DDR for Dreamcast? Oo-er.

How totally casual-gamer of me to say this, but I bought a Dance mat yesterday. Not just any dance mat, however, but a Dreamcast Dance mat, and things are always better when they are Dreamcast related, right?

Now I know on other consoles (particularly that old grey console that looks like a toilet) these things are about as common as fish and chips drowning in vinegar, the Dreamcast one is actually pretty rare. For starters, it was only released in Japan. Yet there it was, complete with two DDR games in the window of me local Gamestation complete with two DDR games by Konami for 25 squid. I remember them having this in the window a little while back for £40, but they had hid it upstairs for a while and decided to bring it back down for less cash-in-hand. So I popped back home, had a look about Ebay and Google to see how much these things were going for. Funnily enough not many sites even stocked Dreamcast ones, and the games were going for about a tenner each.

I hopped back to the store, which is just 10 minutes from my house, and asked about it. It wasn't in the Bog Off deal, unfortunly, so I couldn't throw MSR into the deal, plus the guy at the till told me that the controller might not work on anything but a Japanese Dreamcast. Rubbish, all the controller ports for Dreamcast preps are the same. Anyway, my curiosity to try out every piece of kit made for the Dreamcast got the best of me and I coughed up the £25, which didn't seem like a bad price for what I was getting. The dance mat worked, as expected, but the one my mind didn't think of at the time was just how crap I would be at it.

You really, really have to now what your doing from the start with these games. Even on the easy stages, the screen vomits arrows all over the place and being able to keep up takes some stamina, something I don't have a lot of. This obversly isn't the kind of game made for a lazy sod with no rhythm like me, but these things are defiantly worth it for the exercise, when you don't keep getting nothing but E grades that is. Now, I have three games that were made for this mat, so I'll review here.

DDR 2nd Mix
The first of two Konami DDR titles ported to the Dreamcast, nothing has really been done to make this look any different to the PSone version. The graphics are identical, right down to the low resolution which doesn't look all too nice on a big screen. Another major gripe is the music: It's all shite. Maybe this game would be a bit easier to dance to if any of the music had some sort of beat, but it's all dull and doesn't motivate you at all. There's plenty of game modes, including a Edit mode in which you can change the arrows about (maybe you can just remove half of them and make it more bearable?). I wanted to enjoy this, but there really wasn't much to keep it going. 5/10

DDR Club Version
Now when I started running this, I thought I'd accidentally put in 2nd Mix again, but sure enough it was the other game, but I really couldn't tell the difference. The layout, options, graphics and everything seemed identical. Even the rubbish music sounded the same, even though it probably wasn't. This one actually had one game mode missing, so it's just like a slightly cut down version of the other, even though it's supposed to have more music in it. 5/10

Feet of Fury
I burnt this homebrew Dance Mat game a little while back, and it's easily one of the most professional looking Homebrew titles out there. It's a lot better than the Konami titles, anyway. The music is still nothing special, but a bit more up-beat than the tripe in DDR, and there's a lot more in the game play to this: you fight (or dance, really) against another character bust-a-move style, hitting certain arrows that cause the other players arrows to speed up, spin around, or do other bizarre things that distract. Of course I just couldn't get anywhere again, but at least this one was a tad more fun. Also, there's another mode I haven't tried out yet where you can disc swap to a music CD with feet data, whatever that is, and so have much more music to dance to, maybe even something you know! 7/10

So disappointed with the games made for the mat I was, that I thought to myself...what games only use the d-pad, A and B? The first that sprung to mind was:

Space Channel 5

Not expecting it to work, I stuck the disc in for a laugh to see if the game would be any good playing it on foot. To my amazement, the game works perfectly for it, if not better than the games that were made for it! Having to repeat the directions and "chu’s" on the dance mat is much more fun than trying to keep up with a bunch of ugly arrows flying about the screen. If anything, this game play's five times better this way, it's as though Sega intended the game for the mat, but forgot to tell us so. This is the reason I love Sega and the Dreamcast: it's full of beautiful little gems hidden away like this. If you thought Space Channel 5 wasn't a very exciting game, try playing it with the mat...no...you MUST buy a dance mat to play this game. I' want that rare sequal even more now.
DANCE MAT TEST STATUS: A resounding success.

