Showing posts sorted by relevance for query barber. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query barber. Sort by date Show all posts

In Search Of The Barber

The various Dreamcast advertising campaigns hold a certain fascination for me. The It's Thinking and Mr Sega/Yukawa campaigns from the US and Japan respectively were massively successful and we've looked at them in the recent past (just don't mention the Spud Dive). Before you groan 'not another advertising post' though, please bear with me. This is slightly different for reasons which will become apparent. The European advertising campaign for the Dreamcast launch was made up of several different TV and cinema adverts, but the one most people will be familiar with is this one:

The advert is known as Shave, and I'm sure you've seen it before or possibly even remember when it was shown on (European) TV and in cinemas back in that brief period in 1999/2000 when the world was gripped by Dreamcast-mania.

So let's break it down. Robbie Williams' Let Me Entertain You blares, rather appropriately from the speakers as a bunch of fresh-faced Foreign Legion recruits are lead into the barbers studio of some form of military installation. Three barbers await, and are labelled as players one, two and three and then quickly set about engaging in a battle to see who can shave their conscript's head the fastest. Player Two comes out on top as the guard looks on, the younger competitors beaten by the experience of their older adversary. Victorious, the character whom we will henceforth refer to as The Barber, gives a wry smile to the camera as the story comes to a close. It's not a bad advert by any means, and sets the scene perfectly - the Dreamcast was all about multi-player competition after all, what with all the online gubbins. There are some negative points, such as the way no game footage at all was used (and likewise in the other advert from this campaign entitled Buoy) but that's a different story.

Now, I did do a post fairly recently where I looked briefly at the (slightly xenophobic) European campaigns, but this time I want to focus solely on something that has been bugging me for a while: just who is the winning barber in this advert? For a very short period between 1999 and 2000, this gentleman's face was plastered all over TV and cinema screens; a poster showing him posing with a barber's chair and hair clippers could be found in pretty much every games shop in the land, and the vast majority of Dreamcast games came with a 'coming soon' pamphlet in the rear compartment with this guy all over them. But do a Google search for 'Dreamcast barber' or words to that effect...and do you know what you'll find? Nothing. Not a bean, other than a few images like this - most of which come from this very site:
So the question remains: just who is the actor who portrays The Barber? What is his name? Did he appear in any other productions and what did he make of his five minutes of fame? In the famous words of Sherlock Holmes, the game is afoot...

An Interview With Pierre Santino - The Dreamcast Barber

It took us over a year, with countless emails and tweets and hours of internet searching. But we finally did it, we found The Barber. The full story is documented in this series of articles:

We know how the tl;dr (too long, didn't read) modern internet works though, so the abridged version is this: a guy played a barber in a Dreamcast commercial. He was the face of the console in Europe and his image was everywhere for a few months in late 1999 and early 2000...then he simply disappeared. No record of his name, or who he was left anywhere on the promotional materials, and internet searches turned up nothing. His identity could have been lost to the digital mists of internet lore...that is until The Dreamcast Junkyard stepped in and decided to find out who he was. If you've been following this whole saga you'll know how we did it (and the assistance we had from the wider Dreamcast community), but if not I urge you to read the previous In Search Of The Barber articles to get a full appreciation for how mammoth a task this has been.
This photo is from Pierre's private collection and has never been published before.
Anyway, it's all come to this. We have found him. His name is Pierre Santino and he is alive and well living and working in France. An actor and comedian with an extensive portfolio of work spanning 40 years, Pierre was only too happy (and possibly a little surprised) when we showed him the previous articles documenting our search for him. As he is French and speaks very little English, we enlisted the help of Arnaud Bonnet (author of 1000 Jeux Vidéo, 1000 Anecdotes published by Pix'n Love Editions) who acted as an interpreter. Huge thanks go to Arnaud for his assistance in the translation of this interview from English, to French...and back again. Enough from me though. Let us turn our attention to the man of the moment - The Barber himself, Mr Pierre Santino...

In Search Of The Barber: Part Three - We Found Him

Recently we published the second part of our series in which we've been searching for the identity of the mystery man who fronted the European Dreamcast advertising campaign. There is almost nothing online detailing who this guy was, and considering his face was everywhere during a brief period in late 1999, it drove me to distraction that it was documented nowhere. Until now.

I can't accurately convey how much time I've spent trying to find the actor who portrayed The Barber (you could check out In Search Of The Barber: Part One and Part Two to get an idea, though), but now I'm overjoyed to announce that yes, we've found him. And the way we found him was every bit as interesting as the rest of this whole saga, to be honest - a true tale of the Dreamcast community coming together to overcome insurmountable odds. It goes a little something like this...

In Search Of The Barber: Part Two

Several months ago I published an article here titled In Search Of The Barber. In case you missed it, go here and have a quick scan to familiarise yourself. If you can’t be bothered, allow me to briefly recap the gist of the previous chapter in this seemingly unsolvable missing persons case.

