Dreamcast Zip Drive

Currently appearing on eBay and flagged up by our very own Nick944 on the Planet Dreamcast Forum, this oh so rare thing of beauty is the prototype Dreamcast Zip Drive.
The description on the eBay sale goes like this...

"The Zip Drive extension box was designed for the Sega Dreamcast. There is a physical connection that joins the setup game console with the extension box. This was the only prototype in the world. It never made it to manufacturing since Sega had cancelled their hardware gaming console business plans The original purpose of the extension box was to save game scores to the Zip media and load additional players characters into the Dreamcast games. This is a rare collectible item for the serious gamer connoisseur."

With a current bid of $1631.02, this is one expensive little collectible... If I was filthy rich I'd be bidding for it right now, as I'm not however, I guess I'll just dream about it. Thanks Nick for bringing it to our attention!

Another Dreamcast First?

The Virtual Console on the Wii is rather nice, isn't it? I especially like it for N64 games as I never owned one of those and the games look better than they did on the original console. Legal emulation seems to be the way to go if companies don't want people emulating games behind their backs, although I think they might be over pricing some of the games..

But did you know Sega actually experimented with a similar idea in Japan for the Dreamcast? Yeah, either did I, but I bumped into this video on Youtube, where the descriptions reads:

"Dream Library was video game download service for Dreamcast.(Similar to Virtual Console for Wii.) It was possible to play by downloading the games of MegaDrive(Genesis) and PC Engine(TurboGrafx-16).Only five trial versions that can play for 15 minutes by using Dream Passport 3(web browser software for DC) can play now."

Judging by the video (which demonstrates 5 Mega Drive games including Ghouls N Ghosts, which shows they must of had some third party agreements on this other than Hudson), it runs on the same emulator as the American release Sega Smash pack, which played and looked perfectly fine but has shit sound emulation, making the games sound a lot worse than they actually were. No TurboGrafx games are shown so my guess is they never got around to emulation for that (otherwise there would of been a leak). I like the idea of a free 15 minute trial version though, Nintendo should probably set something up like that themselves.

I can't think of any earlier cases of consoles letting you download emulated back catalogs of older systems like this (Sega Channel doesn't count as that was for downloading games for the same system). Looks like this would of been another one of those things Sega could have expanded on if the Dreamcast kept going. Another "what if", if you like.

Resident Evil 2

Oh my gosh! I'm sitting here, with that rare feeling of satisfaction that one can only get from the completion of a videogame that you have loved every minute of... The fact that I'd amassed (a not too respectable), 36 hours, 35 minutes and 4 seconds to do so (on the easiest option) is testimony to the old adage, "Time flies when you're having fun..."

Let's put things into perspective... I had reached what I can only describe as 'gaming impotence' recently; despite having nine consoles to play on, and a plethora of unplayed and unfinished games to choose from... Plus the, as yet, untapped potential of my Wii, but nothing was doing it for me...

Then came a sustained period of sobriety, which as you may or may not know, is unusual for the Father... In a rare moment of clarity I knew what game I should be playing, and what console I should be playing it on... I dispatched one of the gingers upstairs to fetch RE2 for the Dreamcast. Since playing RE4 and RE: Code Veronica, plus RE1 in various guises (with varying degrees of success) the franchise had become a firm favourite. I'd had RE2 for years, and besides, I needed to gen up on the whole Umbrella saga before my most anticipated Wii release, Umbrella Chronicles...

From the moment I popped into that little white box of dreams, it was "love at first bite". Now, for those of you who've played the RE franchise chronologically, your first introduction to Leon. S. Kennedy and Ada Wong will have been in RE2... But I started at the most recent and worked my way backwards. Meeting Leon, Ada and Claire Redfield in RE2, was like meeting an old group of friends... and they were all in the same game! (Plus Leon looked so dashing in his Raccoon City Police uniform! (LOL!)

