NullDC...On Your Phone

We've all seen the Treamcast and the other unofficial portable Dreamcasts created by very talented gamers with perhaps a little too much free time on their hands. They're pretty nifty little(ish) contraptions in the main - I mean, who wouldn't want to be able to play Spirit of Speed or Championship Surfer on a crowded train?! Sadly, the electrical engineering skills required to fashion such a device were not bequeathed unto us all, fellow Dreamcasters. For instance, I recently tried to replace the fuse in the vacuum cleaner's plug and ended up setting the curtains alight (long story, only 3% factual). But wait! What's this? Somebody has come to our aid! No longer do you need a doctorate in soldering in order to take your Dreamcast experience out of the dingy bedsit you call home:

That's right - now (or at least sometime soon) you can play DC games on your Android device! As you can see from the video, this new incarnation of the NullDC emulator for Android is in an early stage of development, but I still think it's pretty impressive. If they can sort out the frame rate issues, then this looks like a very interesting little app. Sadly, this particular Dreamcaster won't be able to experience it first hand due to the fact that I have a BlackBerry phone and tablet thingy, but it's definitely worth keeping an eye on.

Retro Core gets their mitts on Geist Force

Retro Core (The video series from Segagaga Domain) has received it's copy of the much anticipated release of the Geist Force playable ported build, and shows us all of it's contents in this 22 minute video. As the length of the video suggests, this game is in a very early state and only has some basics to check out. The first level is more or less complete with enemies and a boss, the second is fine up until the boss when it glitches you back to the start of the level, and the rest of the levels are more or less just some scenery and an eventual smack into a invisible wall. Those expecting this to be a full or even close to beta game will be a bit disappointed, but it's still quite something to see this running at all on retail standard Dreamcasts.

13th Anniversary of 9/9/99

13 years since the Dreamcast launched in America. On October 14th it will be the same anniversary for when us Euros got it, and on November 27th, it will be the 14th Anniversary of when it launched in Japan. To think in just over a years time the Dreamcast will have been a purchasable item for 15 years. That's pretty crazy, and makes me feel a bit old.

Sadly, I won't be able to do a Dreamcast livestream marathon today, simply because I'm not at home. However if I get time to I will make sure I do one marathon this year, wherever I'll do it on the PAL launch anniversary or the Japanese one I'm not sure yet, but will let you know when I do.

If you really wanna check out a livestream of Dreamcast games today, there will be one run by Blazehedgehog in about 9 hours from now over at Let's LIVE Videogame. He has a list up of games he owns and intends to play there. There is also going to be a 12 hours marathon over at Cornerb0y's account too, and I am sure there are bound to be others going on over the next day or so (if you are doing one, let us know and we'll edit the link into this post).

Pcwzrd13 did a livestream yesterday, which you can watch a back up of here, if you want your Dreamcast livestream gaming right NOW.

I didn't want to go without doing anything for the anniversary, though, so I do have something for you guys.

This is Dee Cee. I designed this character some time back to replace my stealing borrowing of Casko the Dreamcast girl for future Dreamcast Junkyard videos, and have today finally got around to drawing the character in Illustrator and building it up in Flash so it's animate-able. Did a quick idle animation thing for Dee Cee below!

Hopefully I'll find a video use for Dee Cee in the near future. maybe I should make a orange variant as well, now I think about it. Update: here we are, for the American and Japanese Dreamcasters:

Under Defeat HD - review

You're probably familiar with Under Defeat. Back when it was released it was hauled as the last Dreamcast game (how silly does that sound nowadays) and it was a pretty good one at that. You may know of my passion for shoot-em-ups, or shmups for short, and Under Defeat is actually in my Top 3 of favourite shmups from all time, along with the classic DoDonPachi and the Shikigami no Shiro series (of which the 2nd game I played for the first time on the Dreamcast).

Now, back to 2012, the game saw an HD re-release not too long ago. At the time I thought of posting something about it, but then decided to wait until I actually have played it. Well, that time is now, so here are my thoughts on it. For the time being the game is only available in Japan, and the Xbox 360 version is region-locked, so I had to go with the PS3. The game also came in regular and limited editions, but I can't elaborate on that  since I just got the regular one.

There are two game modes. Arcade is basically the Dreamcast version (which in itself was actually a home port from the arcade original). You can adjust the difficulty settings and number of continues (of which you only have 2 at the beginning, but earn more as you spend time playing), but other than that it's pretty bare bones. The game runs at a higher resolution, which makes for a smoother picture, but is otherwise unchanged, to the point that it frequently slows down when the action becomes too hectic. Now, I understand that purists might like that, but for me it's just annoying, and there's really no excuse for having slowdown on a Dreamcast game running on a current gen console.

