Showing posts with label magazine. Show all posts
Showing posts with label magazine. Show all posts

Let’s take a look at Fusion DC Magazine

Artwork from Fusion DC depicting the Dreamcast as the Millennium Falcon flying through the Death Star trench accompanied by a VMU
All of the old school Dreamcast fans, those who have been appreciating Sega's last great punt at home gaming hardware since the late 90s, are starting to get old. It's true. Long gone are the days where we all hung round the streets in our baggy jeans, listening to crap nu metal through our minidisc players and still hung on to some level of optimism about what the new century would bring us - as long as we survived the millennium bug that is. A lot has happened since then.. so, so much. We probably should have realised that it was going to go downhill when Sega pulled out of the hardware business. The blue sky glory of Sega would soon be replaced with the greys and browns of a new century of gaming dreariness. That sense of optimism we felt? Yeah, that didn't go well either. The world has slowly turned into an unknowing parody of itself; a slow march towards a Romero-esque zombie world full of hopelessness, greed and hypocrisy. 
A screenshot of zombies approaching from The House of the Dead 2

Thing is - it's probably not that way at all. But when you're in your late teens, everything seems optimistic, and when you reach the age we're all at now - many of us facing the prospect of no birthday badge ever having a number lower than '4' starting it off - all the teenagers are scary, and loud, and stupid, and the world is just one long reminder that 'it's not like the old days'. We still play games, sure, but we're not quite as sharp as we used to be, the reflexes aren't quite where they were anymore, and inevitably, someone a quarter of your age will beat you at a game, shout in your face that you're a loser, and 'Mad World' by Gary Jules will play slowly in your mind as you realise you're now past it. We can reminisce about games, sure; fill our twitter feeds with pictures of games from a quarter of a century ago, but playing them? If we get ten minutes to ourselves, and if we haven't got to battle with some ridiculous technological issue which stops us from just playing the damn things, then sure, yeah, maybe. But it's doubtful, isn't it? We'd much rather just grab a cup of tea, put on some slippers and read a good book before drifting off for a nice nap. Don't scream at your monitor (or phone, or VR device or, I don't know, some other new fangled nonsense) at me in apoplectic rage; not only would that not do your blood pressure any good, but you know it's true. We're old now. 

Grandpa from The Simpsons sat down surrounded by the younger characters
"Back in my day, the creators of Sonic made game consoles too..."

It's quite lucky then, that in the last few years we've seen a steady influx of Dreamcast literary content be released. Was the first the Dreamcast Junkyard's own Ultimate Collectors Guide? (Jesus, you really had to get that plug in didn't you? - Lewis) Probably. I'd look it up, but to be honest, it's getting dark and I'm getting a little sleepy. Regardless, we've since had a whole flurry of cool new books, magazines and guides, with many more on the way. The superb Dreamcast Years book from DCJY's own Andrew Dickinson, the Collected Works book released a few years ago; Chris Scullion's upcoming Dreamcast encyclopaedia; not to mention various pieces of Dreamcast nostalgia written in magazines and books. We're really at that time where Dreamcast fans are now well adjusted adults (some of us), and serious things, written on paper and meant to be read like serious adults, are now produced to cater for us. 

Photo of the front cover of Fusion DC

The latest of these, at least the latest to arrive at the 'yard, is a little magazine called Fusion DC, a special edition issue from the long running Fusion Retro Books (who have produced a lot of really good retro gaming-based books and magazines), and guest edited by a well known member of the Dreamcast community, Retro Faith. This slim 50 page mini-magazine may be small enough to fit in a pocket (on a pair of cargo trousers, at least), but is a professionally put together and full colour publication that is a welcome addition to any Dreamcast fans collection. It was put up for sale on Fusion's web store at a very reasonable £3.99, although I managed to pick a copy up for just £2.50 (at time of writing, there's less than single figures of these remaining, so grab one while you still can).

