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Soulcalibur Video Test with Altona Adaptor.

Today I got a VGA to HDMI adapter!

I tried it out with my trusty Dreamcast VGA box and it worked out pretty OK.



I assumed I would have to fiddle with the scaling a bit but Soulcalibur seems to work pretty well in 1080 with no adjustments.  I am assuming this will work much better with other titles like Shenmue.

In addition to video capture this is a easy way to hook up a Dreamcast box to a TV with no VGA input.  (This is the Atlona Technologies AT-HDVIEW VGA to HDMI Scaler which is unfortunately very expensive right now.  I got it cheap on ebay.)

Unconventional Ramblings

I went to Comic Con at the weekend. It was the first time I've actually been aware of such an event happening in my immediate vicinity, so naturally I jumped at the chance to attend...and I have to admit that it was a bit of a mixed bag. I don't really know what exactly I was expecting, but I'd seen various photos and tweets over the years about Comic Con events happening in other parts of the world so I was curious...but I wasn't as blown away as I thought I would be. Don't get me wrong - from the moment I arrived at the venue I was massively impressed by the number of other attendees who had put some fantastic amounts of effort into dressing up as characters from various comics, anime and games...but the actual event itself felt like little more than a massive table top sale where traders got to peddle their wares to the game and comic-loving public at inflated prices. I did see the guy who played Vaas Montenegro in Far Cry 3, and I also purchased this rather excellent squashy, handmade monitor from Sonic (which goes quite nicely with the early 90s plush toys that I have)...but I can't help but admit that I was a little underwhelmed by the whole experience.

Beats watching Big Brother I suppose
Maybe Play Expo in October will be more up my street, as I'm definitely more of a retrogaming nut than a comic reader. That being said, I still have to give kudos to all the guys and gals who dressed up in some frankly awesome cosplay outfits.

Moving back towards something vaguely related to the Dreamcast, last weekend I managed to pick up a used Nintendo Gamecube at a boot sale for a mere £5. What's that got to do with Dreamcasting? Well, I also got a copy of Wave Race Blue Storm...and what a lovely little game it is too. This got me thinking about the Dreamcast's only entry in the jet-ski racing genre, Surf Rocket Racers. So I knocked up a little comparison video:



I fully appreciate that Wave Race is a much better looking game than Surf Rocket Racers, and they both came out in the same year (which just demonstrates the technical gulf between the 'Cast and 'Cube)...but if you take out the water effects, Wave Race doesn't look that much better than SRR...right?! I mean, just look at the character models and the jet-skis themselves, and also the trackside details and you wouldn't really think that SRR is running on hardware that is vastly inferior to Nintendo's newer Gamecube. OK, this video doesn't really do much to fight the Dreamcast's corner, but I thought it'd be interesting to see how well our favourite Sega platform holds up against the last 'proper' Nintendo machine!

I finally got my hands on an S-VHS cable for my Dreamcast last week, and I'm very impressed with the image it kicks out on my CRT television. I do have a VGA box too, but both of the LCD televisions I have still give a fairly crappy image when I use the VGA adaptor (I'm guessing a contemporary CRT computer monitor would be the best thing to use with it). In the absence of such a display device in my abode, the S-VHS is probably the best option right now, and it has the added bonus of being compatible with all of the games I have in my collection. I did receive an email from a reader called Henrique regarding a Dreamcast VGA and Scanline Generator (thanks Henrique!), but as I haven't got one I can't really vouch for the quality of the thing. Reading the posts on that forum though, it seems pretty clear that the device is pretty nifty, so maybe I'll look into acquiring one in the future.

To wrap up this spectacularly random DCJY post, here's another short(ish) Youtube video I uploaded the other day. It's just a little bit of footage from an odd version of Doom I have on a CD-R I probably mentioned ages ago: Doom Classic Collection. It's Doom 2, but with the weapon and enemy artwork from Doom64 grafted in, and the file is simply called 'Requiem.' Enjoy.

Life's A Beach

Erm...I hate to start a post in this fashion, but what the fuck is this:
Right there, under TrickStyle. The audacity...
I've just noticed that out of every single game I have, only one has the name printed right to left instead of left to right. F1 Racing Championship, why must you be different? It's not big, and it's not clever. You'll forever be in the shadow of F1 World Grand Prix 2 and pulling an attention-grabbing stunt like this will never change that. Sigh.

