Showing posts with label Dreamcast Homebrew. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dreamcast Homebrew. Show all posts

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.

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?

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 Complete Guide to Commercially Released Dreamcast Indie Games

The fact that we're still blathering on about the Dreamcast some 20 odd years after the console's demise is testament to two things - the fact that we're sad little people still holding on to a mere glimmer of nostalgia about our youth as we rapidly approach middle age, and also the fact that the community will just not let this console die. We obviously don't talk about the first of those points much (we don't want to remind ourselves that we're becoming less and less culturally literate with every rotation of this damn rock around the sun), but we do talk about how "alive" the system is all the time. Probably too much, to be honest, as many people like to put the Dreamcast firmly in the "past" folder in their brain, preferring to remember what it was like when it was new and current. This is completely understandable, to view the console solely through a sense of nostalgia especially now that we have so many ways of experiencing the console's library which don't rely on having shelves full of games (or spindles full of CD-Rs). We're in that stage of the console's post-life cycle that has many people who left their video gaming behind when they were young dipping into the console once more, stirring up their memories of happier times, and no doubt probably quite confused as to why some of us never left the machine in the past and have continued to be fascinated by Sega's last great home endeavour to this very day.

Whilst the nostalgia is to be expected, it is the vitality of the current Dreamcast scene which keeps us writing about it. In between the tired posts of social media influencers asking people if they remember Sonic Adventure or Crazy Taxi, there has been an incredibly active scene covering every element of the Dreamcast for years. We have new hardware and controllers, games with online modes re-activated, more translations of Japanese games than I can actually keep track of, books, magazines, an entire series of arcade titles ported to the console, and a strong homebrew community that is creating some astonishing things. And it's that last point that allows me to pivot, finally, towards the point of this article. Alongside homebrew ports of classic titles (as I write this, the recent demo of the Metal Gear Solid 2 port is literally mind blowing) and fun little projects, we've now had 20 years of "proper" retail-released indie titles for the Dreamcast. My aim here is to document all of these in one article. I do love a long article...

I love Dreamcast indie titles. While they are not officially licensed by Sega, there is something very special about receiving a physical version of a game to be played on a console a quarter of a century old. The quality of the Dreamcast indie scene varies, which is to be expected, but even when a game is a bit crappy, I still have a certain sense of respect that it has been released on the console at all. Of course, I am a big weirdo, and will pick up anything you slap a "Dreamcast" label on, but for those who want to be a bit more selective with their hard-earned cash when expanding their Dreamcast library, a subjective view is always useful. In this article I hope to do just that - as well as take a look back at the various versions of the games that were released, where you can pick them up today, and any other interesting things that I can cram in before losing all excitement about writing this already massive article. This will also be constantly updated (hello, future people!) with my views on any new indie release, which will hopefully allow it to be a one-stop-shop for anyone interested in the broad DC indie scene - this will of course sit alongside our regular indie reviews from the entire DCJY team (I can also recommend Laurence's superb roundup of the indie scene in this article, if you want a slightly different perspective). It's also worth checking out our directory of indie developers and publishers, where you'll find direct links to all those involved in the indie scene.

Now, I need to add some context and "rules" here. The scope of this article will not include every single homebrew port or project - the first rule of the article is that it had to have been released physically and could be purchased by anyone. Of course, you can pick up a copy of any of the homebrew ports with nice printed inlays on Etsy - so that's when the second rule comes in: the physical release must have been officially sanctioned by the developer or rights holder. Finally, only full releases will count - so no demos, hacks or mods will be included, although total conversion mods that became standalone games in their own right do count. For the context of this article, only the games that meet the criteria I've just established will be called "indie releases". Will I probably end up breaking these rules to include something that I probably shouldn't? You betcha. Welcome to the wonderful world of "Mike doesn't stick to his own rules". 

Enough of my nonsense (well, enough of this opening bit of nonsense, there's a lot more nonsense that lies ahead, I'm afraid!)  - on with the article!

Ian Micheal has released a Christmas Collection for Dreamcast!

Cover by The Sega Guru

On the 23rd day of Christmas, Ian Micheal gave to the community... a Christmas collection for the Sega DC.