Hoping I'd find more gems, I tried out every other game in my collection that only used these buttons.

The main problem with playing this game is the fact that you often have to hold a button and hit another one repeatedly at the same time, so on foot this game wasn't very easy. Sitting down in the middle of the mat and bashing the pad buttons like a little kid, however, seems to do the trick pretty well. Just don't get caught playing the game like this, or you may be sent off to a 'special peoples' home.
DANCE MAT TEST STATUS: Alright, if you want to look like a twit.

International Track and Field
I remember seeing a program about gaming on the telly once years ago where someone actually had a go at playing the 100m Dash on the Playstation version of the game with the dance mat, in which he ended up winded on the floor. For some reason I felt like having a heart attack too, so I slipped the game in for a go. Sadly, my hopes of being sent to hospital were put to rest when the game decided to send my character forward too early without me pressing anything. Despite the game being made by the same guys as the dance mat, they didn't consider adding some sort of compatibility here. Shame.

Ready 2 Rumble (demo)
Being just about the most simple fighter ever made (too simple for my taste, as it takes no effort to play at all) this was my next test. Moving the Afro bloke around was easy enough, but the only punches I could pull were rubbish ones that did no harm to the opponent who bashed me senseless.
DANCE MAT TEST STATUS: Fine if you want to get pummelled.

Sega Tetris
Judging from the test on Mr.Driller, this puzzle title is about the same: you can't really play it on foot, but it works fine by hand, right until the game gets so ridiculously hard that even with a regular controller it becomes a case of pausing every half-second to see where to place the next piece.
DANCE MAT TEST STATUS: Not worth the time of energy.

Virtua Tennis
Hitting the ball is the easy part, actually getting the ball past your opponent is the tricky part, as you have to hold left and right while taking shots sometimes. Works ok on foot, although you'll just keep bouncing the ball right back to him until he decides to sling it in a direction other than yours. Works a lot better with your hands, but again, it's a bit pointless really.
DANCE MAT TEST STATUS: You'll be just as knackered as the real players.

Bust-a-Move 4
This should have worked a charm, seeing as all you have to do with push left and right than shoot, but sadly this game cannot recognise the dance mat buttons at all an gets them all mixed up. Pause becomes up, A becomes start and the directions just don't function very well at all. I really wanted this one to work, oh well.
DANCE MAT TEST STATUS: The game told me of naff off.

Final Verdict:
If you have a Playstation1/2, you may as well just get one for that if you want the dance games, especially as on that there's more of them which are easier to find. However, if don't have the option of another console dance mat and like those kind of game it could be worth it for the three dance games made. Also, to get the most out of Space Channel 5 you simply have to play it with the dance mat, as it really pulls you into the game and makes you feel like your really taking the role of Ulala. Without the mini skirt showing off your hairy bits that is.

EDIT: Speaking of dancing games, I only just went and bought Samba De Amigo off Ebay! The most I've ever spent on a single video game (although this does have the full box with maracas etc) at roughly £75, but this is one of the rarest Sega games of the lot! I'll be writing up on this expensive beauty when it arrives.


Hello there, Dreamcasters. The recent and rather uncharacteristic spell of exceptionally clement weather (pictured, yesterday) has lead to this week being a bit quiet on the post front. This is no bad thing when the previous post is of such high quality, however. I had a look at those two VMU applications that The Gagaman discovered and have to say that they are both very useful and yet another example of how easy it is for talented programmers to write interesting utilities for our favourite defunct console. I managed to change my background on the bios screen to a rather lovely psychadelic swirl in about 3 minutes of messing around - and if my camera wasn't a complete and utter pile of puss, I'd illustrate with a picture. As it is, it just comes up with black lines so to compensate, here's a picture of a lemon:


My predictions about my changing opinion of Shenmue also appear to be coming true. It is indeed one of the best things ever - and that list also includes Mr T, Button Moon and the smell of freshly cut grass on a sunny afternoon - so it's not to be sniffed at (sorry). I still haven't got to the end of the first game, but I'm getting quite deep into the conspiracy at the docks surrounding the mysterious 'Mad Angels' gang...and there's even some swearing!! Amazing. Although I have been getting slightly annoyed at the amount of slowdown in some areas...