Now, for those of you in the know, RE2 was ported to the Dreamcast from the PS1. At the time (and indeed since) people were unhappy to receive inferior ports which despite some polishing, did not utilise the full graphical potential of the Dreamcast. This might be an issue for some, but not for me... You see, as someone who can still be 'wowed' by graphics on the Saturn, these graphics looked pretty hot! They were pretty much somewhere between the quality of the Saturn original and RE:Code Veronica...

Oh! But the best was yet to come! You see as a feature of the Dreamcast release, the player was given the option of the 'Arrange Game', where you can play as a Rookie... This option allows you access to more type writer ribbons (save potential) and both a machine gun and rocket launcher with unlimited ammo... Hoo-fucking-ray!!!

Now I know that will appall some of you more experienced and skilled gamers, I expect you'll accuse me of cheating... but for me it was like Christmas come early! It meant that I could gain access to the excellent storyline, characters and cut scenes, without the infuriating prospect of the frustration of playing for hours and then dying before a save point, or having to fight insanely tough bosses with the equivalent firepower of a pea shooter! The whole experience has been sublime from start to finish...

Now, my Dreamcast horror survival options are many, I've got Blue Stinger (with official strategy guide), Half Life (with official strategy guide!), RE 3 Nemesis, Ill Bleed and finally... Da da... D fucking 2!!!!

All these lovely titles to cram in before November the 3oth when Umbrella Chronicles comes out and I remember why I bought a Wii in the first place! Any way my lovelies, its late and I'm still reeling from an unexpected (free) trip to Old Trafford, where I saw the mighty MUFC knocked out of the Carling Cup by minnows Coventry City FC! Happy Days!!

So I'll love you and leave you, but expect another Shenmue post from me soon! This is FK signing off...

Good Night Dear Children, Wherever You Are...

I've revived Sega Freaks, now 'Sega Memories'.

Just to let you guys here know, I've decided to revive my old Sega Blog project, under the new name of Sega Memories. Having a rummage in my loft, sorting out all the odd Sonic stuff I collected as a kid inspired me to bring it back. Before I felt the blog didn't have a key focus, like how the Junkyard family of blogs each focus on a Sega console, and I think that's why I ended up leaving it behind. Now, the blog will mainly focus on the non-gaming side of my Sega obsession: the culture, music, merchandise, advertising...anything. If you missed my articles about Sega World, the Sega Tour Bus, Sega Trading cards and that Educational film starring Outrun, they're all back up. New articles will be up soon! End Plug!

"Amercian Dreamcast" Lets go buy a Dreamcast 9-9-99

I will admit it. I openly wept while watching this.

Oh Dreamcast! How could Sega stop supporting you?!?!?!?!!?

Ah well. That Dreamcast he bought 8 years ago lives on...in undeath.

Corn on the cob cat? How about Dreamcast cat?

Just found this last night on Youtube. I have a perfect excuse for posting this!

Someone make a GIF out of this ammediantly!

D2 Video Review. Rummage! American Style!

My first attempt at a game review video and it shows.

I didn't cover everything I wanted to and the voice-over sucked. Plus the video game footage is poor quality.

Points I couldn't get in:

1. The music in this game was kick ass.

2. The ending movie in this game has a timer showing how much time has passed since 2000. Or I suppose if you played the game in 1999, how long until the new millennium.

3. This game was protested in America by feminist groups, which makes NO sense since it has a female protagonist facing down the ultimate evil all by herself. There is a cut scene where an insane dude shoots a helpless woman IN THE FACE, so it was a pretty intense game. But there really wasn't any anything blatantly misogynistic. Except for the tentacle oral rape of course. But I am sure that monster would have done that to any victim regardless of gender.

4. I wasn't clear on the whole "bootleg" version thing. Due to the insane amount of FMVs in this game copied versions are mostly scaled down graphically and don't look as good as the real thing. Hands down D2 is the most difficult Dreamcast game to copy. Which means you should be like me and get a real copy.

I hope you get the general point. I really liked the game.

X-box Live arcade gets some updated Dreamcast goodness.

See that picture?

The cat represents the X-box 360.