Ever since his work on the Sega Powered demo disc, homebrew extraordinaire Ian Micheal has really been experimenting with the idea of Dreamcast "collections" using the same UI. Around this time last year, he released the much anticipated (unofficial) Dreamcast version of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Cowabunga Collection, which featured a wide range of old-school Turtles games, ROM hacks, cartoon episodes, music, and more, to peruse and enjoy on your Dreamcast. 

In October, Ian decided to put a seasonal twist on this concept with a Halloween collection, and now, in a similar vein, Ian has released a Christmas-themed collection for play on the Dreamcast, which he’s been teasing since the beginning of the month. There's so much packed onto it, I'm not even sure where to start...

He stares into your soul as he asks "have you been a good boy this year? HMM?!"

Let's start with the games. This collection is chock full of Christmas-themed games to play, from the Europe/Australia exclusive Mega Drive title Daze Before Christmas, to the Home Alone games, to Christmas ROM hacks of Sonic, Mario, Pokémon and even Wolfenstein 3D! There's nothing quite like a festive spin on old favourites to get you in the mood for the season. Just don't let Santa know we shot him in the Wolfenstein mod…

The longer you look…

But of course, the most important reason why you'd want to download and boot this collection up on your Dreamcast, is to hear Ian sing his own renditions of classic Christmas songs, such as Jingle Bells and Chris Rea's "Driving Home For Christmas", along with many others. This man really is multi-talented. Sadly, he didn't cover blink-182's "Happy Holidays, You Bastard" this time round, but let's hope he does that on a 2024 edition of this collection.

With interactive and musical delights covered, this collection wouldn't be complete without something to watch. How about the 1964 stop-motion classic Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer? Well here it is, on your Dreamcast. Sorted, mate.  

The ultimate Christmas question: are we listening to George Michael or Ian Micheal?
To play Ian's Christmas collection, head over to the Dreamcast-Talk forums to download the CDI. There's even a video to watch of Ian showcasing it. I definitely think this'll make an excellent addition to the Junkyard's usual Dreamcast-related Christmas traditions, which include Blue Stinger, the Sonic Adventure DLC and that one Toy Commander DreamOn demo where you zoom about as Santa on a jetpack.

Are you going to download this? Let us known in the comments below or via one of our many social media pages! Either way, we here at the Junkyard wish you a very Merry Christmas!

A Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty Prototype is Running on the Dreamcast!

Just three weeks ago, a video went up on YouTube from a creator called Frogbull showing off their very own prototype of Metal Gear Solid running on the Sega Saturn. Seemingly looking to prove wrong the naysayers claimed MGS could never have run on the Saturn, the results looked very impressive, and definitely had many Sega fans intrigued to see what was next from Frogbull. Little did I expect, however, that next we'd see Metal Gear Solid's sequel, Sons of Liberty running on the Dreamcast. But don't just take my word for it, see it for yourself below!

Seeing this game in action on the Dreamcast is simply mind blowing. It was also really cool to learn that this homebrew prototype build was developed using Luke Benstead's Simulant Engine (with tools from Jayveer and SecaProject). I also loved the tribute at the end of the video to the late Hidekazu Yukawa. Excellent job, Frogbull.

While this prototype build isn't currently available to download to play for yourself, we here at the Junkyard will definitely be keeping an eye on Frogbull's future work. If you want to do so as well, go follow them on Twitter here. They also have a Patreon that you can support here.

Dreamcast: Year Two shipping, HarleQuest! funded, Phantasy Star Collection, Sapphire Hotel - Dreamcast News Round-Up May 2023

Title image featuring a pixel art image of Space Channel 5's Ulala with The Dreamcast junkyard logo and the text "Dreamcast News Round-Up May 2023
Pixel art credit: Xtreme Retro

Spring is now well and truly upon us here in the UK. My central heating has finally been switched off, the nights are drawing out, and the air is alive with the sounds of songbirds, neighbourhood kids, and the obnoxiously loud engines of boy racers. The departure of winter typically does wonders for my mood, but this year my nerves are uncharacteristically shot to pieces as my boyhood football club is flirting with the prospect of imminent relegation. Rather than spend another afternoon anxiously inspecting the league table and fixtures list once again though, I thought I’d try to distract myself by penning a DCJY news round-up. The Dreamcast scene continues to bloom, delivering a bountiful harvest all year round, and there are some vigorous green shoots sprouting up too which are likely to bear fruit later in the year. So, dear readers, settle down, get comfy, and feast your eyes upon all the latest from the world of the Dreamcast.

