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

Isotope Softworks Reveals SLaVE Running On Dreamcast Hardware

It seems like forever ago that we last had some news to share about Isotope Softworks' awesome-looking first person shooter/puzzler SLaVE. Numerous bug fixes, an appeal for a Dreamcast coder's cable and various other delays have beset the development process of this ambitious, neon-soaked extravaganza. Now though, lead developer Coraline Ash has shared a brand new video on YouTube, demonstrating SLaVE running on actual Dreamcast hardware.

"We told you it was coming, and now here it is! First off, we apologize for the lousy capture method used (PC Webcam), but we hope this accurately depicts what you've all been waiting for!

SLaVE is a masterpiece of both design and technology, and it works perfectly on the Dreamcast. If only I had a mouse and keyboard, I would have totally PWNED it, since I'm so lame I never really figured out how to play properly with a controller. Oh well, I didn't do too bad! ;)

Only a few more issues to be worked out as witnessed in this footage capture (skybox generation, minor speed issues with dynamic lights), but I sincerely hope this proves beyond a matter of a doubt -- SLaVE is so close now - those pre-orders will be worth it my friends!!"
- Coraline Ash, Isotope Softworks

And here's the video in all its glory:

The YouTube description also goes on to describe that SLaVE will make use of the mouse and keyboard and even the Twin Stick controller, along with Dreamcast rumble pack support. There's still no concrete release date for SLaVE, but this video proves that development has come along leaps and bounds. What with Xenocider from Retro Sumus and a bunch of other things we've been asked not to announce just yet, 2017 is set to be a very interesting year for Dreamcast gamers. If you'd like to pre-order SLaVE, head over to GOAT Store here.

SLaVE: An Update

Those Dreamcast owners savvy enough to have pre-ordered the awesome-looking SLaVE from Goat Store will already be aware of this, but if you're yet to take the plunge you may find this news to be of some interest. Jay Townsend's SLaVE was announced quite some time ago and looked to be nearing completion when some game-breaking bugs were discovered in the code. Fast forward to 2016 and we're still waiting to play this retro-themed mash-up of 'Robotron 2084 and Doom.'
Pre-orderers who have checked their inboxes recently will find an update from Goat Store though, informing them that work is continuing apace and that SLaVE should be hitting Dreamcasts in the very near future. How near, we're not sure...but we thought it was worth spreading the news that this indie release is far from dead.  Here's the update:

"Quick update on your pre-order of Jay Townsend's SLaVE - a couple of the pesky bugs have been put to rest. We are now in process of finding and eliminating any others. We expect the process to go quite quickly at this point, although we do not yet have a final delivery time frame for the game, as we do not want to declare a date until the game is in official production. We hope to be able to provide this date soon!"
 - Goat Store

It's also worth mentioning that developer Coraline Annis recently issued an appeal for a Dreamcast coder's cable (and directly referenced that it was for debugging SLaVE) via Facebook so the game could be closer than we think. Fingers crossed!

SLaVE can be pre-ordered from Goat Store here for the bargain price of $20.

SLaVE: Another Update

It seems like only yesterday we reported on the pre-orderer's update on the status of Jay Townsend's SLaVE, the eagerly awaited Dreamcast first person shooter-cum-puzzler from Goat Store. Over the last weekend another update email was sent out to those who have already ordered their copy of this awesome-looking trip into retro-futuristic neon hell, and it details some new features that are being implemented, such as compatibility with rumble packs:

"Hey Dreamcast fans!

Jay Townsend's SLaVE is still moving! The team has been very hard at work eliminating bugs that have been found in the program and tweaking the code to get the best performance. The additional time for testing has also allowed the team to add some things to the code, such as rumble support to make the game even more polished.

At this point though, we sadly still do not have a final date for distribution of the game as we don't yet know when we will be comfortable that the bug test is done. However we intend to start putting final components of the game into production - such as the LLE coin - in the upcoming month!

Thanks so much for hanging with us and being a supporter of independent game development."
- Dan Loosen, Goat Store

This is great news and goes some way toward reassuring us that the game is still coming, however we can't help but be a little disappointed that there is still no release date for SLaVE even after all this time. Here's hoping that the final product is every bit as impressive as the game looks in video form.

Once again, SLaVE can still be pre-ordered from Goat Store here for just $20 + shipping.