The corn represents Dreamcast games like Rez and Ikaruga.

As you can see the X-box 360 is really enjoying the Dreamcast goodness. And I am sure gamers will too.

...Ok fine. I just wanted an excuse to post that .gif. But really a HD edition of Rez and an updated version of Ikaruga are being released on X-box Live. Rejoice.

-Articles linked from Kotaku.

EDIT: Racketboy has a much better article up about this that I somehow missed before. Go. Read. It.

Btw: One of these games (Rez) was mentioned in an article that Gagaman(n) wrote awhile back. Of course he said it should be remade for the Wii, not the 360. Still I think 1/2 points should be awarded.

9-9-99...was yesterday.

It seems me of all people forgot what yesterday was! Only the 8th anniversary of the Dreamcast's American launch! Of course, I won't be celebrating till October 14th, when it was launched in the UK, but this is the day many people class as the Dreamcast Birthday, even though it was out in Japan in November of 1998, which makes it NINE years old for those guys. Just a reminder of how good the American launch line up was though, which we'll probably end up doing every year. I found this rather helpful guide which even has the average scores for each game, from the blog Modern Geek.

Aerowings 69
Airforce Delta 65
Blue Stinger 71
CART - Flag to Flag 64
Expendable 61
House of the Dead 78
Hydro Thunder 80
Monaco Grand Prix 70
Mortal Kombat Gold 55
NFL 2K 91
NFL Blitz 2000 80
PenPen TriIcelon 64
Power Stone 84
Ready 2 Rumble 84
Sonic Adventure 87
Soul Calibur 97
TNN Motorsports Hardcore Heat 60
Tokyo Xtreme Racer 71
Trickstyle 72

Average: 73.8
Top 5: 88.6
# of games scoring 80%+: 7
Number of games: 19

That's the officially proven best launch line up for any console...ever. The Japanese launch in comparison was pathetic. It had everything: sports games that sell like hot cakes and were actually good, the best fighting game of all time, and Sonic the god dam Hedgehog. If that's not evidence that there is something wrong with A) the gaming industry and/or B) the general public when a console with a day one line up like that still manages to be a commercial flop. Still, there's no point crying over it (really, there isn't), all the more great gaming for us real gamers who saw a good thing when it happened.

I must admit the Dreamcast has taken a bit of a back seat in my house recently. In the last 2 weeks I've blown quite a bit of money on three other systems: a GP2X (homebrew handheld that can play of emulated stuff, which is ace), and most ironically both a Playstation 2 (great deal: sliver slim model with 14 games and a bunch of other stuff for £55) and an X-Box (with 3 games and a Crazy Taxi like yellow and red sticker-job that is not as tacky as it sounds for £20). This doesn't mean I've forgotten about my all time favorite system though: while buying a accessory for my GP2X at Play Asia I also decided to purchase Last Hope, which is currently being sold for just £15 there. Redspot Games deserve all the money they can get for supporting the Dreamcast all these years later.

At this time of celebration though, Sega have ecided to remind us that they are soon to stop supporting the Dreamcast for good by cancelling their repairing service. This is Sega, who we have all seen plummet ever since they quit making games for the DC, hammering the final nail into the coffin.

But remember, the Dreamcast is an UNDEAD console. It will punch it's way out of that coffin Kill Bill Vol.2 style and eat the flesh of all the Sega execs that did it wrong! The Dreamcast is a reminder of what Sega used to be about, before they became about nothing but rushed-out-the-door Sonic games and movie licenses. This was Sega at their creative peak, and a golden era for gaming. Gaming hasn't been quite as exciting since.

Ok, so it may be a day late, but there's my little tribute. I'll finish it off with a probably rather obvious Youtube embodiment...

Dreamcast Hangover.

I am feeling a bit blue this morning.

You see I was celebrating the Dreamcast's birthday last night with a few rounds on the off-white box.

Yep. In North America 9-9-99 only meant one thing...the Dreamcast (and stocking up on canned goods and bottled water for no good reason *Y2K*). And now so many years later the Dreamcast is still a wonderful gaming device enjoyed by many.