During the early period of the Dreamcast’s brief lifespan in Europe, Sega promoted the console through a series of TV and cinema adverts where multiplayer gaming was pushed as the system’s key unique selling point. I’m sure you’ll recall the whole ‘6 billion players’ controversy. The adverts in question featured two scenarios - one was titled ‘Buoy’ had a load of kids stood on a shoreline trying to hit a buoy with stones; the other was titled ‘Shave’ and involved a group of French foreign legion conscripts having their heads shaved by a trio of military barbers. It was the latter of these two promotional films that was chosen as Sega’s flagship advertising tool and the victorious barber (named Player Two in the advert) was depicted on a host of posters, billboards, in-game leaflets and even on the Dreamarena European online portal.
The Barber. On Dreamarena.
As explained in my previous article on this subject, this guy’s characteristic face, bare chest and distinctive tattoos* were all over the place for the first six months of the Dreamcast’s life - in magazines, on bus stops and even splashed across cinema screens before some of the biggest movies of the time (well, Star Wars Episode 1, anyway). He was literally everywhere. The thing is, there is no record of who he actually is. No credits on the Dreamography VHS tapes given away with pre-orders of the Dreamcast, no crew listings or location photos anywhere on the internet…and believe me - I’ve looked.
What my life now looks like.
Is he an actor? If so, why can’t I find anything else he’s appeared in? Hell, why can’t I find a single image of him anywhere, other than the few uploads of the Dreamcast ‘barber’ picture (most of which have been uploaded by me)? It's this complete erasure or nonexistence of The Barber that is the driving force behind this whole saga, and using the power of the internet I've decided to pick up the case and dig further into the mystery of this bloke's true identity.

This Is A Dreamcast Disc: The Search For The Voice Of Dreamcast

This is a Dreamcast disc and is for use only on a Dreamcast unit. Playing this disc on a Hi-Fi or other audio equipment can cause serious damage to its speakers. Please stop this disc now.

If you've ever put a Dreamcast game into a device that isn't a Dreamcast, you will instantly recognise that foreboding little passage. It's a pretty simple warning, clearly stating that you risk damaging your audio player's speakers if you continue on that well-trodden path of wanton destruction. For the uninitiated, the message is an audio track recorded on Dreamcast GDs from all regions, and the only real difference is the language that the ominous caution is relayed in.

Naturally, being from the UK, and primarily playing PAL games back in the day, the message I hear in my mind is performed by a well spoken Englishwoman, clearly and concisely, as if she were a stern teacher speaking to her class. Indeed, if you are a listener to our podcast DreamPod, you'll also be familiar with the warning as it forms an integral part of the intro and outro jingles. The warning is also recorded in other European languages on PAL GD-ROM discs, but for the purposes of this article I want to focus on that haunting English language delivery.

It's almost a part of Dreamcast folklore these days, that cold, clipped and commanding voice booming out whenever a curious gamer feels the need to see what would happen if the disc is improperly used. "Please stop this disc now" she orders, and naturally, you do. Because she damn well said so. Indeed, there are plenty of Dreamcast games that have special bonus messages recorded on them, hidden in plain sight on the audio portion of the GD, and there's a list of the known games here at Sega Retro. But they aren't the focus of this particular caper. No, what I want to know is slightly more mundane, dull, esoteric and pointless than that. I want to know who that curt English lady is. What's the story behind that recording? When and where was it recorded? Who is she and did she do any other voice over work?
Before I continue, it's probably worth explaining a little bit about this specific warning track stored on Dreamcast game discs. See, Dreamcast games come on GD-ROMs. and GD-ROMs were intended to be Sega's unbreakable proprietary format for the Dreamcast that would prevent ne'er-do-wells from pirating Dreamcast software (and we all know how well that worked). It does this by partitioning the storage area of the GD-ROM into two areas - a high density and a low density area.
The low density area is the part of the disc closest to the centre and high density area is the area towards the edge, and these areas are separated by a ring embossed with Sega's trademark details. The high density area is where all the game data is stored. The low density area contains two tracks - Track 1 and Track 2. Track 1 contains the stuff you can see if you put a GD-ROM into a PC or a Mac - the Bibliogr.txt, Abstract.txt and Copyright.txt files. Track 2 contains the CDDA file which the Dreamcast converts into the scary audible warnings this whole article is concerned with.
The whole point of the warning is the notion that should the audio player try to play the game data stored on the high density area of the disc, the sound it's converted into would be horrendous and damage the speakers as well as your ear drums. A bit like playing a Nickelback album.

Now the science bit is out of the way, let's get back to Dreamcast lady. Or GD-ROM woman. Or scary warning Dreamcast lady. Whoever she is, those few seconds of her voice at the start of Track 2 on a PAL Dreamcast game are every bit a part of the Dreamcast story as the iconic swirl, the 'VMU with a dead battery' beep and the ADX, MPEG Sofdec, and Duck TrueMotion boot screens. And to be quite frank, the warning voice overs from the other regions just don't cut it when compared to the Iron Lady of the PAL territories.

