Gods are smiling upon us. Not one, but two titles have hit Kickstarter today, and they both have Dreamcast ports available. Must be a record. 

Let's get into them. 

Flea!2

Despite its NES roots, Flea! - from Dundee-based developer Alastair Low - was one of the most surprising indie titles to hit the Dreamcast back in 2020. Mike reviewed it very positively here on the blog, praising its fun but challenging gameplay that involved guiding a constantly jumping Flea through many deadly levels, collecting blood desperately needed by flea-kind. It seems it wasn't just Mike who thought this game was great though, as Flea! would go on to rank at 147 in our 2023 Top 200 Dreamcast Games vote, and 11 in our recent Top 25 Dreamcast Indie Games vote. The exceptionally fun Tapeworm Disco Puzzle followed next, building on the Flea! universe, and further cementing Alastair in the minds of the scene as a super talented developer. Have you seen the pop up book game he's been making too? Holy cow, dude.

Other than his upcoming collaboration with John Riggs, Chew Chew Mimic, which will also eventually be coming to Dreamcast, Alastair has been teasing development of a sequel to Flea! on Twitter for a little while now, but today it has hit Kickstarter - on a "leap" day, just as the original did! With a total backer goal of £7,000, Flea!2 is looking to to be more of the same goodness as the first game, but with some improvements and new mechanics. Alastair says in the Kickstarter teaser video that the game's "later levels will have you absolutely pulling your hair out". Basically, if you loved the first game, you're going to love this sequel too.

From the Kickstarter, improvements are listed as follows:

  • Dash ability from the start of the game 
  • Animated tiles 
  • Wormholes 
  • New UI with Level numbers 
  • More cutscenes like in Tapeworm New 
  • Music Tracks

And the fixes:

  • Smaller spike hitboxes 
  • Better swimming controls 
  • Dash works in boss levels 
  • Breakable boxes only break from top now

There is currently an early bird offer available which means you can grab the Dreamcast version of the game for £25 (early bird price is limited to the first 50 copies, and the normal price is £30). Of course there's NES carts available for £30+ (depending if you want the cart loose or complete in box), or if you'd prefer, a digital edition for £10. The Kickstarter is also offering some great add-ons, such as the Funstock Flea! plush, which I was sad to find was sold out on their store after reading Mike's article on Dreamcast game merch. Well, there's only 30 left, so get one while you still can by backing Flea!2! Oh, now there's 29 left, because I just backed (sorry!) You can also add a copy of Tapeworm Disco Puzzle to your order too, which is definitely worth it if you've not played it yet. All this is expected to be delivered in December 2024.

Don't talk shit about Mike's son.

If you’re someone who is unsure about Flea!2 on Dreamcast due to it being an NES game, there is a demo currently available to download for free. So give that a play and I'm sure you'll come away realising that the game is tonnes of fun, just as many others did. The quality and  fun gameplay of Alastair's games speak for themselves.

Once again, the Kickstarter campaign can be found here.


Super Cambur Origins

Our second indie is Super Cambur Origins from Spanish developers NAPE Games, and their title actually shares more in common with Flea!2 than just a campaign launch date. Similar to Alastair, NAPE also have a penchant for threading together universes of connecting storylines and characters, with both Ploid and Reknum Souls Adventure setting things off in 2022. The other thing Super Cambur Origins has in common with a game like Flea!2 is its NES roots.

Super Cambur Origins is an NES platformer featuring a banana superhero (that's what "cambur" translates to!) whose concept may evoke memories in British kids of a certain age… Although that was a human who ate bananas to become super, not a superhero banana... anyway, there's a Dreamcast port available as part of this campaign for €27, along with a digital edition. 

Super Cambur's Kickstarter has actually launched as a campaign to fund multiple games all taking place in the same “multiverse”, with an RPG called Super Cambur and the Sacred Orbs - which appears to just be for PC (Steam) - also available. There is also stretch goal prospects for a Switch and Steam fighting game called Super Cambur Skillmasters. Either way, the game you're getting for the Dreamcast is Super Cambur Origins, the platformer. 

You can check out the project page here. I also recommend watching The Sega Guru's video below for a good rundown of everything.

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Will you be backing either of these projects? Maybe both? Let us know in the comments below, or via one of our social media platforms.