Yet this auspicious occasion was marred by this article that reminds us of of the sad truth that soon Sega will no longer support it's greatest creation. You should still read that Kotaku article though, the comments people listed below it are a testament to how great the Dreamcast truly is.

So go to Sega's website while you can if you need to grab a manual for the Dreamcast or a Sega Dreamcast game (Scroll down to the bottom of the manual's page). Or consider sending in your Dreamcast in to Sega to be fixed if it's a limited edition one.

I currently have 4 Dreamcast's in the house. One mint condition one hooked up to my VGA adaptor at my computer desk. My Sega Sports limited edition is in secure storage in my closet. Down cellar I have Dreamcast that has been professional repaired and a beater Dreamcast that I use the most. The only thing that has ever gone wrong with any of them was the control board blowing up the F1 fuse in my beater model. But a quick fix and that Dreamcast is still going strong. If you make sure that they are on a cool hard none-carpeted surface Dreamcast consoles can keep working for a long time... But it would be nice if I could send in my Dreamcasts to Sega to get professionally repaired after this month is over. Too bad.

Still it's not all bad news. While I was at a game store recently a young gamer who looked about 14 years old was buying Dreamcast games. I heard him tell the store clerk that he had only recently got a Dreamcast and that it was his favorite console. It's nice to know that the system keeps getting new fans even as Sega keeps trying to pull the plug on it.

But Sega can't end the Dreamcast. It has a life of it's own and it will never die.

All hail the undead console. All hail the Dreamcast.

Dreamcast Game Price Drop...

I've already posted about this over at the Saturn Junkyard, but I'm a little traumatised by recent events over at Gamestation. To cut a long story short, previously Retro friendly Gamestation, has been bought out by Blockbuster and the much blander Game... The high street stores are now owned by Game and the ones nestled in the back of Blockbuster video stores have been bought out by Blockbuster...
Now, my local Gamestation was one in the back of a Blockbuster. It holds many happy memories for me, it's where I collected most of my Dreamcast software. Its where I bought Shenmue 2, when I knew nothing about it, only to be entranced by it for the following year.

It's where I picked up my Dreamcast steering wheel, keyboards, light guns and mouse... where I bought my replacement Saturn when the last one conked out, where I bought my entire Master System software collection and my Game Gear. Its been the mainstay of my expansive video game collection and a place I knew I could always go to browse and maybe score the odd bargain.

Now I know that Caleb recently scored an extensive Dreamcast haul from a major US videogame emporium that had claimed for years it didn't stock Dreamcast stuff. But what I saw on my last visit to 'my' Gamestation, that this place was now dead as a source of Retro Treasures. For there, in a lowly basket was every last piece of Retro kit that the shop had, just dumped and with prices slashed for a quick sale... No dignity, no display, just a random skip full of Dreamcast, Saturn, Megadrive, Gameboy software etc... Had you walked into the store a couple of months before, you would have seen a 'Dreamcast section' and occasionally amongst the mass of WWF games, the plethora of Chu Chu Rockets, the score of Tee Off Golfs and the host of Soul Fighters, you could pick up a pearl...

So what was in the basket then? Well uniformly priced at £1.99 was the following selection...
Loads of Virtua Striker 2, Pod Racing, Virtua Athlete 2K, Aerowings, Sega Bass Fishing, Tomb Raider: Last Revelation... But these weren't always in there boxes... Some were bundled in a plastic sleeve with an elastic bands wrapped round them... One of the interesting items was Aerowings at £1.99... In June that would have cost you £9.99... Now they have decided it is worth £8 less... Go figure!
Now I had been told by the shop's staff that Retro section would still be a feature, but when I saw the devestation layed before me, I was forced to ask what the future of Retro gaming at Blockbuster would be... The answer was that there would not be one... and for me that's just sad.
Sure there's Ebay... we can always go online and boost our collections... But for me personally that's not the same as going into a shop, checking out and thumbing through the selection and walking away with a much coveted title or a piece of hardware... For me it's the end of an era, and another nail in the coffin for our favourite undead console...

