Showing posts with label Intrepid Izzy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Intrepid Izzy. Show all posts

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!

The Dreamcast commercial indie scene enters a 'Golden Age'

When Sega pulled the plug on the Dreamcast in 2001, few would have predicted that our beloved little white box would still be pushing out new titles 20 years later. Flicking through the pages of the multitude of gaming magazines that were vying for market share at the time, readers were presented with a journalistic consensus that the Dreamcast was well and truly dead (note: for younger members of the audience, magazines were bounded sheets of paper with writing and artwork printed on them).

Of course, by industry standards, this assessment was bang on the money. The gaming reporters may well have known that a trickle of official releases would continue to see the light of day for a few more years, or had an inkling that a sizeable portion of the Dreamcast’s enthusiastic fanbase would continue to support homebrew projects, some of which could conceivably be released in physical form on a small scale. In the terms of reference that mattered to the industry and the wider public though (revenue, profit, audience size), the writing had already been on the wall for some time.

Where it all began...

Although by these standards the Dreamcast's new releases are still undoubtedly small fry, the commercial Dreamcast indie scene has been through an astounding boom in recent years; one which is becoming hard to ignore. The tongue-in-cheek opinion shared amongst Dreamcast fanatics for many years that "the Dreamcast is a current gen console" is getting less and less absurd by the day. What began with the release of Cryptic Allusion’s Feet of Fury in 2003 (more info here) has snowballed to a point where 14 indie games were released in 2021. Furthermore, there are as many as 30 Dreamcast games forecast for release on a commercial basis in 2022 and beyond - a figure that is edging close to the 50 or so officially licenced releases seen in Europe in 2001, and which far outstrips the 9 released in 2002.

Of course, the rocketing quantity of releases doesn’t single-handedly uphold the claim that we’re in a “golden age” for the Dreamcast indie scene, but there are many other signs that accompany this trend. For one, the variety of games available is wider than ever, putting to rest the persistent trope that all the Dreamcast indie scene has to offer is shooters (which to be fair, had some validity in the mid to late noughties). Everything from platformers, fighters, puzzlers, RPGs, racers, and visual novels are finding a home on a professionally printed Dreamcast-compatible MIL-CD these days. Furthermore, there has been a diversification of contributors who are throwing their hats into the ring. Longstanding Dreamcast developers with a mountain of credibility stored up, such as Senile Team, are thankfully still here, but they have also been joined by a new wave of developers and publishers that are rapidly earning their stripes, including the likes of PixelHeart/JoshProd, LowTek Games, RetroSumus, The Bit Station, and WAVE Game Studios to name but a few.

What really adds weight to the hypothesis that the Dreamcast indie scene is entering a golden age though is the quality of many of the games - something which is undeniably more subjective and harder to pin down, but which will be recognised by many. Throughout the lifespan of the commercial Dreamcast indie scene there have always been standout titles, such as Wind & Water Puzzle Battles (2008) or Sturmwind (2013), which drew worthy praise at the time. Dreamcast enthusiasts would often wait in anticipation for years at a time for these gems; games that had clearly benefitted from the great care and attention to detail of their developers. Yet in 2020 and 2021 we were spoiled rotten with the release of three extraordinarily good titles in Intrepid Izzy, Xenocider and Xeno Crisis. These have all been extensively reviewed elsewhere too, so I won’t pour out my adoration here. Suffice it to say that they each set a high standard which others should be aiming for.

Three of the recent 'big' indie releases on Dreamcast

So, what exactly is driving this boom? Through the highly scientific method of poking around the internet, chatting with fellow devout Dreamcast fans, and mulling it over whilst munching on Hula Hoops, here's "what I reckon."

