DreamPi 1.1 with Dreamcast Now! Released

Just a short one this. You may recall a few weeks ago that we revealed a new online service for Dreamcast called Dreamcast Now! that allows you to see when other users are online and what games they are playing etc. It's about as close to something like Xbox Live or PlayStation Network that we're ever likely to see on the Dreamcast, but it's real...and it works with the DreamPi Raspberry Pi device created by Luke Benstead. The good news is that Luke has released the latest version of the DreamPi image and it includes everything you need to get Dreamcast Now! up and running.

Episode 24 of DreamPod features Luke as a special guest and he explains exactly what the DreamPi and Dreamcast Now! service will mean for the future of online gaming on the DC. That episode will be out by the end of the week, but in the meantime feel free to head over to Luke's blog and download the image for yourself.

An Interesting Toy Racer Easter Egg

Our good friend Pcwzrd13 has been up to his usual tricks - creating extremely decent Dreamcast-related video content. Unfortunately, it's not the latest in the Games That Never Were series (although rest assured, it's coming soon!); but rejoice in the fact that it's the revelation of a hitherto never before seen easter egg involving Toy Racer and that other No Cliché vapourware title, Agartha. Sadly, Agartha never really amounted to much more than a video of a bloke with a beard wandering around in the snow...and anyone can see that by hanging around the local bus station on a particularly cold Thursday morning. However, that won't that deter us. Behold:

Leona's Tricky Adventures Available Now!

We reported on Leona's Tricky Adventures way back in 2013 and sadly had to update the article when the Kickstarter project failed to make its goal. KTX Software battled on though, and we are happy to report that Leona's Tricky Adventures, complete with printed CD, manual and jewel case is now available to order from the game's official website. I haven't had the chance to play the game yet, but here's a short description from the KTX site:

Leona's Tricky Adventures is a clever puzzle adventure in a charming retro look. Explore a world of mystery and cutesy residents and recover a lost paradise by solving logic puzzles. With a storyline created by the comic authors Musal M. & B. Samuel and the music of the brilliant
composer Chris Huelsbeck, Tricky Adventures is a perfect treat for connoisseurs.
 - KTX Software
A box of Leona. Um.
You can find more information here and order the game here for €29.99 plus postage. It's also available on Steam if a new Dreamcast release isn't within your budget. Look out for a developer interview with KTX very soon here at the Junkyard; and a review of this cool-looking puzzle/adventure game just as soon as we can get our clammy, mud-covered hands on a copy.

Guest Article: Future Proofing Your Dreamcast

In the second of a series of guest articles from our man in Japan Ross O'Reilly, we'll be looking at how you can pimp your Dreamcast to within an inch of it's life and enjoy most (well, some) of the lovely features a modern games system benefits from. HD output, bountiful storage and online capabilities are all things we take for granted these days and with a bit of knowledge and a fat wallet you can enjoy the same with a Dreamcast right now. Let it be known that I have neither of the aforementioned. Ross, over to you.
So, you want the so called 'Dreamcast 2' (don't get me started on that!), you want a HD Dreamcast, right? You want the ability to play Dreamcast games online? Download DC software and run it on original hardware? Play with a wireless DC controller?

Well, what if I were to tell you that all of those features are available to you right now, today.
Yes, I apologise if I sound patronising to those of you who are regular readers and keep up with Dreamcast developments, but I'm here to tell you anyway, that all of those features and more are available to you already...just so long as you have deep enough pockets to shell out on the numerous devices required.

Let's start from the top...

Yes - There was a Dreamcast energy drink

I've said this more times than I care to remember, but the diversity of the promotional items Sega commissioned in order to spread awareness of the Dreamcast brand is staggering. The latest oddity I have discovered is this - the Dreamcast energy drink. 

There's precious little documentation about this canned beverage to be found online, and I only know of its existence due to one coming up for sale on eBay Germany

The auction description says: "Selling a rare Sega Dreamcast energy drink can. Condition is very good for its age. Very difficult to find. A must for every collector." Which tells me this may actually just be for an empty can, the sticky contents having been guzzled ferociously at some point in the distant past.