I won't lie to you, dear reader - this will be a meandering and quite pointless escapade, but just as with the In Search of The Barber series from a few years ago, The Dreamcast Junkyard has always prided itself on documenting even the most trivial and niche aspects of the Dreamcast's evergreen existence. So if you're ready, buckle up, take the red pill and let's see how deep this rabbit hole goes...

The Lost Content Of Soul Calibur (Now Found!)

Man, I love the Internet Archive's Way Back Machine. It's literally a real-life version of the chronoscope as described in Isaac Asimov's short story, The Dead Past. Well, not quite...but you get the idea. In The Dead Past, the chronoscope is designed to view the real world of the past, as opposed to the internet, but the similarities are there. Also, I just wanted a reason to mention Isaac Asimov because the dude was a freaking genius. If the chronoscope ever does become a thing, I'll be hitting him up to write a guest article for the Junkyard. Anyway, the point of all this is that I was browsing the internet of 1999 with Way Back Machine, with a specific mission.
See, I was trawling Namco Japan's old site looking for the fabled special VMU save file that gave players access to a hidden Voldo costume, but I inadvertently found myself looking through the pages of the old Namco US site, too. Naturally, I navigated to the Soul Calibur sub-site and my, what a treasure trove that is. There are tons of downloadable files, images, guides and walkthroughs for the game, but perhaps the most interesting thing was the desktop themes section. Yes, Namco created some official Soul Calibur themes for Windows 95 and while the files themselves are no longer accessible, these screen shots are...and I thought they were worth sharing.

Cosmic Smash Secret Characters Discovered After 16 Years

Cosmic Smash: simply the finest minimalist squash game where you get on a 'cosmic bus' and whack a glowing ball at neon cubes. No, I haven't been at the vodka again - that's just the best way to describe Sega's 2001 NAOMI and Dreamcast release. The game was only ever released in Japan and has become quite a sought-after title for the Dreamcast, and not least because of the unorthodox packaging - it being one of the only official Dreamcast games to be released in a DVD-style case.
We covered Cosmic Smash quite some time ago here at the Junkyard, and I also heaped praise on it when I wrote a Dreamcast-themed Minority Report for Retro Gamer Magazine a couple of years back (issue 146 if you're interested). One thing I certainly missed in all my time playing the game though, was the inclusion of several secret characters. Secret characters that until now have pretty much never been seen or even mentioned anywhere on the internet.

Enter fellow blogger Jeremy Hobbs, curator of Ribbon Black. As he explains in his excellent article, Jeremy inadvertently unlocked a secret playable character he had never seen before - one of the 'worker' characters seen in the intro sequences. Initially, Jeremy thought he had unlocked the new avatar because he'd followed a certain route through the game, but this wasn't the case.
After going down a rabbit hole to discover just how he did it, Jeremy then learnt (after much internet and forum digging) that there are several other secret characters locked away in that retro-futuristic neon subway system of nightmares. One of them is a bear holding a fish (see above), but I won't spoil the story any further. As someone who knows what it's like to stumble upon something and then become embroiled in trying to find the answers (remember the whole 'Dreamcast Barber' thing?), this topic really piqued my interest; that a game - albeit one as obscure as Cosmic Smash -  can withhold its secrets for almost 16 years is nothing short of staggering to me.

Head over to Ribbon Black here to read the whole fascinating story, and also how you too can unlock the wacky extra characters. Thanks to my Junkyard co-writer Aaron Foster for alerting me to this.

The Beginning of the End? Or the Start of the Dawn of a New Age of Junkyard?

We here at the Junkyard have been doing some serious navel gazing recently. After over 12 years of bringing you all the latest news, reports, stories, interviews, reviews, features, rants, opinions, podcasts, videos, and random inane musings about all things Dreamcast, we've realised two things.
Is that a Dreamcast swirl?

New Subway Commercial Features A Dreamcast

Never let it be said that we here at the Junkyard let any hint of a Dreamcast - no matter how slight - go undocumented. The latest appearance in media approaching 'mainstream' of our beloved console comes in a new web commercial for Subway's latest sandwich - the Reuben:

Keep an eye on the bottom left of the video. Thanks to Facebook group member Preston Weaver for bringing this to our attention!
ICYMI. Is that arrow big enough? Hmm...
Naturally, the Dreamcast appeared in its own series of advertisements, many of which we have documented in the not too distant past.

Related Articles:

An interview with Tom Charnock: Father of the Junkyard and Dreamcast Royalty

There hasn’t been much to celebrate in 2020 thanks in no small part to a global pandemic that has kept us locked up inside like Claire Redfield at the beginning of Resident Evil – Code: Veronica. So when we had the opportunity to celebrate the Junkyard’s 15th birthday earlier this month, we took it with open arms.