First and foremost, there is a longstanding healthy demand for commercial indie releases. Folks are willing to part with their cold hard cash for these games, and fundamentally that is what makes it viable for them to be released, especially in a physical format. Many indie games that see the light of day in a commercial form on the DC are undoubtedly labours of love and have had countless hours of voluntary or underpaid labour poured into them. Yet, however much these development costs can be kept in check, and no matter how much cheaper printing a CD is compared to producing another medium (such as a cartridge), it still requires funding, and so a reasonable level of demand is essential. 

Sales vary heavily from game to game, but it isn’t unusual to hear of indie Dreamcast releases selling over a thousand units, while those that sell well have the capability of reaching far beyond this over the course of their shelf life. For example, we know that Intrepid Izzy rapidly sold out its initial 700 copy print run within weeks of its release date, while the numbers shown on the PixelHeart website imply that a game such as Arcade Racing Legends has sold 2,500 copies of its PAL variation alone to-date. To put this into perspective, Radilgy, one of few final officially licensed Dreamcast games, was purported to have a print run of just 4,000 copies. When you add highly priced collectors’ editions into the mix - something that a section of the Dreamcast scene’s sizeable ‘adult-with-disposable-income’ demographic keenly buy into - then breaking even is a realistic, though not guaranteed, goal.

Arcade Racing Legends

On the other side of the coin, there are many factors that help facilitate the supply of games. Front and centre is the fact that Sega have thus far been very liberal (touch wood!) in their stance on the Dreamcast indie scene. Perhaps there is just no valid business rationale for them to dedicate resources to making things difficult (as opposed to genuine goodwill), but a laissez-faire attitude from multinational corporations under circumstances such as these is not always a given. Pair this with the Dreamcast’s capability to play games pressed to regular CDs without modification, and the relative ease of developing games for the console when compared to other platforms (often cited by developers in their DCJY interviews), and we have the foundations of the whole commercial indie scene.


WAVE Game Studios – an interview with the indie publisher keeping the Dream alive


WAVE Game Studios is a name you will be familiar with if you recently bought a copy of Senile Team's excellent Dreamcast platformer-cum-beat 'em up Intrepid Izzy, and has recently announced that they will also be publishing Yeah Yeah Beebiss II in Europe. The UK-based outfit has been busy establishing itself as the hottest new label in Dreamcast indie game publishing, and we thought it would be cool to catch up with WAVE as they start to make a splash in the community. Splash? Wave? See what I did there? I almost went for 'dipping a toe in' but pulled myself back from that particular cringeworthy literary cliff edge with mere keystrokes to spare.
Anyway, if you're not familiar with WAVE Game Studios, their history, and what they have planned for the future; hopefully you will be by the end of this interview. Furthermore, if you're an independent developer working on a Dreamcast game and you have dreams of putting your game in a physical case and into the GD-ROM drives of Dreamcasts the world over, then read on...


DCJY: Hi, thanks for agreeing to talk to us about WAVE Game Studios. Before we begin, can you give us little bit of background about who makes up the team?

WAVE Game Studios: It’s our pleasure! WAVE is primarily made up of two brothers, Daniel and Nick. We’re based in Norwich, Norfolk, UK.

Norfolk, known for Alan Partridge, mustard...and now WAVE Game Studios! So, when was WAVE Game Studios established and what was the reasoning being the creation of the label?

WAVE has a fairly long history, but the most recent incarnation stems back to 2015 which is when we started distributing games to UK based retailers. We really started to ramp up our efforts this year, which is when we began publishing games in addition to just distributing them.

That’s interesting – this might sound like a daft question, but what is the main difference between distributing and publishing a game?

It’s a very good question. The role of a publisher is to, in short, take a game and turn it into a saleable product. Usually the publisher will help with artwork, marketing, production, and various other tasks such as providing review copies to magazines and influencers.

The distributor, on the other hand, deals primarily with ensuring the product is available for sale in as many appropriate places as possible. In the indie games world, these two roles are often (but not always) filled by the same company or person.