SLaVE Developers Seeking Assistance With Bug Squashing

The release of Jay Townsend's SLaVE appears to be tantalisingly close, and I for one am very much looking forward to getting to grips with the neon-hued retro-futuristic world presented by this Dreamcast exclusive first person shooter. First announced several years ago, SLaVE has had a long and storied development which has been mired with technical issues; but there is light at the end of the tunnel, so to speak. In the latest email bulletin to those who have pre-ordered the game from GOAT Store, the publishers have included an appeal for Dreamcast programmers to come forward and help to squash the final few bugs that are preventing the production process beginning. Here's the email in full:

Hi everyone,

We wanted to send out a quick update on Jay Townsend's SLaVE production.  Basically, since the last announcement, we have gotten to the point that we think there is just a single bug holding back production. We were hoping that we could get rid of this last one and then be able to send out an email with a solid production timeline.

As of right now, that bug still exists. If you happen to know anything about GDB debugging, it has to do with an exception fault, contact us, as there is just one the developers are having the toughest time tracking down, and maybe a set of new eyes can fix it and get the game ready to go in a few minutes!  One can hope ;)

For those of you that don't know what the above means, basically, there is still a certain set of circumstances that cause the game to crash out. It happens *extremely* rarely, so much so that we have played the final version for stretches without knowing it is there, but often enough that we can't send the game out with it. It sounds like an easy thing that we should just get rid of, and we agree... but sadly, things like this can be super difficult to track down.

In a previous email, we had stated we expected the final bug hunt to take 2-3 months, and then a test period of 2-4 weeks, which is where we're at right now.  We're not TOO far off having production start, but we've got to nail this last thing.

We expect the next email you receive from me will be the email telling you that it is complete and in production, and to confirm your addresses.  Thank you so much for sticking around as a supporter, and we can't wait to have this in your hands.  As always, if you want to cancel for any reason, please contact us back and we will refund your order.

Happy gaming!

Gary Heil & Dan Loosen
GOAT Store Publishing
So, are you up to the challenge? If so, go here to the GOAT Store website and get in touch with Dan Loosen to see if you can help get one of the most promising looking indie Dreamcast games out of development hell and into our GD-ROM drives.

For all of the articles we've previously published on SLaVE, click here.

New SLaVE Trailer Shows Off Gameplay Footage

We've featured Jay Townsend/Goat Store/Isotope's interesting-looking SLaVE previously here at the Junkyard, but until now very few details have been available regarding how the game will actually play. Well, wonder no more - a new gameplay trailer has been released showing lots of glorious in-game footage. The 'Robotron meets Doom' description now doesn't seem so far from the truth having viewed the video. The neon-lit stylised visuals remind me a lot of the early PS1 title Assault Rigs and the frame rate looks super-smooth - I'm a big fan of FPSs and the prospect of a new one for the Dreamcast excites me massively. The projected release date for SLaVE is April 2015 and you can place a pre-order a special edition (complete with poster) for the very reasonable price of $20 by going here.

With AMEBA, Elysian Shadows, Hypertension and SLaVE all on the horizon, the future is looking gloriously bright for Dreamcast fans.

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.

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.

New indie release announced: SLaVE!

Feels like a tradition now for a Dreamcast indie game to be revealed on this anniversary date, doesn't it? At least I hope it hangs around as a tradition anyway. GoatStore Publishing have just revealed via Dreamcast Scene that SLaVE, a doom-like FPS with Robotron 2084 stylings will be released on Dreamcast in April 2015, and is available to pre-order in limited edition and limited limited edition versions. No that's not a typo, they are actually called that. You can get an additional 5% off the price with the voucher code TJOOS as well!

"This is what happens if Robotron 2084 and DOOM got together and had an illegitimate lovechild. SLaVE is the timewarp of 1984's aesthetic and 1994's tech to make a game that is uniquely 2014. It is relentless neon arcade blasting action from a first-person tech utilizing features in the extended DOOM engine 3DGE that gamers could only imagine in 1984, or 1994 for that matter." - Goatstore

The trailer above is from quite a while back, back when it was just known to be a PC game. It's creator Jay Townsend is an animator and game designer I have been following for years and I had been watching the progress of this game over time, so I'm delighted to discover that this is making it's way to the Dreamcast next year!

DreamPod - Episode 28: Bonus Features - 'Ghost Host' Textual Commentary

Bear with me while I draw a long bow...