We talk about the Dreamcast a lot here at The Dreamcast Junkyard. Of course we do. It’s the reason we’re here (and the clue is in the name). But what we don’t talk about enough is the man who made all of this possible. A man who has spent countless hours researching the most bizarre Dreamcast trivia and interviewing even the most tenuously linked people to our favourite console. I felt it was about time someone put a microphone in front of his face for a change and got a little insight into the history of the Junkyard from a true member of Dreamcast royalty.

Tom is far too humble to reflect on what he’s achieved so far with the Junkyard, and indeed the immeasurable contribution he’s made to the Dreamcast community as a whole. So, if I may, allow me to do it for him. 15th birthday celebrations wouldn't be complete without talking to the man of the moment, so I caught up with him for good old fashioned chinwag.

“Before the Junkyard, I’d created an all-format gaming website on a defunct service called Treeway, where I basically just copied news from other sources and created my own articles about them. Around that time I was quite obsessed with making fanzines as well, and made ‘Cast-Aw@y’ - a Dreamcast magazine”, Tom remembers, keen to point out that he’s very proud of his improper usage of an @ symbol in the title, for full late 90s edginess.
Humble beginnings with "Cast-Aw@y" fanzine.

“I had my Dreamcast about two weeks after the UK launch, but a friend of mine had an imported Japanese system just after it launched there. We would play games like Tokyo Highway Challenge and be absolutely blown away by the graphics. That was my first real experience of the Dreamcast and once I’d saved enough money from my paper round, and sold my N64, I was able to get a console for myself.”

Tom grew his Dreamcast collection throughout its short life, and then he did the unthinkable…

“In 2001, I made the very foolish decision to part-exchange my Dreamcast and all of my games for a PlayStation 2 and the latest NHL game. It was only when I got home and played it that I realised I’d made a big mistake,” says a teary-eyed Tom. Luckily for us, it was not too long until he was a Dreamcast owner once again.

“When I went to university I managed to buy another Dreamcast bundled with Metropolis Street Racer, Jet Set Radio and Virtua Fighter 3TB which was ultimately replaced when I graduated, with a shiny new Xbox and Gamecube. And then in 2005, I’d been to visit my dad and I was standing at a bus stop which was right next to a GameStation store. I was just looking in the window and there was a Dreamcast there for £40 or something with a load of games, which was too good for me not to buy. I took it home and showed all my housemates and they loved it too. So I started buying up all the games again and one day had an epiphany to document my purchases and experiences in general on a blog, and the Junkyard was born.”

A blog which would ultimately turn into one of, if not the biggest Dreamcast fansite on the web.

“I had an affinity with the Dreamcast because it was the last SEGA console and me and my brother had a SEGA childhood with the Mega Drive, Mega CD, 32X and the Saturn - it was always a SEGA household. My love for the system really grew after I set up the Junkyard because I started to explore the more obscure and import titles rather than the games that everyone knew.”
Tom was quickly acknowledged as a "Dreamcast expert".

Tom’s early vision for the Junkyard was purely a blog set up out of boredom.

“There was no real vision in all honesty. It was a case of being bored and wanting to document what I’d bought. I was accepted into the Navy and was waiting to join - which took months - so I was taking on temporary jobs and spending the money I made on Dreamcast games and accessories. In reality, going on day trips to different towns to visit small independent gaming shops and then blogging about it was just my way of killing time.”

“It was a bit like a diary. I didn't expect anyone to read it. I was doing it purely for my own enjoyment and entertainment, and then slowly but surely a couple of people started commenting on the posts. I was completely oblivious to other online gaming communities at the time and so to me, this was all quite new and exciting - I felt like it was all happening inside a bubble.”

As the community started to grow and more and more people commented on Tom’s hard work, he’s in no doubt that this pushed him to keep updating the Junkyard and find new ways to engage with his newfound audience.

“Yeah, it definitely spurred me on. You'll notice that there is a definite turning point in the very early days where it went from just being a blog with random nonsense about the games I’d bought to doing actually researched features and reviews. I don't think anywhere else was really doing that at the time, not for the Dreamcast anyway as it was becoming something of a forgotten console.”

It's Thinking: An Interview With Brian Bacino - The Man Behind The Iconic Dreamcast Slogan

The Dreamcast's North American launch was one of the most successful console launches of all time. It boasted a line up of games that was unmatched in terms of variety and quality, and an air of untouchable swagger and confidence swirled around Sega that hadn't been seen since the days of the Genesis. Key to the success of the Dreamcast's introduction to the lucrative American market was undoubtedly the bombastic and memorable advertising campaign that supported the console.