Paprium, Tunnels, Intrepid Izzy, Nakoruru, Shadow Gangs, SEGA Powered - Dreamcast news round-up November 2021

Oh hi there. It's been a bit of a busy few weeks hasn't it? The petrol thing seems to be over (for now) but that hasn't stopped all manner of interesting things occuring in the world of Dreamcast...and as you'll no doubt be able to tell from the title of this post, I thought it would be convenient to simply put all of these news snippets together into one post here at the Junkyard, so here it is. A bit like that infoburst you used to get at the end of Bad Influence, but in text form. Bad Influence? No? Never mind. So what's been cracking then? Quite a bit actually...


Oh 'eck, Paprium is coming to Dreamcast!

Yes, everyone's favourite 16-bit Kickstarted ode to Streets of Rage, Paprium, is now coming to Dreamcast thanks to a new stretch goal reached as part of the 'next gen' campaign. Developed by Dreamcast stalwarts Watermelon, Paprium was released for the Mega Drive / Genesis back in 2020 to much critical acclaim and an equal amount of backlash for various reasons I won't delve into here. As a side note, I always thought it a bit odd that there was no Dreamcast version as part of the original campaign, synonymous with the console as Watermelon is after the success of Pier Solar. 

That puzzlement has now been put to bed though, with the Dreamcast being lovingly included as a stretch goal in the latest resurrection of the original Kickstarter campaign to bring the game to...er...modern consoles. The Dreamcast version will apparently be a little unique according to the blurb on the campaign page, which is never a bad thing:

NEW ADD-ON! PAPRIUM is also coming to the SEGA Dreamcast! 6 years after Pier Solar HD, this is to be the second Dreamcast Release by WM! This version of the game is different, in-between the 16-BIT release and the STEAM/PS4/5 release, it boast some exclusive things and take full advantage of the Dreamcast features such as VMU and a 3 player mode without the need for a multitap (of course)! Please note the game is in 4/3 ratio (just like the 16-BIT edition of the game). 

- Paprium Kickstarter

Will Watermelon shit the bed once again with this new release? I really do hope so - we all love a bit of drama. And since I've backed the Dreamcast version, it'll give me something to moan about when it inevitably ships late or gets cancelled. Anyway, check out the Kickstarter campaign here, and get ready to pap. Not even sure what that means. Onwards!


DreamPi creator Luke Benstead is digging Tunnels!

Not actual tunnels, you understand. But I'm sure Luke (aka Kazade) and his development partner David Reichelt are at least as handy with a shovel or a JCB as they are with a Dreamcast. What am I blathering about? You may recall we recently featured news about Simulant, a game engine created with Dreamcast indie development as its raison d'être. As a timely Halloween treat, Luke and David have released a promising Simulant-based demo titled Tunnels which sees players traverse a network of dingy caverns (or, um, tunnels) brandishing what looks like Gordon Freeman's property for protection. Here's a video:

Tunnels is fully playable on stock Dreamcast hardware and it looks like a promising little demo considering how quickly it was put together. From the Simulant development blog: 

Tunnels is a mini-demo of the Simulant engine. It's been written over the past three weeks as a demonstration of what Simulant allows you to do in very little time. Both Luke and David have day jobs, and this has been developed in their spare time - probably an hour a day each at most - and a good majority of that time was spent improving Simulant itself!

Along the way flaws were discovered in Simulant and many were fixed, others will be fixed later. Some planned features were dropped due to limited time, but may reappear at some point. In the future we'll use Tunnels as a test bed for new Simulant features, and as a regression test.

- Simulant Dev Blog

You can grab the demo from the Tunnels itch.io page here and follow the development of Simulant on the blog. Oh, and listen to DreamPod episode 80 if you want to know more about Simulant and the history of the engine.


Intrepid Izzy: Special Edition is now available to order!

We now turn our attention to another Kickstarter-funded title - Intrepid Izzy from Senile Team. If you missed our review of the exquisite platform-cum-beat 'em up, be sure to check it out here. In short, Lewis thought it was a stellar addition to the Dreamcast's stable of indie titles, and easily one of the best to hit the console, even going as far as to label Izzy as "The King (or Queen?) of Dreamcast indie platformers" - they even put that quote on the back of the box for good measure!