For the not insignificant price tag of €30, I'm happy to leave this interesting item for somebody with more disposable income to acquire (and drink, if the can is still full), but I'm sure you'll agree it's amazing that hitherto forgotten Dreamcast marketing material is still coming to the fore here in 2016.
'Flavoured with real Hitatchi SH-4 extract'

The other, rather creepy images below are of a rare outfit worn by promotional staff at a press event in Paris. It recently came up on eBay France and sold for over €100. With any luck, the buyer is now wearing it as they run around the local park scaring children.
To be fair though, I'd probably wear that myself. Not in the park though. Um.

A Quick Look At Aqua GT

You know you're in for a rough ride when the development history of a game is more interesting than the final product, and that's exactly the case with Aqua GT. This powerboat racer started life as Hydro Sprint by Promethean Designs, and was showcased in several magazines of the era as boasting Wave Race 64-quality water effects and some nicely detailed boats in which to skim across the briny.
The game underwent several changes in stylistic direction and was known as Hydrosport Racing at one stage during development, and according to the Promethean Designs website was to feature an open world which could be explored in your powerboat, allowing you to take in different environments with 'rapids, ravines and choppy ocean courses.' It all sounded very promising - if a little ambitious - and was a game I was looking forward to getting my hands on. At some point in 2000 though, Promethean Designs changed their name to East Point Games, cancelled a load of interesting titles (see Picassio and Renegade Racers for further info) and spewed Aqua GT out onto an unsuspecting public, before quietly going bust and vanishing into the ether with little more than a disappointing sigh.

Dreamcast Magazine Issue 5

Released on 27th January 2000, Dreamcast Magazine issue 5 really marked the point that the magazine got into its stride. The releases were coming thick and fast by that point in the Dreamcast's life and the various sections of the magazine had taken the shape that would remain for the remainder of the publication's run. While the 'unreleased' games are thin on the ground in this issue, there are plenty of previews for games that did see the light of day. The cover, as discussed in the video below is very much of the era, and features the scantily-clad female protagonists of Tecmo's Dead or Alive 2. On this subject, the magazine also has a slightly cringeworthy 'Top 10 Girls on Dreamcast' later on, but the less the said about that the better.

Quantic Dream Pays Tribute To David Bowie

By now the whole world has learnt of the tragic death of legendary musician and actor David Bowie, who passed away on 11th January after a secret battle with cancer. As many Dreamcast and PC owners will no doubt be aware, the great man starred in action adventure The Nomad Soul (also known as Omikron in NTSC territories) and played multiple roles including that of a central character called Boz and also the part of the lead singer of a fictitious in-game band called The Dreamers. Furthermore, and quite appropriately, Bowie was instrumental in the creation of the game's soundtrack and lent his voice to various tracks played throughout the adventure. The point of this post though, is to pay homage to David Bowie and also to mention that Quantic Dream, the developer of The Nomad Soul has tweeted some interesting concept artwork from the game:
I did take a look at The Nomad Soul way back in 2008 and you can read my thoughts on the game here. You can also check out the official Nomad Soul section of Quantic Dream's site here.

The Dreamcast Beach Football Challenge

On the 15th July 2000, Sega held the inaugural Dreamcast Beach Football Challenge at Richmond Athletics Ground in Essex, UK. I say 'inaugural,' but I'm pretty sure there wasn't a repeat event the following year, as by April 2001 Sega had already taken their ball and gone home. Regardless, this event is quite interesting as it was primarily hosted by Sega Europe as a marketing campaign designed to spread awareness of the Dreamcast in Europe and the UK. Plus, the event was helped no end by the international footballing glitterati that was invited to take part.
What I wouldn't give to own that tent in the background.
Most notable amongst the sporting royalty was none other than Manchester United legend Eric Cantona, who represented with a team of French ex-international players. Other teams taking part in the tournament included Manchester United Greats, Liverpool Legends and Arsenal Allstars. Naturally, the other teams comprised ex-players from the respective clubs, and by all accounts the event was a huge crowd pleaser. According to this article from 2000, Sega imported over 750 tonnes of sand for the games to be played on, and over 4,000 spectators crammed into the venue to watch the footballing magic unfold. Elsewhere, according to a small report in Dreamcast Magazine issue 12, there were multiple console pods dotted around and lots of freebies for the attendees. France walked away the victors (thumping Manchester United 5-3 in the final), but check out these photos of this lesser-known Dreamcast event:
We're pretty confident that this whole thing was a lot more credible than the Sega Spud Dive, but ultimately it did little to alter the Dreamcast's fortunes. Were you at the Dreamcast Beach Football Challenge on that July day in 2000? Did you grab any merchandise? If so, please share your memories of the event in the comments section!

