Read All About It!

You know, for a console that never really penetrated the 'mainstream' - i.e., Starbucks drinking cunts who read FHM and go to Tony & Guy for their RIDICULOUS "I've just got out of bed" haircuts - the Dreamcast had it's fair share of magazines. At least, here in the UK it did. Many a four quid of this gamer's scrounged money was spent on said periodicals, and here, for YOUR delectation, is a furiously over-zealous run down of each:

Dreamcast - The Official Dreamcast Magazine
Price: 4.99
Publisher: Dennis Publishing

The Official Dreamcast mag, sanctioned by SEGA and read by those with more money than sense, me (occasionally) included. The main attraction was the 'free' Dream On demo disk included with every issue, which, to be fair always had up to date games featured on it. The 4.99 price was a bit steep, but was justified by the demo - and the mag featured reasonably high production value and every issue was bound with a proper spine and consisted of over 100 pages so you always got a good read out of it. Stylistically, ODM sits proudly in the 'lad's mag' section - dominated by white spaces with the occasional bit of writing, minimalistic illustrations and slightly supercilious reviews. It featured a scoring mark 'out of 10,' and because it was the official tome, always had the most up to date previews and reviews. The downside was that, due to said officialdom, the mag was rarely unbiased and almost every review heaped some kind of praise, even if the game was a pile of toss. Like Army Men: Sarge's Heores. An interesting regular feature was the bit near the back, where a panel of industry insiders (usually developers or publishers) were interviewed on various aspects of Dreamcast gaming.

Overall: A tad pretentious, but a quality read nontheless - and it had the demo disk, albeit for a hefty price.

Dreamcast Monthly
Price: 2.99
Publisher: Quay

Dreamcast Monthly was a mag that, as far as I know, didn't run for any longer than a year. It was a well designed magazine but was only sold in a limited number of stores - indeed, I only ever saw it in one shop - and pretty much every issue was packaged with some kind of freebie, be it a tips book or a poster etc. The styling is very different from the Official mag in that every page is packed with info and pictures to the point where, in some ways, it's difficult to read. Dreamcast Monhly, like most mags, featured some interesting interviews with industry big-wigs, and possibly the most interesting was in Issue 8 (pictured) with the MD of Promethian Designs - the hearts and minds behind such cancelled Dreamcast classics as Picassio, Renegade Racers, and Hydro Sprint. The puzzling thing about Dreamcast Monthly though, was the inconsistency with the rest of the industry when it came to review scores. Sure, a review is merely the opinion of the person playing the game - but since when was Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation a 10/10 game, while Soul Calibur only a 9/10? Did the Man from Eidos have his own parking space down at Quay Publishing?

Overall: Another good quality magazine, full of screenshots and interesting features.

Price: 2.95
Publisher: Future Publishing

DC-UK was Future's flagship Dreamcast magazine and rates among some of the best magazines ever produced by that particular publishing house. It had a very similar design and review scoring system to the official mag, but also featured some great mag-specific artwork such as reviewer portraits, feature illustrations and photography. An interesting section of the mag, titled 'DC-World' covered cheats, online news, letters, player's guides, a review database and a general reader interaction bit. DC-UK was also one of the mags that was availible prior to the Dreamcast console's actual launch, and featured a VHS tape with game footage and adverts for the system.

Overall: A serious alternative to the official mag, and with the added bonus of being completely independent (ie: unbiased)

Dreamcast Magazine
Price: 2.99
Publisher: Paragon

Although Dennis Publishing had the trump card with the official Dreamcast liscense, Paragon held the upper hand when it came to sales. Why? Because Dreamcast Magazine was the best selling, longest running, highest quality Dreamcast monthly on the market. Dreamcast Magazine was there from the start, all the way to the bitter end when, with a dearth of new releases to review, they actually re-reviewed the launch games when they were bundled together with the console in an attempt to coax newcomers to the DC scene. The mag ran for over two years and featured some excellent reviews and special features. The back section of the mag had a complete UK and import reviews database, DVD reviews, cheats and reader reviews; whilst the front hosted the previews and the middle section the reviews. A whole page was dedicated to US and Japanese news (written by non other than the suspiciously named Dan Francisco) and it invariaby came wih a free tips book, poster or other free gift. Like I said, it was the last Dreamcast mag to jump ship and towards the end seemed to feature reviewers who had been educated at the Elementary School of Cliche Quoters, but for the most part Dreamcast Magazine was the best DC read availible.

Overall: 100% quality, and wih us to the bitter end. Bravo.