You know how DVDs and Blu-rays often come with audio commentary that you can listen to while you're watching the film? You can get further insight into what's happening on screen or interesting behind the scenes anecdotes. Well, what if I could do an audio commentary for a podcast? That would be silly wouldn't it? You can't listen to both at once, unless you spliced more then one audio source together into an extended podcast (Tom from the Future says Hi!), but that's not really the same, is it? So how about a textual commentary? Wouldn't that be cool? It's like we've dropped two levels from a second order derivative back to the original equation (Video > Audio > Screenplay, or TV > Radio Play > Book). See? It totally makes sense.
Ooooh, a maths analogy, this must be a classy blog

15 Years of The Dreamcast Junkyard

The 7th December 2020 marks 15 years since I penned the first entry here at The Dreamcast Junkyard. Many people wonder where the name of this place comes from. Basically my housemate, back in 2005, had the audacity to brand my room a 'junkyard of Dreamcast stuff,' as I re-bought more and more Dreamcast games and controllers because they were so cheap at the time. Said items piled up like an unholy afterbirth of rejected physical media and peripherals, festering betwixt my soil'd, unmade bed and a pile of broken motherboards. And lo, this blog was born. 

A lot (well, a bit) has changed since that day back in 2005. For a start, the Dreamcast has gone from a bargain basement system nobody wanted or cared about; a failure and an being remembered as one of the greatest misunderstood systems of all time. There still exists a soil'd bed though. And a pile of broken motherboards, much to the annoyance of my beloved slave significant other. Weird how things change over time isn't it?

Anyway. This is just a short message to thank all of you who have been with us over the years, been with us though the lean periods and have subsequently seen us release a popular podcast, social media groups and profiles, YouTube channels and all the rest of it. The Dreamcast Junkyard has been through quite a bit in my time, from Sega itself sending us a Cease & Desist over a printed list of games; to us interviewing and becoming friends with the very people who created the Dreamcast system and some of it's most amazing games; to being nominated for podcast and blog awards. 

None of this has ever been about earning money or being a 'proper' gaming website, it's all just a labour of love in honesty. That we've managed to forge a reputation for unbiased and trusted opinions on Dreamcast stuff, and also created great links and friendships within the Dreamcast community is an amazing, humbling bonus. So thank you. 

Thank you all who read this blog, have visited our event stands over the years, offered superior technical support via our comments; and follow our socials, watch our videos and listen to our podcast.

We'll still be here in another 15 years, and hopefully so will you. Keep dreaming!

The Dreamcast Games Of 2017

2017 has been something of a bumper year for Dreamcast releases, what with JoshProd, Orion, Retroguru, Alice Dreams and Senile Team all putting out new software on the system. The range and diversity of these titles has been pretty incredible too - especially when you consider that the Dreamcast was officially disowned by Sega well over a decade ago. 2018 promises even more new additions to the ever-growing library, with Intrepid Izzy, Xenocider, Saber Rider, SLaVE and a bunch of other games we have been sworn to secrecy over all due to hit our favourite little white box.
As we near the year's end, I thought it would be fun to have a little look back over the games that were released for the Dreamcast throughout 2017, and give a bit of kudos to those developers and publishers who continue to support the console with new software. The vast majority of the titles that have come to the Dreamcast in a physical case during 2017 have invariably come with high quality bespoke artwork, authentic packaging and - in some cases - unique extras or inventive aesthetic design. And while it's easy to look at some of the releases and pour scorn on them for being fairly basic in terms of visuals or gameplay, the majority of them have been crafted as labours of love, and not with financial gain in mind. For that, all of the creators should be applauded.
It's worth noting that this list only includes games that have been released for the first time this year, so even though games like Ghost Blade, Alice's Mom's Rescue and Sturmwind were given re-releases, they don't count (although I'll make a note of them at the foot of this article). Furthermore, 2017 marks the first time since Karous in 2007 that official third party support has been bequeathed to the Dreamcast, as even though they were published by JoshProd, Visco's games do qualify as official releases owing to the fact that Visco is listed as a third party T-code publisher (thanks to Scott Marley for that nugget of information). Anyway, let's get down to business and look at - in no particular order - the Dreamcast releases of 2017. Man, it still feels weird typing that sentence...