This is mostly when you're driving your forklift truck around and there are quite a few people milling about so it's understandable, but there are some other places where the frame rate grinds to a near standstill. Most noteable is whenever steam/smoke is visible on screen - e.g. go into the arcade/shop at the harbour and position Ryo so that the kettle thing near the door swings past the camera, and get ready for some epilepsy inducing screen juddering!! Literally seconds of fun to be had there then. Speaking of Shenmue, have a gander at this site, Shenmue Master, for some pictures comparing locations from Shenmue to their real-life inspiration.

Found this great site, Game Ads, that features a hur-uge collection of video game related TV adverts from around the globe. Of course, we're only interested in the Dreamcast section, so click here to go straight there. There are some great ads featured, but one can't help but think that the country-specific PAL Online Gaming ads are just a tad close to being classed as jingoistic; and I don't really think depicting the Germans as tracksuit wearing, sun-lounger hogging, mullet-sporting squares is the best way to get them to buy into your product...

The hunt for randomly placed Dreamcast swirls also continues. Here we have some NTSC style orange swirls that somehow managed to escape and set up home on a friend's living room curtains:

The cheeky young scamps.

Just a quick footer - I discovered some music by a talented dude called Jason Mraz (pronounced "Meraz" I think) this week. I'd never heard of him before but a local radio station bequeathed a shed load of promo discs to me and Mr Mraz's album 'Mr A-Z' happened to be included with the other non-descript, student-type crap. Unfortunatley, the CD wasn't in the box but a bit of internet 'research' allowed me to sample some of the songs on the album. It's a bit like James Blunt but without the suicide inducing depression that comes free with every copy of Back to Bedlam; and also a bit like Jack Johnson, but with more energy. Hmmm...not exactly an NME quality review. Verdict: Outstanding. Orders? Get it.

VMU Wonders

The VMU, Dreamcast's memory card thingy, is a truly underrated piece of kit and I'm surprised that the idea never managed to stick with consoles that came after it. Sony tried to rip it off just months after the Dreamcast launch in Japan with the PocketStation, and Nintendo did there own teeny tiny handheld with the Pokemon Mini, but this is still the best smaller-than-a-game-boy-micro hand held out there. Thing is, a lot of people who are first time buyers of a Dreamcast won't know of the possibilities of this little thing, other than saving progress. As if the screen and buttons weren’t a dead giveaway,

Back when the Dreamcast was online, many games had websites you could access on the disk which would have special downloads to add to your games. These include some lovely seasonal themes and extra race tracks for the Sonic Adventure games, new mini-levels for Rayman 2 and replacement characters for ChuChu Rocket. Then of course there were the Mini games. These were unlockable in certain titles, and as long as you have some watch batteries in the VMU, you could play little games on it on the move. In the end not many commercial games actually used this feature (mainly Sega and Capcom titles), but like all things Dreamcast, the Homebrew scene got into the act and programmed countless games, animations and even music for the device. While only one game can be placed on a VMU at any time, there are in total there are around 100 games for download out there. Now most people won't want to go to the hassle to set up their DC online, however, how can you get all this stuff?

This is where the wonderful world of HomeBrew development comes in again. VMU Collections have been made that can be burnt to a CD-R and played through the Dreamcast, which not only feature save files for every released DC game but all the other downloads too. The two best discs are VMUBackupCD by and VMUTOOL by . I'll be reviewing both of these discs, as well as showing you the best downloads for the VMU
which are on them.

VMUBackupCD: Available at El Bucanero, this disc has a very simple layout with full descriptions on each file. Nothing too complex here at all. Also, there is a disc you can get that also features a tool called VMUZIP, which lets you compress the amount of blocks a save file takes. When these games are compressed, you can't se them in the game, but this is very handy for games you don't play often that take a lot of blocks. All the VMU Games are in one folder, and you run them through a emulator on the TV and on the VMU screen sitting in the square ole your controller
, although I soon discovered that while you can emulate the Mini games, you can't actually copy them to the VMU to take away, which is a real shame. The other snag is probably he music, which as far as I can tell is not turn-off-and-onable, and also rather dull so you may want to turn the TV to mute while using it. It is, however, very good for save files.