The good (better?) news is that a Special Edition of Intrepid Izzy is now available to pre-order from WAVE Game Studios, and comes with a soundtrack CD and a choice of region (PAL, NTSC-U, NTSC-J) packaging styles. 

The initial print run of 750 units [of Intrepid Izzy] sold out almost immediately, prompting a reprint just 28 days after release. The fastest known for an independently released Dreamcast title.

In response to considerable demand for both the game and the music featured therein, WAVE announced that a limited run two-disc Special Edition will be released on November 20, 2021. This version includes an audio CD with the full official soundtrack, and is available in European, North American, and Japanese cover art variants.

- WAVE Game Studios

The fastest selling out indie Dreamcast game, eh? Who knew? Not I. Did you? You do now! Intrepid Izzy: Special Edition launches 20 November 2021. Head over to the WAVE Game Studios website to pre-order it for £34.99. There's also a cool vinyl figure available too, if that's your bag. Actually, buy two and make them fight; with the loser being burned with a magnifying glass.


A new Dreamcast fan translation project - Nakoruru!

Some say he can translate a Japanese Dreamcast game manual without even reading it. Others say he can detect an obscure NTSC-J dating sim hidden at the back of a retro game store from a distance of 40 miles. All we know, is his name is Derek Pascarella. And if you've never seen Top Gear, that reference will go right over your head. If you've been following the Dreamcast fan translation scene for any amount of time, you'll be familiar with the work of Mr Pascarella, who has previously worked on English translations of Dreamcast titles such as Sakura Wars Columns 2 and Neon Genesis Evangelion Typing Project Advanced.

Now he's back with another translation project, Nakoruru: The Gift She Gave Me, which is a visual novel title set in the Samurai Shodown universe. This isn't actually new news per se, with both MegaVisions and SegaXtreme sharing the original Dreamcast Talk thread back in August 2021. What is new news though, is that our very own Lewis Cox has joined the Nakoruru team as an English language editor, and for this reason alone I wanted to refresh some mention of this intriguing translation project. If you'd like to know more about Derek's past translation efforts, check out DreamPod episode 93 here.


Those pesky Shadow Gangs are kicking bountiful handfuls of ass on Dreamcast!

Oh Shadow Gangs, where for art though Shadow Gangs? Shall I compare thee to a 1990s Sega arcade game featuring a ninja that was then ported to home consoles? So wrote Chaucer, rather anachronistically, back in the mid 1970s after a particularly heavy session on the old crack pipe. Which is quite fitting, seeing as Shadow Gangs is a 1980s themed/inspired side scrolling beat 'em up that people have likened to Shinobi. I haven't played Shadow Gangs myself, but I do recall it being mooted to be heading to the Dreamcast at least as far back as 2016 - possibly even earlier (thanks Dreamcast Today - I knew I hadn't imagined that). The game was released on Steam and other consoles in the fairly recent past however - to generally positive reviews - and now a video has surfaced of a port running on the creaking old Dreamcast. Here you go:

Looks like a fairly accurate rendition to me, and it seems pretty much identical to the video on the Steam page. It appears that another Kickstarter to get Shadow Gangs fully up and running on Dreamcast is on the cards, and we'll no doubt share the news once that project is launched.


SEGA Powered brings SEGA Power back from the dead, with the (unofficial) Power of Sega!

Not exclusively Dreamcast related this one, but I just needed an excuse to type that subheading. Back when I was a wee lad, SEGA Power was one of a number of physical mags I would regularly purchase, and so it was a bit of a no brainer that I would back one-time editor Dean Mortlock's love letter to such an iconic tome. Dean is assisted by Niel Randall (DC-UK), Paul Monaghan (Maximum Power Up) and Marc Jowett (SegaMags), so the knowledge and pedigree is assured. 

