Half-Life: Dreamcast Vs PS2

The story surrounding the Dreamcast port of Valve's seminal shooter Half-Life is one that is full of mystery. The game was pretty much complete and ready to go, but then it was suddenly cancelled for reasons no-one really understands. Actually, thinking about it, it was probably to do with Sega pulling support for the system but that isn't as exotic as the report I read that involved Sony paying the publisher a large sum of cash to drop the title. Before anyone jumps down my throat, that's just a rumour I read somewhere and there's (probably) no truth in it. At all. Regardless, the DC port leaked quite some time ago now - I mentioned that I'd got hold of a copy way back in 2006 - and I've played through the main game and the Blue Shift side story multiple times now. I'd never played the PS2 port though, so when I saw it for £1 in a pawn shop I snapped it up. What else could that pound coin have gotten me? Half a lottery ticket? A sloppy custard tart in a greasy bag from Greggs? Maybe even a Pot Noodle...although I haven't had one of those delicacies for a while so I'm not sure how much they cost these days.

So Half-Life on the PS2, then. How does it compare to the Dreamcast port? I was expecting it to be vastly superior if I'm honest, seeing as the PS2 is supposedly much more technically capable and the game benefitted from having a larger team and a longer development/polishing term. But upon playing it, I was surprised to see that the DC version is every bit as good. There are minor differences, such as slightly longer loading times on the DC one, but the other differences aren't detrimental to Sega's machine. For a start, in DC Half-Life, you can move around in the monorail car in the intro - you can't move in the PS2 port. There's also more music in DC Half-Life, but the PS2 game adds helpful 'hint' boxes around switches and things that you can interact with while DC gamers are left to press everything they can see in the hope it'll open a door/call a lift. Character models' faces in the PS2 game benefit from having slightly more creepy eyes, too. Anyway, I've created a short(ish) video demonstrating the intro section of the game on both systems. I may do another one showing some actual gunplay at a later date but for now, sit back and check out Half-Life: Dreamcast Vs PS2:

Redux: Dark Matters is finally out on Dreamcast!

As covered over at RetroCollect and previewed here at the 'Yard by the Gagaman a few months back, HUCAST's remix of space shooter DUX is now out and available to buy. I personally haven't played either DUX or the subsequent DUX 1.5...but helpfully I'm not blind, so I can use my eyeballs to see that these games look pretty damn good. The last side scrolling shooter I played was Trevor McFur in the Crescent Galaxy on the Atari Jaguar (just this morning, in fact folks!), and I must say that Redux: Dark Matters looks several magnitudes better than that ever will. But then, you knew that already!

Here's a snazzy Youtube trailer:

And here's a link if you fancy buying a copy.

Triple Threat

Well, Christmas has been and gone, and we were a little quiet here at the 'Yard. Mainly because the Dreamcast has been out of production for the last decade, but we don't let that get us down! And in any case - Happy 2014 to our loyal readers and DC lovers! On a slightly different note, I made a new video recently and I thought I should post here as well as elsewhere...if that makes sense.

It's a comparison video showing the various graphical differences between the console releases of San Francisco Rush 2049 on the DC, N64 and Xbox. I think you'll agree that the DC version looks pretty much identical to (if not slightly better than) the 'arcade perfect' Xbox version (which was included as part of the Midway Arcade Treasures 3 compilation). I think the most notable differences between the N64 and other versions is the lack of a headlight effect, and the Xbox version's tire smoke looks a bit thicker than that in the DC version...but have a look and form your own opinion. Enjoy:

Dreamcast 15th Anniversary REZtron Party

When I said in the Top 200 Dreamcast games article that I was celebrating in style this is what I meant. Finally got around to editing this footage together so you could see what REZtron's Dreamcast Anniversary party at the Hoxton Pony in London was like. There were several CRT's and a projection screen for the dozen Dreamcast's to play on: there was even one hooked up to a game Gear TV Tuner! There was a whole pile of games as well as classic Sega magazines, as well as custom artwork framed on the walls and a Mega CD with Karaoke add on and Master System with 3D glasses!