VMUTOOL: Available at Blue Swirl, this disc has a hell of a lot of features, including some that need some sort of Dreamcast to PC plug in system going on, but plenty that can be used with just the DC too. This disc's layout may not be as simple or descriptive as BackupCD, it lets you do a whole lot more. Want to copy a save file to another VMU that the DC Bios tells you "cannot be copied"? Sorted. Want to change the colour and image of your VMU on the Bios without clearing all the files off? Sorted. Want to emulate AND download the mini games? Sorted. You can even slap a new image on the background of the DC Bios. Also the VMU game emulator on this disc is better and the settings are a whole lot more customable. Only thing that I got with this CD was it's a bit fussy which VMU's it lets you edit, and out of my collection of 10 (including the 4 slots on a 4-in-1 card) 2 of the VMU's crashed the CD every time I went into them on it.

CONCLUSION: get BackupCD for the save files and compression tools, and get VMUTOOL for the editing and downloadable mini games. There both worth tinkering with. One last note: the Mini-Games run better when actually downloaded to a VMU then they do in Emulation, where they lack their sound and often play to fast.

Now, onto the best of the Mini-Games!

Sega Pocket GT
From what I can tell this game was only available on the Japanese import version of the game (judging by how there's some Japanese in this game, although not enough to make playing difficult) and there is in fact three different sets of levels to download: Japan, Europe and America. Actually more fun than the game it was downloadable from, you find yourself racing on 6 tracks each set, trying to beat the clock while avoiding rocks and other cars. Graphics do their job well and there's also a great training mode where you have to prepare your little racer geezer to be ready for the championships. Great stuff. 9/10

Soul Calibur 3-in-1
I don't remember this being downloadable with the game but it's in English so I presume it was. This download gives you three cute little games: a game where you bounce treasure off of Volvo’s belly (no kidding!), a word puzzle game where you have to swap letters about to make words, and one where you have to light up the right rope to blow one of the characters out of a rocket. For those who can read Japanese, there is also a Soul Cailbur Text Adventure game for download. 8/10

Mini Pacman
A homebrew "port" of the game that as been on every format known to man (even Microsoft Excel). It may not run as fast as the original, and you are not able to see where about the ghosts are wandering about, but this is over wise a fine re-creation of the game. There's also some added features: a boost that lets you chomp faster for as long as you have the boost bar above empty, 20 levels including one in the dark, and even secret passage ways. 8/10

VMU Fighter
Possibly the best Homebrew title I have tried so far, VMU Fighter is a scrolling shoot 'em up with 4 changeling levels and some of the best SFX to be heard squeaking out of your VMU. Lot's of variation in the levels, and plenty to keep you coming back. 9/10

Chao Adventure 1 + 2
Downloadable off Sonic Adventure 1 + 2, you really need to do this on the actual game as it pretty much involves placing one of your own chaos onto an adventure where they bump into Sonic characters, get into fights and collect fruits. A lot of the game is made in he fashion of a virtual pet, where you leave it on and wait for it to bleep at you when an event occurs. Superb. 9/10

Chao Editor
An interesting homebrew download that lets you create your own Chao, or throw in one you have and edit it's stats (999 Power!), name, colour etc. Nice if you want to cheat n the Chao races on the games, or if you wan some truly freaky looking creatures in your garden. 7/10

VMU Football
Ok, so it's American football, but this mini-game features some brilliant animation and game play. Run trough all the opponents and make sure you don't get too close to them over wise they'll pounce on you. 7/10

Missing our old Etch-a-sketch pad? Now you can use the VMU to be it's replacement! Still very hard to draw with, though. 6/10

Zombie Revenge
Another average Sega title with a great mini-game to download, here you train up the characters and gain points which can be used in the game. Featured are two games including the rather odd Zombie Fishing. 8/10

Another homebrew "port". Cute SFX and still as additive as ever. 7/10

Space Invaders
More Homebrew classic game port goodness. 7/10

Tiny Tetris
"Tiny" is an understatement. You need very good eye sight for this. 6/10

Probably the most impressive of many VMU tech demos. Very short and vaguely interactive, but looks the bee's knees. 6/10

So while you should hardly expect Game Boy quality hand held games from your VMU, there is some nice stuff to pass the time away from it, so it's well worth a look into.

EDIT: Oops, I forgot to insert the links to the websitesthat provide these CDs! There up there now. I'll also add reviews of the Power Stone and Tech Romancer mini-games when I can remember what they were like.