The teaser issue of SEGA Powered looks like it will hit all the right marks for fans of the magazines of yesteryear, and I for one will be intrigued to see what kind of Dreamcast-related content is included. Check out the Kickstarter campaign and bag a copy of the mag here. Update - the Kickstarter for SEGA Powered has now ended but I am reliably informed that a website for the magazine will be launched so you can buy a copy/subscription even if you missed the campaign.

There's plenty of other Dreamcast related stuff going on around the internet but I thought I would leave it there for the sake of brevity. Oh, and I got a bit sick of typing the word 'Kickstarter,' but I digress. Be sure to check out all of the other wonderful Dreamcast news repositories dotted around the information superhighway for even more interesting little projects bubbling happily away.

We plan to do these round-ups more regularly from now on as it's just a bit more concise than having multiple posts about stuff, so if there's anything you spot that you think we should include in future news posts, let us know in the comments. Cheers!

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. 

Indie Dreamcast platformer Intrepid Izzy is up for pre-order!

Dreamcast indie darlings Senile Team, creators of the excellent Rush Rush Rally Racing, have just put up pre-orders for their upcoming Dreamcast release, Intrepid Izzy, a charming platformer complete with its own beat-em-up twist on the genre. Intrepid Izzy hit Kickstarter back in 2017 with a campaign that covered PC, Dreamcast and PS4 releases. The game released on Steam in July of last year, and now the Dreamcast version that we've all been eagerly awaiting for is imminent too! Senile Team are trying to aim for a release sometime in August, but it all depends on manufacturers and deliveries. Be sure to follow them on Twitter and watch out for a more concrete release date.

For those who didn't back the Kickstarter, but are looking to pick this game up, pre-orders are now live on two websites: UK-based WAVE game studios and Germany-based DragonBox for PAL and Japanese style box arts respectively. If you are living in the UK like myself, I'd recommend purchasing from WAVE, as DragonBox currently has a minimum purchase of €157 required to checkout for those living in the UK. Maybe something to do with the VAT stuff that came into effect in January? No idea. Obviously not throwing any shade at DragonBox, I've purchased some excellent stuff from there before, just want to make people aware before they get confused as to why they can't check out! WAVE also ships to the USA. (Update: WAVE are now offering a Japanese-style copy)
Senile Team provided us with some information on where the release is up to which is relevant to Kickstarter backers and fresh pre-orders alike:

Release-wise, we are very close indeed. The game and soundtrack CDs are now being manufactured, and are expected to reach us in July. But we still need a few other items to be manufactured before we can release the game, most notably the extras that make the [Kickstarter] Collector's Edition so ultra fancy.


So yeah, what are you waiting for? Go hit that pre-order button. Links below:


Disclaimer: we aren't sponsored by the developers in any way, we just want to support high-quality indie releases for Dreamcast!

New Dreamcast Games Coming In 2020

It's 2020 - hurrah! We made it all the way to another decade as a fully functioning species on this so very fragile planet we call home. But enough about that communist nonsense. You came here to read about the greatest home console released in 1998 and then again in 1999, and more specifically new vidya gaemz set to be released on said ageing hardware at the dawn of this new decade. I realise that last sentence is really quite cumbersome and uncomfortable to read, and if I were a proper 'games journo' I'd probably restructure it and make it a bit easier to mentally digest. But I'm not a proper games journo, and besides, if I were I wouldn't be writing about something as idiotic as games; I'd be on social media posting the hottest of takes and having arguments with random people about Star Wars and politics. But I digress.
So here we are then. The Dreamcast has celebrated its twentieth year as a thing (or twenty first, if you happen to live in Japan), and yet we are still looking at even more brand new software releases over the next 12 months. Granted, the steady stream of releases is slowing somewhat, but that the Dreamcast community still has new titles to look forward to is nothing short of amazing. And we aren't talking about homebrew releases either (not that there's anything wrong with homebrew, of course). We're talking proper, boxed retail releases with manuals and cases and discs and everything. Will the Dreamcast enjoy more physical releases than the Nintendo Switch this year? Only time will tell, but here's a hint: it won't. But again, I digress.