Mr Dreamcast
Price: 2.50
Publisher: Magical Media

Christ almighty. I only ever saw this monstrosity once, and only bought it on that solitary occasion because I was facing a long and boring bus journey. It was clearly aimed at the younger end of the market as this particular issue came complete with a Fur Fighters water pistol (!) and prose that wouldn't seem out of place in a Puddle Lane Ladybird book. Readers artwork featured in the letters section, as did an eerily familiar 'vs' bit, where two totally different games were pitted against each other in a Totally Ridiculous Comparison. Hmmm. Anyway - a mag definatley for the youger Dreamcast gamer, but also a contradiction in the way the reviews were sometimes written for an older age group. Bizarre. At any rate, it didn't run for longer than a few issues. A case of drowning a retared puppy to put the little fucker out of it's misery, methinks.

Overall: Wierd.

Now you've finished reading about mags, I thought maybe you'd like to see boobs combined with our favourite console:

Shame it's a fucking Arsenal shirt she's 'wearing.'

Shenmue, Manchester Style...

Whilst killing a bit of time on the fateful day that I met up with TomLeeCee (to hand over Confidential Mission in a desparate attempt to ingratiate myself with the author of my favourite blog and get a foot in the door of the Yard), I happened to find myself in Manchester's famous oriental microcosm... Chinatown.

Rather tragically I began to muse over the similarities of said location and the virtual Hong Kong that I had spent so many hours, days and months in, playing my beloved Shenmue 2. I had 'the three gingers' with me and the biggest one caught the whistful look in my eye. He knew what was going through my mind and began to chuckle cynically, as I adopted my best Ryu Hazuki pose, turning up the collar of my brown leather jacket and slapping another blob of gel into my spikey black barnet.

As I furtively peeped down the alleyways for Lan Di's thugs, and checked my watch to make sure it wasn't 11 O' Clock (when I have to run home for bed and catch up on nine hours sleep no matter what I'm doing...) I happened to feel an unexpected attack. The littlest ginger was tugging on my sleeve and pointing towards a vending machine outside the Tomato Convenience store. Capsule toys! "Should I get one?" I mused, in a monotone American accent, whilst raising one eybrow pensively..."O.K.."

Very slowly I knelt and placed in my $5 HK into the machine... Damn! No Virtua Fighter Figures, no forklifts or crap dice. But there was large headed Marvel characters akin to the VF Kids in Shenmue and Hello Kitty crap that I could waste my money on. In order to replicate the 'thrill' of the game I bought one. It was shit.
Having nipped into an arcade for a quick game of Space Harrier, I decided I better hot foot it towards the allocated hostelry prearranged for the hand over of the first donation of Junk for the Yard. I bought a map for $10 HK and set off, pausing to admire a large chested ginger bird on a red motorbike that seemed to be giving me the eye...

Where's all this toss leading to I hear you ask? O.K. I'll get on with it... For it was then that I saw it... That familiar swirl that causes a rush of bood to my love muscle. For here in the closest place to Dobuita that I was ever going to get, was a Dreamcast mecca. A place I was sure would be an Aladdin's cave of rare Dreamcast games, sought after peripherals and associated 'lost' merchandise!!!
I walked in heart pounding, reaching into my pocket for the Phoenix Mirror that I was willing to trade for said goods...
Only to find... that it had stopped selling Dreamcast games years ago, specialising now in PS2 only... And like a sack of sloppy shit being emptied over my freshly shaven noggin I realised that I was not in Shenmue-Land at all, but in the festering bed-sore that is Manchester. Fuck.
Oh well, back home then to face rain, weasel faced scrotes on mountain bikes in Von Dutch caps and the sad realisation that life is well and truly a motherhumping bee-atch! And that's why we all need our little white boxes to escape into, as we draw our mould infested curtains, fire up a Pot Noodle and slurp on another premium strength lager before sloping off to a sweat stained mattress and closing our eyes until anothr grey day dawns.
Goodnight children wherever you are, until next time...

Everything isn't Illuminated

Last week I made some very bold claims about (maybe) having discovered a new Dreamcast input method, similar to the Soul Calibur fishing rod malarkey. It's taken until now for me to try my theory and realise, like most of you will probably tell me via the comments function, that it was a fanciful and brave research project, but one that was ultimatley flawed due to being fucking ridiculous. It's like this:

While playing Confidential Mission I inadvertantly shot the 'CMF Headquarters' option on the title screen. For the uninitiated, this is the option that dumps you out of the game and tells the console to connect to the Hitmaker website. With my Dreamcast unconnected to the net and the option to do so dead in the water due to my somewhat overpowering lack of interest in the DC's internet capacity, the game loaded up the 'hub' screen for Confidential Mission's web pages - with a pointer on the screen. Imagine my idiotic delight when I discovered I could move the pointer around with the gun and select stuff by firing at it! My eyes glazed over and a smile usually reserved for inmates at Arkham Asylum crept across my face - for somewhere deep inside the shrivelled walnut I laughingly call a brain, a cog turned and a light bulb blazed into illumination:

"If the lightgun can register as a mouse-type device," I thought, "maybe I can use it as a pointer in OTHER GAMES!"