DreamPod - Episode 23

UK Podcast Directory

You can vote for The Dreamcast Junkyard in the 2016 UK Blog Awards here. The review of roguelike RPG Powder referenced in the episode is here, and the Adam Koralik video about indie releases can be found on YouTube here.

Guest Article: Expanding The Dreamcast Collection Part 1 - The Naomi Connection

Ross O'Reilly is no stranger to the world of NTSC-J Dreamcast collecting or arcade gaming. Not least because he lives in Japan and his apartment is stuffed full of arcade machines and Dreamcasts. Here in this first of a series of guest articles at The Dreamcast Junkyard, Ross explains why the Dreamcast collection you have may seem complete, but is in actual fact far from it. The Dreamcast's history is intertwined with that of the Naomi arcade machine, and here Ross explains how you can expand your library of Dreamcast-style games by getting involved in the Naomi scene. At this point, I'd also like to point out that all of the quality artwork is the work of the author. Cough.

Ross, over to you...
I’d assume that many of you reading this already own a substantial Dreamcast collection or have at least played a wide variety of games on the system. It’s been almost 18 years since the console was first launched in its home territory of Japan, and while it’s still getting support (unofficial at least) to this day, the number of new titles has of course dwindled since its heyday.

Most gamers, even fans of the Dreamcast, moved onto greener pastures long ago. But what’s the hardcore Dreamcast fan to do?

Support the indie scene: A worthy cause no doubt, but let’s be honest, the quality of these titles are rarely anything special and never up to the standard of the Dreamcast’s best Sega developed games.

Import: Finding games that were unreleased in your home territory can be great fun. Whichever region you’re from, I can guarantee that there are a tonne of great games that never came to your shores. Many of us have already done this for years though; the list of import games we’ve yet to play is diminishing fast. What next?

Complete sets: The hardest of hardcore collectors can go for a complete set, but if we’re honest, the Dreamcast wasn’t that good; there were still a tonne of crappy games that came out for it. Do you really want a shelf half full of absolute rubbish you’ll probably never play and certainly not enjoy? Oh, you do? Well, even if that’s the case, I presume you wouldn’t turn down the chance to find some new 'good' games to play.

But don’t worry, there is still hope! In this series of articles, I’ll detail how you can expand your collection and find more than enough fresh content to keep you happy and out of the whisky bottle for at least another year or so. All you have to do is ever so slightly redefine the meaning of 'Dreamcast game.'

Update On Open Letter To Discotek Media

I have been contacted through unofficial channels from someone who works at Discotek Media in regards to our open letter. They got a kick out of reading about our suggestion for a Dreamcast Video Disc release, but unfortunately the licensing agreement for Hi☆sCoool! SeHa Girls is explicitly for DVD and Blu-ray only. Phooey!
Stupid legal contracts ruining our fun
However, they did reveal that a tentative suggestion has been put forward to perhaps release the discs in a special edition that mimics the Dreamcast game case style in a CD Jewel case. which is pretty exciting and a neat compromise.
So this still could happen, in a fashion
The covers and inserts would also be reversible and contain an alternative version that mimics the Saturn case style as well. At this stage, it is uncertain whether the suggestion will get approved though, but lets hope so. 

