Showing posts with label VCD. Show all posts
Showing posts with label VCD. Show all posts

Let's take a look at the 'All About Dreamcast VCD'

Here at the Junkyard we appreciate the obscure and the bizarre. For folks that have had a Dreamcast-shaped monkey perched firmly on their backs for over two decades, it is probably only natural to begin delving into the unexplored corners of the console, whether that be vague rumours of cancelled games, potato-based marketing splashes, or weird little knick-knaks that catch your eye on eBay. This post is about an oddity that falls squarely into that last category. Some may suspect we are scraping the barrel for the last few dregs of copy here, but oh no, this post is being authored in the honourable service of  documentation and preservation (and distracting myself from the impending economic collapse due here in the UK).

The official Dreamcast logo is there, but something tells me Sega had little to do with this product...

The 'All About Dreamcast VCD' is a Chinese-language Video CD accompanied by a short six page pamphlet that was sold in Taiwan and Hong Kong in 1998 for the princely sum of $90 New Taiwan Dollars or $25 Hong Kong Dollars (around £3.50 GBP accounting for inflation). The package appears to have been produced and distributed in advance of the launch of the Dreamcast and was intended to showcase the console and its forthcoming games. It's definitely not an official product, and although there is an address and phone number shown for the producers, I can't identify a company name. The 30-minute VCD contains footage of the Japanese release day titles, games that were scheduled to arrive in December 1998 (including the canned Geist Force) and beyond, as well as some clips of Naomi titles that the creators presumably thought would make it over to the home console some day. If you ever used to watch pirated DVDs that had clearly been filmed from the back of a cinema, the last section will give you a nice nostalgic hit.

Aside from the handful of facts that can be gleaned from the package itself, nothing else appears to be known of the 'All About Dreamcast VCD'. Internet searches produce zilch. Perhaps that is simply down to this artifact being a little insignificant, although that hasn't stopped similar VHS-format Dreamcast videos being ripped and viewed thousands of times. While this VCD doesn't really show off anything new, we reckon some of you may get a kick out of it. So, grab some popcorn, transport your mind back to autumn 1998, and get hyped for the console that is going to solidify Sega's domination of the gaming hardware market for decades to come!

FuZzCasT Home Entertainment - Dreamcast Video Returns!

Cast your mind back to the dawn of the new millennium. Like everyone else, you were probably still happy enough renting VHS video tapes, but at the same time were also covetously envious of those shiny new (and expensive) DVD players displayed prominently in the high street stores. You were keen to kickstart your foray into the digital video future, and even though Sony was promising to deliver DVD to the masses with its looming PS2 juggernaut, your blood bleeds blue and your loyalty to Sega and the Dreamcast could not be shaken. But what to do?
Ooooh, shiny.
You had heard rumours of a video card for your venerable Sega Saturn but you could never find one. Whispers from the orient described some strange voodoo witchcraft involving burning movies to CD-ROM, but after you endured the interminable age that it took to download the file over your 33.6k dial-up modem on your Windows 98 machine, the experience was underwhelming. Watching a movie on your 13" CRT monitor just didn't have the right pop-corn munching vibe. 

IO SATVRNALIA, er... I mean Dreamcastalia?

It's the most wonderful time of the year, when we honour the ancient Roman goddess Saturn for her bountiful harvests and superlative 2D software library. Where masters and slaves come together to eat, get drunk, puke, eat some more, puke again and then eat some more. Don't worry about the mess, the slaves only get one day off a year.
She's the reason for the season. No joke.
But I digress. An equally important aspect of this time of year is gift giving, and more importantly, gift receiving. And lucky for you, I've been beavering away on a little surprise for you all, our fantastic community, with a little Dreamcast related gift this year. Note: if you're a Sega lawyer, you can skip to the last couple of paragraphs now.

Bonus Feature: The Corpse Bride – Deleted Scenes

While researching for my previous two-part article (Part 1, Part 2), I stumbled across something interesting that I hadn't encountered before. It ended up on the cutting room floor due to space, but I thought it was worth exploring further in this diverting little side topic. If you could just scooch over a bit closer and allow me to whisper conspiratorially in your ear: the MIL-CD enhanced audio disc might not have been the only special multimedia format that Sega invented especially for the Dreamcast - they may have also toyed with the idea of snubbing the DVD Consortium by producing their own proprietary digital video disc format for movies and films. Hush, stifle your gasp, they'll hear you.
N-n-no Mr. Bighead, I didn't tell them. Honest.
You may have noticed some logos during the start up sequence of many Dreamcast games for ADX and Sofdec. These are the CRI developed middleware tools for sound compression and multi-streaming video respectively. ADX allowed for CD quality audio to be compressed and encoded into the high-density GD-ROM layer (as opposed to standard 'red book' audio tracks). Sofdec was an enhanced version of the MPEG-1 video standard which not only encoded standard FMV cut-scenes into games, but was also tailored towards providing 3D game designers with access to some pretty swish graphical trickery. Video files could be rendered as textures over 3D objects and they could also utilise full alpha blending for effects such as explosions, fire and smoke. Multiple video files could be played synchronously or asynchronously and they could also be looped and stitched together seamlessly. All in all, Sofdec is probably a substantial reason as to why Dreamcast games looked so good (and have aged well like fine wines too). CRIWARE, as they are now known, continue to flog their wares to this day, proudly waving their flag in recent games like Bungie's Destiny.