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The hunt for Premier Eleven - the lost Atomiswave soccer title

As we've detailed here in the recent past, the Sammy Atomiswave is a gold mine of interesting and lesser known titles that are now playable on the Dreamcast. This is thanks to talented Dreamcast community members such as megavolt85, yzb and others; and is possible in part due to the hardware similarities between the prematurley cancelled arcade system and the Dreamcast on which it is based.

Although the vast majority of the games released on Atomiswave have now been ported to the Dreamcast, there still remain several 'lost' titles that are either in the hands of private collectors; or really are lost to the annals of gaming history. One such game is the now almost legendary Chicago 1929/The Roaring Twenties - a racing game set in prohibition era America. Another of these lost 'holy grail' Atomiswave titles is a football/soccer game developed by Dimps Corporation and titled Premier Eleven.

Source: The Arcade Flyer Archive

As is well documented, the Dreamcast's stable of soccer titles never really hit the heights of titles on contemporary systems, with PlayStation, Nintendo and Xbox owners all having superior kick ball experiences at their disposal. But what of Premier Eleven then? Details are relatively scant on just how good this game could have been, but the small amount of video available online shows a Virtua Striker style experience with some outstanding animation and excellent visuals. Regardless, I for one would love to sample Premier Eleven simply out of pure curiosity (and my love of soccer games); and who knows - Premier Eleven could be the top tier football game Dreamcast owners have been waiting for.

Alas, that's unlikely to happen. Not least because Premier Eleven was never relased. Or was it? Here's where things get interesting. Over on Dreamcast Talk, there's a thread all about a Premier Eleven arcade board coming up for sale on eBay. The thread was started back in January 2021 by user Ro Magnus Larsson and the eBay auction is still live, with the seller 'neotropolis' asking for $15,000 in return for a 'fully working, 100% complete' example of Premier Eleven. The listing goes on to claim: "To my knowledge, this game only exists in the form you see here; a true holy-grail centerpiece for any arcade-gaming collector!"

What would appear to back this claim up is that the only footage of this game actually running comes from the previous owner of the Premier Eleven board up for auction. Upon learning of the video, several members of the Dreamcast Talk forum commented on the upload pleading for owner 'bowser 123' to dump the rom, but they responded saying that they'd already sold the board to the person who now has it listed on eBay: "I made this video because I sold the game for USA, specifically for an ebay seller called neotropolis, I think he is still selling it for a fortune, even if I wanted to make the dump I couldn't because I don't have it anymore."

So end of story right? There is one known copy of Premier Eleven for the Atomiswave. The person who owned it made a video to show it working, and then sold it. The buyer now has it listed on eBay for $15,000 and it's unlikely that the rom will be dumped unless a super wealthy Dreamcast fan buys it and releases the rom online out of the goodness of their own heart. Well, not quite.

There is some proof that this copy of Premier Eleven is not in fact the only known version out there. First, back in 2017 when we covered the discovery of a dev kit containing previously unseen Chicago 1929 assets, friend of the Junkyard and MSR authority RJAY63 commented: "I actually played Chicago 1929 at Southsea Island Leisure Arcade (Clarence Pier, Southsea, UK) circa 2005. They briefly became a test site for Sega Amusements with an Outrun 2 SP set-up and quite a few Atomiswave titles. Only played it once but I wasn't very impressed so I'm not surprised it got canned."

The key information here is the Southsea Island Leisure Arcade in Hampshire, UK. And furthermore that this location was a test site for Sega Amusements back in the 2000s. This could be written off purely as a baseless rumour, if not for the further evidence backing this up in the form of photos. Photos of a Premier Eleven arcade cabinet running at Southsea Island Leisure Arcade, circa 2004:

Dreamcast Talk forum member Baseley0o frequented the same arcade as RJAY63, and also took photos of the machines at the time, stating: "This game deffo went out into circulation/arcades. I took these snaps at my local arcade Clarence Pier, Southsea (UK) not too long after Atomiswave came out and one of them was Premier Eleven. I'm unsure if the 2004 date my camera shows is accurate. I thought maybe 2003 but it's a while back now! The arcade in question wasn't a test site for anything that I recall, though did have the odd surprise like these."

So what does all this mean? To me, it points to the very real possibility that there is more than one single copy of Premier Eleven in existence. That there is a small chance that somewhere - possibly even in the UK - the Premier Eleven Atomiswave cartridge in final, working form exists. And this is very exciting, for various reasons - not least for video game history preservation.