The iconic 'It's Thinking' TV commercials and the memorable launch date of 9.9.99 were powerful weapons in Sega's arsenal when waging a marketing war against Sony and Nintendo for consumer dollars. However, these two components of marketing collateral did not come about by pure coincidence. They were thoughtfully constructed prongs of the same pincer movement strategy, and arguably helped to propel the Dreamcast into millions of American homes in those first few months post launch.
Here, in an exclusive interview we talk to Brian Bacino, the man behind the North American advertising campaign. As former Creative Director at respected advertising house Foote, Cone & Belding (FCB) of San Francisco, Brian was instrumental in the creation of the Dreamcast brand and the system's early success...

DCJY: Brian, first allow me to thank you for taking the time to answer our questions. The Dreamcast console really was a game-changer when it was released (pun intended!) and still holds a dear place in the hearts of a lot of gamers. To kick things off, could you give us a brief description of what your role was at FCB and specifically with the Sega Dreamcast commercials?

Brian Bacino: Hi Tom – thanks, I’m totally psyched to talk about the Dreamcast launch. It was an epic adventure in advertising, full of drama, plot twists and explosions! I was FCB San Francisco’s SVP Group Creative Director/Writer in charge of the launch and roll out of The Sega Dreamcast. My partner, Steve Fong, and I conceived and created the ‘It’s Thinking’ campaign and the ‘Apocalypse’ launch film – heralded in 1999 by several video game magazines as “the most epic video game commercial ever created!” Steve and I would not argue.

Developer Interview: Yuan Works

Yuan Works wowed the gaming community in 2007 with the release of their first indie game Wind and Water: Puzzle Battles. A charming mix of tile-based puzzling, role playing and mini games, Wind and Water blew many away with its outstanding pixel art visuals, catchy music and cutting sense of humour. The game went on to be a massive hit on the Dreamcast as well as the other platforms it graced, and recently received a re-print through publisher Dragonbox Shop.
We've documented our love and admiration for Wind and Water: Puzzle Battles many, many times here at The Dreamcast Junkyard and fellow Sega Network site Dreamcast Hub recently published a review of the game. We wanted to go a bit deeper though and find out more about Yuan Works, the developer behind one of the Dreamcast's most highly regarded indie gems; and so we got together to interrogate them about the history of Wind and Water, the future of Dreamcast indie dev and to ask if they know the identity of the elusive Dreamcast barber...
DCJY: First off - thanks very much for taking the time to talk to us and the Dreamcast community at large! Could you tell us a little bit about Yuan Works? Who are you and how did Yuan Works start as a developer?

Yuan Works: We are an independent game company founded by brothers Yuan-Hsi and Yuan-Hao Chiang. Although we have received help from others before, 90% of the work we do was pretty much done fully by ourselves. Yuan-Hsi is in charge of the art, aesthetics, music and sound, while Yuan-Hao focuses on programming and testing, as well as other parts of design (think website, manual). As for the gameplay and direction, we worked together by designing a concept and sending it back to the drawing board as many times as we needed. We grew up with all kinds of classic games, which inspired us to create our own.

Small fact about us: We are half Costa Rican, half Taiwanese and in Chinese culture, siblings and cousins sometimes share the first character of the name — in our case, Yuan. Yuan-Hsi is better known as 'Yuan' while Yuan-Hao is better known as 'Hao,' which can get very confusing at times.

The Greatest Story Ever Told...

I'm sure this title was originally reserved for the film version of the birth of Christ, but I'd beg to differ... For me its the story of Ryo Hazuki, and the murder of his father, you know the day the rain turned to snow...

I'm fairly sure there has never been a proper Shenmue 2 post here on the 'Yard, so here goes....Where do I start? Let me tell you about my own Shenmue 2 experience... I knew nothing about this game, nothing! I walked into Gamestation, looking for the usual £2.50 Dreamcast bargain and saw a title that warranted the price tag of £25.00... It was a double disc title as well. OK the price hinted at something big, and the two disc package hinted at something epic...

And epic it was! This game has probably consumed more of my life than any other! As I tentatively placed the first disc into my Dreamcast, I was greeted by a glorious visual feast... Something akin to a movie, with titles, the name Yu Suzuki attached to it, and a boy, on a ship sailing towards Hong Kong...

And so it started, off the boat, there were the most beautifully bedecked characters... Every person was dressed in beautiful silks... The lines on their faces, so fabulously rendered, speaking in unintelligible Japanese... (That sounded so right, with its subtitles...)

And so it continued... Graphically, this game still outstrips Red Steel, the Wii launch title (and why shouldn't it?) This is the most expensive game in developers history! AM2 seriously depleted Sega's budget producing this game! But lets get back to Ryo's journey...

As you wander round Hong Kong, you're gonna have your bag stolen by those pesky Heavens gang... But your bag contains that all important mirror so central in unravelling the mystery of your father's death? So you're gonna have to get it back by executing some VF3 fighting moves... (apart from the wandering round, you'll have to fight enemies and competitors on a regular basis and as you fight your repertoire of killer moves increases!) The story unfolds beautifully, as you pick up clues and explore your environment talking to key characters...