Photo of Fusion DC’s online gaming piece

Sporting a cover on which the Dreamcast has been reimagined as the Millennium Falcon, with VMUs serving as X-wing support through the Death Star trench run (admittedly, a slightly odd design choice, but it does look cool as heck), the magazine packs a lot of content into its pages. Retro Faith has been producing some top quality content for some years now, and her passion and love for the console are evident throughout. In fact, it's fair to say that the majority of the content within the magazine comes from Retro Faith alone. There's her pick of top 5 DC fighting games; an in-depth look at Phantasy Star Online (with some contributions from DCJY's own James Jarvis), a short guide to Dreamcast peripherals, and an interview with friends of the Yard, Retro Sumus, developers of the excellent indie release Xenocider. As is always the case with Faith's writing, it is professionally written but still exudes an obvious passion for the subject matter. The magazine also looks great, with plenty of screenshots, full page visuals and clean layout.

Photo of Fusion DC’s peripheral feature

It's not just Retro Faith who has a hand in the mag though, and there are other contributors that will be familiar to retro gaming fans in the UK. Andrew Fisher is well known for writing for numerous retro publications and websites, including Retro Gamer magazine, and his contribution here is a fascinating look at the Naomi arcade board. Nicholas McDonald takes a loving look at the Sakura Wars series, whilst Sega Powered and (upcoming indie mag) Debug writer Marc Jowett takes a look at Shenmue and its influence on then open world genre of games that came after it.

Photo of Sonic Shuffle’s Fusion DC feature

There's a couple of other bits here, including a look at a couple of Dreamcast gaming failures (MoHo!), but there isn't a massive amount of content to speak about - this is after all a magazine of only 50-odd pages! What is here, however, is enjoyable and of a professional quality.

Photo of Fusion DC’s Sakura Wars feature

It appears that this magazine may have been produced in limited quantities in 2022, as part of their 'Backerkit' page for the launch of their Christmas annuals, which may explain why this one passed us by at the time. It's a shame this went under the radar, as there are many DC fans out there who would no doubt have happily added this to their collection - here's hoping that this may, however, be only the first Dreamcast related endeavour from Retro Fusion Books.

Did you manage to get a copy of Fusion DC? Have you enjoyed Fusion’s magazines in the past? Let us know in the comments below or via our social media channels…

In White 1999: The Time D2's Laura Appeared as a Model in a Japanese Fashion Magazine

Kenji Eno seemed to look at game design differently to other developers. If you've played his major Dreamcast outing D2, you'll know exactly what I mean. He was always pushing the boundaries of what made a game a game. Something he very much championed was the idea of a 'digital actress.' It's a bit of an odd concept to explain, but perhaps the most modern equivalent we have is the likes of Hatsune Miku, a fictional character that has transcended her original source material (as the mascot for a piece of music software) to become a celebrity in her own right, crossing over into other forms of media, almost like she's following some kind of real world career path. 

Laura, created by Kenji Eno, was very similar. She's a familiar face we see in Eno's D trilogy, but in each game she 'plays' a completely different character, in the same way real-life actors play different roles in movies. In D, she is Laura Harris; in Enemy Zero, she is Laura Lewis; and in D2, she is Laura Parton. Despite sharing a similar-looking character model, they are all different characters who are involved in completely separate storylines.
Laura Harris (top left), Laura Lewis (bottom left), Laura Parton (right)

Being the creative genius he was, Kenji Eno's vision for Laura did not end at games. Prior to the release of D2 in Japan, Laura modelled clothes designed by Japanese fashion designer Yohji Yamamoto in the August 1999 issue (no. 268) of the Japanese fashion magazine High Fashion (or simply "HF"). Not only was she included within the issue's pages, she was featured slap-bang on the cover too. 

I can't imagine how stressful it must have been for many hard-working fashion models back in 1999 to have a precious front cover spot pinched from them by a 3D-rendered Dreamcast woman. Below are all the covers of High Fashion from January 1997 to December 1999 (source). Laura definitely stands out amongst the other mortals - a definite case of "one of these things is not like the others".
Video game characters modelling clothes isn't unheard of these days, though. In the last decade, we've seen Final Fantasy XIII-2's troupe of characters model a range for Prada in Summer 2012, while the game's main character Lightning did a virtual shoot for Louis Vuitton in 2016. But this photoshoot of Laura could potentially be one of the first instances of this odd concept to ever occur. 