Lawsuit Imminent...Part 3

The Dreamcast Junkyard is a place for mature gamers who enjoy the finer things in videogaming. Of course, ownership of a Dreamcast and access to the finest arcade conversions in the history of the universe is a testament to this ethos. As such, mockery of rival consoles is something you will rarely find written here - although that's mostly because the DC has no rival when it comes to quality over quantity.

However, something has been brought to my attention by a regular reader of the 'Yard - a man who goes by the mysterious name of 'JP.'

Look at these two pictures:

One is a Sony-VTX800u Freeview box; the other is a Nintendo Wii. Are we the only ones who can see a tiny similarity?! A major Apple/Apple Corps lawsuit may be imminent...and remember where you read it first folks. Rest assured that if a lawsuit fails to materialise in the mainstream press, these pictures will be personally delivered by my hand to Nintendo's Japanese Headquarters in 1985 Dobuita. Or maybe I'm confused...

Does anyone out there still play with their Dreamcast online? If so, I would like to introduce you to a site that may be of interest. I featured a Dreamcast promo video these guys did a few posts ago, but Ladies and Gents, allow me to re-introduce UK Rockers - a multiformat gaming clan who hold tournaments and competitions for online gamers across most major online enabled formats...including the Dreamcast! Here's a list of games that are covered and are still online:

  • StarLancer
  • Quake 3 Arena
  • 4x4 Evolution (US)
  • Phantasy Star Online V 1 & 2
  • Maximum Pool (US)
  • Sega Swirl
If you're still playing online with your 'Cast - good on ya. If you're not, go visit UK Rockers to see what you're missing. They also have up to date gaming news and a regularly updated reviews section so there's something for everyone. As it were.

69 Dudes!

Went to a BBQ yesterday. Guess what? It pissed down. Not actually that uncommon for Manchester - it tends to rain pretty much incessantly all year round. The thing is, Thursday and Friday seemed as though the city had been dug up by some kind of ginormous JCB and transplanted somewhere near the equator. Seriously - on Friday afternoon you could have cooked an egg on the pavement, slapped it between two crusts of bread and been laughing. Saturday? Fucking torrential. I believe that if we all club together and boycott the weather, we can have permanent sun at the weekend. Tsk.

Anyways, I know you didn't come here to listen to me bitch about the weather. You're here for harcore Dreamcast news, reviews and irreverant features, right? For now, the news and irreverent shit is on hold - but, hark, reviews are abundant! Want to read about Vanishing Point?

Click here me auld mucker!

Let it be known that the Editor in Chief of Defunct Games is on his way to E3. Lucky git!
Seriously though, if you are into your DC based drive 'em ups, you should get a copy of Vanishing Point. It 'rocks ass,' or something equally American. There's loads of longevity in it and it's about as close as you can get to The Need For Speed on the Dreamcast. And I ain't talking about those 'bling'-ed up Underground/Most Wanted games on the current consoles. No - they are hideous 'gansta' style offerings that really make me want to projectile vomit all over the shelves in Game (that's Electonic Boutique (I think) for the non-UK based readers). I'm talking about the original 'Road & Track Presents' version on the good old Saturn (or 3DO, but NEVER the PSX). So, yeah - Vanishing Point is top. As an added bonus, it also features one of the best intro movies I've ever seen...all the more reason to buy 700 copies and help to ressurect Acclaim.

As we all know, the internet holds many hidden jewels. Not real jewels, you understand...I mean top little sites. Yesterday I discovered this cool website. It's a PC page called mini-itx.com that features loads of top case mods. You guessed it - there's even a Dreamcast PC case! cast your retinas downwards for the incredible pictures:

Those ker-azy PC modders have also been molesting other Sega systems...LOOK!

In the words of Bill S. Preston Esq (and occasionally Ted Theodore Logan), NO WAY!

Similarly, and with only a little bit to do with the Dreamcast, news has wafted up the U-bend that Uwe Boll, the cretin behind such Hollywood disasters as The House of the Dead and Alone in the Dark, is pencilled in to 'direct' the film versions of both Postal and Far Cry.