Homebrew Happenings


The Dreamcast has long been blessed with a dedicated cast of coders who love nothing more than cooking up homebrew offerings of all shapes and sizes. The degree to which homebrew efforts have extended the console’s software library and capabilities is truly remarkable and the selfless souls who deliver these goods deserve our thanks (thank you!).

Lately it seems that Ian Michael’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Cowabunga Collection has become a trend-setter, as several other ‘collection’ type projects are now in the works. First of all is Ian’s own follow-up, a Phantasy Star collection, which allows the classic Master System, Game Gear and Mega Drive titles to be played on the Dreamcast in seamless fashion, complete with a menu system that pulls everything together, and extras such as separately playable soundtracks and videos. Sega produced a package of this sort for the Saturn, but its release was limited to Japan. If Ian’s previous work is anything to go by, then we anticipate that this follow-up will be well worth your attention.

Cover image for the Phantasy Star Collection for Dreamcast.
Cover image for Ian Michael's Phantasy Star Collection created by 'caruse'.

Shindougo has joined Ian in flaunting their chops in the DC homebrew collection space too, releasing Castlevania and The Simpsons collections in December and April respectively. Neither of these franchises ever saw official representation on the Dreamcast - exclusive titles were in development, but never made it past their fledgling stages. Leaked builds of both are available but are pretty bare bones. Those who want to scratch that itch they’ve been having for a Castlevania or Simpsons experience on their little white box should check out Shindougo’s releases, both of which are available via the links posted above. Video demonstrations of these collections have also helpfully been produced by friend of the Yard, gamesreup.

Screenshot of Hydro Thunder working in VGA mode.
Hydro Thunder working in VGA mode, as shown by Derek Pascarella (ateam).

Another homebrew project of a different ilk has also surfaced in recent weeks. Dreamcasters who have (justifiably) clung to VGA as their preferred video output option will be pleased to hear that TapamN appears to have delivered a method for playing virtually any DC game via VGA. Until now there have been a few dozen games that have stubbornly resisted efforts to force them into outputting VGA, but thanks to the elbow grease of TapamN, a comprehensive solution seems to be at hand. TapamN first demonstrated the new patching method in action with Bangai-O. A frenzy of further contributions have quickly followed from others within the community demonstrating that the method works for games such as Airforce Delta, Deadly Skies, and Hydro Thunder. A full list of the VGA patches created by TapamN are available on the console mods wiki.

Online Optimisations

Putting your Dreamcast’s modem to work really should be mandatory. If you aren’t swimming in the warm crystal-clear waters of the console’s online capacities then you are missing out - especially so, given that the experiences available keep expanding.

Screenshot of the Crazy Taxi 2 website replay upload function.
Hey hey hey, it's time to upload some CRAZY replays. Crazy Taxi 2 website screenshot courtesy of Xiden.

In mid-April, Xiden announced that the replay upload function of the Crazy Taxi 2 website has been revived. Now, as if it were 2001, that means you can upload replays of your lucrative fare-maximising runs, and find out how paltry they are in comparison to those of your compatriot taxi drivers by downloading their replays. Baggy jeans are recommended for the fully immersive turn-of-the-millennium experience. All you need to know can be found in Xiden’s Dreamcast-Talk post.

In other online news, Johne, a stalwart of Brazil’s DC online community, has launched a Dreamcast Now Android phone app. Dreamcast Now, of course, being the website that provides a live summary of who is currently online on their Dreamcast and what game they are playing. With the app, users are able to set a variety of notifications for different events, including when designated friends have come online, and when favourite games have currently active players.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Cowabunga Collection heads to Dreamcast

Image credit: k-do / Dreamquest

For those few people who frequent this blog who are not also members of the awesome Dreamcast-Talk forums, allow me to say this: you are missing a trick. See, so many interesting and cool Dreamcast-related projects are borne out of those hallowed threads that it's actually pretty hard to keep up; and I start this post in a such a manner that I might give full and unadulterated credit where it is due. To wit: this is a tale which starts life over at the aforementioned forum - Dreamcast coding legend Ian Micheal is porting Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Cowabunga Collection to the Dreamcast. Sort of.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Cowabunga Collection released on current gen systems in the recent past and is essentially a potted history of the heroes in a half shells' Konami-developed titles from the late 1980s through to the mid 1990s. Perhaps a little disgruntled that this trip through the halcyon days of the Turtles' domination of arcades and home consoles isn't officially Dreamcast-bound, Ian Micheal has turned his considerable talents to cramming a handful of 8 and 16-bit Turtles titles onto a Dreamcast disc, complete with a proper front end selection screen, music, VMU compatibility and even a few original Dreamcast-specific extras for good measure.