Dreamcast Light Gun title Death Crimson 2 has been Translated into English!

For a console that famously championed peripheral use, the Sega Dreamcast sure had slim pickings when it came to games that utilised the light gun. Most notably, the console received arcade-perfect ports of both The House of the Dead 2 and the severely underrated James Bond 'em up Confidential Mission; but what else was there? Those who dared to discover were met with Silent Scope without light gun support, a port of Virtua Cop 2 that was stuck on a disc with a load of poorly emulated Genesis games (unless you imported the standalone Japanese release), a hidden light gun mode in Demolition Racer: No Exit (yes, really), and the Death Crimson series.

Developed by Ecole and released exclusively in Japan in 1999, Death Crimson 2: Meranito no Saidan has the very distinct privilege of being the sequel to a game so notoriously bad that it had a particularly masochistic set of Japanese fans gluing the game's disc into their Sega Saturn so as to make sure the console could never play any other game. Luckily, Ecole did improve, and Death Crimson 2 was received better than its predecessor. Perhaps the most intriguing part about this sequel was the inclusion of a full story mode with almost Resident Evil-esque free-roaming sections where you explore in a third-person perspective outside of the light gun gameplay. While an "improved" version of Death Crimson 2 called Death Crimson OX did receive a Western release (in the USA, at least), it completely dropped the story sections, meaning non-Japanese speakers never got a chance to experience this weird mishmash of gameplay in the English language. 

Well, fret no more, as a fan translation of Death Crimson 2 has just released today! And who translated this Dreamcast light gun oddity, you ask? Well, it's the same guy who did the last English Dreamcast fan translation, too, and many before that! That man being - of course - the ever-busy Derek Pascarella.

With Derek's patch, everything in the game is now translated into English. This includes everything from the story sections, to cutscenes, to textures and graphics; with misspelled English place names (such as street signs) also being corrected to match the official Western release of Death Crimson OX. 

As always with Derek's releases, he's gone above and beyond with extras and enchantments. First up, Derek has added a VMU icon for the game, because Ecole were too lazy to implement one themselves. Next, he added a cheat function, which can up your lives and reset any countdown clock with a simultaneous press of the Dreamcast controller's left and right triggers. The reasoning for this is to allow players to experience the game's story without being having to endure going through numerous difficult stages repeatedly.

Then you have the bonus content section, which is accessible from the game's main menu. Utilising a modified version of the Dream Passport browser, players can access a variety of extras from the series, including a video of composer Kunitaka Watanabe tearing it up on the keyboard as he plays the original Death Crimson theme, along with an archive of fan support messages from Ecole's now-offline official Death Crimson 2 website, which have been machine-translated into English.

So, to download Derek's fan translation patch for Death Crimson 2, just head to its dedicated GitHub page to download it. For detailed steps on how to apply the patch for your desired method of play (i.e. burning to a CD-R, playing on an ODE), see the patching instructions section of the README. While the game does support the standard controller, if you're going to be using a light gun I recommend consulting the section on light gun compatibility. Make sure you report back to Derek if you experience any issues with a particular light gun setup, as he will aim to try and resolve such compatibility bugs in the future.

Are you going to crack out the light gun and give this English fan translation a go? Let us know in the comments below, or by hitting us up on one of various social media channels!

Minecraft-Clone "ClassiCube" now available for Dreamcast - supports Online Play

Do you know Minecraft? No? Have you been living under a block? Joking aside, if you seriously don't know what Minecraft is, then it is a game where you jump around swinging a pickaxe at all different types of blocks to build or destroy whatever your heart desires. It's like Lego with minerals... or something.

The reason I'm referencing a game that is hugely popular with people too young to know that the creators of Sonic once made video game consoles, is because today I was made aware that ClassiCube, a free, open-source clone of Minecraft, has hit the Dreamcast, and it supports online play! Seems the news trail went as follows: YouTuber (and friend) The Sega Guru told YouTuber (and friend) James Jarvis (aka ItsMuchMore) and then I found out from a post by excellent Dreamcast online gaming resource (and friends) Dreamcast Live.
Screenshot from the PC version of ClassiCube.
This Dreamcast port of ClassiCube is currently only in the early alpha stages, which means it is likely to crash/freeze or have issues with performance, but as a proof of concept, it really is an exciting project. Click here to download the .cdi file for it, and if you want to try getting it online, I highly recommend checking out James' video below.


