<-- -!>

Featured Article

Help Support SEGA Raise Funds For Special Effect!

SEGA Europe is raising money for the most noble of causes - gaming charity Special Effect, an outfit devoted to enabling those with disabilities to enjoy the most awesome pastime of all time: gaming! The Gameblast 18 event will see various members of the SEGA and Hardlight teams take part in a 24-hour gaming session, during which a multitude of games will be played, rivalries will be formed and souls will will undoubtedly still burn well into the wee hours.

The entire stream will be...erm...streamed on that Twitch thing - you know, that thing the cool kids are all using these days. Personally, I have very little idea what Twitch actually is, and that's because I only ever browse the internet with a Dreamcast and a copy of Dreamkey 3.0. Can't knock me for living the dream, can you?
Anyway, SEGA Europe is trying to raise just £2,000 for Special Effect in an attempt to help all of our fellow gamers who have serious disabilities enjoy games in the same way everybody else does. I'm pretty confident we can help them smash this total though. With me? Then go here to Just Giving and donate what you can. I just gave a tenner because I'm skint after buying a new motorbike, but every little helps. You can also watch the stream here or by using the window below once the stream starts at 6pm UK time on Friday 23rd February. Thanks all!

Watch live video from SEGA on www.twitch.tv
Update:
It appeats that SEGA Europe successfully reached their target of £2000 - well done to all involved and all those who donated!

Dreamcast Hunting in Akihabara

A couple months back, during Japan's Silver Week national holiday, I took a short trip to Tokyo to meet up with a few old friends. Seeing as I was already in the area, I took a day to check out how the gaming scene was doing in the world famous Akihabara (it would have been rude not to really). I focused specifically on the Dreamcast for this article, but it's a similar story for most other consoles. Read on to see my findings...

VS Link cable now available from Dreamcast Live

Dreamcast Live's VS Link Cable
Like myself, I'm sure many of you out there have fantasised about owning the Dreamcast VS link cable for quite some time now. While only compatible with a handful of games, the thought of playing multiplayer F355 Challenge, Virtual On and more, without compromising half the screen, is enough to leave me frothing at the gash. The problem is (or rather WAS), the official and even third party Dragoncast cables are both extremely rare, usually fetching around $200 or more on eBay.
Tom Charnock playing with himself...the loser that he is.

Kickstarter: Not every retro game gets a Dreamcast stretch goal


Another day, another retro game Kickstarter. Refreshingly, today's effort is slightly more interesting affair in that it is targeting the Nintendo 64 audience for a change, aiming to publish a near two decade old cancelled game from the era.

40 Winks (aka Ruff and Tumble) did see the light of day on the original playstation, but the Nintendo 64 port was cancelled when its publisher GT Interactive went belly up, and when Infogrames picked over the carcass, the game ended up in the chaff pile instead of the wheat. Piko Interactive has recently picked up the rights to the game, and have already secured their modest US$20,000 goal within one day. They plan to develop, test and manufacture some brand new minty N64 cartridges for the game, so that it can be finally realised in physical form all these years later.
Some good ol' 90s era 3D platforming (apparently, never heard of it)
Hang on, isn't this the premiere destination for all things Dreamcast? Why are we suddenly talking about the Nintendo 64? Well, with every successful Kickstarter campaign that features a retro, or retro-inspired game, it's only natural that the masses start shouting "Dreamcast Stretch Goal! Dreamcast Stretch Goal!" And with good reason.


Component Video Heading To Dreamcast Courtesy Of HD Retrovision

Recently here at the Junkyard we took a look at the different types of A/V connection that you can use with your Dreamcast. The various types of cable that most people will be using to get an image ono a television or monitor will fall under the umbrella of either RF, composite, RGB SCART, S-video or VGA. It looks like we'll soon be able to add another connection type in the near future if HD Retrovision has anything to do with it: component.

We did mention this very fleetingly in the aforementioned article, but it seems that those clever lot over at HD Retrovision - purveyors of high quality cables for all manner of retro systems - have been experimenting with a Dreamcast YPbPr component cable for some time now, and the tweet above shows that they have a working prototype that allows for 480p images for VGA-compatible games and 240p for those which aren't.
This is particularly interesting for those who want to play games like Hydro Thunder and Air Force Delta et al without the need to constantly switch cable types. Hopefully we'll hear more about this interesting development in the coming weeks and months.