The other game mode is called New Order and is one of the main reasons for getting this version. Since shmups are usually made for vertical screens, and most people won't be willing to turn their TV's sideways (the option's still there for the hardcore among you), these games can look somewhat awkward, occupying less than half of the screen. New Order was made with that in mind, and is basically a 16:9 version of the main game, filling the whole screen. I'm not sure how they did that, don't know if they actually remade the stages to fit the new aspect ratio or just zoomed in a lot. I can say that this game felt more challenging, but other than that I'm no expert to point out all of the differences from the original game.

The other reason for getting this HD version is the option for playing with a new control method, using both analog sticks. In the original game you could turn your helicopter at an angle, shooting the enemies while avoiding their fire, and I don't need to explain that this maneuver was absolutely essential to master in order to make some progress. The way this was done was by moving the helicopter to the side and keeping the fire button pressed, which would then lock the helicopter in that position, allowing you to move freely. Although practical, at times it just wasn't good enough, and so they came up with a more intuitive control scheme.

You can now control the ship with the left analog stick and the fire direction with the right one. Basically think Geometry Wars or Smash TV, although you can only tilt the chopper so much, not in full 360º like in those games. Now, I have to say that this system isn't perfect either. Since we can't fire freely but only in a few pre-set angles, it takes some getting used to the the analog stick's equivalent of those angles (it's somewhat hard to explain, I hope you're getting it), and because we have to keep the stick pressed in a direction to actually fire, it can become tiresome after a while. Still, overall I think it makes the game more intuitive and easy, so it's still a good addition.

Other than that there's practice modes, both for arcade and new order, and a gallery where you can unlock artwork from the game. It isn't a lot for a game that retailed at around $70/€50+, and I think that we really could use some more extra material. So, is it worth? To put it simply, no. The new game mode is sort of fun, and the new control scheme does add something to the old gameplay, but for the price and the hassle of importing it, it's only for the true lovers of shmups. Fortunately Rising Star Games, a company known for publishing a lot of niche Japanese games, just announced that they're going to publish it in Europe, and I think the US too (not 100% sure on this one), so if they release it at a reduced price, maybe then it'll be worth considering. Until then, if you already have the Dreamcast version, you're not missing out on much.

Geist Force is out

This one almost slipped by! Remember Geist Force? This game has already been talked about here in the 'Yard from time to time, usually when the theme is unreleased games, and the last post about it, dating back to last year, is actually about the blessed day when the guys over at assemblergames got their hands on a playable version of the game and promised to release it for free.

Time moved on and the game never got released, ending up forgotten by most people, but lo and behold, it finally resurfaced and in better shape then ever! It looks like the game was developed for Dreamcast hardware that wasn't final yet, so it couldn't actually run off the retail hardware we all have. That's why it took so long to come out, as the guys behind this release actually had to change a lot of the code in order for the game to be playable.

Now, from what I understand, it seems that in order to pay for their hard work, and the beautiful reproduction discs that we see in the video, you actually had to pay for one of these, and they made a somewhat limited run, making it extra hard to get. But I really hope that they, or someone out there, end up releasing the game for free, so that all of us Dreamcast fans can enjoy another piece of gaming history.

Senile Team releases a free Dreamcast game called Polyko

Senile Team, the folks behind Rush Rush Rally Racing, have ported an indie game by the super long name of "Polyko's Super Jelly Bean Quest in The Sketchbook of Illusion" to the Dreamcast. How much does it cost? Nothing, it's free! Where can you get it? Right here! The game is a simple platformer starring an artist named Polyko who has been magically transported into his sketchbook. The goal is to collect 31 jelly beans. There is no way to die, so no fear of falling into an abyss or having your head ripped off by a zombie. You can play the full game online here, or better yet burn it to a disc and play it on your Dreamcast. The cd image even contains printable covers, so it'll fit in on your indie Dreamcast games shelf. Enjoy!

Classic Game Room reviews Gunlord

He promised and he delivered, here's CGR's opinion on the latest game from NG:Dev.

Looks good! Personally I have yet to play it, but I'll definitely give it a try when I get the chance.

Mass Collect

How do. Thought it was about time for my bi-annual post here at the 'Yard. To be fair, I've been fairly busy trying to nail Liara in Mass Effect 3 for the last few weeks, so you can appreciate that I've had stuff to be getting on with...but since I've now sealed the deal and the thrill of the chase has evaporated, I thought I'd donate a few minutes to the DCJY and the ongoing fight to keep the Dreamcast firmly implanted in the psyche of, well, the inhabitants of the multiverse.

In my absence, I've been dipping in and out of our old ally eBay and purchased a whole slew of new games and will be casting judgement on them right here, over then next few weeks (hopefully...!). In the meantime though, I thought I'd share with you one of the more interesting and unusual DC-related items I've recently inducted into the 'Yard.

