Famicam64 iOS App Adds VMU Filters & Frames

Famicam64 is a retro-inspired camera app for iOS devices that allows you to add all manner of cool retro gaming and computer effects to your photos. Want to give snaps of your dog an 8-bit makeover and add a pseudo NES box art frame? Famicam64 is the perfect app for you! I published a full review of Famicam64 over at RetroCollect recently and consider it to be one of the best camera apps available for the iPhone, but it just got a whole lot better with the release of update 1.3.
Why? Well, now you can turn your phone into a Dreamcast VMU! I have to admit to having a bit of a hand in the creation of this filter after suggesting it on Twitter, and I must give credit to Famicam64's creator PXL:Artificer for going to the trouble of taking me seriously and actually implementing the VMU frame and filter...

Original 1999 Xbox Controller Designs Show VMU Device

So you might have seen these images by now, as Xbox co-creator Seamus Blackley tweeted them two days ago on Saturday night. As soon as I saw them I was intrigued and asked how 'genuine' they were...and my question simply received a 'favourite.' I'll be honest - I didn't actually know who Seamus was at the time so I was a bit sceptical, but it turns out these images are indeed real.
Dating from November 1999 according to Blackley, the drawings depict several prototype Xbox controllers and they all feature a VMU style memory unit very similar to the Dreamcast design. The most interesting thing here is the date - it confirms that Microsoft was planning a console as early as 1999, and was already looking at the Dreamcast as a blueprint for the Xbox.

Forbidden Planet Now Stocking Dreamcast Merchandise

Thanks to author of the DCJY Ultimate Guide/DreamPod co-host/intrepid reporter Mike Phelan for this news. Today he braved the incessant rain of the British summer and ventured to his local branch of comic book/sci-fi emporium Forbidden Planet, and was met with an awesome selection of Dreamcast-related merchandise. We knew about the Megadrive branded stuff they were selling previously, but this Dreamcast range was news to us!
Mike's Nokia 7560 camera coming to the rescue once again
T-shirts, mugs, wallets, coasters, greetings cards, travel pass and passport holders - all emblazoned with Dreamcast, Jet Set Radio and Shenmue II designs are all now available to purchase from the popular retailer. Not only are they available in store - you can also find them online. Mike went a bit overboard and literally purchased everything he could find so we'll get a full update soon on the quality of the merchandise, but if you'd like to check these out for yourself follow the links below.

A Short Film About Life, Love and the Dreamcast

Waiting For A Star (The Last Word - Strength To Dream) is a slightly surreal comedy short created by amateur film maker Daniel Price, and tells the story of a despondent young man who finds meaning through a love of the Dreamcast. I think. To be honest, I'm not entirely sure what it's about, but there are some pretty funny monologue sections inter cut with the protagonist's piss-poor attempts at playing Sega Rally 2. It's all very arty in an 'angsty student' type of way, and I do actually know the creator in real life...so I suppose I could ask him what the fuck all this random chaos means...but I'm far, far too lazy. Ladies and gentlemen, prepare to be confused and amused by Waiting For A Star (The Last Word - Strength To Dream)...

If anyone knows who the German guy in the video is, please let me know. I can't be arsed doing a Google image search. I've got more important things to do, like whiten yet another yellow Dreamcast I recently picked up. Cheers. (Edit - I've been informed that it's Alex Wright, a former professional wrestler. Make perfect sense now. Um...)

Dream Trance Rez Vibrator Video Review

The PlayStation 2 famously received a small and slightly odd peripheral in the form of the Rez Trance Vibrator, which was a small USB-powered block that would pulse and shake in time with the music while playing Tetsuya Mizuguchi's psychedelic masterpiece. Sadly, the DC was already in a body bag by the time the Trance Vibrator hit, so nothing of the sort was ever released for it.
Until now, that is. Fellow DCJY member Scott Marley (aka Sega Retro's Doc Eggfan) has created the world's first - and only - Dreamcast Rez vibration unit, Dream Trance...and he sent it to me to review. Please note that the Dream Trance only really mimics the functions of a standard Dreamcast rumble pack and doesn't vibrate in time with the game music, but it's a cool little device and demonstrates what can be achieved with a little imagination and technical know-how. Here's the video:

1080p is available from the video options menu

As stated, there's only one Dream Trance unit in existence at the moment - the one in the video. However, if people wish to own their own Dream Trance, please let us know in the comments and we'll see what we can do with regards to making them a reality for other Rez fans.
You can also find Ross's Rez Infinite first look mentioned in the video above by visiting this link.