Even more worrying, is the fact that a similar fate has befallen the Dreamcast (and Saturn) at Chips, a smaller independent franchise, that previously boasted a Dreamcast and Saturn section, has now moved the games to a Retro cabinet, locked behind glass and unavailable for 'hands on' perusal... That means that in my town, there is no longer a shop where I can pick up Dreamcast goodies... And that's bad...

I know that both Tomleecee and The Gagaman(n) have enjoyed the bounties of Gamestation, but it seems that our shared experience is coming to a close... Let's kick a 40 oz to the curb in honour of our fallen hero... On a positive note, (I always look for a positive spin to any negative situation) on my last visit to Chips, I got a burnt copy of 'Rival Schools' from the nice guy behind the counter, in exchange for the burnt copy of Ikaruga that I gave him a few months before...

So its all good! This is Father Krishna signing out, and saying "Goodnight Children, Wherever You Are..."

Another Game using the Fishing Controller!

Despite not being able to read most of it, Sega Support Site is a very handy resource site with a lot of screen shots of unusual Japanese Dreamcast games (including the dodgy hentai games, so this site isn't completely work safe) and all sorts of other bits and bobs. On my weekly trek of anything with the keyword "Dreamcast" on Youtube I discovered this video that links back to the website, a video of yet another game being played with the fishing controller! Can you guess what other game could possibly use the motion sensing of the Fishing controller? How about the little known Japanese fighter Psychic Force 2012? Yeah, bet you didn't see that coming! To be honest, neither did I, so as soon as I saw the video I went to give it a shot for myself.

Going straight into the game won't give you any results though; you have to tinker a bit with the control settings first. All you have to do is Set the L Trigger to "Light Attack" and the R Trigger to "Strong Attack" and you're all set! Seeing as the motion sensors in the fisher replace those buttons, it makes perfect sense really.

So how does it work? Well, it's not in par with Soul Calibur and Virtua Tennis, that's for sure. In fact, where those games almost felt like proper Wii games (though not quite), this feels more like one of those lazy PS2 ports with rubbish "waggle" controls slapped on. Nothing that you do really translates into the game properly, and it doesn't seem to make a difference which direction you shake the thing, they'll always do the same attacks (of which they're not many in this game anyway). Just about the most satisfaction you'll get from this is swinging to throw projectiles. So I wouldn't exactly go out of my way to buy this game just for the motion controls if I were you, but it's interesting to see another game working none the less.

(Oh yeah, and on the front page of Sega Support Site at the moment is a hell nice Chu Chu Rocket port for the...Mega Drive! Yeah, I'm not kidding! Download the demo ROM and stick it through Gens. Also, here's a link to the website for the new follow up to Dynamite Cop that has just been released in Japanese arcades. Just because.)

Your Dreamcast is still alive *art*

Your Dreamcast is still alive by ~BiBiLeTanuki on deviantART

Sweet Dreamcast art from BiBiLeTanuki (aka Blinky).

I don't know if this has been featured before but I wanted to share it because it was so sweet. Once again it proves how inspiring and artful the Dreamcast can be.

Truly, the Dreamcast is still alive!

Now...say it with me...


Playstation controllers...on my Dreamcast?

It's strange enough that I often buy cheap Playstation games from car boot sales, just so I can test them out using the Bleem beta, and end up sticking to playing them though it (despite the glitches you often have to put up with), when I actually own a Playstation which cost me a measly 5 quid that just sits there waiting to be used, but now I've gone and got me one of these:

I found this on Ebay with a Buy it now of £8, but it also had a "Make Offer" option. I made an offer of £5 and it was accepted, which is nice. They don't often show up on there, but Play Asia sell a few different ones (that look to be a bit better) for about £12 a piece, including one that lets you use Saturn controllers on your Dreamcast. Very handy if you've got, say, the rare Saturn Twin Sticks for Virtual On but don't want to buy the also very rare Dreamcast twin sticks for Virtual On 2. Unlike most of their Dreamcast stuff, they still have these in stock.