Also check out The Sega Guru's video, which includes an interview with the developers. 

Believe it or not, we actually saw another homebrew Minecraft project for the Dreamcast back in 2017 called "Crafti". Tom wrote about that here.

Are you going to give ClassiCube a go? Do you think this is an exciting project? Let us know in the comments below, or via our social media channels?

Fragmented Almanac: Unique Dreamcast Puzzle Collection goes up for Pre-order!

One of my favourite memories from when I first got involved with The Dreamcast Junkyard happened towards the end of February 2020, when I played the demo for "Reaperi Cycle" in preparation for an episode of our podcast, the DreamPod. Interesting extra tidbit: I'd got engaged to my now-wife just the day before! 

Upon booting up the Reaperi Cycle demo, I was met with a point-and-click game in an isometric style, with really compelling pre-rendered graphics indicative of 90s PC titles, such as Sanitarium. This was not a style of game I ever expected to hit the Dreamcast, but something that I'm so glad I played. The mission of the demo was to solve puzzles in an alchemist's study to try and unlock a strange floating cube in the middle of the room. Not being that smart a puzzle game aficionado, I found some of the puzzles quite tricky to solve, which had me turning to fellow Junkyarders Tom, Mike and James for help, as they were also playing the game in prep for the podcast. 

Reaperi Cycle

In this age of instant information, even if we'd tried to look for a walkthrough to this demo, we would've come back empty handed, so what followed was something I'd not experienced in a long time: we started exchanging hints and tips with one another about what we'd each managed to figure out. With everybody's help (particularly Mike's, if I recall correctly), I eventually managed to get that cube open and complete the demo, and it felt awesome. It took me back to my playground days of yore, when my friend who was a year older than me would effectively function as a walking walkthrough guide, helping me out with advice whenever I got stuck on Pokémon Red. Reaperi Cycle reminded me of that, and it was amazing to feel that same buzz once again of utilising the advice of friends to finally beat a game. 

So then... why did I share this sentimental little tale? Because developer of Reaperi Cycle, ANTIRUINS, is finally releasing definitive versions of not only Reaperi Cycle (now known as The Hideout), but also Summoning Signals, another excellent demo that they also showcased back in 2020. And what's more, they're both combined into one release, called the Fragmented Almanac, with enhanced visuals and audio. That's two really unique games for the price of one, and you can pre-order them today, for an expected release date of March 2024.

Fragmented Almanac will be available digitally for $14.99 (for play on emulator, ODE, etc), with disc copies costing $29.99. The physical game comes in two editions with different cover art, and they both look absolutely sick. You'd be forgiven for mistaking them for some underground band's short-run release on some boutique indie label's Bandcamp. "Dude, I really hope they release Fragmented Almanac on vinyl next!"

On ANTIRUINS' store page for this release, the collection is described as follows:

"The Fragmented Almanac is a strange document, an oddity even amongst Dreamcast games.  At the junction of video games, art and alchemy, this project is the culmination of 7 years of Dreamcast development, spread over 5 different games. The Fragmented Almanac re-unites two of these experimentations under a multifaceted and complex timeline."

And the games contained within:

"THE HIDEOUT : This place is filled with alchemical knowledge, old tales and mystical symbols. It's the hidden path in the forest, seen by very few. Can you unlock its secret?

"SUMMONING SIGNALS : Sprinter-2 crashed on an Unknown Planet. Help the Pilot and figure out a way to leave the labyrinth. Discover this strange world where new technology and old ruins coexist."

The games also boasts such features as a "new Almanac system [which] guides you through the complex world", an "eerie soundtrack composed by Gabriel Ledoux" and the useful extra of "hints [being] displayed on the VMU". Nice.
The developers of Fragmented Alamanac are Canada-based, but did confirm in our Discord that they are currently working to try and get a distributor arranged for Europe, although $11 to get one of these sent to the UK (where I'm based) isn't too bad a delivery cost. Once again, you can pre-order the game here.

Are you going to check out The Hideout and Summoning Signals as part of the Fragmented Almanac? Let us know in the comments below, or on our socials.