It's still a work in progress and while the project will fetaure SNES, NES, Megadrive and Gameboy titles, Ian has expressed that Gameboy Advance games will not be included due to the Dreamcast's ability to emulate said system being lacklustre: "No GBA games - please don't ask again! I don't want crap running. Not even I can make a GBA emulator worth a shit run well enough..." And to be fair - he's not wrong. Quality over quantity and all that.

No word yet on when The Cowabunga Collection will release on Dreamcast, but like the Technodrome, we'll be keeping one massive mechanical eye on the Dreamcast-Talk thread, and so should you. You can also find more videos of different Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles games from the collection running on Dreamcast over at Ian Micheal's YouTube Channel.

Somebody got Cuphead playing on a Sega Dreamcast?

Yeah, you saw the title correctly. Studio MDHR's hard-as-nails indie sensation Cuphead... on Dreamcast! Well, kind of. 

This project came completely out of nowhere, posted to GitHub by user Aionmagan three days ago, and seemed to fall under everybody's radars (including mine). That was until Dreamcast-Talk forum user kremiso happened upon it yesterday and posted a thread about it.

What Aionmagan has created is a prototype of what Cuphead on the Dreamcast could be like. You control Cuphead and you can jump, dash and shoot as one of the game's bosses, Goopy Le Grande, hops around on screen. You can't kill the boss or go any further than this single screen, but the graphics look great and animation is fluid. It's basic, but it's still a really great proof-of-concept and we look forward to seeing more.

Aionmagan uploaded some footage to YouTube of them playing their prototype, so check that out below:


Click here to go to the GitHub page for this project, where you'll find links to this playable prototype in .CDI format, meaning you can easily throw it onto your GDEMU (or you might be able to burn it onto a CD-R - I've not tested that yet). Aionmagan has also uploaded the source code for the prototype, and in the comments of his YouTube upload has also stated that he is welcoming contributions if anyone wants to help with development.

Are you a Cuphead fan? Would you love to see this prototype developed further? Sound off in the comments below!

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.

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!

Yeah Yeah Beebiss II now available for Dreamcast

If the title Yeah Yeah Beebiss I means anything to you, you'll love this little news snippet. If you're wondering what the hell I'm blathering about, the mystery of Yeah Yeah Beebiss I is a totally fascinating trip down a rabbit hole of copyright traps, misunderstood language translations, fabrications of the truth...or all of the above

In a nutshell, it's the story of a strange Nintendo Entertainment System game which is considered to represent one of the greatest gaming mysteries of all time, and which prompted a years long search for a title that many people were convinced didn't exist. I would implore anyone with even a passing interest in this flavour of gaming oddness to visit YouTube and watch any of the amazing videos on the topic, including this one from LSuperSonicQ, or this one from All Things Lost which does a damn fine job of explaining the whole saga as well as offering a solution to the mystery.

In a rather excellent twist on this strange tale, YouTuber and retro gaming tinkerer John Riggs has released a 'sequel' to Yeah Yeah Beebiss I - titled Yeah Yeah Beebiss II - for both the NES and the Dreamcast. As announced over on his Twitter account, you can purchase a limited edition copy for the Dreamcast by visiting John's store here

There's not a great deal of info on the game available at the time of writing, with only a single screenshot released; but once John releases a video on it (or one of us here at the Junkyard manages to get hold of a copy) we'll update this news piece or post a full review. To be honest, it would be a brilliant meta twist if this whole thing is a complete hoax and Yeah Yeah Beebiss II turns out to be just as mysterious and nonexistant as the prequel. It's more likely that Yeah Yeah Beebiss II does exist though (is there such a thing as being too meta?), and it's great to have yet another new title released for the Dreamcast.

Check out the Yeah Yeah Beebiss II store page here, and visit John Riggs' YouTube channel here.