DreamPod - Episode 34: FightPod

Music in this episode comes from Last Blade 2, Marvel Vs Capcom 2 and Soul Calibur. You can follow Spencer on Twitter here, and find his extensive articles on various games at Hardcore Gaming 101 by tapping/clicking the links below:

If you’d like to contribute to our Patreon then please go here, and if you’d like to submit a review or subscribe then feel free to check DreamPod out on iTunes.

Event: Revival Solstice 2016

The time has come for The Dreamcast Junkyard to once again mobilise its fleet of consoles, monitors, peripherals and games for the betterment of Humankind. This time, we have our sights set on the UK's biggest retro-gaming event, Revival Solstice 2016. The event takes place at Banks's Stadium in Walsall over the weekend of the 30-31 July and promises to be an extravaganza of retro-gaming awesomeness - and not just because we'll be there. Those attending Revival Solstice can expect over 50 arcade and pinball machines to play, over 100 retro consoles to sample, traders selling all kinds of game-related merchandise (and games, naturally) and a host of competitions and tournaments. There are also some really great guest Q & A sessions including Paul Rose (aka Mr Biffo of Digitiser/Digitiser 2000 fame) and veteran games developer Jim Bagley.

Revival 2013
The Junkyard will be providing a total of 6 Dreamcast systems, each with a range of peripherals such as light guns and arcade sticks; and of course a wide selection of games for event goers to experience. Rather helpfully we'll also be situated very close to the fully-licensed bar inside the event hall, so feel free to grab a beer (or a coke) and come and have a chat or a game of Soul Calibur with us. Mike Phelan will be in attendance on both days, so if you want your copy of the Ultimate Guide defacing with his autograph (and having it's value reduced to minus figures), bring that along; while Tom will be charging a mere £85 for photographs and £75 for a handshake.

Tickets for Revival Solstice 2016 are available now and entry costs £12 per day for adults and £6 per day for under 12s (family/weekend tickets are also available). For further information and directions to the event, visit the official Revival Retro Events website or the Revival Facebook page.

Signed Ozzfest 2000 Dreamcast Surfaces on eBay

Another remnant from those strange days of early 2000s Dreamcast marketing has come to the fore. It's not widely discussed anymore, but Sega apparently sponsored the 2000 Ozzfest music festival, slapped Dreamcast logos all over the place and kitted out a load of trucks under the Mobile Assault Tour brand in order to raise awareness amongst the angsty youth of the day. $135 million well spent.
One of the more interesting aspects of this endeavour was roping in stars like Ozzy Osbourne to play Dreamcast games against festival goers, so they could win signed merchandise and consoles...and one of these signed systems has once again surfaced on eBay. It's not known how many of these signed Ozzy Osbourne Dreamcasts there are out in the wild, but at least one other has come up for auction in the past, as detailed by this TSSZ article from 2011. The article up for grabs here though appears to be completely unopened and unused (apart from when the Prince of Darkness graffitied it with a sharpie, obviously), and the owner claims to be the original recipient back at Ozzfest 2000.
The asking price is just shy of $1000 (£700) and is out of financial reach for many, but as a piece of Dreamcast and music history, it will probably only increase in value (unlike those autographed Fred Durst Dreamcasts that people will actually pay you to take away). Check out the auction here.

Competition: Win a Sealed Copy of Shenmue!

We've teamed up with online store Retroplayers and Shenmue super site TeamYu (or rather, they've teamed up with us...or something) to offer you - yes you - the opportunity to win a brand new and sealed copy of PAL Shenmue. This is totally unopened so if you win, the first greasy finger prints that will ever be laid on that glorious sparkling GD-Rom will be yours!
All you have to do to be in with a chance of winning is go to the official entry page here and enter the competition. That's it! No questions, no tests, no 'tell us your favourite Dreamcast moment' nonsense. Just go to Retroplayers and enter for a chance to win this awesome prize. And while you're at it, you could also go and check out the Retroplayers store, where (and I'm not just saying this) you'll find a ton of really well priced retro gaming deals. I'm probably going to get a Neo Geo Pocket Colour next week from them, so don't go and buy them all. Cheers.

The Dreamcast Junkyard - Now on Ubuntu Phones and Tablets

Yep, that's right. I'm one of those annoying bores who got themselves a new phone - a Meizu Pro 5 - and can't stop telling people how awesome it is. And I'm also doubly annoying because I opted for one of the very few commercially available Ubuntu phones, so I can look down my nose and sneer at all you sheeple trapped in your walled iOS and android gardens... ahem.
Keep on drinking that GoogApple duopoly Kool-Aid sheeple - I'll just sit quietly over here with my smartphone that has a completely unnecessary but super cool command line terminal.
That's right: Terminal. On a smartphone. 