All of this would not have been possible without the investigation of the Dreamcast Talk forum members and people like RAY63 and Baseley0o; but there's still a lot of work to be done to discover the fate of the Premier Eleven game that was playable in Southsea in the mid 2000s. 

To this end, I have contacted Sega Amusements to ask if they have any records of what happened to Premier Eleven and if they can help to shed any light on this mystery. Likewise, for what it's worth I've emailed Dimps via their corporate website. Furthermore, Southsea Island Leisure Arcade is still in operation to this day, and according to the UK Government's Companies House website, the same directors who ran the location in the mid 2000s are still in charge. It's probably a long shot that they would even remember the Premier Eleven machine being placed in the arcade (or indeed what happened to it), but I've also reached out to them, too. If this article can help to shine even a slither of light into the darkness and assist in the release of this long lost Atomiswave title, then all the better.

For now though, I guess waiting for a reply from Sega Amusements or Southsea Island is our best bet. Unless anyone wants to cough up $15,000 for the copy on eBay...


Update

After I published this article, I took a trip down to Clarence Pier in Southsea and located the very arcade in which the photographs above were taken. Naturally, in the intervening decades since Baseley0o took the photos, the arcade has been completely redecorated and there relatively few recognisable video arcades on offer; much of the floor space now being taken up by gambling machines and toy grabbers. 

I'm not sure what I was expecting really - maybe a faint glimmer of hope that the passage of time had somehow avoided this little corner of Hampshire and that the Premier Eleven Atomiswave machine might still be there in some forgotten corner, covered in dust and be happily chiming away to itself in attract mode. Alas, this wasn't the case - the machine had obviously long since been removed. I asked a member of staff but they had no recollection of it either, again this is not surprising considering how long ago the photos were taken.

In a slightly more bountiful turn of events, I did recieve a response from Sega Amusements, with several members of the team responding to my emails. The most interesting reply came from Martin Riley, the International Sales Manager:


Hello Tom,   

Yes, actually I was the one who placed those games into the Southsea arcade, but it was later than 2000.   

I was the Sales Manager at Sammy Europe based in London at the time that we launched Atomiswave into the UK. In your picture you can see the standard modular version first launched, and then the squarer box cabinet which was the deluxe version for the larger arcade. 

Premier Eleven was indeed a game we looked to launch in UK market and only really tested, but it didn’t go into wide circulation. However, I’m not 100% sure it was the only prototype. This was from either Japan or USA Sammy studios and was supposed to be an on-line version with servers in each country, but was a little before its time and wasn’t popular, or worked as planned, if I remember correctly, and in the end was never continued. So, you are right that there are very few of these cartridges around as it was never on general release in the UK.

I hope this helps.

Martin Riley

International Sales Manager


This update doesn't really add a great deal to the quest to locate other copies of Premier Eleven, although it is cool that we managed to track down the very person who put the Premier Eleven cabinet into that arcade in Southsea.

Is video of the Sega Spud Dive PR events 'lost media'?

Long time readers of the Junkyard will no doubt be aware of my penchant for the obscure, the esoteric and the forgotten. Naturally, due to my obsession with the Dreamcast, there's something of a Venn diagram crossover where all of these ingredients are thrown together - obscure, esoteric, largely forgotten stuff relating to the Dreamcast is my bread and butter. But never Marmite. Yuck.

Take for example, my quest to unearth the actual court documents relating the the City of Milwaukee's failed attempt to probhibit the US release of Jet Set/Grind Radio owing to the conurbation's battle with unauthorised graffitti. Or the (currently dormant) attempt to discover the identity of the female voice artist responsible for the "This is a Dreamcast disc..." warning that PAL Dreamcast owners are undoubtedly familiar with. And who can forget the publication of the Sega internal email that heralded the end of the Dreamcast, but recreated in the style of House of Leaves? There was something about the barber from the European Dreamcast TV adverts too. Another one of these wild flights of fancy was my attempt to document the lesser known Sega Spud Dive PR events - something I was even able to quiz none other than former Sega of America President Peter Moore on when he appeared on episode 100 of our podcast DreamPod.

1998 Spud Dive winner Daniel Aguilar receiving his prize from Peter Moore

I'm not about to retread old ground here though. No, as stated, we've covered the Spud Dive previously. What I'm specifically focusing on now is the fact that while the Sega Spud Dive events were reasonably well documented with photographs in magazines of the time; have seen first person blogs on the event posted online; and were also recapped on some PR focussed websites of the era, there doesn't seem to be any video of either Spud Dive event anywhere online.