Christ. Judging by his aforementioned offerings to the Razzie nominations list, Postal will probably feature Postman Pat, while Far Cry is about a grief sticken widow who lives on top of a mountain miles away from her estranged kids. How so? Because it's clear Mr Boll never even looks at the box of the games he's turning into films, let alone plays them...

While we're talking movies, saw Crash last night. What a great film, exploring the many facets of racism in American society. A truly exceptional film - and it features Thandie Newton, which is ALWAYS a bonus - even if she does have a ridiculous name. Ahem.

Right. Man United just thrashed Charlton Athletic 4-0 in the last game of the season, meaning that we automatically qualify for Europe next season ahead of The Scum (Liverpool); and I've got a date with several bottles of San Miguel Cerveza. "In a bit yo," as Mike Skinner may be overheard to say...

Copy and Paste!

Guess what? it's E3 soon. It's the biggest games event of the year, and we all love it. The Dreamcast Junkyard, however, reserves the right to be bitter because there is nothing REMOTLEY like it in England. This aside, E3 this year looks like it'll be the biggest and best yet, and in this extra special 'copy and paste' collectors edition of The Dreamcast Junkyard, I present Sega's more promising looking titles that are set to take the show by storm. Or possibly get brushed under the carpet by the PS3. Or the Wii. Or the 360. Or the new DS.

Cough. Anyway, here's a few morsels of info regarding Sega's new Dreamcast descended offerings.

Sega Rally Revo
No screens of Sega Rally Revo have been 'leaked' as of yet. It has me intrigued because I was a massive fan of the Saturn version, and thought the DC version was pretty decent. This isn't to be confused with the PS2's Sega Rally 2006. Here's what Sega say:

"With revolutionary dynamically deformable terrain, proprietary next-generation graphics, bone-jarringly realistic physics, and competitive bumper-to-bumper racing, SEGA RALLY will set a new benchmark in its genre with a high-tempo driving experience that’s every racing fan’s driving fantasy."

Here's an artist's impression of what it could look like:
Please bear in mind that the artist is me.

Sonic the Hedgehog
Everyone's favourite 'hog (well, after Rasher) is back...again. He's had more come backs than is probably good for him and will no doubt feature on a magazine cover with the tag "Sonic's Back!" but this time, Sonic is in a human world...or something. Graphics look quite good, but correct me if I'm wrong, wasn't Sonic in a 'human world' in Sonic Adventure? There were people walking about in Station Square if my memory serves me... Press release? Why, yes:

"Sonic celebrates his 15th anniversary by blazing his way onto the next-generation consoles, with his first adventure set in the human world! Featuring interactive 3D environments and a large cast of returning and new characters, get ready for the reinvention of Sonic The Hedgehog, in his most intense, high velocity escapade to date!"

Virtua Tennis 3
The best tennis game ever gets another sequel, this time on the 360. The visuals do look a bit speshul, and if the gameplay remains as polished as in the previous games it's bound to be another ace (he he!) for Sega. The 360 is somewhat lacking in terms of sports games at the moment, but the release of Virtua Tennis 3 is likely to give the system a kick up the arse in terms of choice. As ever, here's what the lovely mechanical press robot at Sega has to say:

"With Virtua Tennis 3, the series returns with enhanced photo-realistic graphics and advanced player animations that perfectly match the behavior and mannerisms of individual professional players. Next-generation systems allow gamers to see the most detailed expressions on the faces of their selected players as they battle to win heated tournaments around the world. In addition to the popular mini-games from previous titles used to sharpen players’ skills, there will be a whole host of brand new mini-games to keep players in top form."

There are a few others in the pipeline, but they are mostly new games that don't really relate to the DC. So they can go to hell.

Click here to view Sega's official press site thingy, look at the picture below to see what you're missing at E3...

...and rejoice that you won't be there.

Empty Handed

First up, apologies for the lack of updates. I've been pre-occupied mostly with my new employment role as a Customer Service dogsbody at one of the world's larget credit card companies. Obviously, I can't disclose which one it is, but it (busta) rhymes with Sarclay McBard. And if that isn't obvious enough, you are clearly too thick to be reading this blog - so kindly leave. Other things that have hindered my ability to produce coherent prose have been the latter stages of Half Life 2 (very enjoyable) mixed with a dose of Far Cry (ridiculously difficult). Furthermore, I've only just recovered from having my UK:Resistance Sega Scout status revoked by the Rt Hon Cmdr Zorg for reasons I am not at liberty to divulge here.