Review: 4x4 Jam

There are adults out there, probably people reading these very words, who didn't exist when the Dreamcast was a newly released gaming platform and Sega's great hope of winning back the home console war. That's an astonishing thought to a grizzled old gamer like me; that people who I can have serious, grown up discussions with did not exist when I walked out of the shop with my new Dreamcast console under my arm. The at the time revolutionary ideas Sega were talking about; the 6 billion players online, the portable game playing memory card, the PC quality graphical power - things that I sometimes still find remarkable when looking back at the little 14 inch portable CRT TV and a wobbly spectrum keyboard that were my introduction to gaming, these things defined my gaming, set me on a course to being a self confessed Dreamcast addict. But they mean nothing, had no impact, on the gaming lives of a vast number of current gamers.

Online console gaming isn't a pipe dream, but an expected standard. Graphical capabilities are blurring the lines between reality and digital fiction. And as for portable gaming, none of us could have imagined the rise (and rise) of smart phones and the shift towards that platform as a gaming behemoth when we all got excited by a digital screen on a memory card.
4x4 Jam emerged on this new frontier of gaming late in the last decade, before Hungarian developer Invictus Games took it across to a more familiar platform via the Sony PSP minis selection - you know, those cheap and cheerful independent games that were a welcome addition to an often maligned handheld system. It received a good critical reception on both mobiles and PSP, and has even seen an HD update since, as smartphones continue their relentless technological improvement. And now... it appears on the Dreamcast, published by the newly emerged force in the indie Dreamcast scene JoshProd, in some way completing this possibly clumsy circle that I've been trying to create through these meandering opening paragraphs.
But take a moment just to think about this. A game, released on platforms not even conceived within the lifetime of the Dreamcast, ends up being ported to a console approaching it's 20th birthday. The possibilities this opens up are mouth watering. But let's not get ahead of ourselves. It's all well and good being excited by a well received game on later hardware making its way to our beloved little box of dreams, but the execution of the port, and the quality of the end result, is what really matters. And so this is how I approached 4x4 Jam - excited by the prospect (not to even mention the fact that this is the first proper 3D game to appear in the commercial indie Dreamcast scene, beating the long delayed SLaVE in the process), but with a slight sense of trepidation as to how it would turn out, and what sort of quality I could expect from this unexpected arrival to the Dreamcast party. There was nothing left to do but strap on my imaginary helmet, slip into my virtual driving gloves and take the game for a spin...

No, Wonder Boy: The Dragon's Trap Isn't Coming To Dreamcast

Wonder Boy: The Dragon's Trap wowed pretty much everyone who saw it when it hit the PC and consoles earlier this year. Lizardcube's lovingly crafted homage to retro platformers brought the Wonder Boy series to a new generation and gave it a complete makeover, with sumptuous visuals and animation that wouldn't look out of place in a traditional hand drawn Disney movie.

Before the game was even released though, there were murmurings on social media and some other Dreamcast fansites that The Dragon's Trap may also see a release on the Dreamcast – several members of the development team even worked on commercial releases for Sega's final system (one of which was PAL exclusive rarity Evil Twin: Cyprien's Chronicles). Plus, what a fitting way to honour the Dreamcast, with a port of a game that spiritually started out on even earlier Sega hardware?
It didn't seem like too far-fetched an idea, especially considering the high quality port of Volgarr the Viking that appeared a couple of years back. So, intrigued by the rumours, we reached out to Lizardcube to seek the truth – is there a chance that The Dragon's Trap may be gracing GD-Rom drives in the near future? Well, in a word: no. Dragon's Trap director Omar Cornut told us:

"The Dragon’s Trap isn't coming to Dreamcast. We don't have the bandwidth or interest to pursue, or have a third-party pursue this, however cool it would be. Our plates are way too full.

"We are already not doing a PlayStation Vita port - a system which has an arguably bigger market - for similar reasons, so Dreamcast just isn’t feasible. Plus, the game was designed for high-res and a high amount of VRAM storage, and wouldn't be at its best at resolutions the Dreamcast can output."
- Omar Cornut

So, straight from the dragon's mouth as it were: The Dragon's Trap is not coming to the Dreamcast, regardless of how romantic an idea it sounds. Don't be too disheartened though, there's still plenty to look forward to in the near future; with games like SLaVE, Intrepid Izzy,  Xenocider and some as-yet-unannounced titles all due to land on Dreamcast this year.