And so the touch paper was lit, an idea was formed...and then I did nothing. For a week. Because I couldn't be bothered. But yesterday I mustered the mental strength to dig out Quake 3 Arena and Outtrigger (I'm still convinced that should be two words, btw), loaded them up, and attempted to play them using a Keyboard and Lightgun set up!

Alas, it didn't work - but, just imagine how cool it could have been! Another Dreamcast shaped punch in the eye for the Wii. I had visions of controlling movement with the keys and aiming around with the gun: INSPIRED! Both have net options and stuff, and are mouse compatible so get the idea.

But it failed, and with hindsight it's not hard to see why. PLEASE NOTE: All smug/smart-arsed/stating the fucking obvious comments will be ignored with extreme prejudice. Cough.

Apart from that, this week has also seen me usher several new items into the 'Yard's ever growing collective...erm...collection:

A Fission Fishing Rod
Bought for the bargain price of 5.95 from an independant games shop in Stockport, the Fission Fishing Rod is perfect for, well, Sega Bass Fishing. Not the biggest fan of fishing I must admit, but it's a great curio. Not new to the Yard by any means - The Gagaman's aforementioned Soul Calibur stuff has given the rod as much attention as it probably warrants, but it's still great. Oh, and it was boxed in nearly perfect condition, so that's nice.

Got this off eBay for about 70p. Bit of a mixed bag really, this Dreamcast port. I originally played it on the N64 some 7-8 years ago and was awe-struck by the great visuals (with the Expansion Pak) and very un-Nintendoish story line (voodoo, murderers, violence etc). However, this Dreamcast version fails to impress really. For a start, Acclaim have taken out the brilliant menu music (why?!) and the graphics just don't do the system any kind of justice as it's little more than a direct port of the N64 game, albeit one with a higher resolution. The game engine seems to jerk about quite a bit as the console accesses the the disk, too. A bit of a dodgy one, if truth be told. If you really must play a dark, sinister adventure - go for Soul Reaver. And yes, these really are the lowest quality screenshots on the net:

Maken X
Very wierd. It's one of only a handful of story driven FPS games on the Dreamcast (Infact, only smelly old Soldier of Fortune springs to mind as another non-deathmatch FPS) but doesnt really feature any guns - just swords. The story is a bit fucked up and revolves around an ugly as sin AI creature that lives inside a sword (!) and you have to travel around various stages 'brain jacking' peeps and kicking ass with combinations of jumping about and stabbing them. It gets a bit dull after a while, but it looks really good and is one of the rarer DC titles floating about at the mo. All in all, a fairly decent game - and I only paid a fiver for it.

Scart Lead
Not a major haul, I know. But it's summat I've been looking for for ages: the standard RF cable is horse-shit and VGA boxes are ridiculously overpriced. So Scart is the answer and it does what it says on the tin. Simple.

I wonder if I can play Maken X with the Fishing Rod like a sword?! Red Steel? Pah! On second thoughts...

...that's enough random bollocks. For now at least.

Phase Two of Junkyard Domination

First there was this here Blog, then the YouTube account and now we bring to you...

That's right, you lucky little buggers you, an entire Wiki (that's a web page Dictionary of sorts for those not in the know) all about our favourite little white box. I set this up just yesterday, and kind of wish I thought of it a day earlier for the console's birthday, but never mind. I've already made a start with the sections as you will see on the front page, with an almost complete list of games released for the console in every region. The Japanese only releases list proved to be he hardest to put together (and is no where near complete) as unlike the US and UK releases, there are no complete lists out there, for all those extra games those Japanese have had over the last few years, to work from. I've also made a start profiling the development studios that made games for the Dreamcast (and what games they were). Capcom sure did do the most!

There's much, much more planned, though. I plan to get up separate profiles of EVERY Dreamcast release, including box art, screenshots, and a Youtube video to stream from it. It's going to be a long task, but I've been preparing this for months now, and just need to get the load I've done so far online. There will also eventually be profiles for every piece of hardware released, and what games each of them work with.

Obviously, I can't do all of this myself, so I'm going to be hiring staff to help me out. Want to help out on this massive project? Sign up to and E-mail me with your username, and I'll sign you up to the Wiki's member list, where you will be able to add and edit articles. Before you start writing up game profiles, however, wait till I have mine all up. Here comes the naff propaganda poster!

Dirty Dark Secret...