Anyway. The sun's still out and my garden is still dying in the unexpected summer heat. I'm not complaining, but my significant other spent quite a while planting all sorts of green, leafy stuff out in the mud and I'll be damned if I'm going to fill a jug with water and start messing about expending calories by pouring the aforementioned wet stuff onto it. In the immortal words of Ivan Drago, if he (the foliage) dies, he (the foliage) dies. Of course, I'm just joking...I'll go and throw a mug of vodka on them in a bit: there'll be Hell to pay if she gets back from her travels and the yard resembles the surface of Planet Crematoria. Gulp.

And while we're on the subject of arid, sunny locales I thought it might be fun to profile some of the Dreamcast's best beaches!

The Light Fantastic

Today's post is a bit of a cop out, as it has required minimal creative input from me. Other than, y'know, browsing Youtube, watching people fire M&Ms out of their belly buttons into cups, realising what the hell I'm doing and then looking for proper stuff...like this:



Yeah, a guy with a blatantly obvious talent for electronics (and a truckload of patience, I'm guessing!) modded a VMU so that it has a cool backlit screen. Reminds me of the Game Boy Light...only smaller, and I would probably buy one if he was making them to order as it looks fantastic when plugged into the controller. I was actually planning on doing a post about this:

Please ignore the dust on the TV. The butler hasn't been in yet.
It's a Dreamcast SD card reader I managed to acquire through a very odd series of events that I won't go into here, but after wasting a shit-load of CD-Rs and trawling various forums I still can't actually work out a) how to use it; and b) what the point of it is if you've already got 90% of the DC's game library and enough VMUs to fill a quarry. I understand it can be used to run other operating systems and games from, but to be honest I'm not really overly interested in that kind of thing...so it shall remain in my box of Dreamcast-related paraphernalia as an odd little curio, alongside the tissue holder and the jar of pickled eyeballs.

Soul 2 Soul

Ah, Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver. If ever there was an example of how a port should be handled, surely that game was it. If you've never played Crystal Dynamics' amazing vampire/wraith-themed adventure, then I suggest you head over to eBay posthaste and grab a copy while you still can.

Yes, Soul Reaver has a few minor issues with fogging and combat collision detection, but on the whole the surreal landscape and marvellously gothic architecture of the realm of Nosgoth (and, y'know, the awesomeness of the adventure as a whole) make for a thoroughly enjoyable little romp. And then, just when you're getting into it...the game ends on a rather abrupt note and a major cliffhanger.

And that's where the story, rather annoyingly, ends for Dreamcast owners. You see, Soul Reaver 2 was planned for release on the Dreamcast but the demise of the system meant that the game was cancelled, even though development had apparently been running alongside the PS2 version (that actually went on to be released). The reason I bring all this ancient history up, is that I've stumbled across some hitherto unseen (by me, at least) images of an early Dreamcast build of Soul Reaver 2. They all come from this Legacy of Kain tribute site, and I discovered it while I was trawling through an Assembler Games forum. Just wanted to give credit where it's due. Anyway enough waffle...here are some pictures:






We can only really speculate how complete this version of Soul Reaver 2 was at the time the plug was pulled (I'm gonna guess that it wasn't anywhere near complete), but I always think it's a little bit sad when new images surface of DC games that never made it.

Two Wheels...Good?

Well, the weather’s finally decided to behave and we in the UK have been blessed (temporarily at least) with a fairly decent few days. No grey mornings, no torrential afternoons and no evenings where you think it might be safer to move your car away from the trees that are swaying dangerously close to the telegraph pole outside the front door. Yes - this happened just a few weeks ago. Granted, our weather here in good old England isn't as severe as in some other countries, but for the past few years it has been consistently shit. But hurrah! The sun has come out and stayed out for the past week, and that can only be good for someone like me...someone who rides a motorcycle! Yes, the recent fine weather has meant that I’ve been riding the highways and byways of Northern England, taking in the sights and sounds. But this ain't no Goddamned travelogue. No, this is the Dreamcast Junkyard: the epicentre/epicenter of all things Dreamcast, depending on where you reside.