Enough of this pointless preamble. Here's a brief run down of all the games we know of (so far) that are heading to a Dreamcast GD-ROM drive near you in 2020...

Xeno Crisis (Bitmap Bureau)
Xeno Crisis wowed gamers on both the Mega Drive and modern platforms when it released in late 2019. Bitmap Bureau's successful Kickstarter campaign resulted in this rather brilliant homage to retro shooters like Smash TV bringing some proper old-skool top-down arcade action back to TV (and Switch) screens, and the Dreamcast version was added as a stretch goal. Luckily, enough people wanted a version for Sega's old warhorse that this became a reality and Xeno Crisis is set to hit the Dreamcast some time in early 2020.
There's no definite release date as yet, but Bitmap Bureau assures us that it is coming along nicely and everything is up and running on actual Dreamcast hardware, and there's even going to be support for the Dreamcast Twin Stick. Which is good news for all nine people who own one. I have played the Switch version of the game and I must say that it is a really enjoyable and polished homage to the shooters of yesteryear, with some great humour and nods to the sci-fi movies it clearly takes inspiration from.

Visit the Bitmap Bureau website for more information.

Arcade Racing Legends (PixelHeart)
The second fully 3D indie racing game to hit the Dreamcast after 2017's rather impressive 4x4 Jam, Arcade Racing Legends looks to pay respects to some of the most iconic vehicles from Sega's arcade heritage and bring them all together in one place. It's a nice idea, and one I'm surprised Sega hasn't capitalised on itself. What this means is that you can pit the iconic vehicles from Daytona (Hornet), Sega Rally (Lancia Delta and Toyota Celica), Scud Race (Porsche), Crazy Taxi (Axel's Cadillac) and other well known franchises against each other across a range of original tracks.
Like most of the other titles listed here, Arcade Racing Legends is the result of a successful Kickstarter campaign (my colleague Mike Phelan wrote an impressively detailed article about this here), and while the campaign page states that the game would ship in December 2019, this doesn't appear to have happened just yet. As a big fan of racing games, I'm hopeful that Arcade Racing Legends will live up to the promise, and add a new dimension to the stable of indie titles coming in 2020.

Visit the Arcade Racing Legends Kickstarter campaign for more information.

Intrepid Izzy (Senile Team)
With such iconic titles as Beats of Rage and Rush Rush Rally Racing already in their portfolio, you'd be daft not to have high hopes for Senile Team's latest Dreamcast offering Intrepid Izzy. The action platformer looks like a playable cartoon, with some very clean character designs and inventive gameplay elements. You play as the titular Izzy, ass-kicking her way through a number of 2D platform stages and engaging in light RPG elements. There's also a pretty cool move list implemented, meaning that traditional commands for executing fireballs and special attacks are seamlessly integrated into proceedings.
I've already had the pleasure of playing a demo version of Intrepid Izzy on the Dreamcast, and I really liked what I saw. Tight controls, great visuals, infectious music...all the right ingredients for another Dreamcast success methinks. Senile Team released an update on Kickstarter in late December 2019, in which it was revealed that the game will be entering testing very soon with a PC release to follow. There's no concrete date for the Dreamcast and PS4 versions, but rest assured they will both launch in 2020 and hopefully continue Senile Team's run of excellence on Sega's platform.

Visit the Intrepid Izzy website for more information.