Just a quick note while we're chewing the fat: you may not have noticed due to the wierd goings on down at Blogger central, but The Gagaman posted late Monday and it was published below my Silent Hill diatribe so it may have been missed by those readers who visited the 'Yard, still saw the Silent Hill thing and then continued on to fillipinoladyboys.com. Scroll down and have a read my friends...

Moving back into the Desert of the Real, today was election day in the land of rolling green fields and smashed up bus stops (England). And while I cast my vote, it reminded me of my trip to Gamestation at lunch time. On my voting card I was presented with a list of nobodies and also-rans (oh, and racist biggots who luckily, will never get a single vote in this constituency (the BNP, naturally)). My lunchtime trip to Gamestation saw me presented with a choice of Army Men, Virtua Athlete, Shadowman and Virtua Fighter 3tb. Similarities forming yet? Not that I'm implying the BNP have any connection to Virtua Fighter, you understand.

As anyone else with a brain would, I left empy handed.

Found this quite interesting site that's full of downloadable homebrew programs for the DC t'other day. There's quite a wide selection of burnable tech demos and games at first glance, but after trawling through most of 'em and burning them to CD-R, I found the majority are just a creative method of manufacturing frisbees. On the plus side, I also discovered this impressive Dreamcast promo video from UK Rockers that's actually better than most of the official ones:

Elsewhere, this is what my grill looks like:

Some may argue that it desperatly needs cleaning so I'm thinking about going to do it now. Unfortunatley, the chances that I'll make it to the kitchen and actually do it are slim because a) I can't be arsed and b) I'm just about to write a stellar review of Vanishing Point that will be availible to view on Defunct Games in a little over 24 hours. Nighty night.

Nickel Odeon

What's this? TWO posts in one day?!?! Believe it my friend. And the reason for this flouting of the unwritten rule of the Dreamcast Junkyard is that I would like to impose my opinion of the latest film I have seen: Silent Hill.

Obviously, it's based on the 1999 PlayStation adventure of the same name, and while it's not really anything to to with the Dreamcast, I must say that it's a cracking movie - certainly the best game/movie crossover I've seen. The reason is that it is so faithful to it's inspiration. Granted, the lead is played by a Mother, rather than a Father looking for a missing little girl - but the whole visual style of it is totally identical to the game. The misty townscape, the freaky alternative world, the monsters...it's all fantastically realised. Oh, and there are some really gruesome deaths thrown in for good measure. One criticism I must lay at Silent Hill's feet is the decision to cast Sean Bean as the Father. Sure, the guy is a brilliant actor and will go down in folklore as Alec Trevelyan in GoldenEye, but in Silent Hill he puts on the worst American accent you can imagine...the dude is from Yorkshire for Christ's sake! They shoulda just got an American - it ranks alongside Keanu Reeves' English accent in Bram Stoker's Dracula for cringe effect.

This slight error in the casting department aside, Silent Hill is - like I said - possibly the best 'game movie,' that we've ever been privy to (who can forget the horror of Super Mario Bros, Resident Evil (no pun intended) and Tomb Raider?); and features some really good CG sequences that are genuinley unnerving in places. Highly recommended to fans of the games, and to anyone who just wants to see a decent horror flick. Here's the trailer:

Controller thingys!

One thing that has been bugging me while playing DC games in Dad's record room on a lovely big screen (I have two Dreamcast’s set up in two separate rooms in our house. Why? Because GJKHJKGHKGGK!) was the length of the controller cable: it simply isn't long enough to reach over to the futon sofa thingy, so I've had to sit on the floor instead. Luckily, while doing my weekly Ebay browse for Dreamcast and Neo Geo Pocket stuff, I came across an extension cable. This guy has a shop on there that sells nothing but video game wires, and lots of them. This Dreamcast one was Buy it now for a quid, with a quid postage, so I nabbed one. I came through the post 3 days later and works a charm. I have yet to try it out on all types of controllers, but while the bog-standard controller work, the fishing controller did not. Good thing that one has a long wire to start with, then.