In the meantime, be sure to check out the HD Retrovision website here.

A Statistical Analysis Of Dreamcast Game Prices

Recently, we featured a video here at the 'Yard from a YouTuber known as Vince19 in which the various sales figures for Dreamcast games were investigated in great detail. It's a facinating study into the variables that affected certain titles' ability to make consumers part with their cash and we would recommend that anyone with even a passing interest in statistics take a look at it.

Now though, Vince19 has returned with a follow-up video in which he attempts to decode one of the most sensitive topics in the retrogaming sphere - the continued rise in the price of games. The reason why it's relevant to us, is that Vince19 uses the Dreamcast as the test bed for his research, studying the relationship between used prices and original sales figures, and all manner of statistical data to interpret just why certain Dreamcast games can command some pretty astronomical price tags. Furthermore, the roles of review scores, YouTube and eBay are all brought into the equation.


As with the previous video, this is all based on the US market and so whether the findings can also be transposed onto the PAL or Japanese market is debateable, but it's certainly an interesting and wholly empirical look at a topic many of us will no doubt have an opinion on.

Feel free to follow Vince19 on Twitter here and find his YouTube channel here. What are your thoughts? And does the continued rise in the price of retro software concern you? Let us know in the comments or get involved in our Facebook group or on Twitter.

A Quick Look At Zero Gunner 2 - Dreamcast & Switch Comparison

Regular visitors here at the Junkyard will no doubt be aware of my affection for Nintendo's latest hardware release. While I was skeptical initially, since purchasing a Switch I have fallen in love with the system and I rarely go anywhere without it. With this in mind, whenever a game is released that has even the most tenuous link to the Dreamcast, I sit up and pay attention. Most recently both Gunbird and Volgarr the Viking have peaked my interest, and while the former isn't actually a port of a Dreamcast game (although I'm willing to bet the sequel will be along sometime soon); and the latter was only ported to the Dreamcast posthumously, the very fact that games with a connection to Sega's final system are being released on Nintendo's current warms my cockles no end. You could cook an egg on my cockles, in fact.
Pacific Rim or Zero Gunner 2?
Following in the wake of the two aforementioned titles and the tsunami of Dreamcast/NEO-GEO ports, comes a re-release of Zero Gunner 2 - a paid-up member of the Dreamcast's celebrated stable of thoroughbred shmups. The Dreamcast's library of shmups is up there with the very best systems of yesteryear and there can be no doubt about that. The issue I have - and I'm sure many others will agree - is that the vast majority of the cream of the Dreamcast's shmup library was only released in Japan; and due to this numbers of available copies are limited. As a consequence, original copies of these games are incredibly hard to come by in the wild, and when they appear on eBay or other sites online, the prices they command are very often prohibitive to the average gamer.
Commuter reaction to train fare rises was justified
Ikaruga, Karous, Under Defeat, Spirit of Speed 1937, Psyvariar, Trigger Heart Exelica, Giga Wing 2...the list goes on. And the one thing all of these titles have in common is that they are expensive as all hell when they come up for sale online. Quality varies across the board of course, but the the one constant is the high price. I can't convey the number of times I've sat staring at a genuine copy of Trigger Heart Exelica on eBay, ready to hit that 'buy it now' button, only to remember that I also have car tax, a loan shark or an electricity bill to pay...which brings us nicely to Zero Gunner 2. As with the other titles listed above, Zero Gunner 2 from Psikyo is another title you can pay an arm and a leg for if you are so inclined...but now you don't have to. That's because it has arrived on the Nintendo Switch, and we thought it would be interesting to look at the original Dreamcast version and also how this new Switch iteration measures up...

Is There A Market For New Dreamcast Console Shells?

Let's face it - the Dreamcast is enjoying something of an extraordinary rise in popularity as of late. The little console that didn't back in the day, has attracted a whole new audience to bolster the ranks of the ageing and decrepit veterans (like me) of the initial war in which the Dreamcast ranks were decimated. We have returned and we now have reinforcements.