Intrepid Izzy Reaches Kickstarter Funding Goal

It looks like there'll be at least one new game coming to the Dreamcast in 2018, as Senile Team's Intrepid Izzy hit its €35,000 Kickstarter funding goal with mere hours to go. The impressive 2D platformer is also due to come to both PS4 and PC, and will feature Metroid style gameplay and a central character who can acquire different abilities depending on the costume being worn.
Senile Team recently released a playable demo of Intrepid Izzy for Dreamcast, and you can grab the burnable file here. You can also check out our preview article here. I spoke to lead designer Roel van Mastbergen about the project and how running a Kickstarter project affected his nerves:

"It wasn't easy, that's for sure! Managing the Intrepid Izzy campaign was the first thing I did in the morning and the last thing before I went to sleep, with few breaks in between. And with the funding advancing only very slowly most of the time, staying motivated was a real challenge as well. But we made it in the end, so we are all feeling very thankful, excited to complete the game and hopeful to make it exceed everyone's expectations."
- Roel van Mastbergen, Senile Team

Having played the demo, and looking at Senile Team's previous output on the Dreamcast (Rush Rush Rally Racing and Beats of Rage) we're pretty confident that Intrepid Izzy will be yet another highly polished indie title for the system.
I was also lucky enough to take part in episode 115 of the SEGA Nerds podcast, the SEGA Nerdcast in which Roel was also a guest, and he spoke openly about the Kickstarter and the influences other games have had on the development of Intrepid Izzy. Check it out here.

Did you back Intrepid Izzy? Are you excited for the future of the Dreamcast? Let us know in the comments, on Twitter or in our Facebook group.

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Preview: Intrepid Izzy

Recently we reported on the new Kickstarter campaign from Senile Team, the same studio behind one of the Dreamcast's greatest indie titles - Rush Rush Rally Racing. The new project, Intrepid Izzy is a side scrolling platformer featuring the eponymous heroine Izzy, and tasks the player with battling through a number of worlds, destroying enemies and collecting power ups. Pretty standard fayre for a side-scrolling platformer, I'm sure you'll agree.
Where Intrepid Izzy differs though, is that as well as being a platformer, the game introduces mechanics more commonly found in fighting games, and as such Izzy has a decent array of offensive moves at her disposal, as well as various specials that are activated using combinations of the D-pad and attack buttons. On top of this, different costumes available to Izzy grant her a range of abilities and moves with which to hand out ass whuppings on a case by case basis.

How do I know all this? Well, because I've been lucky enough to have played a demo version supplied by Senile Team. The screens dotted around this post - and the video below - are from an early demo and go to show just how good the game looks and plays, even at this early stage. Running on an actual Dreamcast (no emulators were used in the production of this article!), it's fair to say that Intrepid Izzy looks and sounds pretty damn incredible.


The animation of the main Izzy sprite alone puts many indie games developed for current gen systems to shame, while the general bright and well-drawn backgrounds, enemy sprites and incidental environmental details are simply gorgeous. But the beauty isn't just skin deep with Intrepid Izzy. The various NPCs you encounter have some pretty funny things to say, the levels have branching paths, the music is delightfully hummable and the controls are totally on point and perfectly responsive - something that is imperative for a game of this style.
The game, as stated, is still in the very early stages of development and the Kickstarter campaign is still ongoing (full disclosure - I've already backed it and so have several other members of the DCJY team), but even at this early stage it looks like Senile Team have another winner on their hands.

Hopefully, the Kickstarter will reach its modest €35,000 target and the game will get a full physical release, and judging from what I've played so far it would be criminal if Intrepid Izzy didn't get the backing it so clearly deserves.
Check out the Intrepid Izzy official website here, Pcwzrd's longer playthrough of the demo version here, and find the Intrepid Izzy Kickstarter page here.