Games we played there included Soul Calibur, Samba De Amigo, Bomberman Online, Chu Chu Rocket, Gigawing, Ikaruga, Ready 2 Rumble Round 2, Guilty Gear X, Capcom vs SNK 2, House of the Dead 2, Virtua Cop 2, Shenmue and more. In between playing games I left behind some doodles, all of which name drop this here Junkyard! Funnily enough someone there recognized me from the old Virtua Tennis with fishing controller video I did yonks ago!

Here are some photos I took at the event:

The Top 200 Dreamcast Games: Voted by you!

Happy 15th anniversary of the Dreamcast! The votes have been counted so now here is the final Top 200 Dreamcast games! Thanks to everyone who joined in on the voting!

Before we get started, some random facts about the final list:

- There is a total of 235 releases within this top 200: that's because in many case and game and it's sequel is one entry, and in the cases of a few, 3 or 4 games in the same series (NFL 2K, Pop n. Music) are one entry. The bottom 18 entries would have missed the list if I had not done this.

- Of those 48 were Japan only, 10 America only, 2 PAL only and were 11 indie releases.

- Release years are based on where they debuted.

- Of these 4 were released in 1998, 49 in 1999, 107 in 2000, 39 in 2001, 9 in 2002 and 20 in any year beyond that.

- Sega Smash Pack is not included, but Sega Swirl and Virtua Cop 2 from that collection are listed.

- I own 165 of the games featured, yikes!

Just a note: the article is a bit incomplete at the moment. All the poll positions are there but a few of the games do not have descriptions yet. I'm out all of today (in fact I'm celebrating the Dreamcast anniversary in style!) so I will be coming back to finish it off tomorrow.

So without further ado, beyond the jump is the complete list from last to first. Enjoy!

Dreamcast Top 200 poll is closed!

The Dreamcast games poll has been online since the American anniversary on the 9th of September and today the poll will close up for good, so get your votes in now while you have a chance! Keep an eye out for this blog tonight as we will be launching part 2 of this poll, in which you will have to pick games over the other that have an equal amount of votes. After today the games that make the top 200 will be set in stone but the order of them will be up to you! This new poll will open tonight and will be open until the end of Tuesday the 26th! That's only three days to get your votes on the order in!

Take note that some games are going to be combined to squeeze more games in. For example Sakura Taisen 3 + 4, Power Stone 1 + 2 etc. This is because their votes are very close to each other and will make the finished list far more interesting.

Happy voting!

Toejam & Earl 3 Dreamcast beta discovered!

Second hand Dreamcast development kits have quite often led to some rather special discoveries of beta versions of both released and cancelled games, including not long ago the Alpha build of the Starfox styled Sega shooter Geist Force. Now a beta of Toejam & Earl III has been discovered!

Toejam & Earl III was announced for the Dreamcast at E3 2001, around that time when Sega was stopping Dreamcast development and moving into multi platform development. This meant a lot of Dreamcast projects got moved onto other consoles and one of those was this game, which found it's way on the Xbox a few years later. For all we knew the E3 trailer we were shown could have been running on early Xbox hardware, but now we know it was intended for Dreamcast after all.

The beta was found on a devkit purchased by ZakhooiTM who signed up to Assembler Games forums to show his discovery. It's not a complete build of the game of course, but judging from the video the ownr of the beta has uploaded (see above), it's in a perfectly playable state. The game also appears to be quite different to how it was on the Xbox: the graphics were clearly tuned up a bit on the move to more powerful hardware and they added more elements to the gameplay for the final version too. This beta is almost like a 3D remake of the original Mega Drive game, which is fine by me!

Other games that were supposedly planned for the Dreamcast first before being shifted to other consoles include Gunvalkyrie, Panzer Dragoon Orta, Super Monkey Ball and Jet Set Radio Future. Whether those were true is yet to be seen, but at this rate who knows? Maybe someone will find any of those games lurking on a devkit one day..