Check Out This New Xenocider Bonus Stage

Work continues apace on Retro Sumus' upcoming shooter Xenocider, and the latest development diary entry goes into finer details about some key features of the game. The Retro Sumus team recently met in sunny Madrid, Spain for an extended working weekend in which new gameplay features (including an upgrade store and difficulty level balancing) were discussed; along with confirmation of the final box art designs. But perhaps the most interesting thing to come out of this get together is the reveal of a brand new 'Shinobi' inspired first person shooter bonus stage:

The most impressive thing about the whole Xenocider project for me, is that all of the guys working on this fine-looking 3D shooter are doing all of the development in their spare time. They have careers in other fields and are working on producing one of the first fully 3D indie games for the Dreamcast once they knock off from their day jobs: now that's dedication for you. Once again, you can read the entry in full by heading over to the Retro Sumus website here.

With Xenocider, SLaVE and several other as-yet-unannounced titles due to hit the Dreamcast in the coming months, 2017 is shaping up to be one hell of a year for Sega's 'dead' console.

New Indie Title Announced: AMEBA

Who would have thought that in 2014 we'd still be writing about exciting new releases coming for the Dreamcast? Shmup fans have The Ghost Blade coming soon from Hucast Games, adding yet another 2D bullet-hell masterpiece to the growing catalogue; and RPG enthusiasts have the fantastic-looking Kickstarter-funded adventure Elysian Shadows to look forward to. Not only those two, but Goat Store’s psychedelic first person shooter SLaVE is looming on the horizon too. So that’s the shmup, RPG and FPS genres covered…but what if you’re into something else entirely. Say, visual novels with a distinctly Western spin on things? Well, you’re in luck - there’s another new Dreamcast title coming: AMEBA. 

Coming from the mind of former Games Tribune journalist Carlos Oliveros and his Retro Sumus development team, AMEBA is described as a 'detective adventure' that he first had the idea for whilst translating Pier Solar into Spanish several years ago. Carlos actually left Games Tribune (which for those who don't know, is a games/technology magazine sold in Spain and Spanish-speaking countries of South America) when he embarked on his quest to transform AMEBA from the stuff of dreams into reality, as he didn’t want the burden of having to evaluate other developers’ games while working on his own - a very noble and magnanimous move in our opinion. But enough from me - Carlos tells it in his own words…

How do you investigate a series of murders that may as well have never existed? Or, how can you be sure you haven't lost it, when you're the only cop in your city who thinks several un-connected deaths were not accidental or natural? These are the questions veteran inspector Hugo asks himself on an everyday basis.

I usually loathe visual novels. With the exception of just a few really good ones, they're too ‘Japanese’ for my tastes, culturally speaking. So we're taking the genre in a new direction: no anime-like art, as the teaser poster shows, obviously a more western take on storytelling and characterization, a serious story. Imagine Davind Fincher's Seven meets Frank Miller's Sin City comic books. Well, that's what I'd like, but I'm not expecting to reach that kind of quality!

Carlos very kindly furnished us with some concept AMEBA art, and to give a feel for how the game will (hopefully) eventually look, here's an image of an inspirational NTSC-J title, Kara No Shoujo:

This isn't AMEBA - it's just to give a feel for the style of game

The visual novel genre is not one a lot of Western gamers will be familiar with, but AMEBA has certainly captured my interest. Like any good story, it promises an intriguing tale and I’m very curious to see how this type of game will make use of the Dreamcast’s processing power - we know they system can produce stunning visuals and sound, so to see it used in a novel way (excuse the pun!) interests me greatly. Retro Sumus have an exciting team of talented industry veterans onboard for AMEBA, and there are some great ideas being put forward, however we have been asked not to reveal too much about the story, setting or characters just yet...even the meaning behind the title of the game. Curiouser and curiouser...

There's no official statement yet on the funding the AMEBA project will need, but Kickstarter is just one of the options being considered at the moment. If it can reach the level of popularity that Falco Girgis’ Elysian Shadows has, we can’t see why won’t be enjoying AMEBA in the not too distant future. Keep an eye on the official website for upcoming announcements and developments on AMEBA.

In the meantime, here's a first look at the AMEBA teaser trailer:

Top Tens?

It's an endless exercise in naval gazing, and completely subjective to boot, but I've recently been hit with three different 'top ten' Dreamcast software lists and in my humble opinion none of them quite actually hit the spot....