Now, I don't know if any of the other members of the team have a) got one of these; or b) mentioned it in a past post, but if they have - apologies. It's just that I don't recall anyone showcasing this:

An egg.
The contents of the egg. Which came first?
Size comparison.

Yep - it's a miniature 'Sega History Collection' Dreamcast console...and it's awesome. It's part of series of miniatures that I imagine were only released in Japan (isn't all the cool shit Japan-only?!), and it comes in a little plastic egg. Pop it open and you're treated to a superbly detailed mini console, complete with perfectly modelled joypad, VMUs (with lids that come off!), and a GD-Rom (Space Channel 5 in this case - I'm not sure if they differed or they all had the same game). The level of intricacy is staggering - right down to the opening console lid and removable modem. And as it's an early NTSC model, it's even got the liquid cooling system inside.

So yeah - it's the ultimate in Dreamcast geekery (well, besides that jacket I've still got stuffed in a cupboard somewhere. Oh, and the Dreamcast towel I STILL use in the gym - note to self: wash it), and it's quite a unique item. Nice.

I've also stumbled upon a fairly brilliant DC-related thingy this week. It's a mobile phone 'app' available on the Google Play store called 'DreamCollection,' and it's basically a kind of database of DC games that allows you to tick off the games that you own. It's such a simple idea, but really cool - and it's free! Perfect for tightwads like yours truly who also happen to be obsessive about Dreamcast. It's a bit like Pokemon. But with Dreamcast games. That you can't fight against each not really like Pokemon at all. But I wouldn't know that because I've never played a Pokemon game. Not once. Even though my avatar image is a character from Pokemon. Fuck it: here's a really shitty picture I tried to take of my mobile's screen for illustrative purposes:

Huawei. Not quite a retina display, but does the job.
You can't really see much, but it's quite well put together and features little pictures of the games' covers and allows you to select whether you have a complete version of a game, or just the disk, booklet or case. The only minor issue for us PAL Dreamcasters is that it's geared towards US collectors...but it's still a pretty nice addition to the Android Market (and I think it's available for iPhone too). Go here for further info.

Right, I'm off to see Liara in her quarters.

Err. On second thoughts...maybe Garrus instead.

Some DC Racing Goodness from Classic Game Room

Classic Game Room, still the most constantly updated video review channel that's actually good, has been doing quite a handful of videos as of late of Dreamcast games, in particular it's many racing games.

First up, Metropolis Street Racer! This was without a doubt one of those games you were either sucked into for months, or like me just didn't get time to dedicate to it so just cheated by finding a complete save file to muck about in it.

Next up..Speed Devils! I think he is mostly right about it being a bit on the dull side, but it's still kind of fun and has plenty to do in it. Of course there are much better racers on the system but if you have played all the best already this is one of the better of the rest, as it were.

Finally the most recent is this one for Daytona USA 2001. I have to agree with what he says about the controls: they are very twitchy and a bit tricky to get used to compared to the Saturn and DLC versions of the game, but it's still well worth owning for all the extras and whatnot. Also at the end of this video we are teased that Classic game Room will soon be reviewing more indie games such as Last Hope and Gunlord!

Gunlord and Redux Promo Art!

Just purchased Gunlord and want to see the artwork from the front cover in it's entirety without logos, screenshots and text in the way? Well you're in luck as the artists who contributed to the games wonderful packaging have uploaded the full pieces on their DeviantArt accounts!

Halil Ural was responsible for the front cover art for both the standard and limited editions of Gunlord, which you can see below. Click on them to go see them in their full glory!

Gonzalo Ordóñez Arias, well known for his role as part of the UDON crew, also provided this stunning piece that is found as a two page spread in the Gunlord manual.

As a bonus, Gonzalo has also uploaded this (new to me) Redux: Dark Matters artwork!

DCJY InsideOut: Gunlord Limited Edition

Here is a unboxing and first impressions video of the first new Dreamcast game of 2012 Gunlord, the limited edition version with the extra soundtrack disc! This might be the most beautifully presented release NG:DEV TEAM have done to date, with lots of stinning artwork all over it. The game is great fun too, the first level is really quite large and can take up to around 20 minutes if you explore it fully.

Since making this video yesterday morning when it arrived i have played it some more and got up to the boss of the 3rd level. The 2nd and 3rd levels were not quite as long or as large as the 1st unless I;m missing the alternative routes and the 2nd stage was a rather kick arse (but also kinda short and easy) scrolling shooter stage!

So first impressions are very good! Look forward to playing it some more!

Gunlord release date!

Just got an e-mail from NG.DEV.TAm about the release date for Gunlord! There are also reprints of Fast Striker and Last Hope pink Bullets on the way, in case you missed out on those before. Here's what the e-mail said.

finally after a long wait we can announce the official release dates for the Dreamcast versions of Gunlord.