I don't know how to tell all you faithful Dreamcast enthusiasts out there about my dark and dirty secret. Something I feel so much shame about, that it its almost ubearable. So, in order to purge myself of this guilt and self-loathing, I'm going to expose myself on the Yard. (No, being a flasher is not my secret, or at least not one that I would choose to disclose just at this moment...)
No I am going to tell you my secret.... OK, promise you won't hate me or boycott my posts? I have been... playing OTHER CONSOLES and LOVING IT. There! I said it...Now before you all gather yourselves into a big posse, equipped with flaming torches and bail round to my gaff with cries of "Burn the cheating whore!" Let me explain...
A confession of this magnitude is like being caught having a sly 'tug' over pictures of Vanessa Feltz in Woman's Weekly by your mum. So in order to clear things up as quickly as hiding those crusty tissues... Everything I have been playing is in someway related to the Dreamcast. Am I excused m'lud?
The first is Sega Heroes on (cough, choke) the PS2. Utilizing the Eye Toy gizmo you can actually find yourself on the TV screen slapping zombies in House of The Dead, dancing along with Ulala in Space Channel 5, playing along erm...without maracas to Samba De Amigo and knocking out Akira in Virtua Fighter. (Plus heading in balls in Virtua Striker), all of which I actually found very good fun!(Nice polished graphics too.) Now before you gripe to me about the PS2's lack of originality and riding off the back of the Dreamcast's former glories, I know all this. Yes I am a fickle twat! Plus the afore-mentioned console was in the house anyway, belonging to the three gingers that live with me. (Honest...)

The next guilty pleasure came at my brother-in-law's, courtesy of Microsoft's Dreamcast rip-off the Xbox. Whilst thumbing through the Dreamcast section of my local Gamestation, I noticed out of the corner of my eye, in the two for Twenty Pound section, House of the Dead 3.
Now, not being available (sadly) for the Dreamcast, but the third game in the only franchise that I sometimes pay to play in arcades, I felt compelled to try it out. I bought the sucker and then hunted for a light gun on eBay. Result! a £2.50 steal at 'Buy Now' price. I clicked on 'confirm bid' only to find the fuckers were charging £12.50 for postage (Doh!)
Anyhoo, having found an excuse to go round and give my bro-in- law a 'present' The gun and the game were really for him. No really... I set up his 'Box, calibrated the gun and got ready to play! The graphics were lush and even (dare I say it) a fair bit of a step forward from the Dreamcast HOTD2 (yes I know I should have a red hot poker shoved up me jacksy for even thinking it but it's true...) Having said that, the gameplay was no different and as usual with HOTD all the character and monsters from the original game were replicated. Stil buckets of red blood (as opposed to green) was refreshing.

At my Light House over the summer, one of the ginger's mates turned up with a PSP. Now all those who know me well, will understand that the Treamcast is my favourite 'portable' games console, (which deserves a post of it's own) but I thought I would give the PSP a whirl. The main reason was that the game he had for it was Virtua Tennis. Despite being a tad small and fiddly for an old duffer like myself, it was a fairly straight forward port, and let's face it, a great game is a great game, whether its been ported to another console or not. When I allowed him to play VT2 on the Dreamcast, he was so impressed he pledged to pick up the console and original game from Gamestation.
Thus, I had restored my Karma, tweaked the balance of the Cosmic Order and enlisted a new Dreamcast fan from a generation who only knew about the Sony/Microsoft bastard's fare!
Still racked with guilt about cheating on my little white box, I decided to pledge to exclusively to never cheat again and buy (the much viewed on Youtube, but never played on the Dreamcast...) Space Channel 5. And guess what? I LOVE IT! And on that slightly gay bombshell, I shall bid you farewell and wait over night and see whether my house is torched by angry Yardites...
Big gay love to you all!

Happy Birthday Dreamcast! (In America)

The great thing about a console being released at different times in Japan, the US and Europe, is that it gets three Birthdays! Today seven years ago the console launched in America, to which it sold out in the first week. It's launch line up was it's strongest in America, too. Where else could you get Soul Calibur from day one? Also, unlike here in Brighty, the marketing was flawless. Seeing those commercials of all the characters having a party inside the Dreamcast still make me want to rip the console open and stick them all in a tank. The American launch was possibly one of the most exciting console launch’s in gaming history, at least from where I'm standing, thousands of miles away from it. Sega of America really put their all into making an impression. Here are the games that those yanks could get from day one:
  • Airforce Delta (Konami)
  • Blue Stinger (Activison)
  • CART Flag to Flag (Sega)
  • Expendable (Infogrames)
  • House of the Dead 2 (Sega)
  • Hydro Thunder (Midway)
  • Monaco Grand Prix (Ubi Soft)
  • Mortal Kombat Gold (Midway)
  • NFL 2K (Sega)
  • NFL Blitz 2000 (Midway)
  • Pen Pen Tri-Icelon (Infogrames)
  • Power Stone (Capcom)
  • Ready 2 Rumble (Midway)
  • Sonic Adventure (Sega)
  • Soul Calibur (Namco)
  • TNN Hardcore Heat (ASC) -AKA Buggy Heat
  • Tokyo Xtreme Racing (Crave)
  • TrickStyle (Acclaim)
That's at least four 9 out of 10 games there, and barely a real dud in sight, except maybe Buggy Heat, although it was a good game to show off the graphics with at the time in shop windows. Also, count how many sequels are in there: Four (Sonic Adventure doesn't count as it was a new Sonic series completely different to previous ones). Even Capcom, the KING of sequels, had a brand new francise with a brand new cast of charaters to beat the snot out of each other which. Good times!