Redux: Dark Matters due for release December 3rd!

Redux: Dark Matters, the kickstarted sequel to DUX, finally has an official release date! The game will be released on Decmeber the 3rd, and is up for pre-order as a regular edition for 32.95 Euros or as a bundle with DUX 1.5 (released earlier this year) for 39.95 Euros. Because the kickstarter limited edition comes bundled with DUX 1.5, I have had to wait till Redux is released to also get that game, so I will be getting both games at the same time!

The Dreamcast Top 200 Poll: The Gagaman picks some you may have forgotten..

With the new re-count poll of everyone's favorite Dreamcast games on the move, it feels like a good time to list off some games I personally really love on the system that may not be considered obvious choices but in my opinion deserve a bit more recognition and may have been forgotten by Dreamcast fans voting on this massive poll. Call this a bit of a nudge-nudge-wink-wink-hint-hint sort of article. Looking back at the Top 100 results from 2009 I was surprised how many great games missed out from the list, which does say a lot about just how many great games are on the system but here are some of those games I think deserve a second chance this time around..

Project Justice: Rival Schools 2

Almost every Capcom fighting game got onto the old top 100, even the port of Street Fighter 2, but not this? This was such a inventive and massive 3D fighter, and is still to this day only available on the Dreamcast, unless you're one of those people that has the dosh to collect actual arcade boards. You could twat people with baseball bats and tennis rackets one moment, and dive into synchronized swimming the next! Pure genius.

L.O.L - Lack of Love

This one maybe understandably didn't get many votes last time simply because it is quite a rare game and not many people have even heard if it. I implore you to hunt this one down though, it's simply beautiful, and despite being a Japanese only release has zero language barrier as there is next to no text or dialog, just sounds and atmosphere. It's unique and kind of hard to explain, but well worth it's asking price so run off, buy it, play it and then vote for it, because once you've played it you will want to.

Sega Marine Fishing
Not a single fishing game made the top 100, not counting Big the cat in Sonic Adventure of course. The fishing controller is one of the most fun experiences on the Dreamcast for me, and this game in particular is by far and beyond the best fishing game of the bunch. It has so much to unlock and do, and the over the top colourful presentation is pure SEGA. 

Confidential Mission

Light gun games were so shockingly few and far between on the Dreamcast it's pretty depressing. House of the Dead 2 is of course the one everyone bought a light gun for but near the end of Sega official run of the system they threw us this new James Bond themed spin on the Virtua Cop series, and it's fantastic. It's a pity modern TVs can't play light gun games, but at the very worst you can also use the mouse! 

Tokyo Bus Guide

Oh come on, don't look at me like that! Tokyo Bus Guide is the ying to Crazy Taxi's yang: it's the complete opposite in tone, speed and rules but is still an arcade gem at heart. Much like getting the most money in Crazy Taxi, being able to clear a whole course in this game without making any mistakes is oh so satisfying. I'm not kidding! When this game clicks it clicks. It's not just me...is it?

Mars Matrix

Ok so this one was in the top 100 last time, but I just want to remind people for this time that a) this game exists and b) it is absolutely amazing. I really don;t know how to describe why I love Mars Matrix so much but something about it's game mechanics  it's crazy yet some how chill music, batshit sped up presentation and additive scoring and shop system mean I keep coming back to this one over and over again. I've been playing this more than any other DC games recently!

Indie games!

I also want to give a shout out to NG:DEV TEAM, Redspotgames, Hucast and Goat Store for the new indie games they have released since the last poll. Having new games released for a technically dead console feels rather special and these games hold up to some of the best official releases, my favorites being Wind and Water: Puzzle Battles, Rush Rush Rally Racing, Fast Striker, Gunlord and most recently Sturmwind.

If you have played any of the indie releases and enjoyed them don't forget to vote for them! We at the DCJY love new games for our favorite old console and want them to know how much we appreciate them going to the effort to bring them to the Dreamcast!