Anyway, this one I got is a "Mullennium 2000 (yes, it's actually spelt like that) Magic Converter" that rather poorly states on the back of the package: "Connects DreamCast, PSX controller, your TV as shown. Watch when you want to watch! Play when you want to play!" (What?) It was being sent all the way from Hungary, so it took a little while to arrive (not helped by the Post Office strike we had last week.) but it came through the post as I was chomping on some Corn on the Cob about 12 today.

As the packaging illustrates, you can use a standard PSone Dual Shock, along with a Playstation Steering wheel, of which there is a switch to go between the two (along with a DC plug adaptor hole. Did the PSone steering wheels need a separate plug?) I only have one Playstation controller on me (the one that came with my PSone) so this is all I have tried on it so far. I'll be sure to pick up some cheap bits and bobs to also try on it as well, though.

All the Dreamcast buttons are mapped to the a like parts on the PSone controller, with the left analogue stick on a Dual Shock becoming the analogue control. L2, R2 and the right analogue are not used for anything. I'm not sure if these buttons will function when playing a PSX game via Bleem, though, so I'll have to check that out.


* For many, the Playstation controllers are generally more comfortable than the Dreamcast ones, especially thanks to the nicer buttons and analogues. personally I'm still not used to the shape of these controllers, but after playing Soul Calibur with it for a while I'm growing to like it.

* The button layout is more or less the same (except the D-pad and Analogue being swapped) so playing Dreamcast games with it shouldn't disorientate you (the ultimate test for this will be Crazy Taxi, though, as I have that game down to a art, not even having to remember what button does what).

* Makes playing Playstation games through Bleem a lot easier. Parappa the Rapper with Bleem for example was impossible for me because even with the PSX controller I haven't quite figured out where each shape named button are (seriously, what was they thinking when they named the buttons triangle, square, circle and X?). You can tell I've rarely ever played on a Playstation before can't you?

* The rumble in the Dual Shock will work with rumble pack compatible Dreamcast games, which is nice.

* If you have a mate around for a multiplayer session who is more used to Playstation controllers than Dreamcast ones, than they'll feel right at home if you give them this. Mind you, do you really want to give them an advantage?

* Instead of forking out on a Japanese DC Dance mat, you could pick up a cheap Playstation one for a couple quid and plug that in instead. I'm not too sure how compatible other PSX accessories are with this particular one I have is though, I'll get back to you on that one.

* You could also pick up a better steering wheel. The Dreamcast didn't have many of these but the Playstation had bloody hundreds of them.


* For Dreamcast games, you're gonna have to stick a DC controller in the 2nd port for your memory card much like you would with the Fishing controller, which is a pain when some games can't even read the memory card from the 2nd port.

* This is more a snag with the Dual Shock itself: having to keep turning the analogue stick on. It has a habit of turning itself off in loading screens too, which can be a tad annoying.

* No light gun compatibility. Bleem Time Crisis with the gun is still a no no then.

* According to the packaging, when using a Steering wheel the Brake and Accel triggers are reversed for some reason. I can imagine this being a bit bizarre.

Phew, that's a long post. I presume the "Total Control" converters at Play Asia are better than this cheap one I have, but so far it's doing it's job nicely.

Sega’s new console to be powered by the crushed dreams and tears of Sega fans?

Sega is making remakes and sequels to awesome Dreamcast games!!!!

Sega is NOT making remakes and sequels to awesome Dreamcast games.

In an impressive “fake out” someone released a huge list of beautiful lies. Beautiful beautiful lies

Of course it was false.

My only hope is that this display of the average Sega fan’s ability to create hope and then have that hope dramatically ground into the dirt will show that Sega can indeed create a console that can be powered by sadness and longing…

...so much sadness and longing. I need to go home, listen to emo music and hug my Dreamcast.

(I was just kidding about that last line.)