Newcomer Bundle DC      21.06.2012
Gunlord DC Limited Edition  21.06.2012
Gunlord DC Double Bundle  21.06.2012
Gunlord DC Regular Edition 21.06.2012

The collector's edition needs a few days more time due to more complex packaging and printing. The three movie size posters of the CE are shipped separately a week or two later rolled in tubes.

Gunlord DC "Dragon Box" Collector's Edition [CE]  25.06.2012


Fast Striker 1.5 DC Regular Edition [Reprint]    19.06.2012
Last Hope Soundtrack Bundle      19.06.2012
Last Hope Pink Bullets DC [Reprint]      19.06.2012
 Looks like Gunlord will be the first 2012 release for the Dreamcast in gamers hands! Looking forward to it!

Sturmwind features in latest Retro Core

Retro Core is one of my personal favourite web shows about video games and is produced by Yakumo, the same man behind the excellent website Segagaga Domain. For the latest episode he has something special for us Dreamcast fans: a exclusive preview of upcoming redspotgames release Sturmwind! We get around 10 minutes of gameplay footage here, so if you were still on the fence about pre ordering this game, now we have plenty of footage to get a gist of what it will be like!

Personal opinion: I think it looks stunning and appears to be quite a fun mix of elements from all sorts of shmups like Gradius, Thunder Force and R Type. The production values are are simply unprecedented for an indie dreamcast game. I can't wait to get my mitts on this!

2012 Dreamcast game #3: Dux sequel Redux!

With Gunlord and Sturmwind due to released at some point this year, who would have thought we would get an announcement for a THIRD release for the Dreamcast in 2012? Sure enough, here comes a sequel to the 2009 shooter Dux. It looks to be pretty similar to the previous game but with much more fire power. What's really unusual is how this one is going about being released: with a kickstarter project.
For the project they need $25,000 pledged in a month to fund both the Dreamcast release, as well as releases for iOS, Playstation Network, Xbox Live Arcade and Stream, and finally a 4 disc soundtrack. Pledging $55 will get you the soundtrack, $65 would get you the Dreamcast game and $100 would get you both. Only 1000 copies of the Dreamcast game will be made, and this is the only way to grab one!

What's more, the game will be bundled with another update to the original DUX! So if you never bought the original this is not a bad deal if the new version is as much of an improvement as Pink Bullets was to Last Hope!

It's certainly a first for the Dreamcast scene to have a game funded by the fans in such a way. Could this be how future Dreamcast projects come to fruition? Either way the Dreamcast even in 2012 STILL refuses to die, thanks to these slightly batty but brilliant developers who love the console so much.

Update: The $25,000 target has been met in just 5 days! You can still pledge for a copy of the Dreamcast version for another 25 days so if you're planning to grab it make sure you do before them days are over! Congrats to the Redux team for hitting their target and well done Dreamcast fan base for supporting this so well! :)

It's a Dreamcast, yo!

Anyone following the blog should be familiar with that most interesting of hobbies that is spotting the Dreamcast, the Dreamcast logo or anything Dreamcast related anywhere, from movies to toilets and everything in between. Now, in a weird twist of fate, we actually got the artist behind a videoclip letting us know that it features a Dreamcast console, games and even a t-shirt. In case you've missed the single comment from the post below, UK hip-hop artist Nineties Boy released a song called Take Control, featuring a rather professional-looking videoclip that is basically a giant ad for SEGA and Wrestling (nice combination, I think I can see where he got his name from).

I got to admit that's not really my type of music, I don't listen to a lot of hip-hop, and when I do it's usually heavier (Mos Def), weirder (Aesop Rock) shit, but the video itself got me hooked right from the beginning when I saw a Jet Set Radio disc being popped in (being my very first game for the DC, excuse me if I get sentimental).

Props to Nineties Boy for reaching out to gamers everywhere ;)

Dreamcast Diva Ulala to Cameo in Crossover RPG

For those not following general gaming news, the story goes like this: For the past month, a project has been teased involving SEGA, Namco-Bandai, and Capcom. All that was known was that it was to be a crossover game on the 3DS. Japanese magazine Famitsu has finally spilled the beans, the game will be called Project X Zone (pronounced Project Cross Zone). Project X Zone will be a strategy RPG featuring “iconic” characters from all three publishers. According to Famitsu, the characters in the game will team up in pairs for fighting scenes. You can read the full report over at SEGAbits.

The bit that matters to Dreamcast fans is the reveal of Ulala as one of the SEGA characters making a cameo! Pai and Akira of Virtua Fighter also appear. You can check out some screens and new art in the scan above. It's unknown if the game will get an English release, but I'm going to lean towards unlikely. It's just too niche a title despite the cameos. Space Channel 5 has gotten a bit of attention this year, with the Space Channel 5 references in the 3DS game Rhythm Thief and this title. Could these cameos point towards a 3DS Space Channel 5 game? I know I'd love a Part 3!