With this in mind, firms like Retro-bit have jumped on the opportunity to capitalise on the renewed interest in the Dreamcast, and rightly so. The promise of affordable wireless controllers and VGA boxes has done wonders for the Dreamcast's reputation on social media. We want to go one step further though. Remember the aftermarket multi-coloured shells for the Dreamcast console? Well...why not bring those back too?
There were both official Sega-branded and unofficial Dreamcast console shells available back in the day and even though they were hard to acquire in the era of the Dreamcast, they have become almost impossible to find for a realistic price in the current climate. Only a couple of firms actually produced the third party shells, and these have long since gone bust, leaving the remaining stock to become highly collectable and fiercely contested when they appear on eBay.
With original Dreamcast consoles going yellow at an unprecedented rate (even after whitening, the colour fades after a couple of years), we are now calling on Sega to fire up those furnaces and moulds and re-issue aftermarket Dreamcast console shells. We don't care if they're in standard white, standard black or in any number of other colours - there is a huge market for this type of augmentation, and for Sega to ignore this demand would be pretty ridiculous.
Come on Sega - you rarely listen to your fanbase when it comes to software releases, but the recent collaboration with Retro-bit to bring wireless controllers to the mainstream showed that there is a real thirst for stuff like this. Listen to us. Listen to your fanbase. Get those Dreamcast moulds out of storage and give us a new range of multi-coloured Dreamcast console and controller shells and your license to print money will be reinstated.

What do you think? Would you buy these cases if Sega or a third party brought them back to market? We know we would! Let us know in the comments or join the conversation in our Facebook group or on Twitter.

New Sega & Dreamcast Themed Clothing Lines From Insert Coin


Insert Coin have just unveiled their latest line of games related apparel, and Sega fans will no doubt be pretty excited to see that a few different well-known Dreamcast games are represented, as well as the iconic Dreamcast swirl itself (although only in PAL blue).
Crazy Taxi, Jet Set Radio and Space Channel 5 are all reflected in the officially licensed designs, along with some others from the Mega Drive era and the famous swirl. The t-shirts and hoodies are available to pre-order now, and prices start at £22. No word on when they'll be shipping just yet, but they look pretty decent, don't you think?

Find out more at Insert Coin here. Will you be purchasing any of these? Let us know in the comments.

The Dreamcast Legacy - Jupiter and Mars

There is a hardy breed of gamer that has a special soft spot in their gaming hearts for a certain woe-be-gotten series, and that heart whispers the name Ecco. The games are not obscure by any means, as the majority of Sega aficionados would have at least had a taste of dolphin (eww!) during either the 16-bit golden age or the new millennium reboot on Dreamcast. Only a much smaller subset - the most diligent and committed gamers (read: sado-masochistic gamers) - persisted far enough through the sheer vertical learning curve to be rewarded with one of the most unique gaming experiences of all time. 
I think this is about as far as most people got in the original series
Unfortunately for fans of the series, the full potential of the Ecco saga has always been frustratingly unfulfilled. The original 16-bit games were supposed to be realised as a trilogy, but the third game never materialised. Ecco II: The Tides of Time sadly ends on a sombre note - much like the Empire Strikes Back - but unlike Star Wars, there is no Return of the Jedi to close out the third act.
Unlike Ryo in his cave, it seems Ecco is destined to be forever lost in the tides of time 
The amazing reboot on Dreamcast was handled by a new creative team at Appaloosa Interactive (formerly Novotrade) and did not continue the same story left open by the Mega Drive games. This does not hamper my esteem for the game, in many ways it had to start from a clean slate after a six year hiatus. Defender of the Future is my all time favourite game on Dreamcast, and it should be held in as high esteem and discussed in the same company as games like Metroid Prime for updating a classic 2D game style and successfully refashioning it into a fully realised 3D world. 