Cool Cool Toon

This is another game that made the top 100 last time and I hope it stays that way this time around. Another one of those games that has yet to be ported anywhere else and it's that one time SNK decided to just escape their comfort zone of 2D fighters and really took on the best of the quirky Japanese rhythm genre that has since died out.

Looney Tunes Space Race
Infogrames followed up Wacky Races with this superb Looney Tunes racer, which really nailed the characters personalities in 3D and despite being quite short and easy was great fun.

Maken X

For all it's flaws Maken X deserves just as much cult status as many of the quirkier games in the old top 100. The Atlus fan base has really exploded in recent years so maybe this first person sword fighting game may catch a chance this time. I can think of much worse games that could reach the top 100. Yes I'm looking at you Blue Stinger.

Gundam - E.E.F Vs Zeon DX

Developed by Capcom despite their logo being no where on the box, this 3D robot brawler based on the original 1979 anime series not only looks and sounds the part but plays brilliantly too, with less of a tricky learning curve than Virtual On. Fans of the anime will adore this but even people knew to the series will get a lot of enjoyment of this.

Alien Front Online
One of the first console games to ever feature online voice chat, it's a shame this one cannot be played online anymore but even in the offline modes this is simple, fantastic fun to play. Blowing up everything in sight is such a joy, you can even go all 'Independence Day' and destroy the white house!

Golem No Maigo / The Lost Golem

You might remember me writing about how much I adore this hidden gem, if not go check out my article about it. This small time production that was mostly the work of one person while they were a student, this charming little puzzle game is like the Dreamcast equivalent of an Oilver Postgate childrens program.

I could think of plenty of other games too but I'll leave it at that for now. I tell you one thing: I personally voted for what must have been around 130 games that I think deserve to reach that top 200. Of course being a top 200 should prevent any good games from missing the list this time around...right?

UPDATE: added a few more, I couldn't resist especially considering some of these games are getting next to zero votes!

What are your favorite underrated Dreamcast games? Let us know in the comments and most importantly: make sure you vote for them! :)

Dreamcast User Top 100 Round 2: Vote for your favorite Dreamcast games!


Back in 2009, we set up a top 100 poll for everyone to vote on their favorite Dreamcast games for the 10th anniversary of the Dreamcast’s American launch of 9.9.99. It led to the most comprehensive fan chosen chart for the Dreamcast, and the longest article I have ever written.

Now here we are four years later for the 14th anniversary of 9.9.99 with ROUND 2.

This recount feels like a long time coming as I feel we could get even more people involved this time if this is spread all over Twitter, Facebook and the like. Quite a few indie games were released in that time since the last poll and quite a few Dreamcast classics have found a new generation of fans thanks to HD re-releases.

This new poll, just like the previous one, features every single retail and indie Dreamcast game released up to this date (the most recent being Sturmwind), with well over 500 in total! You can vote for as many games as you want so take your time to go through the list and make sure you have found all the games you enjoyed on the system

Games are listed with their regional names beside them (for example: Virtua Tennis 2/ Power Smash 2 / Tennis 2K2) and in a few cases games from the same series where the installments are quite similar are merged (such as the NBA 2K games) to save room. If you can't find a game, use Ctrl+F to search for it.

The poll will close on November 22nd. The results will be counted and if any games have the same amount of votes new polls will be put up for a week to decide which should be above the other.

The final results will be released on November 27th, the 15th anniversary of the Dreamcast's Japanese launch. This time around however, because so many great games missed out on the top 100 last time…I feel it’s only fair this time…to make it a top 200.

That's right, the article for the results of this poll will be twice as long as the last. I must be mental.

The full list of every game that got votes will also be released, so this will be the biggest fan voted chart of Dreamcast games ever. Basically, anyone looking into the Dreamcast for the first time that wants to know what games are worth playing will hopefully see this as the number one source.

The poll can be found HERE at a site called misterpoll. The first time you view the site you will get a save mode on / off page, click either of the buttons and you will go through to the poll. Unfortunately we can not embed the poll here but this was the most functional poll site we could find after lots of pulling our hair out! Thanks go out to Barry the Nomad for helping get this sorted!