So why am I bleating on about weather and motorbikes and all sorts of other unrelated crap? Well, it’s because I got back from my most recent bike ride and suddenly realised that the Dreamcast has a whole host of two-wheeled-mode-of-transport-related titles. Well, three dedicated ones anyway. And I figured it was about damn time that I had a look at them. There’s also another game that features motorcycles, and I'll get around to that. Eventually. But before then...let us cast a critical eye on the Dreamcast’s stable of ‘proper’ bike ‘em ups...

Dot Co Dot UK

Just a very short infoburst of a post today: The Dreamcast Junkyard has yet another new URL - but this time it's www.thedreamcastjunkyard.co.uk! The old blogspot.com / .co.uk one will still redirect here but just thought I'd make you all aware of our shiny new address.

Cheers.

Pimp My 'Cast

Chances are, if you collect retro consoles you’re likely to own at least one beige-coloured piece of hardware. And the chances are that, if you’re reading this site, you own a beige Sega console. And that beige console is more than likely a Dreamcast. How do I know this? Magic, naturally, with a slight hint of mystical intuition. One of the more common problems I’ve noticed with the hallowed Dreamcast (yes, aside from the controller port fuse blowing) is that unless you keep it in the box and only ever get it out for special occasions (you know, like Christmas or a family funeral), it will eventually start to ‘yellow.’ Yellowing is what happens to lightly coloured plastic over time, where the chemicals that make up the dye in the plastic react with UV light and begin to break down, thus giving the material a tired and well...yellow appearance. And frankly, it looks shit. Add that to all the knocks and scuffs that build up over time (over a decade now, actually), and your Dreamcast can end up looking pretty sorry.

There are several remedies to this. First, you could attempt to ‘bleach’ your system’s shell as this Youtuber demonstrates...but that malarkey looks pretty dangerous to me - and besides, caustic chemicals do not mix well with hands that constantly drop cups of tea onto new carpets. Cough.

Secondly, you could spend a small fortune on one of those replacement cases that regularly pop up on eBay for fairly reasonable prices...but are located in Venezuela and so cost £30 to ship to the UK (granted, it may be cheaper to ship if you live closer to Venezuela but damn that’s expensive shipping). The Dreamcast shell is fairly easy to take apart and remove from the internal workings, so if you don’t mind spending the equivalent of a fortnight’s worth of food shopping on shipping costs, this is a fairly good way of pimping your Dreamcast.

But there is a third remedy. Enter DCJY reader Mike. He does shit like this to Dreamcasts:

Skies of Arcadia-cast

That right there isn’t one of those console stickers you just peel off and apply to your console - it’s a full on professionally applied vinyl coating. And you can have pretty much any design you want:

Jet Set/Grind Radio-cast

How is it done? I’ll let the man himself explain:

“Basically I work for a graphics and vehicle wrapping company, wrapping everything from race cars to motorbike helmets. I actually work in the finishing department. This involves cutting vinyl graphics, laminating prints, getting race car kits etc ready to fit, mounting custom graphics to Foamex and diabond panels etc.

For wrapping the Dreamcasts I first use an HD or similar quality image - this ensures that the picture doesn't look pixelated at all or blurry when upsized to fit the console. It's then down to the printing and artwork department to retouch the image (maybe change the colours slightly, resize it, upscale it etc). The picture can then be printed on cast vinyl in one of the HP Designjet L65500 printers (which are serious bits of kit), and it then comes to my department to be 'finished,' which in this case involves laminating it with some cast Arlon laminate, then trimming and applying to the Dreamcast. 

Placement is key to making the console look cool (you don't want to have an image of say Shenmue where Ryo's face is half off the console), and once you've got placement sorted apply the graphics and heat around all the different levels of the console. Trim carefully around the lid etc to ensure the join looks good. Then it's just a case of popping any air bubbles and trimming the edges and recesses nicely.”

I think you’ll agree that these custom Dreamcasts look pretty damned sweet, and as any image can be applied using the technique detailed in Mike’s explanation, you could have the world’s only Spirit Of Speed 1937 Dreamcast. Or not.





