Submitted at Youtube by Kagem.

Oh, just so you know, the DC's Euro Birthday is on the 14th of October, and it's Japanese Birthday is the 27th of November, where it is a year older due to being released in 1998. Huzzah!

This summer I have been mostly playing..

Summer has been very long for me, about three months to be exact, and now it's almost coming to a close as I go back to University at the end of this month. This long time off, however, has given me plenty of time to get acquainted with my Dreamcast and buy new stuff for it. Here I list the top 3 games that I have been the most hooked on those unbearably hot summer days.

3: Puyo Puyo 4
I completely forgot to write about this game here at the Blog, but here it is. Not to be confused with it's follow up Puyo Puyo Fever, which I did write about, this is the last in the series produced by it's original developers Compile, and one of the last to feature the original cast which included the heroine Arle, the green haired devil guy Satan, the tea-obsessed Skeleton-T, and that weird fish with human limbs that has a really long name. I grabbed it off Ebay for a tenner. Anyway, there are many reasons why this game turns out to be a lot better than fever was, despite the language barrier. For starters the graphics are not quite as eye-bleedingly colourful and he artwork is beautiful. Secondly, there are a lot more modes of game play to pick from here, including a endless mode that gives you a choice of 5 different sizes of Puyos from the teeny tiny to the screen-filling huge) and there's even a 4-player mode.

What's had me stuck into it mainly over the summer was the Story mode. While the story in Fever only took a day to complete, the one really long story mode in this took around a month. The fever feature in the follow up made the game a bit too easy, but in this game you get special moves instead, and as you go through the story more characters tag along with Arle, so you get to choose from different specials. Puyo 4 is far more tactical then any of he others I played, and it's all about getting good combos, and the timing of your specials (which you only get a limited few of). I would spend days on some levels later on, as the characters started to get rock hard.

The very final boss, a evil clone of Arle of some sort, has to be one of the most taxing challenges I've come across in a puzzle game. There are two Puyo blobs in the corners worth 500,000 points each, and if the CPU gets one of them, you have automatically lost as rows and rows of blocks fall down on you. If you hit one of the, however, the CPU has 5 shields to stop the blocks falling down for a minute each, and you don't have any specials to use at all! The only way to beat her, after days to trying, was to somehow get both of the 500K blobs AND prevent her from getting anywhere near her two! I got it in the end, and the satisfaction of finally beating the game was overwhelming, especially when I rarely beat games as hard as this one was. Phew.

2: Seaman
No, not that Seaman!
With months of time ahead of me, I decided to start up Seaman again at the start to make up for my poor first attempts at it, in which after a couple weeks I gave p and deleted it. This time, I was determined to get right to whatever kind of ending this game has, if it even had one. Playing it for five minutes every one or two days seemed to do the trick. The questions the miserable sod asks you are very varied, from the simple ("How old are you?"), to the personal ("Do you like yourself?") to the Sega-indorsed ("What is your favourite Dreamcast game?"). It's quite some time before the fishes start to evolve, but after a while (about a month), they start to grow legs, and once that stage of their evolution is sorted, one of them will ask you to help him push a big rock in the corner of the tank. getting him to do this makes the tanks water sink down into a small area, and turns the tank into a beach of some sort.

This Seaman you twat.
I won't spoil the rest of the game for you, as FatherKrsihna appaers to be playing through the game as well, but after almost 3 months of five minute or so sittings, there is an ending to this game, in which you dion't have to look after him anymore. You can, however, still go back to the file and check up on him, and see if he has evolved some more. It may not sound all to eventful, but trust me when I say this is one of the most bizarre yet interesting experiences I have had on the Dreamcast, and the only virtual pet game I've played with a real award to it. Who needs Nintendogs when you can have a real dog? Well, where can you get a real talking fish or frog? No where. Well worth the patience of playing it at the start to get to the later parts.

1: Sega Marine Fishing
Yes, the most played game of the summer for me was a fishing game. Don't look at me like that! I've actually had this game for a long while from where I picked it up while in America, but didn't really want to play it until I got my mitts on a fishing controller, which I did just this year for 3 squid in a Gamestation. Playing this along side Sega Bass Fishing, I've come to the conclusion that this game is at least 10 times better than that one was. For starters, you have more than 1 type of fish to catch: you have around 20, including sharks, stingrays (No comment.) and all sorts of tropical type fishes. Also, while Bass Fishing was a port of a crusty old Model 3 game from 1997, Sega Marine Fishing was the latest from Sega's Naomi arcade line up and looks the bees knees.