Online Multiplayer Restored To More Dreamcast Games (Updated)

Fresh from our friends over at Sega Nerds comes the news that even more Dreamcast games will soon have their online multiplayer functionality restored. NFL 2K1 and Ooga Booga are the next couple of titles that will be brought back online courtesy of modder Shuouma, hot on the heels of a multitude of other titles that were resurrected in 2017. Games such as POD 2, Monaco Grand Prix Online and Quake III: Arena have already been successfully added to the library of Dreamcast titles you can now play online with other gamers around the world, and it's probably safe to say that both Ooga Booga and NFL 2K1 will also employ the same DreamPi method as the aforementioned.
Having never played Ooga Booga online - partly because it was never released outside of the US - I'm intrigued to see how this predominantly multiplayer title compares to modern battle arena style games. NFL 2K1 I'm not so keen on, simply because I prefer the proper version of football; you know, the one where players kick a ball around with their feet? I'm sure those who like chucking an egg about will be much more enthusiastic.

Either way, it's great to see more games brought back online - who knows what's next? Massively multiplayer online Daytona USA 2001? Yes please! You can keep abreast of Shuouma's great work by following him on Twitter here; and make sure you keep up to date with the Dreamcast's burgeoning online gaming scene, and find out more about DreamPi by visiting Dreamcast Live.

Update
As of 26th January 2018, Ooga Booga is back online! We'll be getting involved with some online games soon via DreamPi, but in the meantime check out Pcwzrd13's video below:


Source: Sega Nerds

A Beginner's Guide To Dreamcast A/V Cables

While we here at the Junkyard pore over the minutiae of Dreamcast collecting and the more obscure side of the console's paraphernalia, it has become increasingly apparent that the Dreamcast is attracting a whole new audience as intrigued gamers start collecting for the system. The Dreamcast has been undergoing something of a renaissance for a couple of years now, and as such we thought it was about time that we offered up some basic 'beginner's guides' to various aspects of the Dreamcast for those who aren't fully au fait with the many foibles of the hardware.
First up, we're going to look briefly at the various cables that will allow you to connect your Dreamcast to a tellybox or monitor doo-dah, and what the pros and cons are. As the name suggests, this really will be a quick reference guide, giving the bare minimum that you need to know if you're a bit clueless when it comes to cables and connections and don't know your SCART from your composite or your VGA from your RF. Hey - it's a minefield out there if you're new to the scene, but luckily old uncle Junkyard is here to guide you...like the blind leading the blind! Please remember that this is a beginner's guide and so I'm not really going to go into the science behind it all. I'll leave that to someone with far greater knowledge than I have.

OK, so the first thing to know is that there are a number of different cable variants for the Dreamcast and they all give a picture of varying quality and have differing connectors on the business end. The bit that goes into the Dreamcast's A/V port is pretty much identical though and it looks like this:
The underside of this connector does have a differing number of pins depending on the type, but physically at least, they look the same. The key thing to remember is that you shouldn't try to jab this end into your TV or monitor. If you do, at best you'll end up with a broken cable; at worst you'll end up electrocuting yourself and burning the house down. Probably. Right, on to the good stuff. There are 5 main connection types for the Dreamcast and these are they...

New Bluetooth Dreamcast Controllers From Retro-bit Revealed (Updated)

Retro-bit are yet to make an official announcement about their upcoming Dreamcast, Saturn and Megadrive peripherals, but one eagle-eyed YouTuber has beat them to the punch by the looks of it. John Riggs of RIGG'd Games recently published the following video which apparently shows some rather awesome-looking officially branded wireless peripherals, and what look like official VGA boxes for the Dreamcast. This was uploaded on the 8th of January and as of the time of writing, Retro-bit have yet to make an official announcment from their booth at CES 2018. However, if this is genuine then Retro-bit can take my money now!


As stated previously, the DreamConn exists already but if an officially licensed Bluetooth controller is available at a more affordable price then that's pretty fantastic. Here's a better shot of the packaging courtesy of RGT85's video on the topic:
Hopefully the build quality of these new accessories will live up to the hype. Will you be getting amongst these controllers and connectors? Let us know in the comments!

Update
It seems that yes, these controllers are indeed real. A reader called David who was at CES 2018 spoke to the Retro-bit staff and took some photos at the booth, and shared the news that they are looking at a late 2018 release date for the controllers, VGA boxes and other cables on show. Here are some better images, courtesy of David:
From the images, it looks as though Retro-bit will also be selling officially licensed USB controllers for PC, as well as standard wired controllers (not sure what the deal is there, as you can just get original controllers of eBay for pittance); as well as an S-video connector and (rather oddly) a power cord. Naturally, as soon as we can get our hands on any of this new hardware we'll bring you honest and unbiased reviews. If the build quality is up there with the official Sega Dreamcast HKT-7700 then we'll let you know...and likewise if they feel cheap and nasty. Thanks again to David for these images and speaking to the Retro-bit staff at the event.