The timescale of Shenmue, is in real time, you're affected by the weather, your finacial responsibilities and so on.... You'll have to find lodgings, employment or gamble to make money and there can be a lot of waiting round! But you can just go and explore every, barber shop, temple, warehouse building, cafe and caged bird shop you want to!

That's the great thing about Shenmue! it rains, its sunny! Wanna kill some time? Go and work at the docks shifting crates! Go and play gambling 'Lucky Hit' games, or just waste some cash down at the arcade playing 'After Burner', 'Super Hang On' or 'Outrun' (all previous AM2 titles) which are secreted within the game...

The people that populate the Shenmue world are all interactive - by that I mean they will all talk to you (some are helpful in your quest, some indifferent and some hostile). The game unfolds at a very gentle pace and will take lierally days to complete. I'd highly reccomend a walkthrough, as the game can be frustrating if you get stuck with unravelling part of the plot... There's one here if you need it... Without a walkthrough you might miss the hidden treasures like the ever beguiling duck race (you can find your own racing duck within the grounds of the Man Mo Temple, but where do you race it????)
The characters you meet are fabulous - Shenhua Ling, Joy, Ren Of Heavens, Lan Di, Xiyung Hong - check them out here...

The game just gets you hooked and there is the first title (the very badly voice acted Shenmue) to play afterwards! And that's the way it was for me! I played them back to front, playing Shenmue 1 second. It's great, but the terrible wooden English voice acting make it a much leser experience... The world you can explore is considerably smaller, and the colours less vibrant. If you're only going to play one title, make sure its Shenmue 2...

The story unfolds, you've got to find out about those creeps that killed your Dad right? You'll find yourself hooked into the drama that connects you with a story that exists within China and Japan, Yakuza, gangs, Buddhism and Taoism...

As you span those two discs, you'll uncover fighting moves, mystery, spirituality and more...

I could spout on forever about the wonder of this game, but the greatest way to experience it is to play it yourself! Oh and the QTE's (or Quick Time Events) see you mash buttons at crucial moments, in response to the game's demands... Allowing cinematic events to unfurl before you if you're quick enough to meet their demands...

And the side/mini games/activities such as collecting bargainable capsule toys... Wonderful! Spend your hard earned dollars on capsule toy collections, and you'll have money to spend when you really need it! Just go to a pawn (not pr0n) shop and you'll be quids in!

The game never reached the US, being released in Europe and Japan only, but it did re-emerge on the XBox, bundled with a DVD of the story of the first Shenmue, allowing those who had never played the first title, so they would be up to speed when Ryo stepped off the boat... Sadly there never has been a conclusion to the story, no Shenmue 3. Reputedly in full development, the theory goes that it would be fincially disastrous to release and promote it, just bad economic sense... Despite the hopes of Shenmue addicts like myself, it's unlikely it will ever see the light of day. One thing is for certain, if it came out on the Xbox 360 or PS3, it would see me getting one on the day of its release!

I'm waffling a bit, so I suggest you check out a proper review here, here, here and here... Oh and for every Shenmue resource you'll ever need look here...

Play Expo Manchester 2016 Show Report

The weekend of the 8th and 9th of October 2016 saw Replay Events' huge Play Expo gaming event return to the north west of England, with Play Expo Manchester. The event has been a staple of the gaming calendar for many people in the UK and European gaming communities for the last few years as it blends retro, current, PC, console and board gaming; and supplements them with cosplay competitions, indie game showcases and more arcade and pinball machines than you can shake a stick at - all set to free play. Oh, and there are hundreds of sellers on hand to offer event goers the opportunity to pick up all kinds of gaming paraphernalia, should their budgets stretch to it.
Naturally, The Dreamcast Junkyard was there and our booth in the community zone was the biggest one we've put on yet, featuring 8 Dreamcast systems of all different flavours and a whole range of games and peripherals for the public to experience. The turn out at Play Expo was stunning and was quite possibly the largest and busiest to date, with thousands upon thousands of gamers and collectors flooding the Event City venue over the course of the two days.
As exhibitors, it was amazing to see so much appreciation and love for the Dreamcast, and our little corner of the event hall was barely ever empty and on more than one occasion it was absolutely teeming with people keen to play on the games we had on offer.

Is video of the Sega Spud Dive PR events 'lost media'?

Long time readers of the Junkyard will no doubt be aware of my penchant for the obscure, the esoteric and the forgotten. Naturally, due to my obsession with the Dreamcast, there's something of a Venn diagram crossover where all of these ingredients are thrown together - obscure, esoteric, largely forgotten stuff relating to the Dreamcast is my bread and butter. But never Marmite. Yuck.