Now I'm not in the slightest bit interested in fishing, but this game is a big exception. Instead of sitting around waiting for the miserable sods to bite, in this game you quite often have multiple fish fighting over your lure, and catching the buggers, thanks to the fishing controller, as always hella fun. The real reason I've been playing this game for the last few months almost religiously is because of the Original Mode. Here you get he choice of the Mini-Games, where you gain items, Free Fishing where you have no time limit and must catch fish to win these gained items, and the Aquarium where a lot of the items go, such as fish, ruins, submarines and even a UFO! Other items you can gain include more specialist lures to catch certain fish, new clothes for your crew (of very bad taste, I might add) and even a Labrador to bark away at the fish you catch. You can even eventually swap your boat for a raft, a wobbly plank of wood which appears to have nothing to move it with.

I've almost got to the end of this very long game now, as I've now gained all 266 items and now just need to win about 30 of them. The only problem is as you go along through the game you end up with less and less fish to catch: once you've caught a particular fish a few times, catching it again wins you nothing. It's now starting to get to he point where almost everything I catch I've already caught, and yet they still insist on biting, sometimes the same fish a few times in a row. Still, my Aquarium is almost full now (just one type of fish to go, I have everything else), so playing through this game is well worth the time. Completing the Arcade mode about 4 or 5 times also unlocks more levels to catch the last items on, such as Hammer-head Sharks. Judging from the reviews this game got, this is a real under rated gem in my opinion, and miles ahead of that rusty old Bass Fishing.

Bonus! This summer my dad has been mostly playing...
Virtua Striker 2
My dad is completely hooked on this game. Whenever he gets a spare half-hour his there, playing as England and trashing his way through the arcade mode, and often getting frustrated with the fact that he always hits the goal post or misses the goal miles because you can actually see it when you kick it from a distance. His technique seems to involve knocking over everyone in sight and walking the ball into the goal, and he never uses the formation button. Most matches he plays end up going into penalties, in which he finally wins. He did actually manage to get Team Sega to pop up once (you have to beat arcade mode with no continues to play against them). That dreaded "GOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAL!" sound now is permanently drilled into my skull thanks to all those penalties he has taken, and often I hear it when his not even playing the game.

Fishy Tails...

So my first post... And which of my manifold DC tales should I regale you with dear reader? Ah yes. How I created life and then quashed it in a cruel act of murder. Murder most foul I tells yer... THREE TIMES! But I'm getting ahead of myself, lets go back to the beginning. As the blessed six week holiday approached (ah Education... doesn't that just suck to all you bank holiday watchers in normal employment?) I found myself at my usual holiday destination, a solitary derelict light house off the coast of Birkenhead, with only my trusty DC collection and sullen, pimply, scowling sons for company. Having been thoroughly thrashed by them at a variety of fighting games (Soul Calibur, Marvel vs. Capcom and Capcom vs. SNK amongst them...) I decided I needed a more solitary gaming experience to engage in. One where I would be master and one where I would have absolute power... "MWUAH HA HA!"
And what better 'game' could the aspiring creationist despot recourse to than... 'CAUTION SEAMAN'?

Having purchased a microphone without knowing its use, I stumbled across an IGN blog featuring a picture of a fish-man creature, like the ones in Monty Python's 'Meaning Of Life'. On further inspection I discovered this to be the US/Japan only 'Caution Seaman' (At one point the most popular and eagerly awaited piece of software in that particulary technologically advanced of nations- Japan that is...)
So with time on my hands and money to burn, I scoured Ebay, got my Utopia disc and ordered 'Seaman' from a US software company. I then whisked it away to my Lighthouse and started to explore... The first delight was that Mr. Spock was included in the box... That's right the wonderful Leonard Nimoy, actor, bon viveur and well frankly...Vulcan, was to be my guide in giving birth to and nurturing my fishy friend.

The next was a delightfully entertaining piece of bullshit in the shape of the mannual, which spun a well thought out yarn about a French Scientist/Archaeologist called Dr. Jean-Paul Gasse having discovered a living Seaman in Alexandria, Egypt at the turn of the century. Although the specimen had died before the good doctor could attain fame or recognition, now, through electrickery, the good folks at Vivarium Software and a bit of DC magic, I too could raise and evolve a living Seaman (in the telly of course, not in real life.)

I eagerly loaded up the game, verily stiffening "downstairs" with anticipation. I was met with a food store, a pleasant aquarium environment (in which I had to maintin, heat, light and oxygen levels.) With a little hand, (much like Jeremy Beadle's), visually floating outside of the Aquarium, I could drop in food, tap the glass and most importantly drop in my Seaman egg. After a bought of pulsating and squirming several little sperm like creatures known as 'Mushroomers' burst forth from the egg. These spermy globules just bobbed about until they were fucking eaten by a previously unnoticed squid like creature laying dormant at the bottom of the tank, hidden in a shell. Bastard! I thought the whole experience was over, until the hapless crustacean started to jerk and convulse and in floods of ink, spat out half a dozen little Seamen (known as Gillmen) and then promptly died! HA! Sqidkind 0- Krishna 6! Take that you murderous Octopede!