Update - looks like it's now sold out for Dreamcast, which makes the title of this post fake news. Sorry folks :/ 

Update 2 - Yeah Yeah Beebis II will now be published by UK publisher WAVE Game Studios and is available for pre-order now, priced at £24.99. It is expected to ship in January 2022, which is awesome!

Review: Intrepid Izzy

When it comes to the Dreamcast indie scene, the name "Senile Team" is surely familiar. You might know them best for bringing us Beats of Rage, the moddable open source beat 'em up engine for Dreamcast (and other systems) that provided the basis for countless community-developed mods of series from Splatterhouse to Resident Evil. Or maybe you've had the pleasure of playing their first commercially released game; the excellent Rush Rush Rally Racing (or its update Rush Rush Rally Reloaded). Either way, it's definitely clear that Senile Team has pedigree when it comes to the Dreamcast, and now they're gearing up for the imminent August 20th release of their latest title, Intrepid Izzy.

The Kickstarter campaign for Intrepid Izzy went up back in 2017 with PC, Dreamcast and PS4 releases promised. The Steam version has been available since July 2020, but it's the Dreamcast version that many people, including us at the Junkyard (obviously) have been eagerly awaiting. Prior to Intrepid Izzy's Dreamcast release, I was supplied a review copy. Staying true to the Junkyard, however, this review will reflect only my honest opinions, with no influence from the developers or distributors.

The game starts with our protagonist Izzy, who is presumed to be a bit of an Indiana Jones explorer-type (she's known to be Intrepid, after all), opening a treasure chest in a temple only to release an evil blue genie whose main priority after finally being released is chaos on the world. From the initial cutscene, you are immediately given a taste of the game's carefree sense of humour, which often leans towards the drier side of things, and can occasionally get a bit bizarre. Just right for us at the Junkyard, then.

So how does Intrepid Izzy play? In the simplest terms, it's a 2D action platformer, with lovely, hand drawn artwork and fluid, cartoon-like animation (created with custom-made animation software) that gives me vibes of the ever-popular Shantae series. But to just call it an "action platformer" wouldn't be doing the game justice, because Intrepid Izzy is actually pretty deep, dude. While the initial stage is a rather left to right affair, you soon realise that the game has a very non-linear approach to its levels. That's right, Intrepid Izzy's core gameplay is what trendy gaming pundits might refer to as "metroidvania." I'm talking levels within levels, with a focus on light puzzle solving and backtracking. Get that key to open that door there, find a helmet to ride the minecart to a new area, find a new costume to grant you the power to get past an obstacle you passed earlier, and so on. 

Putting on Intrepid Izzy feels like you're embarking on an adventure, and one that is relatively easy to jump into whether you're a seasoned veteran of this style of explorative platformer, or a complete newbie to it, like I am (unless Kirby & the Amazing Mirror counts). Intrepid Izzy's platforming feels and controls great, and with the constant intrigue of treasure and new areas lurking around every corner, it gets pretty addictive. On countless occasions while exploring, I was conscious that I needed to save and come off so I could continue adding to this review, only to find myself attempting one more puzzle, or leading myself down one more passage.

As you traverse the game's many maze-like levels, you will encounter magic mirrors that grant you quick passage to the game's various other levels, as well as a fast track back to Awesometown, a pleasant town that functions as the game's central hub. You will be returning to Awesometown frequently to recover health by sleeping at Izzy's house and making repeat trips to the town's restaurant to replenish recovery and boosting items (which you purchase with coins that you've picked up throughout your quest). Less frequently, you will be dropping by the house of a bearded wizard, who can upgrade your health at the cost of enough heart fragments, which are hidden sparingly throughout the game's levels. Finally, perhaps taking a page out of Shenmue's book, the last building of significance in Awesometown is an arcade where you can play some basic but fun arcade games - such titles include "Plerg", "Ultra Bazoop" and "3D Wheel".

The other big gameplay element of Intrepid Izzy brings us back to Senile Team's Beats of Rage roots. Implemented alongside the platforming is a beat 'em up combat system that is used to solve environmental puzzles and dispatch enemies. You'll be using these fighting moves throughout your journey to rough up various foes, including huge screen-filling bosses. There are also plenty of occasions during exploration where you will enter a room, only to be locked in, with your only path to escape being to defeat a few waves of enemies. These bouts happen quite frequently, to the point where you soon realise that the combat in Intrepid Izzy is just as important as its platforming. 