DreamPi To Launch 'Dreamcast Now!' Online Service

A few weeks ago we featured the stellar work of Luke Benstead and his Raspberry Pi-based DreamPi device; a device with which Dreamcast owners can get their consoles back online without the need for an expensive broadband adapter. The DreamPi is still very much a work in progress, but this work is progressing at a rate of knots and this week Luke announced the next step in DreamPi's path to world domination: Dreamcast Now!
A Raspberry Pi. Not to be confused with a Raspberry Pie.
Dreamcast Now! is a new service that will allow DreamPi users to see who is online at any given moment, and also to see which games other people (or rampant AIs) are playing. The test site is actually live now and can be viewed here. Luke also has also revealed details of an exciting partnership with Dreamcast browser portal Dreampipe.net, which in his own words will "provide a level of integration with the site which will allow you to see who's online without ever leaving the confines of the Dreamcast."

Vote For Us In The UK Blog Awards 2016!

Vote for me now in the UK Blog Awards #UKBA16 
The UK Blog Awards exist to celebrate and showcase the best content that UK-based bloggers produce. As a blog hosted by Google's Blogger platform, The Dreamcast Junkyard thought it might be worth entering the 'Digital and Technology' category...so we did! There are lots of different categories ranging from fashion and sport blogs to movie and business focused sites, and we're sure they're all superb. However, in order for The Dreamcast Junkyard to be in with a chance of being shortlisted to attend the glitzy awards ceremony in London, we need your help! If you can find it in you Hitachi SH-4 powered heart, please consider clicking the link below (or the image above) and casting your vote for the finest Dreamcast-related blog on the internet.

We need you...so vote for The Dreamcast Junkyard here! Also - see those little Twitter and Facebook buttons beneath this post? Feel free to use those and spread the word...

DreamConn V3 Adds PC VMU Browser Support

Welcome to 2016! The future has arrived and it looks just like it did in The Jetsons. Flying cars, robotic butlers, houses on stilts and 75" hovering CRT televisions for every room in the home. But by far the best thing about living here in 2016 is the DreamConn wireless Dreamcast controller. We have featured Chris Diaoglou's impressive Bluetooth-enabled peripheral here at The Dreamcast Junkyard several times in the past, and even did a full-on video review of the second revision here, but now DreamConn V3 has arrived with several hardware updates and one major software update: the ability to connect it to a PC to browse VMU files. The hardware updates include a new white on/off button and a bi-coloured LED, along with minor internal hardware and firmware upgrades. The real appeal here though, is the new VMU Explorer connectivity.
The DreamConn I reviewed comes with a USB cable and I did try to connect it to my Macbook to see if file browsing would be possible, and I also tried to connect via Bluetooth but it was futile as the DreamConn V2.0 will not allow such rummaging around - the supplied USB is for charging the unit only and it seems only the Bluetooth transceiver is capable of recognising the DreamConn itself. Now though, using the newly created DreamConn Backup Utility in conjunction with Speud's VMU Explorer, it is possible to connect DreamConn V3 to your PC via Bluetooth and edit the contents of the memory units (both the built in memory and external VMUs), and also add downloaded save files. Chris explains the power of this PC connectivity in his own words:

"As you see, this feature gives now numerous possibilities for VMU managing (like copying from a real VMU to DreamConn and then to PC); and it may even render the usage of real, physical VMUs as obsolete."
- Chris Diaoglou, creator of DreamConn

This is a great addition to an already fantastic device and we'll be keeping an eye on any further developments. While the price point may still be prohibitive for many Dreamcast owners, I can personally vouch for the quality of the product and would recommend it in an instant if you are in a position to buy one. DreamConn V3 is available to buy here.

Edit: Chris has made the PC software freely availible for people to have a look at. You can download the DreamConn Backup Utility here, although be aware that at present it is PC-only.

Dreamcast Magazine Issue 4

Dreamcast Magazine issue 4 was released on the 23rd December 1999 and was, in effect the Christmas issue of Paragon Publishing's Sega-related periodical. It was the first issue to sport a printed spine in place of a stapled design and featured a slightly re-jigged internal layout. The cover is split between Chu Chu Rocket and Crazy Taxi, two mainstays of the Dreamcast's library, but also mentions Soul Reaver and Fighting Force 2.