I was so intrigued, I tracked down this issue with the promise to myself that I'd document it here for the enjoyment of all who love the more esoteric side of Dreamcast lore, and as an extension, the legacy of Kenji Eno and D2. So here we go. I present to you issue 268 of High Fashion magazine. Feel free to click on any of the scans if you want to view a larger version of them.

Gamers Republic Scans c/o BIGMercenary

Dreamcast superfan and DCJY reader BIGMercenary was kind enough to scan some awesome articles from the magazine Gamers Republic. Do yourself a favor and check out his flickr photo stream which includes articles on classics like Shenmue and Power Stone 2 to oddities like Pen Pen TriIcelon and cult favorites like Evolution. I can't speak for him, but I'm sure this gallery will grow in time, so keep the address saved to your favorites!

Thanks BIGMercenary!

Reader Request: ODCM's Half-Life Article

As requested by Anthony817, here is the Half-Life article that was touted on the cover of ODCM's November 2000 issue. Click the images to enlarge. I tried to get them as crisp and as legible as I could without crushing the magazine in a scanner.

If any other readers have a game review or article that they wish to see from the American run of the Official Dreamcast Magazine, let me know! You could be the next "Reader Request"!

In other news, a new retro gaming shop opened up in my neighborhood. I checked it out and was surprised to find a good amount of SEGA games and consoles. Nothing to the extent of Video Games New York, but still enough for me to take some time to browse and find a few gems. Unfortunatly, the store had just opened, so nothing was priced. The owner was preoccupied with a number of customers, so requesting prices would take some time. Instead, I just grabbed a "like new" copy of Toy Commander and got his attention for a moment to learn that the price was $8.99. Not too bad! It seems his pricing system is based on whatever GameStop and ebay charge and then me knocks a dollar off. A little odd and loose, but it works for me. At least the dude seems to be open to haggling. Other games that I did not pick up were Bomberman Online ($17), Giga Wing 2 ($35) and Gauntlet Legends ($16). As the store owner settles in, I'll make a return and write a bit more about the shop. Looks promising! You can find his under construction website here:

NextGen's Shenmue Review

Last time I brought you scans of the ODCM review of 'Shenmue', which gave our favorite game a 10/10. This time I present the December, 2000 NextGen review of 'Shenmue' courtesy of Sega Stylista from the SEGAbits forums!

A 'Shenmue' review is always a happy read, I especially love when the drawers and cabinets of Ryo's house get a shout-out. Who didn't spend hours in Ryo's house searching through anything and everything for items and clues? Enjoy the retro review and make sure to check out the other Shenmonth articles conveniently listed at the bottom.

Shenmonth Mid-Month Articles Round-up

Shenmonth Begins!

May is Shenmonth! That's right, a whole month devoted to articles about the beloved Dreamcast series 'Shenmue'. Expect an article a week here at the Dreamcast Junkyard as well as a few at SEGAbits. If writers here or from any other Sega blog wish to participate, feel free to grab the header image above, slap it atop a blog post and write whatever you wish about 'Shenmue'. A "Top Ten Ugliest NPC Characters" article is up for grabs.

You might be asking: "Why May?" Well, any 'Shenmue' super-fan should know that today is the birthday of Ryo's dearly departed father, Iwao Hazuki, born on May 3rd, 1940. So what better day than today to kick off Shenmonth?

In death, Iwao became both the catalyst and driving force for the epic story of 'Shenmue'. Despite two games of plot, much of Iwao's life is still a mystery. Did he really kill a man named Zhao Sunming in Meng Chun? Why did he have a white leaf in his possession? Is it really all that important for a boy to eat his carrots? These are the questions that Iwao's past holds the answers to. I intend to revisit these questions in a later Shenmonth article, but in the meantime...