Hidden Palace Releases Ecco II: Sentinels of the Universe

Well this is pretty incredible news. Ecco the Dolphin: Defender of the Future is widely known to have been given the go ahead for the sequel treatment, and until now the only real evidence of this has been some YouTube footage of the game running on a dev kit. Thanks to Hidden Palace though, you can now download and play Ecco II: Sentinels of the Universe yourself. On a retail Dreamcast. This is not a drill. Repeat, not a drill.
The game is in no way complete, features no sound and has a debugger menu enabled by default, but here's a quick run down of the features:
  • This game was cancelled around the time Sega went third party
  • Possibly the last build created
  • Contains no music or sound
  • Has an active debugger enabled
  • An anonymous contributor has made a self-boot CDI so that the game can be burned and played on a retail Dreamcast.
Thanks to drx of Hidden Palace and Nik Thorpe of Retro Gamer Magazine for the info. If you're going to steal this story for your own site at least give those guys credit if you aren't going to credit us. Go here and download the self-boot CDI right now. Right fucking now. Amazing.

A Quick Look At Looney Tunes Space Race

When it comes to cartoons, I’d choose Warner Bros’ Looney Tunes over their Disney counterparts any day of the week. The characters and the humour just appeal to me in a much broader sense than anything old Walt could conjure up. That’s not to say I don’t appreciate the talent and the genius of Walt Disney and the countless classic cartoons and world famous characters the studio has given to the world (and of course, mainstream animation in the first place); but the slightly more adult-themed humour and overtly violent nature of the Warner Bros stable strikes more of a chord with me.
Hello? Is this thing on? Reminds me of the average DreamPod recording session...
That said, I don’t consider all of the Looney Tunes to be palatable by default. For instance, I can’t stand the Sylvester and Tweety Pie stuff (although that’s more down to the latter character than the former), and Bugs Bunny’s wisecracking does my head in; but for the most part Warner’s cartoons just hit the right balance of ‘entertainment for the kids’ and ‘there’s something here for the adults too.’ For a prime example of this, see the Daffy Duck and Marvin the Martian cartoons. In more recent times though, stuff like Animaniacs, Tiny Toons and (shudder) Space Jam have also become synonymous with Warner Bros, but in 2000 the original gang got back together and hit the Dreamcast in pretty spectacular fashion with Looney Tunes Space Race.

Composer Spotlight: Philippe Vachey

When writing about video game music, one should start with beloved and favorite games. I'd previously looked at the music of Sonic Adventure, so for my first 'composer spotlight' article, why not look at my second favorite game on the system?
Toy Commander is a fun romp through a child's house and imagination. How do the tunes stack up? Developed by No Cliché, Toy Commander's music was composed by Philippe Vachey.

Compared to other composers and bands I've seen, Vachey's discography is fairly short; however it does include the famous survival horror title Alone in the Dark. Other games he's scored are Little Big Adventure and its sequel, a Cthulhu game, and Nikopol: Secrets of the Immortals. With a few exceptions, most of Vachey's work has been for adventure games.
Probably not a Dreamcast keyboard

DCJAM 2016: Dreamcast Homebrew Game Jam Starts September 2016

Are you a homebrew developer? Got an idea for a new Dreamcast game? Then this could be for you. Starting in September 2016 and running until January 2017, DCJAM 2016 is aiming to kick start (excuse the pun) the creative juices flowing through the dreamcast homebrew scene in an attempt to get more bedroom coders putting their ideas into action to create a whole new Dreamcast game jam spread across a period of several months. For those who aren't familiar, a game jam is generally a brainstorming and programming session where coders and designers can collaborate to create new and original software for whatever format the game jam is aimed at...and as you've already read, DCJAM 2016 is aimed squarely at those who may want to have a go at putting a game out on Sega's final system.

"Although there have been games released by independent developers on a commercial scale, there hasn't really been that large of a homebrew presence as there was before 2010. In the hopes of getting people interested, I thought that it would be wise to start a Dreamcast Game Jam. The Dreamcast is a great system to develop for, and it's relatively cheap to purchase.

The competition will run from September 09, 2016 to January 9th, 2017. Voting will last between the 9th and the 16th of January 2017. After the games are voted on, a compilation disk(s) will be created so that we have a nice collection of homebrew to play with."
- DCJAM 2016

We've seen some stunning homebrew titles hit the Dreamcast over the years and the community's appetite for new software is as voracious as ever; so if you think you're up to the challenge, why not get involved in this exciting jam session?