The Top 25 Dreamcast Indie Games 2024 - Voting Now Closed

It's been eight years since we last went to readers, viewers, listeners and followers of The Dreamcast Junkyard to ask YOU what the best indie games for the Dreamcast are... and what an eight years it's been! Incredibly, no less than 43 new indie games have seen release for the console in that time - and that is just those that received actual physical versions.

As we're officially in the Dreamcast's 25th year of celebrations (I am now dubbing the time between the Japanese launch in 1998 and the PAL release in 1999 "the Dreamcast anniversary year"), it seems only fitting to bring this vote back and see what the current fan favourite indie games are, especially considering the increased number of releases since we last did the vote. Pier Solar topped the charts last time, just beating out Sturmwind, but a lot has happened since then!


How to vote:

Simply click on the form at the bottom of the page (or here, if its easier!) and name your selection of a minimum of three indie releases, with a maximum of 10. There's no need to order them, however you will be asked to select one of your choices as your absolute favourite on the second page of the form. I will then have the Junkyard gremlins work their magic, run the spreadsheets, click the dials and receive brown paper envelopes in dark parking lots so that we end up with the definitive Top 25 list of indie games.

That's not all though. As well as using this chance to work out the Top 25 indie games, we've also got a few additional votes that you can take part in, namely Best Indie Developer, Best Indie Publisher and Most Anticipated Future Indie Release.


Criteria:

I suppose we better clarify what an "indie release" is. Any commercially released or free game that runs on the Dreamcast that was not officially licensed by Sega but was sanctioned for release by its developers or rights holders, qualifies. This includes all the games listed in my Complete Guide to Commercially Released Dreamcast Indie Games article, along with any other game that can be downloaded digitally for play on the Dreamcast for either a price or free, as long as it was allowed by its developer or rights holders.

The only titles that don't qualify for this voting would be unofficial ports of games, such as the Atomiswave ports, or unofficial mods or hacks of existing games (including any Beats of Rage mods, although Beats of Rage itself does qualify). Basically, if the developers or rights holders didn’t authorise it for play on the Dreamcast, it doesn’t qualify. Also, any unreleased games from the Dreamcast's official lifespan (such as Millennium Racer or Propeller Arena, for instance) don’t qualify either.

You have until the 31st of January 2024 to vote, and once we have closed the polls and had the time to write up the results we'll be announcing the final list on the blog and across social media.

Voting has now closed.

The Dreamcast Junkyard's choicest cuts and hottest takes of 2023

Well, here we are again. A whole 12 months since the last time we did one of these yearly roundup articles, and 10 months since I decided to retire from the Junkyard for the sake of my fragile sanity. Going against my better judgement, I thought it would be nice to pop in to the 'Yard at this special time of year to look back in anger with fondness at some of the highlights of 2023, published by the hard-working and dedicated team of nerds who keep this place going in earnest. Even with the AI-powered threat of the Dead Internet™ and Big Gaming Websites™ slowly terraforming the entire World Wide Web into a sanitised, homogenous wasteland of black text on white backgrounds and carefully prepared press bullshots, The Dreamcast Junkyard is still here showing that little niche blogs can survive in the present era. But, y'know, that's not to say if some conglomerate wants to buy us out for a few million quid we wouldn't listen to offers. Of course, I jest...cough.

Now, back to that actual topic at hand. The dystopian nightmare that is/was the year 2023AD. It's been...interesting. So much new Dreamcast news to report on, new releases to salivate uncontrollably over, and original features that simply wouldn't write themselves without the aid of an advanced large language model and a few clever prompts. Yes, the humble Dreamcast has had quite the year, and so without further ado, I present to you a concise(ish) whistle-stop tour de force of the choicest cuts and hottest takes published here over the last 365(ish) days.

Are ya ready? Here we go...