I'll tell you about each of them, and then await your own personal input and fave lists. I actually can't give a comprehensive favourite list, because I actually haven't played all titles yet... Maybe Alone In The Dark, Silver, MDK II or Slave Zero could actually be fabulous... I wouldn't know.

OK: List one, perhaps the most controversial, came from Games TM Magazine (Issue 77.) You may remember I bigged up this particular publication (justifiably) as it gave massive column space to our lovely Dreamcast in the closing overs of 2008...

But here's the top ten from them... They actually sensibly put in a disclaimer, which reads thus:

"Games TM runs lists all the time, but this has been one of the most difficult to compile. Dreamcast has so many essential titles we could probably fill a top 20 with those published by Sega alone. As such, you will notice some inevitable omissions from this rundown. Please don't hate us. We haven't the space to fit them all in."

That's a great cop out, and the sort of thing I'd say whilst hot footing it from a situation where someone had just glassed Mrs. K and I was too weak/fat to fight.

So OK here's the list: (And it's in no particular order)

1.) Shenmue I/II
2.) PSO
3.) JSR
4.) Outtirgger (?????) Not bad, but in the TOP TEN????
5.) Samba De Amigo
6.) Space Channel 5
7.) Crazy Taxi
8.) Chu Chu Rocket (?????) I've always found it pants...
9.) Powerstone (Presumably 1 & 2) Again, I can see it as a good game, but I was always shit at it, so I'm saying hell no!!!
10.) Metropolis Street Racer... OK now I look at it it's actually not that bad... *Cough!*

But!? Ahem??? Exqueeze me??? Where is Soul Calibur? DOA2? Marvel Vs. Capcom? Headhunter? RE: Code Veronica?

OK, now, here's the Retro Gamer 'Dreamcast Special' Top Ten: (And this is in order...)

1.) Soul Calibur
2.) Samba De Amigo
3.) Resident Evil: Code Veronica
4.) Ikaruga
5.) MSR
6.) Shenmue I/II
7.) Caution Seaman
8.) PSO
9.) Skies Of Arcadia
10.) REZ

Apart from the order, and it's not THAT wrong, I'm not gonna grumble about this list... Obviously there's no Blue Stinger in there, no Sonic Adventure, no Headhunter, no House Of The Dead 2, Virtua Tennis or Crazy Taxi, but it seems a more... in keeping with Father K's list, so I'll let it go...

And now the list from Gagaman(n)'s fabulous video post, from G4TV... (and again it's closer to my list so I'm letting it go without a scathing comment...)

10.) Virtua Tennis
9.) HOTD2
8.) Powerstone 1 & 2
7.) Skies Of Arcadia
6.) JSR
5.) PSO Online
4.) Crazy Taxi 1 & 2
3.) Shenmue 1&2
2.) Sonic Adventure 1&2
1.) Soul Calibur

OK! It's there! And I'll sneak back to the first and most controversial list's disclaimer and state that it's virtually impossible to boil down that list to ten essential Dreamcast games.

For me it goes like this...

10.) Blue Stinger... Not 'cos it's great, but perhaps (or because) it's NOT that good, but along with Ecco 2, it was the game that I got bundled with my first Dreamcast... (This was in 2004 peeps, and ashamedly a good two years after I bought my kids a PS2.... But I fucking love Blue Stinger... It's a Dreamcast classic!!!)

9.) Headhunter. Have I ever completed it? NO... Is it a completely gratifying game? NO! But look at the gaming world it furnishes you with... Look at the graphics! Look at the fake advertisements that build the game up in it's alternative fascist America! I t's a master-piece! And it's always got me wondering about how great GTA could have been on the Dreamcast....

8.) Sword Of The Beserk: Gut's Rage. Well the graphics aren't that great, the story is somewhat erratic, but the sum of the experience puts it in at number 8... It was the last Dreamcast game I completed ( I think in Autumn 2008). I enjoyed it immensely! This was a period when I barred myself from current gen consoles, forced myself to bask in the glory of the Dreamcast and enjoyed completing a game that had languished in my DC collection for far too long.