Leonard (we were getting pretty tight at this juncture) told me I should converse with the little fishies, which replied in a babylike gurgle, but after what seemed like literally days, (it was literally days...) they began to respond in a child-like American voice (creepy.) The first thing mine said when I was tickling them with my little cyber hand (stay with me..) was " Stop or I'll fart!" and then even more alarmingly "Bad Touch! Bad Touch!" (You're meant to tickle them honest- read the mannual before you call the NSPC/RSPCA... )
Over time my fishy-boy pets evolved into a weighty carp-men with deep and laconic baritone voices. My favourite, Robbie (named after the iconic Robbie Fowler) asked me my age, birthday, occupation and other facts which he remembered and recounted to me. He was rude and obnoxious, sarcastic and cynical. He called me "skinbag" and "fuzzy", told me to "Go away!" said he was mad at me and when I asked him for a kiss ( I was alone on a light house for chrissakes!!!!) He replied "What? Put this tongue in that mouth?!" Fucking charming....

Eventually the 'game' presented me with a Vivarium (insect hatchery) to breed caterpillar things to feed my greedy pike, and I felt that it was getting intense (or as intense as a game played over a month at five minute intervals can get) and then just before it was about to grow legs and evolve into the frog like silhouette seen on the sign on the game box, I murdered it! Killed the fucker stone dead! Well how was I to know that resetting the timer on my DC would cause the games internal memory to think I hadn't fed it or heated up the tank for six years? Jesus! Thanks for the pointer Leonard! I repeated the process another two times utilising my Treamcast when my TV at home wouldn't accept the Utopia disk. But it just wasn't the same... In the end I just let it die for a third time and called it a day. But my memories of spanking my seamen, tickling my trout and letting my spermy shroomers float about on the top of my bath water will live with me forever. Oh well, that's it. I'm off to play something quick, easy and that only lasts a beloved Shenmue 2.

P.S. This is only a hasty recount of the epic tome that was my original post before I clicked on the wrong option on the Blog and wiped out about an hours worth of typing and uploading pictures forever. Bastard! This posting shit is not as easy as TLC and the Gagaman make it look! Adieu Yardites...until next time...

And you are...?

Well, will you looky over there! Over 20,000 hits on the 'Yard since the whole thing crawled out of my ear, slopped off my pillow and infested the internet all of 9 long months ago. Nowadays, the mere thought of an internet without the Dreamcast Junkyard makes me shudder. The kind of shudder that ripples through the body when taking a particularly satisfying piss. Anyway - today's post is more of an introduction than a proper DC related journey through the surreal. As regular visitors will have gathered, the 'Yard is currently maintained by myself and the multi-talented Gagaman. However, in a matter of mere weeks, I - the all-powerful Warlock known simply as Tomleecee, will be temporarily departing from the comfortable confines of this pastel hued asylum for an unknown period of time. As such, I have taken it upon myself to enlist a new Team Member to assist The Gagaman in continuing to deliver the good word to the masses after my passing. Like a band of Dreamcast branded Jehovah's Witnesses, but without the sinister, birthday-less undertones. Ahem.

So without further ado, Ladies and Gents, please welcome The Dreamcast Junkyard's newest team member - Father Krishna!

Father Krishna promises to bring reviews, tales of Dreamcasting adventures and (hopefully) a whole truckload of bullshit to the 'Yard. So, business as usual then.


Whilst taking the aformentioned piss earlier this evening, I noticed something familiar about the bog-roll holder next to the shit throne:

eh? eh? EH?!?!?!

Dreamcast Megamix (and YouTube onslaught)

Until I get time to actually write up another article here, here's a video I made just last week out of all the clips of DC game footage so far. There are 52 games featured in this video (53 if you count the one you can hear but not see at the start), and none of them are of FMV scenes, just the in-game goodness. The music used is from Sonic Rush, which sadly is not a Dreamcast game, but would have been if the DS was in fact a Dreamcast in a very clever disguise.

And because I constantly check the Search:Dreamcast in order of last posted age of Youtube, here's a link collection of the most interesting posts by people recently:

Power Stone has it's own Japanese cartoon, complete with naff theme tune. What, you didn't know?

Just when you thought you'd seen it all with Soul Calibur, here comes a documentary on how the game becomes a natural reflex. "It's the true test of manhood." Kudos, Dr. Rek, Kudos.

Remember any good British commercials for Dreamcast games? neither do I, but I never saw this one.

Ulala lives. I'm serious, there is no why this girl can NOT be Ulala herself.

Not exclusively DC related, but this Sega tribute inspiried me to make Dreamcast Megamix. Will bring a tear to your eye (or was it just me?)

Would you believe that this Homebrew game (which has a DC port) is in fact based on the Quake engine?