I'd like to share what to many American Dreamcast fans was the first 'Shenmue' review to be read: The Official Dreamcast Magazine 'Shenmue' Review! Click the images for high res readable photos.

10/10! I won't argue with that. As a bonus, check out this crappy GameStop ad featuring a badly designed mock-up of the Dreamcast cover art:

So let Shenmonth begin! Hopefully I make it to a third entry.

Return to SEGAbits if that's how you got here

The Games Eggman Plays

Before you comment "old news is old!", hear me out. Back when Sonic Unleashed released in 2008, eagle eyed fans spotted a Dreamcast system and controller in Eggman's Eggmobile. That was the old news. The new news is that a user at the Sonic Stadium message boards figured out what games Eggman played in his free time. Computer, enhance the above image:


What's that? He has two games? Let's rotate and zoom in:

HA! It looks as though Eggman raided Sega's secret closet of unreleased games as he owns a copy of Dr. Eggman Adventure (you can see "Dr. E" and beneath that "Adv") as well as, what's this? A port of the Wii's NiGHTS Journey into Dreams!? Well, that or it could be the soundtrack, as the Dreamcast is also a CD player.

In other news, I just (mostly) completed my Official Dreamcast Magazine collection! All twelve numbered issues as well as the eleven magazine exclusive demo discs sitting pretty on my shelf. I said "mostly" as I have yet to get the preview issue number zero which hit newsstands in the summer of 1999. Someday it will be mine.

In any case, they make for excellent retro reading. The layout is beautiful and the articles are well worth reading even ten years later. Perhaps I'll make an ODCM tribute video for the Dreamcast Junkyard YouTube channel? :^o

DC-UK in the house!

My house, that is. I just bought a bunch of old game mags for the collection and among them came these two beauties. Now, it's already hard to get some Portuguese mags around here, there's not much of a market for old game magazines (took me about 10 years to finally find the issues I bought, and I'm still missing a lot from another mag), so to also get some foreign magazines with it only happens once in a lifetime. Or twice, I hope. Anyway, I know it's nothing to be that proud of, after all it's just a couple of magazines, but still, I think it's a worthy addition to my Dreamcast collection :)

The DCJY gets a nod in Retro Gamer Magazine! - Part 2

Remember this? I bet most of you went right away to the near kiosk/book store/other magazine selling place to buy it, didn't you? Unfortunately not all of us have access to it (I remember even Racketboy himself was having some trouble finding a copy of said issue), so for all of you who have been dying to read it here's a shot at the column where the DCJY gets mentioned for your reading pleasure (click for full size, although the full image is not that big, don't forget to put your reading glasses on...).

The DCJY gets a nod in Retro Gamer Magazine!

Retro Gamer magazine, up until this point, had been pretty short on write ups about the Dreamcast. Maybe they weren't classing it as a "Retro" console just yet, waiting until the last few retail releases in Japan were out of the door to call it old. This has changed with the latest release, Issue 50, with a whole retrospective dedicated to Sega's last console, including a rather brilliant front cover with the tag line "Why the Dreamcast was the greatest Sega console ever". The cover is slighly spoiled a little by the big Grand Theft Auto logo (I know it's quite the event and all but you simply cannot go anywhere without hearing about it at the moment) but there is remedy in the fact that the issue also features an article about The House of the Dead and another for Gunstar Heroes.

The Dreamcast article itself, while I haven't read it in full yet appears to be very in-depth on the consoles history and strengths, and for their "10 Perfect games" bit they struggled to find just 10 games to pick, so cheated a little by putting Shenmue 1 and 2 in one entry. The best thing about the whole article however? The Dreamcast Junkyard gets a little write up in the "essential websites" part! We're described as "amusing", "passionate" and "one of the only Dreamcast websites that still updates regularly with anything other than emulation". Is this the first time this blog has been mencioned in print, or did I miss one along the way? Whatever the case, this is rather ace.don't you think?