7.) Crazy Taxi 1&2! Well, whilst I love this game and have played it many times on the Dreamcast and indeed in the arcades, the simple and crushing truth is that I'm not that good at it. My desire to hold a class 'A' license and make pots of money have never been realised...
I now whore it out to the kids at my school as this Check it out and enjoy!!!
  • 6.) Caution Seaman! Although many websites will advise you that this is not a 'game', I'd defy you not to know and love this as one of the most essential Dreamcast experiences out there...
Apart from anything else, you get to plug in the Dreamcast microphone into your controller and talk to your human/fish like progenyBulleted List for weeks at a time... What other console would furnish you with the opportunity to raise a anthropomorphic amphibian, from birth till death, and have him remember your vocation, birthday and gaming preferences???? It's a man-fish, that talks back to you... Come on!!!

5.) Sega Rally 2.... OK, maybe I stand alone in thinking this was one of the most essential driving games on the Dreamcast, but after spending years (right up until this one) playing Sega Rally on the Saturn, it might come as no surprise that I loved it's successor. Not as good as it's Saturn dad, and far inferior to it's 360 son, it's still a great driving game that deserves it's place in my top ten...

And now we get down to the big Dreamcast faves...

4.) Sonic Adventure 1&2 : OK, let's be honest! I never completed either of these two titles, but I spent many happy hours titting around with my Chaos on my VMU! And let's face it, Sonic never looked so good as he did running away from the whale that he was determined to escape in the eary stages of SA1...

3.) Resident Evil: Code Veronica: If I had to sum up this game, I'd say it made me beam and cry in equal measure. Beam with joy at the story-line, graphics and game-play and cry at the... erm... story-line, graphics and gameplay. Having picked this up, just after playing RE4 on the PS2, I found this title both enthralling and frustrating. I could wax lyrical on the subject for hours, but as anyone who's been around here for a while will know, I never finished it, watched the closing sequences on Youtube and have been bitter about it until this day.... *COUGH!*

2.) Soul Calibur: Surely the best ever fighting game on any console ever!!! Soul Calibur brought home the magnificence of the Dreamcast to me, not only in how great it looked, but how easy it was to kick the ass of any 'pro' who dared to step up to the plate... I'm still aroused by Ivy's assets to this day and the 'Mission Mode' kept me hooked and collecting art cards and collectibles' for weeks....

1.) No surprises here for anyone that knows me. It's Shenmue I and II. Surely the greatest videogame of all time. I've spent weeks and months in Ryo's world, and hanker for it to this day.
When I first got the 360, this was the second game I played. Having sadly never owned an Xbox, I had even sadlier bought the Xbox version. (BTW I made the word 'sadlier' up to describe how sad I am/was...) It had been sitting there with it's lovely Shenmue 'catch up' DVD.

I could not resist re-living my Dreamcast glory days through on my new 'next gen' console. I'm even thinking of resetting my Dreamcast's date and time so I can wander into Dobuita and bump into Father Christmas....

Anyway, the long forgotten purpose of this post was to invite you all to name your favoutite Dreamcast top ten... I'm intrigued to know your answers!!!

Developer Interview: Elysian Shadows' Falco Girgis

Elysian Shadows Team hit the gaming headlines in the summer of 2014 when their eponymous indie RPG Elysian Shadows made it's Kickstarter goal in a matter of weeks. Since then, Elysian Shadows Team have been a constant fixture in the gaming press due to the open and entertaining nature in which lead programmer Falco Girgis and his colleagues have kept us involved in the development process via blogs and the popular YouTube series Adventures in Game Development. Often outspoken yet never dull, Falco very kindly agreed to speak openly to The Dreamcast Junkyard and tell us a little bit more about the rest of the development team, the history of his project, his impression of other upcoming indie games, and just how Elysian Shadows has quickly become one of the Dreamcast's most eagerly awaited games...

DCJY: Could you give a little bit of background on the Elysian Shadows team – who you are and what your roles are in developing Elysian Shadows?

Falco Girgis: Right now we’re just four dudes from different countries who work together every day in our underwear via Skype, haha! Falco Girgis and Tyler Rogers are the resident rednecks, from Alabama. Falco is the one behind the fancy tech like the lights and physics. He’s the engine and toolkit developer and the resident graphics guru. Tyler Rogers marries Falco’s tech with the pixel art and audio to achieve the creative vision we’re aiming for through his Lua scripting. He’s focused more on the gameplay experience while Falco is focusing more on the technology powering the game. Patrick Kowalik and Daniel Tindall are our pixel artist and our level designer respectively. Patrick lives in Poland and Dan lives in Britain. We met both of them through our YouTube series, “Adventures in Game Development.” They both messaged us looking to join our cause.

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.