Senile Team Launches Intrepid Izzy Kickstarter Campaign

Intrepid Izzy is the latest title from Senile Team, creators of the excellent Rush Rush Rally Racing franchise and Beats of Rage engine. We recently had the pleasure of interviewing Roel van Mastbergen from Senile Team, and now his latest creation has hit Kickstarter.
Intrepid Izzy is a Metroid style platformer featuring some pretty awesome 2D sprite work and animation, and is destined to come to Steam, PlayStation 4 and Dreamcast. The funding goal is set at a fairly modest €35,000 and the different versions do sport some platform-specific features. Obviously, the version most people reading this will be interested in will be the Dreamcast version, and here's a run down of what you can expect:
  • 640x480 screen resolution
  • 60 frames per second
  • Standard controller and Arcade Stick support
  • PAL, NTSC and VGA support
  • Physical release
  • Region free
Naturally, the PS4 and PC releases will be full HD and 60fps and also feature fully customisable controls, but the Dreamcast version is the only one that will be given a physical release as standard. The screens above are from the Dreamcast version, and you can see a video of it running here.

Intrepid Izzy promises to "combine platforming, beat 'em up and adventure elements to create a unique experience with depth, character and above all, fun!" and other promised features include a branching dialogue system and the ability to change the eponymous heroine's abilities with different themed costumes.
Find out more by visiting the Intrepid Izzy website here. The Kickstarter is now live and can be accessed here.

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Developer Interview: Senile Team

Senile Team is one of the premier independent studios currently developing games for the Dreamcast. With an impressive portfolio comprising such well-known and critically acclaimed titles as Rush Rush Rally Racing and the ever-popular Beats of Rage, Senile Team has already claimed its seat at the top table. With this in mind, we though it was about time that we got together with one of Senile Team's main men Roel van Mastbergen to find out a little bit more about the history of the outfit, their influences and get some details on the brand new platform adventure heading to PC and Dreamcast very soon - Intrepid Izzy.
DCJY: Hello Roel, thanks very much for agreeing to talk to The Dreamcast Junkyard! We’re big fans of your output on the Dreamcast. Could you tell all those people who may not be familiar a little bit about yourself and the history of Senile Team?

Roel van Mastbergen: Hi Tom, thanks for inviting me to this interview. I’m Roel van Mastbergen, designer, artist and programmer for Senile Team. Senile Team is a small indie developer (currently made up of four people) originally founded in 2003, when we created Beats of Rage. This beat ‘em up based on Streets of Rage proved very popular, and we decided to keep making games, especially for the Dreamcast. Our next release was the Micro Machines-inspired Rush Rush Rally Racing, of which we recently did an updated re-release - Rush Rush Rally Reloaded which we also brought to the Nintendo Wii a few years ago.
It’s very interesting that you mention Beats of Rage - I’m pretty sure that most Dreamcast owners are familiar with it, but possibly don’t know that Senile Team is responsible for the original engine. Before we get to Beats of Rage though, one thing I have to ask - where does the studio's name ‘Senile Team’ actually come from? You don't strike me as being particularly old or decrepit. Much.

Well, back in the day we used to communicate via a mailing list. When creating the mailing list, I found that most names that actually made sense were already taken, so I sort of randomly picked the name 'Senile.' When we completed Beats of Rage, we decided to stick to it. We felt it made sense in a way, because we'd just made an old school game. 'Old' and 'senile' go hand in hand, after all!

Senile Team Reveals Intrepid Izzy For Dreamcast & PC

Senile Team recently teased us with news of a brand new Dreamcast game in development...and now they've unveiled full details! Intrepid Izzy is a 2D side-scrolling platformer in the style of Nintendo classic Metroid. Details are a little thin on the ground at present, but Senile Team promises that Intrepid Izzy will mix role playing, platforming and beat 'em up elements.
"Intrepid Izzy is a 2D action adventure platformer or "metroidvania", currently in development by Senile Team. Mixing platforming with beat-'em-up and RPG elements, the titular character must jump, fight and puzzle her way through various imaginative, colourful worlds.

A lot of time and attention was spent on developing the visual style of the game. The crisp and cartoony HD graphics come to life thanks to bright, warm colours and smooth animations. The game is being developed on PC (Windows), and a Dreamcast version is also in the works (though obviously not in HD). Additional platforms are also being looked into."
- Roel van Mastbergen, Senile Team