Check out the rules and join the jam by visiting the DCJAM 2016 site here.

The Haunting D2 Music Box

D2 is a game that famously never received a PAL release, and the Japanese and NTSC-U versions are highly sought after and represent one of the late developer Kenji Eno's finest moments. While it's true Warp also went on to develop another Dreamcast game in Real Sound: Winds of Regret, the Japanese outfit never really revisited the Dreamcast - much to the disappointment of many.

Now, while randomly wandering the annals of YouTube the other day though, I stumbled upon a fascinating video from fellow 'tuber FatalistDC that shows off a rather brilliant yet lesser-known piece of Dreamcast merchandise: a wind up music box that plays the haunting theme tune from D2:

We've looked at myriad examples of Dreamcast-related merchandise in the last couple of years, but I'd never seen (or heard of) this music box prior to a few days ago. To this end, I contacted FatalistDC and asked about the history of the item and he was able to supply the following:

"I got it years ago, searching Yahoo Japan Auctions for items related to D, D2 and Enemy Zero. I found this music box and some D2 mangas too. I quickly bid on them using Shopping Mall Japan. I don't have more info about the item itself or why a D2 music box was released or if there are any more very rare items of D2 memorabilia."
- Fatalist DC

Thanks to FatalistDC for allowing me to share his video here - check out his YouTube channel for Dreamcast centric videos. He did also point me to this article from Gamesniped that details a pretty spectacular Enemy Zero collector's edition, but alas had no more info on the D2 music box. Do you know any more about it or have any similarly lesser known Dreamcast-related collectables? Let us know in the comments or in the Facebook group!

Sega Katana & Dreamcast Marketing Videos Discovered

Sega recently hit the headlines when an internal video was discovered that showed what it was like to be a tester during the 1990s. This is Sega Test wasn't really intended for public consumption, but it gave us a rare glimpse of the inner workings of the company when it was still a force to be reckoned with. Another video has now been discovered, and while it's not really in the same vein as the one detailed above, it does give us a very early taste of what was to come from the Dreamcast.
As described by Assembler Games forum member Coolmod, this Katana footage was discovered when he was given a bunch of VHS tapes. Upon viewing the tapes to digitise them, they yielded some pretty amazing tech demos and marketing material from the dawn of the Dreamcast era.

The most interesting footage comes from the tape labelled 'Sega Katana Demo TRT: 3:25 4/24/98':

This now-digitised footage shows some concepts for what looks like a Scud Race-esque racing game engine, and several other tech demos which could possibly have gone on to be the inspiration for titles such as Virtual On and Sea Man. Another video detailed at the forum here also shows a collection of adverts and news spots from US television. Why these were archived as 'internal' is a bit of a mystery as these news shows were clearly broadcast, but these discoveries show there's still more to be found when it comes to the Dreamcast.

Thanks to Coolmod for allowing us to share this video.

A Quick Look at Dolphin Blue

Just like our previous article exploring the history of the Sega Driving Simulator, this began as a sub-section of the upcoming part 4 in our 'Expanding the Dreamcast Collection' series regarding the next in the line of arcade systems to share similar hardware to the Dreamcast; the Atomiswave system. People often ask me…wait - who am kidding…let me start again. In my imagination, people often ask me to name the 'exclusive killer app' for each of the systems in the Dreamcast family and I usually struggle, but with Atomiswave, an answer is easy to produce; not only is this the best Atomiswave game, but this could well very be the single best exclusive across the entire Dreamcast family of arcade hardware. Read on to find out more.

I’m a big fan of Metal Slug but like many of you out there, I found the series got a wee bit stale after the third game. Not to say that subsequent games were bad or anything, just that…well, I couldn’t shake the feeling of déjà vu, and have always preferred the purity of the original game without all the zombies, mummies, aliens and transformation nonsense. Dolphin Blue fills the void left in the wake of the Metal Slug series’ change in direction, and then some.
Even before merging with Sega, Sammy had a close relationship with Sega.
Atomiswave and the Guilty Gear series are heavily associated with both companies. 
The game was one of the last Sammy developed before the merger with Sega in 2004. Despite this, it feels incredibly Sega-like for lack of a better term; blue skies, upbeat catchy tunes, cute spunky characters with plenty of 'tude and even an appearance from Sega’s very own Ecco the Dolphin…Ok, well that last part I may have just pulled out of my arse, but many of the gameplay mechanics do revolve around a certain bad ass cetacean chum.