If you’d like to have your Dreamcast transformed - hell, go crazy and get a top-down view of a Sega Saturn or Neo Geo printed on it! - drop me an email via the link in my profile and I’ll supply contact details for Mike and his factory of wonders.

Bag Influence

Here at the DCJY, we like to keep our collective fingers on the pulse. The pulse of DC gaming, naturally. But the pulse of fashion is no different - why, just yesterday I acquired a really nice pair of lime green bell-bottomed flairs and some red sequinned platform boots to go with them. I really turned heads when I popped out for some milk last night, oh yes.

I realise that not everyone out there in DC land can pull off this look, but have no fear - DCJY (well, eBay actually) is here to offer some solace:

Wonder if there's a second VMU slot?

In THREE wild colours! Woah!

Erm...

Yep - that's a backpack in the shape of a Dreamcast controller. A backpack. In the shape of a Dreamcast controller.

If only I had a spare £200 so I could add one to my (already rather debonair) outfit. I feel a Kickstarter coming on...

Head here to the eBay auction if you fancy getting one, or probably just Google 'Segakawaii' and I'm sure you'll find a reputable source.

Sturmwind has arrived at last! Hooray!


The wait has paid off, as my copy of the limited edition arrived this morning. Phew, I was getting worried there for a moment! Also while the box it was delivered in was a bit squashed the Sturmwind box itself was wrapped in a lot of bubble wrap and arrived safely, despite not paying out for extra special delivery and tracking. Redspotgames are still being oddly quiet on their sites, but at least I can bring you evidence that pre-orders going back to November 2011 have indeed been sent out.

Here is the full content of the box set. The game itself, a booklet listing all the bosses in the game the soundtrack and the little scale model of the spaceship. The spaceship, being a 3D printed object as far as I know feels quite odd: it's kinda fuzzy if that makes any sense. I have yet to open up and play the game yet as I am holding out until I get time to make a InsideOut unboxing and first play of the game, but I'm pretty busy this week so I can't guarantee it very soon unless I find the time to squeeze it in. Typical as I wasn't any where near as busy last week! :P

Sturmwind, Where are you?

Sturmy-sturmy-wind, where are you?
We want to play you really badly.
You're apparently out but you're still not here,
why have you gone so silent?

I have a had a lot of respect for redspotgames, there releases have also been beautifully presented and arrived without a hitch in the past, and releasing games for a dead console must be a daring and tricky process. Games like Wind & Water: Puzzle Battles and Rush Rush Rally Racing couldn't have been published better, they were professionally printed and sit next to all my official Dreamcast games proudly, helped by the fact that they were also fantastic games, and I'm sure Sturmwind is equally brilliant. 

However, the handling of Sturmwind's release has been something of a complete misfire. Redspotgames Facebook page is flooded with comments from fans still waiting for the arrival of the game. People who paid out extra for special delivery recently have not even received their tracking numbers. The worst part of all this is redspotgames have been deadly silent ever since the launch day of April the 24th. Not a single tweet, Facebook update or comment has been uttered from the company in two weeks.

Many are probably starting to think that the game does not even exist in fully printed form at this rate, and I wouldn't blame them for thinking that as since the launch there has been no evidence from redspotgames to prove as such. Whenever Hucast or NG:Dev Team release a new game, we see photos of the print run all over their Facebook and website. In this case, nothing.


It does exist, however. Here is a photo of the special edition along with a huge pile of them behind it. This photo was found on eBay, where it currently has an asking price of just over £100.There are several other buy it nows on there too that also have the game, but again for beyond the retail price.


Better yet here is an actual unboxing of the limited edition and direct gameplay footage from pinkbullets.com. This video was only uploaded yesterday however, so there is still hope yet. Play-asia also have both versions of the game up for order, though they currently have no stock of the limited edition.

So what is going on? Much like many other I pre-ordered this game back in late 2011 and they have had my money, but it sure is taking a long time to show up for anyone, compared to previous releases from redspotgames. I want a raise of hands...who actually owns it?

This is a real shame because this game looks like it could by by far and beyond the greatest indie Dreamcast game yet, and really I just wanna play it.

The Ghost Blade teaser trailer!