Someone playing Shenmue music on a Piano. Nuff said.

Girls play Dreamcast too! Well,it IS Bust-a-Move.

Because closing the Dreamcast lid takes SO much effort, someone has modded one with a close function.

Let There be Light(guns)

On the first day, God said "Let there be lightguns," and not, as is wrongly recorded, "Let there simply be boring old light." Cough. That's because God, in His infinate wisdom, knew he was onto a good thing when he planted the idea of videogames into Man's tiny, naked-ass mind. Of course, as we all know, games were shite until Man ate the Kebab of Knowledge, quaffed the Pint of Ingeniousness and invented the Mighty Dreamcast:

And lo, House of the Dead 2 was spewed forth unto the world like so much bile from the gullet of a 16-day old corpse, and it was good. So good infact, that Sega didn't give us another lightgun game for about 3 millennia...

At this juncture, I'd like to share with you a small musing I had earlier on. Bear with me. Anyone played Knife Edge on the N64? It was a pathetically bad 'lightgun' game...on a console without a gun. Now - if I had a) the intelligence; or b) the inclination to invent an N64 lightgun, and plug it into said 1920's themed console (it's pure art deco), would Knife Edge have the ability to recognise the lightgun? Hmmm. It's like that shit about the tree falling in the forest and nobody being around to hear it. Anyway, back to the real world (sigh).

Yes, after all the zombie blasting and enduring the horrendous dialogue of HOTD2 (who can forget such ambiguous gems as "Die - like G did," and "Don't come" (Snigger)), Sega rewarded us with:

Confidential Mission!

Yep, the newest entrant into the Junkyard is here - gleaming and shiny like a new 2 penny piece cast adrift in a particularly watery dollop of dog shit. However, in direct contrast to the evil, murderous, death-dealing shennanigans that go on within Confidential Mission, the circumstances surrounding the game's arrival in the 'Yard bring a tear to the eye. For, you see, Confidential Mission was donated to the cause by long time reader, supporter, and indeed commentator of this very blog - Father Krishna. Father Krishna - fellow Mancunian, Dreamcast lover and owner of the only Dreamcast collection visible from space - discovered that he, in his all knowing omniprescence, actually owned TWO copies of CM...and the rest is (recent) history.

But how does CM play? As you've probably already guessed after reading all the preceding guff, CM is - gasp - a lightgun game! The second one after HOTD2 infact. And it's a fucking stormer. After completing HOTD2 something like a bazillion times, it's refreshing to actually get to shoot some real-life peeps, and not already-dead buffoons with Sugar Puffs for teeth. But I'm jumping the gun (arf!).

In CM, you play as the decidedly un-heroically named Howard Gibson - a recent graduate from the James Bond school of smoothness. Armed only with a pistol, you set off (with your lovely blonde partner, Jean Clifford) on a 'confidential mission' to stop an evil genius (Agares) holding the world to ransom with a hijacked military satellite laser. Playing like Virtua Cop on anabolics, CM is big, brash and loud. It has great visuals and the game takes you through some really cool environments with loads of stuff to shoot and civilians WHO GET IN THE FRIGGING WAY. Ahem. Similarly to Virtua Cop, it features terrorists to cap and also the familiar green reticules that appear around an enemy and slowly turn red before he fires. An interesting feature in CM is the 'Justice Shot,' whereby if you manage to blow the gun out of an enemy's hand, he will surrender, thus furnishing you with more points. I don't bother with that though - I just shoot to kill. Maybe I'll try to get a job with the Metropolitan Police...

Confidential Mission is fairly short lived compared to HOTD2 and doesn't feature alternative routes through the levels (of which there are only 3), but it does offer some brilliant variations on the usual 'shoot, shoot, shoot' mentality of the genre. For example, during the second mission you hang upside down from the roof of a speeding train and as such must play that section from an upside down point of view. Also, to break up the monotony Confidential Mission throws in the odd time-limited task, such as firing blobs of glue at air vents to stop deadly gas from filling the room. Ace.

Like I said, CM isn't a massive game, but it features a great training academy filled with Point Blank style mini-games (above), and also a mode called 'Another World' where you play through the arcade mode but enemies appear randomly. An added bonus also appears in the manual - the page footer reads "The last trump for the peace of the world." Righty-ho.

So, all in all, a fantastic post-pub blast that breathes new life into the old dual Dreamcast lightguns (Health Warning: Playing with dual guns is only for the most hardened Dreamcaster. Do not attempt if you are of a weak disposition). Sadly, upon inserting the Microphone you still can't take Private Hudson's advice and use 'harsh language,' but you can't have everything:

And once again, many thanks to Father Krishna for supplying it to the 'Yard.

Oh, and through playing Confidential Mission, I think I may have stumbled on something that is as Earth-shatteringly amazing as playing Soul Calibur with a fishing rod. Watch this space...