Reviews

  • Not actually a Dreamcast release, but a title heavily influenced by Jet Set/Grind Radio, Lewis laced up his roller blades, donned his finest DayGlo lycra and tackled Team Reptile's excellent homage Bomb Rush Cyberfunk. Reports of lycra chaffage are wholly unfounded, refuted and are to be quashed immediatley.
  • Taking a pinch of inspiration from Rocket League, the first online-enabled retail release in nigh on 20 years arrived on Dreamcast in 2023. As expected, Lozz buckled up, checked his mirrors, signalled and then manouvred into battle in Luke Benstead and David Reichelt's indie hit Driving Strikers.
  • Another game heavily influenced by a much-loved Dreamcast original, Cosmic Smash homage C-Smash VRS from RapidEyeMovers and Wood & Wolf was given a thorough going over by a VR-helmeted Brian. Rumours that he destroyed his living room while jumping around in said VR helmet are wholly unfounded, refuted and are to be quashed immediately.
  • After Tom checked out the Dreamcast re-release of Visco's 1992 Neo-Geo title Andro Dunos (brought to us by JoshProd and PixelHeart), Lozz entered the very same (heavily sanitised) cockpit to take on the challenge presented by Andro Dunos II.
  • Our colleague Andrew Dickinson wrote a book once - did he mention that? Well, guess what - he wrote a sequel to it and it was released this year. Dreamcast: Year Two featured many contributions from across the Dreamcast community and Lewis was on hand to leaf through it. Will there be a Dreamcast: Year Three? Will Andrew mention he wrote a book again? Answers on a postcard.
  • Mike kicked off his Dreamcast-themed loafers, donned his velvet smoking jacket (probably) and delved betwixt the pages of Fusion Retro Books' Dreamcast-themed special edition, the snappily titled Fusion Dreamcast Magazine.
  • Mike also cast a critical eye over two indie releases this year, with PRO's physical release of Wolfenstein 3D mod Witching Hour and Lowtek Games' semi-sequel to Flea!, Tapeworm Disco Puzzle, both getting the Phelan treatment. Which sounds way more ominous than I thought it would now I've typed that sequence of words out.
  • Drunk on nostalgia while waiting for some form of Crazy Taxi reboot to appear (it'll never happen), Brian hailed down Cassius John-Adams' Fifth Element-inspired Crazy Taxi homage MiLE HiGH TAXi - a game which presumably also took at least some naming inspiration from psychedelic Saturn k-hole NiGHTS into Dreams.