A homebrew Dreamcast MIDI Interface Cable appears!

Source: Sega Retro

The Dreamcast is home to a number of fairly obscure peripherals and cables, all of which offer enhanced functionality when paired up with either a dedicated piece of software or a flux capacitor. Most of these weird and wonderful oddities were only ever released in the Dreamcast's native Japan, and as such have fallen even further into the abyss of esoterica; with one such item being the HKT-9200 Dreamcast MIDI Interface Cable.

Source: eBay

The Dreamcast MIDI Interface Cable essentially allows the more musically inclined amongst us to connect a device such as a microphone or keyboard (the musical kind, natch) to a Dreamcast. Coupled with the equally obscure O.to.i.Re MIDI Sequencer, it transforms the Dreamcast console into that sentient piano from that cartoon I can't remember the name of. Oswald? Oswald the Piano? No...that's not it. Just a sec.

Oscar's Orchestra! Remember that? No? Well anyway, it was a cartoon with a talking (and slightly horrific looking) piano that could fly as well for some reason (I think). Where was I? Oh yeah - Dreamcast MIDI cables. You could make music on a Dreamcast using a MIDI connector and a piece of software called O.to.i.Re. Here's a superbly translated description from the defunct Sega Japan catalogue page:

You can easily make music by selecting your favorite phrase from more than 3000 types of phrases and pasting it on the track. A completely new musical expression tool. By supporting DreamPassport2, you can attach save data and distribute it to the Internet. You can now share data between users. It's a work I made so much, so I want everyone to listen to it!

You can use a microphone device to convert Hanauta to MIDI data and input / output it as an instrument tone. You can also enter data from an external MIDI keyboard using the MIDI interface (sold separately). (Caution: This software can be used without a microphone device or MIDI interface.)

Naturally, because we live in this version of reality, Dreamcast MIDI shenanigans are now quite collectible (read: expensive), and not wanting to be left out of the burgeoning MIDI-authoring scene, a tech savvy gentleman by the name of Ben Ryves took it upon himself to go above and beyond the call of duty, creating his own fully working Dreamcast MIDI connector from scratch. Here's the video:


Pretty impressive stuff we're sure you'll agree. You can read the full breakdown of how Ben created his (very professional looking) cable at his website here - be prepared to be blown away by the level of detail the directions and schematics go into. Particularly impressive to me is the creation of a Dreamcast serial port connector from a donor PCI Express slot, which reminds me of the work of Luke Benstead and his quest to reverse engineer Dreamcast system link cables from old PC parts.




Personally I don't have a musical bone in my body outside of tapping my hands on the steering wheel when I'm sat in traffic listening to some classic My Chemical Romance or Daphne & Celeste; but for those out there who fancy creating some banging MIDI choons on your Dreamcast, this could be a game changer. Will you be utilising Ben's directions to fashion your own MIDI Interface Connector? Let us know in the comments!

Thanks to Ben for allowing us to use his video and images on here, and thanks to DCJY Discorder Daikath for alerting us. Another reason you should go and join our Discord!

New Dreamcast Indie release review - Drascula: The Vampire Strikes Back

It's shaping up to be a momentous year for the Dreamcast's already active indie scene, with (literally) dozens of titles on the horizon. After the unbridled success of titles such as Xenocider and Xeno Crisis (Indie games not beginning with X are available), and some very tasty offerings in the pipeline from JoshProd, Senile Team and Headup Games, there's never been a better time for the scene - and certainly, never a more active one. 

It wasn't a major surprise, then, when yet another title was announced for the console just weeks ago. Erbe Software, a Spanish publisher, started a Kickstarter campaign for a port of a 1990's point and click adventure, Mortadelo y Filemon, itself based off a popular Spanish comic. With a low goal, and the community's ever rabid desire to see more DC games, it sailed past its modest funding target and should be with us sometime later in the year. But this wasn't the first we'd heard of Erbe Software. Back in 2020, they announced a similar, rather unambitious Kickstarter campaign for a port of another 90's point and click adventure - Alcachofa Soft's Drascula: The Vampire Strikes Back. This too sailed through its meagre funding target, but little had been heard about it since the campaign. That is, until copies started being received by the modest number of backers, around the time of their latest Kickstarter.

The original PC cover for the game. If only we got this for the Dreamcast version...