Take for example, my quest to unearth the actual court documents relating the the City of Milwaukee's failed attempt to probhibit the US release of Jet Set/Grind Radio owing to the conurbation's battle with unauthorised graffitti. Or the (currently dormant) attempt to discover the identity of the female voice artist responsible for the "This is a Dreamcast disc..." warning that PAL Dreamcast owners are undoubtedly familiar with. And who can forget the publication of the Sega internal email that heralded the end of the Dreamcast, but recreated in the style of House of Leaves? There was something about the barber from the European Dreamcast TV adverts too. Another one of these wild flights of fancy was my attempt to document the lesser known Sega Spud Dive PR events - something I was even able to quiz none other than former Sega of America President Peter Moore on when he appeared on episode 100 of our podcast DreamPod.

1998 Spud Dive winner Daniel Aguilar receiving his prize from Peter Moore

I'm not about to retread old ground here though. No, as stated, we've covered the Spud Dive previously. What I'm specifically focusing on now is the fact that while the Sega Spud Dive events were reasonably well documented with photographs in magazines of the time; have seen first person blogs on the event posted online; and were also recapped on some PR focussed websites of the era, there doesn't seem to be any video of either Spud Dive event anywhere online.

Proof that Mark Wahlberg took video of a Spud Dive

To clarify, there were two seperate Spud Dives - one held in 1998 to mark the Japanese launch of the Dreamcast, where the prize was a US launch day console and all of the launch games (later presented by Peter Moore); while the second event was held around Thanksgiving of 2000 to raise awareness of the console during the height of PlayStation 2 launch window fever. The second event also featured two actors dressed as Presidential candidates Al Gore and George W. Bush, to give a 'newsy' angle, apparently.

Source: Retrovolve

That no video exists of either Spud Dive (or indeed a prior similar event held in 1997 to mark the launch of Sonic R) is particularly puzzling, especially because this article from organiser Provoke Media's website claims that several TV crews were in attendence at the 2000 re-run, and the event was featured in a news segment by the Craig Kilborn Show - a US TV show which was hugely popular at the time.

"All coverage of “The Sega Spud Dive” aired the week of Thanksgiving, the busiest shopping time of the year.  More than 82 broadcast results appeared, including the Craig Kilborn Show and the ABC, CBS and Fox affiliates in Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Miami, Atlanta, San Diego, Phoenix, Chicago, Dallas, Boston, Indianapolis, Denver, Cincinnati, Oklahoma City, Milwaukee and many others. 

"Los Angeles Daily News sent a photographer and ran a photo with a large caption featuring Sega Spud Dive.  95% of the results mentioned both Sega and Dreamcast.  Dreamcast sales went up 82% during Thanksgiving weekend, from previous weeks."

- Paul Holmes, Provoke Media

I have searched high and low for some footage from either Sega Spud Dive event, mainly because I want to witness the absurdity of people swimming through cold mashed potatoes in an attempt to win a Dreamcast/Dreamcast related goodies - but to date I have found zero evidence that actual video of the procedings still exists. I've searched for local news channels that focus on the Los Angeles area and also episodes of the Craig Kilborn Show from around the time period, but even these appear to be lost media in themselves. The article linked above also states that:

"After the event, B-roll was hand-delivered to stations that did not send a camera crew and submitted the photo to the Associated Press, Reuters, Entertainment Wire and LA News Wire, which was distributed via satellite and hand-delivered to local network affiliates to increase national exposure."

Where is this B-roll? Where are these news items that were distributed via satellite? Associated Press, Reuters and Entertainment Wire aren't exactly small outlets or organisations, so why can't I find a single trace of any of this online? There's even a camera operator in the background of the image at the top of this page! I realise that 1998 and 2000 were different times, and people didn't walk around with 4K video cameras in their pockets; but there were news camera crews in attendance...where is the video? I clearly have more questions that answers when it comes to video footage or TV news reports of hapless members of the public swimming through mashed potatoes to win a Dreamcast.

To this end, I'd like to know if anyone out there reading this has any more first hand memories of either of the Sega Spud Dives? Did you take part? Do you have video or do you recall seeing video on TV? Hell, are you Daniel Aguilar - the guy who won the original Dreamcast and took delivery from Peter Moore himself? Or are you Levi Buchanan who won the second Spud Dive competition? I know this is a massive long shot and I know that this obsession of mine is ultimatley pointless, but for some reason this bizarre publicity stunt absolutley fascinates me; and it is the relative lack of documentation, outside of a few magazine articles and online snippets (look here and here, and also from the 8:55 mark during the Video Game History Foundation's Dreamcast launch podcast episode) that makes it all the more alluring. Alas, approximately zero videos.

Anyway, that's all I really have to say on the Sega Spud Dive for now (promise!). Maybe video does exist, but I'm either looking in the wrong places or simply using the wrong search terms. Either way, I'm hoping someone will be able to point me in the direction of some video taken of either event, but for now I'm inclined to file Sega Spud Dive video footage under 'lost media.'