2018 Dreamcast Releases Teased By JoshProd

In 2017, France-based publisher JoshProd gave the Dreamcast scene a shot in the arm with a host of new releases for the system. With titles ranging from PSP ports in the form of 4x4 Jam and bespoke Dreamcast re-masters in the form of Flashback, JoshProd really gave us something to shout about. 2018 will see this trend continue, as several games are set to be unveiled as coming to Sega's console in the next 12 months - some of which we're pretty confident most people have never even heard of, let alone sampled.

In the video below, you'll find some indicators as to the games scheduled to be making the leap to the Dreamcast this year and having played a couple of them we can confirm that 2018 is looking like another bright period for the Dreamcast. You'd better get saving - there are some pretty impressive titles coming our way from a range of genres with shmups, side scrolling adventures, beat 'em ups and 3D racers all represented...


Spot anything here you recognise? Naturally, as soon as the lineup is officially announced and solid release dates are confirmed, we'll be sure to let you know; and we'll do our best to review them as and when we are able.

What do you think? Will you be adding any of these to your collection? Let us know in the comments, in our Facebook group or on Twitter. Follow JoshProd on Facebook too.

Related articles:

10 Great Dreamcast Games That Deserve More Attention

Popularity for the Dreamcast seems to be at fever pitch these days. Not since the launch of the console in its respective territories has demand for the system or reverence for its library been so high, and once again the internet is awash with talk of a 'Dreamcast Mini' in the wake of Retro-bit's announcement that they are working on some new hardware for Sega's back catalogue of consoles. With this in mind, it's also quite evident to gamers such as myself, those of us who were there in the trenches during the late 90s the early 2000s, that a whole new generation of gamers have discovered the Dreamcast in recent years; and intrigued by this also-ran's almost mythical status have seemingly embraced the Dreamcast to continue its legacy into a new era.
The thing is, it's also become apparent through my online interactions with a lot of younger gamers or those who didn't own a Dreamcast back when it was a contemporary system, that the same games get mentioned whenever anyone speaks of the Dreamcast's (admittedly fantastic) library. While we have looked at the dark underbelly of the console's software lineup in the past (go here for a rundown of some of the worst games on the Dreamcast), there are a whole host of other titles that were lost in the avalanche of arcade ports and big-name first party releases. So yeah, while Shenmue, Soul Calibur, Spirit of Speed 1937, Jet Set Radio, Power Stone, Crazy Taxi and the other blockbuster Dreamcast titles bathe in the warm afterglow of a resurgence in Dreamcast popularity, there are many more that rarely - if ever - get a look in.
That's about to change though, as we take the briefest of looks at some of the first and third party Dreamcast games that might not hit the heady heights of the aforementioned titles, but which are great fun and deserve a bit more attention from the discerning Dreamcast owner. This could almost be the basis for a sort of 'alternative' line up should a Dreamcast Mini ever actually become a reality.

Please bear in mind that most of these games are also on other consoles, are mostly quite common, and this is by no means an exhaustive list (it only has ten games on it). Oh, and this is just my opinion. yours may differ, and that's cool. Just hold off calling me a moron on social media until you've read through the list. Then you can call me a moron. Not that anyone actually reads anything before commenting these days...

The Dreamcast Legacy - BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle

In a new series of articles (perhaps only a short-lived series, as I only have this and one other lined up), we will be exploring modern games that owe a debt to the blazing trails left by the games and developers of the bygone Dreamcast era. In this issue, we will be looking at the upcoming Arc System Works title BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle, a new 2 vs. 2 tag-team fighting game coming soon to PS4, Switch, and Steam. Apart from the obvious correlations with similar Dreamcast heavyweight titles such as Marvel vs. Capcom 2 and the Capcom vs. SNK series, this new crossover beat-'em up shares a little more Dreamcast heritage than you may initially realise.