UPDATE: added a couple games that were missing (oops!) and moved two of the Gundam games that were under K up next to the other two Gundam games so they are easier to find.

UPDATE 2: Moved the poll closing date till the 22nd of November, so you now have a week left to vote!

Happy 9.9.99 anniversary! Check out this massive video featuring DC youtube fans!

The Dreamcast launched in America on this day 14 years ago. Blimey! A friend of mine at his Youtube channel DreamcasticChannel has just released this epic 53 minute long video where he has gathered a assortment of youtube Dreamcast fans together to give us their take on the launch and what games they enjoyed. These include SegaCDUniverseAdam KoralikTheGamesShedCartridgeBrosChipstursFarmhouseMedia3000ThePractitioNERDUltraproWarriorRazor as well as both me and my mate Murry Curry from our collaboration channel LuckyHit!

Meanwhile the thing I'm planning for the anniversary is taking much longer than I was anticipating, hopefully it should be up soon. For now though you have this brilliant video above!

SEGAbits interviews Official Dreamcast Magazine's Simon Cox and Francesca Reyes, and Gamespot's former editor-in-chief Ricardo Torres

To celebrate the 50th episode of our Swingin' Report Show podcast, SEGAbits admin George and I invited three legends of video game journalism to join us for a celebration of the Dreamcast's 14th anniversary in the United States. Not to get too deep into fanboy waters, but Francesca Reyes has been a personal hero of mine when it comes to covering video games. Francesca served as a writer for the United States Official Dreamcast Magazine (ODCM for short) throughout the magazine's thirteen issue run (issue zero through twelve) and went on to become editor-in-chief for the Official Xbox Magazine.

Simon Cox is a video game magazine veteran, serving as editor-in-chief for the first seven issues of ODCM. Simon's career also includes working on EDGE, GMR, Xbox Nation (a personal favorite of mine), 1UP.com, GameQ, and NVision.

Also joining us was Ricardo Torres, who worked for CNET Gamecenter throughout the Dreamcast's lifespan and went on to be editor-in-chief of Gamespot until 2011. Ricardo had some awesome stories from the Dreamcast days and had, as Francesca points out, an amazing memory of events that occurred 14 years ago.

I could write a whole essay on the things we covered with them for the 2 hour podcast, but why spoil the fun? Give it a listen now! If you don't wish to go the YouTube route, you can download the MP3 file from the SEGAbits article or subscribe to our show on iTunes (the show will be added to iTunes soon).

A few tidbits to get you excited: Simon reveals that he named the game Rez and there is a very funny story featuring Bernie Stolar (President of SEGA of America at the time).

Tahi - The Arocean War

This project is actually pretty old news on most Dreamcast sites and forums, but it is totally new to me so I thought it may have passed quite a few others by as well. So what is it? Apparently, Tahi - The Arocean War is a new(ish) action RPG that is/was being developed for the Dreamcast by an independent outfit called Reticon Entertainment Technology. The thing that piqued my interest is that Tahi appears to be a fully 3D adventure game, using polygonal characters in an explorable environment. True, there have been several high profile indie releases for the DC over the last few years, but in the main they've been 2D shooters, 2D driving games or puzzlers. A totally new adventure title breaks this mould and I'm very intrigued to see what a late 2000s polygonal game looks like on the antiquated hardware.

I say late 2000s because all the evidence suggests that Tahi started its development cycle in 2009, but since then there appears to be very little new info on the game. I emailed the team at Reticon asking for further info but the email bounced back, and the form on the site doesn't work...so for now I guess we'll either have to wait for more info (they appear to have updated their site earlier this month so I guess there's still something going on there)...or just accept that development has halted and Tahi has gone to the great vapourware graveyard in the sky.

Here's a bit of info on the game taken from the dev's website:

Since Tahi was originally for the SEGA Dreamcast, we had physical hardware limitations --
  • 200MHz - SH4
  • 16MB RAM
  • 700-900MB storage medium

When the project was first started in 2009, it was originally programmed procedurally as a 'guess and check' style as we explored the functionality of the Dreamcast and its limitations.  The first attempts were difficult since there was no perfect IDE to use or methods for debugging compiled code, which made (and still makes) for an extremely slow testing environment.