Wow, the Dreamcast indie game scene is on fire lately! We now have gameplay footage from an early alpha build of Hucast's The Ghost Blade. The video features stage 4 including it's boss, and apparently more videos are on the way soon. Graphics are very nice indeed, though that sea animation looks a bit funky, but that's being worked on apparently. Also there is now both regular and special editions of the game to preorder at hucast.com, with the regular edition at 32 Euros and the special edition, limited to 1000 copies, which adds a soundtrack CD and different cover art is 50 Euros. They also still have the collector's edition with the soundtrack and super play DVD for the hardcore collectors.

Sturmwind releases tomorrow, launch trailer!



The long awaited Sturmwind from Redspotgames is the second new Dreamcast game of 2013 to release, or the first if you decide not to count Dux 1.5 as a brand new game, launching tomorrow! To hype us up there is a brand new trailer above, showing levels and bosses yet seen anywhere, and it's looking incredible. Looking forward to receiving this soon and will be bringing you a video of said arrival with an unboxing of the special edition and a first impressions look, direct feed this time, none of that pointing a camera at the screen stuff!

Dux 1.5 is shipping! Unless you pledged to the ReDux kickstarter..

Hucast Games revealed today that Dux 1.5 begins shipping out tomorrow, earlier than planned, so if you pre-ordered this expect your copy in the mail soon! If you pledged enough for Redux: Dark Matters on kickstarter to get that game with this one, apparently Hucast will not be shipping Dux 1.5 until Redux is out, as they are in a bundle box set I assume. A bit of a weird snag there; anyone that pledged any amount on the kickstarter gets discounts on the hucast store on everything so in theory I could buy it now at a discount, but I already technically bought it with Redux, but I guess I can wait for them both to arrive together, although a release date for ReDux is yet to be confirmed.

Well this is unexpected.

I have just been brought to attention something quite surreal by GavvieUK on Twitter. From the British Library website:
From 6 April 2013, the British Library, the National Library of Scotland, the National Library of Wales, Bodleian Libraries, Cambridge University Library and Trinity College Dublin, gained powers to archive the entire UK web, along with e-journals, e-books and other formats.
To mark the passing of the new regulations, curators and other experts from all the participating libraries chose the 100 Websites which they judge will be essential reading for future generations researching our life and times in 2013.
What has any of the above got to do with the Dreamcast Junkyard? Scroll down to near the bottom of their top 100 list of website and er...we're on it.
The Dreamcast Junkyard - Blog dedicated to the community of gamers who continue to play Dreamcast games online, despite the fact they were officially discontinued in 2002
There is only two gaming related website listed in this top 100, the other being Nintendo Life. The list is mostly made up of websites like Ebay, Twitter, Facebook and UK sites like Daily Mash, Moonpig, the official website of Stephen Hawking, the BBC and lots of political and official government websites.

...I'm quite speechless. We are even mentioned in a BBC News article about it! Um....wow.

Dux 1.5 Trailer: Release date April 22nd


Looks like our first Dreamcast game of 2013 to ready to escape into the wild, though in this case it's not an entirely new game. Much like Last Hope: Pink Bullets, Dux 1.5 is a revision of, well...Dux, which came out back in 2009, and has made changes to make the game more balanced with adjustments to various gameplay elements, bug fixes and enemy patterns, instant re-spawn instead or re-loading from a check point, a new soundtrack and 'custom controls' which I assume means you can customize anything to any button.

The good news is if you already own the original Dux you can get your hands on this new edition. I;m not entirely sure how you go about claiming one but this is mentioned on hucast.com so if you log in from there and contact them they will let you know I would imagine. Also if you pledged to the Redux kickstarter you can get a discount on anything from their store, and if you pledged enough for Redux you will get Dux 1.5 as well.

The game has been revealed to be on it's way at the end of this month, the 22nd of April, although there is still no release date for Redux as of yet. As for wherever kickstarter pledgers will get this on street date or will have to wait till Redux is out, I'm just asked Hucast about that on Twitter..

Either way when this pops through the mail I will bring you a video including side by side comparisons with the 2009 release. I was pretty darn awful at Dux, so hopefully the changes will help go towards me getting further in it! :P