Features and News

  • A highly skilled Dreamcast developer who goes by the name Frogbull decided they wanted to see PlayStation 2 stalwart Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty running on Sega's superior hardware. So they went out and created a proof of concept demo. No, we aren't making this up, and Lewis was on hand to investigate.
  • Tom noticed that it was high time he delved back into the Atomiswave library that was recently made playable on Dreamcast, with a look at Sammy's lesser-spotted Need for Speed: Underground rip-off homage Faster Than Speed.
  • 2023 represented a major milestone in the history of the Dreamcast - 25 years of existence. To mark the occasion, Brian revisited the Japanese release of the console, and even looked at the four launch titles on offer, particularly zooming in on one of the more maligned of the four - Godzilla Generations.
  • Y'know, it wasn't always like this. Not very long ago, just before your time, right before the towers fell, circa '99, this was catalogues, travel blogs, a chat room or two. And loads of random Dreamcast-themed fan sites. To illustrate, and take a look at what became of our brothers and sisters in arms, Lozz sampled a load of other online Dreamcast resources that were founded after the Dreamcast was discontinued (some even before the Junkyard started)...and where they are now. Thanks to Bo Burnham for this guest entry.
  • Back in 2022, Tom lamented over the lost Dreamcast boxing game Title Defense. With the help of Dreamcast community legend PC Wizard, he managed to track down and speak to someone who was heavily involved with said game's development and ultimate demise, and uncover the true story of why Title Defense never came to the Dreamcast. Spoiler alert: it never existed.
  • Apparently modern Sega isn't simply a hollow shell and shadow of its former self, and this year teased reboots of two of its most popular Dreamcast franchises. So you can disregard the previous comment about Crazy Taxi never coming back. Because it is, along with Jet Set/Grind Radio. Hopefully not as mobile games, but only time will tell. As ever, Lewis was on hand to take a look at the teaser trailer.
  • Long time Junkyard contributor Aaron "The Gagaman" Foster checked in earlier this year with a rather fascinating investigation into the smallest Dreamcast games. Not small in stature, but in file size. No, it's actually more interesting than you'd think. Honest.
  • How many versions of The Typing of the Dead are you aware of? Apart from the Dreamcast release of this zombie-themed Mavis Beacon homage, you might be surprised to know that there were numerous spinoffs and ports to both computers and other console platforms. Want to know more? Of course you do, so be sure to check out Lewis' superb dissection of The Typing of the Dead's weird and wonderful ports.
  • Many Dreamcast releases were originally promoted via the arcane medium of the humble flyer or leaflet, and in this excellent deep dive into one of the more esoteric aspects of Dreamcast lore, Lozz investigated the myriad flyers and leaflets now preserved online for all and sundry to gawp at.
  • If you've been online for as long as most of us have, and have been trawling the Dreamcast-flavoured underbelly of the internet for an equally terrifying stretch of time, you'll have undoubtedly come across heavily compressed images of Dreamcast consoles modded to resemble the Microsoft Xbox, Nintendo Gamecube and Sony PlayStation 2. Ever wondered where these curiosities came from, or what became of them? Enter contributor Dark, who investigated the origins and fate of these mysterious variations of the Dreamcast.
  • Tom took time out from shaking his fist at a cloud, put some clothes on and ventured out of his delapidated shack; and then took a train to London to experience C-Smash VRS and interact with some real life humans. Read his report on the launch event here, and then scratch your head in bemusement at the final paragraph where he annouces his retirement from the Junkyard...while you simultaneously read these very words which are being written by him on a keyboard right now.
  • Contributor Oliver Luddy announced his debut at the Junkyard by checking out the various iterations of steering wheel peripherals with which Dreamcast users can control onscreen vehicles. Some are good, others are not so good. But how will you know which is which without checking out Oliver's Dreamcast Steering Wheels - An Overview?
Credit: The Sega Guru
  • Dreamcast indie royalty and wombat appreciator Ian Micheal fully inserted himself into something commonly known as 'Christmas spirit' by releasing his latest creation - a compendium of Christmas-themed games for the Dreamcast. Featuring rom hacks and ports of games from a multitude of genres, the Dreamcast Christmas Collection is also notable for featuring covers of various festive songs which are sung by Ian himself. Ian, your talents are clearly wasted on indie dev.
  • The DreamPod crew asked our listeners to share their favourite Christmas Dreamcast memories from years gone by, and boy did they not disappoint. In this festive roundup which served as a companion piece to DreamPod episode 125 for RadioSEGA's WinterFest, Lozz packages them all up for your reading pleasure, while nursing a hangover inevitably brought on by enjoying too many Creamcast ales.
  • Bet you didn't know Radirgy/Radilgy received a spinoff on the Nintendo 3DS. Well, it did, and in his deep dive, Lewis discovers that not all is rosy in this particular entry's cel-shaded garden. To be fair, the clue is in the title of the feature: Radirgy De Gojaru! - Radirgy's Terrible 3DS Spinoff.
  • It's been a good few years at this point since Retro-Bit teased their wireless Dreamcast controllers. While wireless controllers for the Dreamcast have been available for quite some time thanks to the work of Chris Diaoglou, the Retro-Bit ones are officially sanctioned by Sega and were spotted "in the wild" a few months ago in 2023.
  • Fresh from his recent foray into the world of Dreamcast soccer management blockbuster Giant Killers, Kev decided it was high time to turn his attention to American sports games. More specifically, the unusual Japanese releases of NFL 2K1 and NBA 2K1. What makes these two titles so notable? Well, it's the fact that they received special “bible” editions. Want to know what any of that means? Then check out Kev's feature on the Sega Sports 2K1 Bible Editions. Note: God and/or Jesus are not involved. Sorry.
  • Sticking with Kev for a moment, he also investigated the experience of playing a range of games with the Dreamcast Arcade Stick (see what I did there?), but the twist here is that they aren't games that any normal person would actually want to play with an Arcade Stick, but which are fully compatible. The things we do in the name of science, eh? You can read about Kev's highly empirical findings in his feature here.
  • Last but by no means least, and after a whole year, many hours of work and hundreds of contributions, The Dreamcast Junkyard's refreshed Top 200 Dreamcast Games 2023 was finally unveiled to coincide with the 25th anniversary of the system. This really was a Herculean effort from all of those involved, and the final list throws up some very interesting placings in the definitive ranking as voted for by you - the loyal readers of t'Junkyard.

English Translations

This year saw even more Japan-only titles translated into English by the dedicated Dreamcast fan translation community. There are many talented people involved in this niche within a niche (with a special nod to the likes of Derek "God" Pascarella, VincentNL, SharkSnack, Rolly, RafaMGam, TheKitchenSunk, Harpu, Ozidual, DocHikari, dukeblooders, Marshal Wong, Duralumin, James Tocchio/GGDreamcast, Yuvi, Cargodin, rio de popmocco and TapamN, to name but a few).