Developer Interview: Isotope SoftWorks' Coraline Annis

Isotope SoftWorks is a developer with a plan - a plan to bring independently developed first person shooting action to the Dreamcast. Isotope currently has two such titles in development - SLaVE and Hypertension: Harmony of Darkness. Both are FPSs, and both are coming soon via GOAT Store...but they really couldn't be further apart in terms of aesthetics and narrative. The Dreamcast Junkyard really wanted to know more about what makes Isotope tick, and so we got together with founder and lead programmer Coraline Annis to discuss the exciting projects currently under way and due for release in the near future.

DCJY: Hi Coraline, thanks for taking the time to talk to us. Could you give a little bit of background to Isotope SoftWorks and TDG Mods? Who are you and how did you form as a developer?

Coraline Annis: My name is Coraline Annis (Corbin) and I’m the founder and lead programmer for Isotope SoftWorks. TDGMods stands for “The Doom Gods Mods” and was the name of my first independent mod team that formed Hypertension. The name change was done to move away from the “mod” and “Doom” mindset, and to differentiate that the current team working on Hypertension is completely different from the previous. The TDGMods monikor is only kept on to honor the previous developers throughout the lifetime of the game itself.

I was very small when I figured out I wanted to work on computer games. I got my start through a utility called DeHackED for DOOM, and BUILD for Duke Nukem 3D in my early years. It was awhile before I tried bigger things, but I got my start pretty much like everyone else in the 90’s industry. Determination led to the formation of TDGMods in high school, and many failed projects later, we are where we are today. Isotope SoftWorks is the ultimate culmination of all of our hard work to get where we are now, and believe me, it was very hard and complicated. None of this was started with a plan, we just kept rolling with it until we had enough to say “Hey, check us out!”
Hypertension features some impressive lighting effects
If you notice, historically, we have always presented our games with actual media, and not a bunch of concept art or babbling to a camera. In the end, I think that’s why people still believe in us, because we have never been big on ‘talk now, show concept art later’ - it’s always like, here’s in-engine material, suck on that! Haha!

And, despite my formal name being Corbin, I underwent a transition and now go by Coraline, but you’ll see my legal name accredited simply because it seems to confuse a lot of people or they don’t have the maturity to show respect towards me. I’ve never really addressed that part of myself publicly in detail, so there might be a time when I will, but for now it’s not important. I’m still the same person that’s worked on these things all these years anyway. Just prettier ;)
Isotope SoftWorks' new logo.

The Mr Yukawa Dreamcast TV Commercials Have Been Translated

You. You there, reading this nonsense right now. Yes you! Do you know who Mr Yukawa is? Of course you do - he's the total legend of a bloke who not only ran Sega Japan back in the day (or something), but also had his image festooned across all manner of Dreamcast clobber once upon a time. He was also in the Shenmue bonus disc (read about it here) and even had his own Dreamcast game (read about it here). Mr Yukawa became something of an icon for Sega in his home country, and was the star of a series of TV commercials for the Dreamcast but until very recently these adverts were only available in their native tongue.

Enter Mr Jim M. Ballard, a polyglot with - by his own admission - far too much free time on his hands. The devil, it is said, makes work for these idle hands but we would vehemently disagree - especially since Jim turned said appendages to adding English subtitles to the entire series of Mr Yukawa Dreamcast adverts:

You can find the rest of the series here in Jim's YouTube playlist. Thanks to this dedication, the anglophones in the room can now also share the epic ups and downs of Mr Yukawa's struggle to make Sega great again.

Related articles:

Developer Interview: Orion

Orion has been creating indie games for retro consoles for quite some time, and is behind the latest title to be announced for the Dreamcast: Zia and the Goddesses of Magic, out in September 2016. Orion's impressive back catalogue also includes recent Atari Jaguar to Dreamcast ports such as point and click adventures Elansar and Philia, and platformer Alice's Mom's Rescue. The Dreamcast Junkyard recently caught up with Orion to find out a bit more about this elusive indie dev and ask what is coming next from the French outfit...
DCJY: Hi, thanks for taking the time to speak to us and the Dreamcast community at large! Could you explain just who makes up the Orion team?

Orion: There is no team - just me! Orion is my internet nickname, I'm just one guy on my own trying to create games as a living.
Zia comes to Dreamcast in September 2016
A true one man outfit then! How did you get started in indie game development, and what are your earliest memories of wanting to be a developer?

My earliest memories are when I was playing games on my Atari STe computer at the age of 8, looking at those nice graphics and thinking to myself "I want to do the same!" From there, I quickly began to learn the Basic language by myself, and finally made my first 'game' when I was 12 years old. When the internet became popular, I started learning other programming languages, and continued making small games as a hobby. Later, I worked for 5 years at a small game company in Paris, and finally I decided to go solo and start my own company. It's been 3 years now that I've been creating commercial games on my own for various retro platforms.