Now we at the Junkyard didn't back the game. Whilst we're purveyors of all things 'Dreamcast', we have to admit it did pass us by. But new Dreamcast games, even ports of old PC adventure titles, are never a bad thing. Only, with Drascula, things did seem a little off. First, the original developers Alcachofa Soft had allowed the game to be distributed for a not-for-profit basis some years back. With the wonders of ScummVM, the emulator which makes these classic point and click adventures easier to run on more modern platforms, some Dreamcast owners would, no doubt, have been able to experience the games rather campy, cheesy comedic horror before. 

Now, this isn't unprecedented; Dreamcast owners who've dipped their toes into emulation may have seen a few examples of games being made available via that method some years ago, only for Indie publishers to release them as 'legitimate' releases some time after (Flashback, Captain Tomaday etc. etc.). There's nothing inherently wrong with this - if the rights holders can release the game officially, that's fair enough. But with information so scarce about this release, some did wonder whether this would be a 'bells and whistles' special packaged release, or simply a version of the ScummVM engine running the game. One of these, unfortunately, ended up being the case.

Thanks to friend of the Junkyard Chris Nunn, one of the few people who backed the game on its original campaign, we've managed to grab a hold of the game and...well, we've got some thoughts... 

DVD Support Heading To Dreamcast

Artist's impression. Um.
DVD is the one that got away when it comes to discussing the Dreamcast and the age-old reasons for its failure to go stratospheric. One of the many reasons people held out for a PlayStation 2 was because it offered the consumer the opportunity to try out new-fangled digital versatile discs, and it was an inspired tactic if you look at it from a business perspective. Yes, the Dreamcast was (and still is) a hoofing system and plays host to some of the finest vidya gaemz known to humanity; but back at the turn of the century the promise of owning a console that could also play movies out of the box was too great to resist for the majority.
An IDE modded Dreamcast is required at present
Anyway, it seems that the ever-inventive Dreamcast community has worked out a way to allow the Dreamcast to 'see' an external DVD drive as a storage medium and attempts to run games stored on DVDs have been successful. At present, the DVD drive is being used as an alternative to a standard IDE HDD with consoles modified to accept such a storage device, but with more development time it appears that running DVD movies on a Dreamcast is entirely plausible.

The original thread over at Assembler Games tells us a little more, and I also spoke to programmer Luiz Nai who is assisting the DreamShell developers in this quest. Here's what he told me:

"If you have the IDE-Mod in your Dreamcast just connect a DVD-IDE drive on your Dreamcast. You put the ISO files on the DVD and select them as you do on the HDD. At present, games files in CDI or GDI format are incompatible as games that use CDDA (Compact Disc Digital Audio) would not work. Also, the Dreamcast certainly has the power to run DVD movies but at the moment the priority is to get the DVD drive to read games. At present, the project is in the debug phase and the game Millennium Soldier has already been tested successfully."
- Luiz Nai

Probably don't start getting your DVDs in out of the garage just yet then, folks. And if you do you can probably just play them on literally any other device in your house (including some fridges, apparently). However, for another example of how the Dreamcast community strives to add new functionality for no reason other than it can, look no further.

Source: Assembler Games

Dreamcastnoid Gets Mini CD Retail Release

Back in 2016, DCJAM invited homebrew coders to let their imaginations run wild and create a host of new and original games for the Dreamcast. One of these was Dreamcastnoid: 128 Bit Wars from Alfonso Martinez (aka Ryo Suzuki). The game is a humorous homage to Arkanoid, with players controlling a VMU and smashing PlayStation 2 consoles with a ball, and we took a closer look at the downloadable version when it was released for public consumption.
The artwork is great
Mr Yukawa's been hitting the gym, evidently...
Fast forward to the present day, and Dreamcastnoid: 128 Bit Wars has been updated with new graphics, cool artwork, some new music and is now destined to be given a physical release. The most interesting thing about this new release is that it will come on a mini CD, and represents the first time a Dreamcast game has been released in this format (the oddly shaped music CD that comes with some versions of Guilty Gear X doesn't count!).
Segata Sanshiro makes an appearance too
A massive coin...or a tiny disc?
Dreamcastnoid: 128 Bit Wars will be available to purchase at RetroBarcelona in limited quantities for €15 and will hopefully be available to purchase online in the coming weeks. More info as we get it.

For more details (in Spanish), head over to SegaSaturno here.