Some of the most notable titles to receive an English language translation were covered by Lewis here at The Dreamcast Junkyard, with one of them even being worked on by him (Nakoruru). Check 'em out:


Interviews and Podcasts

  • Daytona USA 2001 was brought back online in 2023, restoring much of the original multiplayer experience that was enjoyed by Dreamcast owners in Japan and the USA back in the day. The bulk of the work to bring the game back online was completed by developer ioncannon, and Lozz was on hand to get all the details on this excellent resurrection project.
  • On episode 126 of our podcast DreamPod, Lewis and Kev welcomed Nick Thorpe, Retro Gamer Magazine Features Editor. The conversation covered a wide range of topics, including how Nick's career in games media started and progressed, some contentious entries in the 2023 Top 200, Nick's memories of the Dreamcast launch and favourite games, and how he would get hooked on playing the Dreamcast demo pod in order to get his Sonic Adventure fix, much to the frustration of the other kids.
  • Seasoned games journalist Chris Scullion joined Kev and Mike for episode 121 of the DreamPod, during which Chris detailed the process of writing his latest book The Dreamcast Encylopedia, his memories of the Dreamcast, and some of his favourite titles. Mike mentioned that he is also writing a book. Andrew wrote a book once, too. Not sure if he's ever mentioned that.
  • Episode 120 of the DreamPod saw Andrew and Lewis welcome YouTuber Dreamcast Enjoyer (aka Dominic) to the podcast, during which they spoke about a range of topics, from the Dreamcast's “cosiest” games to Dominic's foray into the world of YouTube.
  • Regular hosts Lozz and James welcomed guests Harvey (aka Pizza Hotline) and Holsten to episode 118 of the DreamPod to discuss the burgeoning online gaming scene, which has had something of a resurgence on the Dreamcast thanks to DreamPi. If you ever wondered how to go about getting your Dreamcast online, and which online games are worth your time, then this is the episode for you!
  • Harlequest developer Ross Kilgariff joined Lewis and Lozz on episode 115 of the DreamPod, during which the jolly trio discussed all things indie dev, Kickstarter and of course Harlequest - a brand new 3D platformer heading to Dreamcast in the not too distant future.
  • Of course, you can find all of the other episodes of The Dreamcast Junkyard DreamPod on all of your favourite podcatchers, so be sure to give us a review and a rating if you can be bothered. We'll love you forever if you do. It doesn't even have to be positive. I left a one star review myself on all the ones I'm on, for example. Can't stand the sound of my own voice.

Community Collaborations

  • Mike and Lewis were special guests on episode 377 of the excellent podcast The Retro Hour, chatting all things Dreamcast and Dreamcast Junkyard. Turns out the episode Mike and Lewis appeared on was one of The Retro Hour's most popular episodes of the year...who'd have thunk it?
  • We also appeared as guests once again on RadioSEGA's WinterFest 2023, sharing fuzzy memories of Dreamcast Christmases past for the 125th episode of the DreamPod, joined this time by none other than Patrick Traynor of Sega Saturn, SHIRO! fame. WinterFest is an institution within the Sega community at this point, so as ever we thank the team at RadioSEGA for having us.
  • Lewis was invited to appear on episode 201 of The SEGA Lounge podcast by venerable host David "KC" Luis, where he spoke about his own personal history with the Dreamcast and gave a little glimpse at what goes on behind the scenes at the Junkyard (hint: it's organised chaos).


What's next?

I'm pretty confident that the Dreamcast scene will continue to go from strength to strength in 2024, and no doubt the fine team manning The Dreamcast Junkyard will be on hand to offer a familiar torrent of news, features, reviews, previews, podcasts and interviews. If you haven't already, please go and give The 'Yard a follow on Twitter, or join our lovely Discord community so you don't miss anything.

I'll return at the same time next year to post my annual round-up of other people's hard work; but until then, I wish you all a very happy 2024 and give you my thanks - as ever - for continuing to support the Dreamcast, the Dreamcast community at large, all the indie devs doing amazing stuff, and of course this very blog. Ciao for now!