As the project continued, we had to stop coding the game in a procedural fashion, since the code was becoming 'too patched' to function well and the idea of an engine was brought to the table. 

The original engined titled 'ION Engine' was to pack the lower level functions into a much more abstract and easier to use and maintain source code.  

The largest challenges are that of compile testing and programming for the Dreamcast platform.  The Dreamcast has no easy 'how-to' guide to program a game for its platform other than KallistiOS, and even with KallistiOS, there is not much support available for it and how to optimize and really use the Dreamcast's features.  So programming has been a very slow and experimental process of trial and failure.

The next largest challenge for this project is man-power.  A game of this scope and size is difficult for a small team to develop, many of us have to wear 'multiple hats' during this production in order to see to certain goal completions, which does slow down a production significantly.

Here are a few images and a Youtube clip of what has been put out about the game:

On a slightly different note, The Dreamcast Junkyard seems to have vanished from Google's results if you search for us. I've looked at the settings in the Blogger dashboard and everything looks fine...so we're a bit baffled as to why this has happened. The 'Yard still pops up on Bing (all is forgiven!) and other search engines (yep, they do exist!)...so if anyone has any suggestions, be sure to let us know what you think might be the problem! Thanks.

Dreamcast on BlackBerry...Surely Not?!

OK - I'm not afraid to admit this...I am a BlackBerry user. I have a BlackBerry phone and (sigh) I also have a BlackBerry PlayBook. It's a great tablet and does everything you'd want a tablet to do...and until RIM decided they weren't going to release the new BB10 OS for it, all looked good (well, OK-ish) for the future of the device. Oh, and that picture on the left there? I took that. Cool ain't it? Such a wasted talent. Cough. But this isn't an analysis of the future of the BlackBerry brand in the face of such monolithic competition from the iPhone/iPad/Android and the other lesser alternatives. Nor is it a look at my rather limp attempts at visual metaphors (Dreamcast? on Blackberry? See?!). No - this is a little look at something I spotted on the BlackBerry World 'app store' thingy this morning. Well, less of a 'look' and more of an appeal for further information. A bit like a telethon but minus the tele or the thon. Here, look at these horrifically blurred photos (incidentally, taken with my BlackBerry phone):
Don't be fooled - BlackBerry World is nothing next to App Store
Really sorry about the quality of these photos...

For the uninitiated (I'm guessing everyone reading this), that's what BlackBerry World looks like. But look closer:

There, next to 'Hot Asian Girls'
The 'No Reviews Yet' status sets alarms ringing

WTF?! What the hell is 'Dcast Emulator'?! Now, the PlayBook is a fine device for emulating Amiga, SNES, MegaDrive and even N64 games - it does have a 1Ghz processor afterall...but emulating Dreamcast games? I'm not so sure. There's a bit of a difference between emulating Lotus 3 or Mario Kart 64 and Daytona 2001. Indeed, this particular app only displays a single screenshot on it's page and the text simply reads 'Load ROM.' Also - it costs £3.50...and as there is zero information regarding this 'Dcast Emulator' on that there Google (or Bing either, for that matter - but we don't talk about Bing), I'm a little reluctant to splash out the price of a pint of ale on what could turn out to be a static page of outdated Dreamcast 'news' from Taiwan.

So - the reason for this post then. Have you bought Dcast Emulator? Is it an actual emulator or is it just a load of rubbish? Do own a PlayBook? (I know there's at least one other PB owner out there!). Let us know in the comments box (I know that makes me sound like one of those Youtube whores who can't get enough of their own voices and/or faces. Sorry). If nothing comes up, maybe in the near future I'll take the plunge and waste £3.50 on something I know is too good to be true. But for now, the mystery of Dcast Emulator remains unsolved.

*cue X Files music*

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.)