You know when you need to get out more when you start spending your nights in taking photos of wires. To make myself feel a little better after that revelation, I snapped my current collection controller thingys for the console as well. That's 4 controllers (one still boxed), 5 VMU's, 2 unofficial memory cards, a rumble pack, 2 mircophones, a keyboard, an arcade stick, a light gun and a fishing controller.

See as the House of the Dead actipn figure gezzer look on in sheer terror. That big old lightgun is after him. Mine one came out of a Gamestation in the lovely House of the Dead 2 box for £20, with Phantasy Star Online Ver.2 tossed into the deal, and they have a few of theseun-boxed in my local Gamestation now for a fiver each (would buy a 2nd one for 2 player if they had Bog off stickers on them) The one thing I love most about it, other than the hole so you can watch the VMU animations, and the cute little d-pad on the back, is the message sega have printed on the side of it (click to re-size):

"It's been coloured to make sure it is not mistaken for a real weapon".

That and it doesn't look remotely anything like a gun in the first place, unless you take guns from rusty old Sci-Fi programmes into consideration. The real disapointment with the Dreamcast gun is the lack of games made for it: in Europe we got just the two. There both great games per say, but even the Saturn had more lightgun games. If you take Amercia into account, there's also a rather dull port of Virtua Cop 2 on Sega Smash Pack, and there's also some other game out there called Death Crimson that uses it, but I haven't much good about that. Shame.

Now the arcade stick, there's a controller to be proud of. The choice of colour scheme is a bit odd (green?), but this is just about the most robust arcade stick controller outside of actually yanking out the controller lump of an arcade cabinet and attempting to link it up to your console. What's more it works with lots of games, almost any that were originally conceived in the arcades, and it is brilliant for fighting games, especially Capcom's mass collection of Street Fighters which just are not the same on a regular controller. This is HARDCORE, baby. I bought this back around 2000 from a boot sale, I believe, and paid good money of it, money that still holds up for it as it's hard to find now unless you go on Ebay, on which you would have to pay massive postage costs due to it's sheer bulk.

Now I don't care what anybody else says, but I think the fishing controller is the best invention since that contraption that gets Wallace out of bed and make's his toast. This may not be the official one, but it stills does it's job. While Sega Bass Fishing doesn't have a whole lot to keep you coming back, I am absolutely addicted to Sega Marine Fishing (which didn't see a European release, but can be picked up cheap online). Somehow they have taken the world's most boring sport and turned into something magical. God bless you Sega!

Sadly, the controller doesn't make the levels where you play Big in Sonic Adventure any less tedious as it doesn't work properly for that, which means that Sonic Team didn't put those levels in as an excuse to use the controller. A total of 5 games officially use the controller: Sega Bass, Sega Marine, Sega Bass 2, some other 3rd party fishing game and....Soul Cailbur! Yes, I'm not joking, although I haven't been able to try this out for myself yet as my copy of the game is so scratched up it doesn't even run anymore. Weep.

Now the Keyboard is looking a little redundant now the Dreamcast isn't online anymore (Or isn't it?), but it can be used for a few games, such as Phantasy Star Online, Worms World Party, those FPShooters that combined with a mouse are just like playing on the PC (The whole point of these console ports is to get away from the PC style controls?) and the real highlight: Typing of the Dead. You can get this game over here on the PC cheap now, but if you really must have this for your Dreamcast, it's readily out there online on American import, although this brings about one annoying fault: some of the keys on American keyboards are swapped about, so you have to learn which ones are the other way around! Annoying. Oh well, these Dreamcast keyboards were even in he pound shop near me a while back, which is where mine has come from, even though I did buy one at launch for going on the internet.

Finally I shall have a looksie at the Microphone. Again with the odd decision to use green, luckily this barely used gadget comes with the games it was made for: Planet Ring (online only game, probably not up anymore), Alien Front Online (the mode the Mic is used for is online) and Seaman. While Alien Front is a great offline game too, Seaman is the only game you will really be using this device for, a game of which can best be described as more of a very strange experience than a game. Think a virtual pet game, but without all the cutesy Japanese graphics, but instead a miserable looking fish with a human face that talks to you like your some bird shit on his head. Oh, and the game also has Jean Luc Picard doing narration, so you just can't not check this odd game out.

That's my lot to tonight, soon I will be posting more about Bleemcast, and some of the wonderful things you can do with a VMU. Ta.