Proof that Mark Wahlberg took video of a Spud Dive

To clarify, there were two seperate Spud Dives - one held in 1998 to mark the Japanese launch of the Dreamcast, where the prize was a US launch day console and all of the launch games (later presented by Peter Moore); while the second event was held around Thanksgiving of 2000 to raise awareness of the console during the height of PlayStation 2 launch window fever. The second event also featured two actors dressed as Presidential candidates Al Gore and George W. Bush, to give a 'newsy' angle, apparently.

Source: Retrovolve

That no video exists of either Spud Dive (or indeed a prior similar event held in 1997 to mark the launch of Sonic R) is particularly puzzling, especially because this article from organiser Provoke Media's website claims that several TV crews were in attendence at the 2000 re-run, and the event was featured in a news segment by the Craig Kilborn Show - a US TV show which was hugely popular at the time.

"All coverage of “The Sega Spud Dive” aired the week of Thanksgiving, the busiest shopping time of the year.  More than 82 broadcast results appeared, including the Craig Kilborn Show and the ABC, CBS and Fox affiliates in Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Miami, Atlanta, San Diego, Phoenix, Chicago, Dallas, Boston, Indianapolis, Denver, Cincinnati, Oklahoma City, Milwaukee and many others. 

"Los Angeles Daily News sent a photographer and ran a photo with a large caption featuring Sega Spud Dive.  95% of the results mentioned both Sega and Dreamcast.  Dreamcast sales went up 82% during Thanksgiving weekend, from previous weeks."

- Paul Holmes, Provoke Media

I have searched high and low for some footage from either Sega Spud Dive event, mainly because I want to witness the absurdity of people swimming through cold mashed potatoes in an attempt to win a Dreamcast/Dreamcast related goodies - but to date I have found zero evidence that actual video of the procedings still exists. I've searched for local news channels that focus on the Los Angeles area and also episodes of the Craig Kilborn Show from around the time period, but even these appear to be lost media in themselves. The article linked above also states that:

"After the event, B-roll was hand-delivered to stations that did not send a camera crew and submitted the photo to the Associated Press, Reuters, Entertainment Wire and LA News Wire, which was distributed via satellite and hand-delivered to local network affiliates to increase national exposure."

Where is this B-roll? Where are these news items that were distributed via satellite? Associated Press, Reuters and Entertainment Wire aren't exactly small outlets or organisations, so why can't I find a single trace of any of this online? There's even a camera operator in the background of the image at the top of this page! I realise that 1998 and 2000 were different times, and people didn't walk around with 4K video cameras in their pockets; but there were news camera crews in attendance...where is the video? I clearly have more questions that answers when it comes to video footage or TV news reports of hapless members of the public swimming through mashed potatoes to win a Dreamcast.

To this end, I'd like to know if anyone out there reading this has any more first hand memories of either of the Sega Spud Dives? Did you take part? Do you have video or do you recall seeing video on TV? Hell, are you Daniel Aguilar - the guy who won the original Dreamcast and took delivery from Peter Moore himself? Or are you Levi Buchanan who won the second Spud Dive competition? I know this is a massive long shot and I know that this obsession of mine is ultimatley pointless, but for some reason this bizarre publicity stunt absolutley fascinates me; and it is the relative lack of documentation, outside of a few magazine articles and online snippets (look here and here, and also from the 8:55 mark during the Video Game History Foundation's Dreamcast launch podcast episode) that makes it all the more alluring. Alas, approximately zero videos.

Anyway, that's all I really have to say on the Sega Spud Dive for now (promise!). Maybe video does exist, but I'm either looking in the wrong places or simply using the wrong search terms. Either way, I'm hoping someone will be able to point me in the direction of some video taken of either event, but for now I'm inclined to file Sega Spud Dive video footage under 'lost media.'

[lock-on] Volume 003 Dreamcast special smashes crowdfunding goal in 6 hours!

[lock-on] from Lost in Cult has established itself as a high quality gaming journal ever since Volume 001 was successfully funded via Kickstarter back in April 2021. Featuring long form features from established games journalists, bloggers, YouTubers and influencers; and interviews with high profile game developers, alongside stunning bespoke artwork; [lock-on] has truly carved out a niche for itself as a proper high brow publication. I'm purposely trying not to use the word 'magazine,' because that's not really what [lock-on] is - it's every bit the journal it claims to be. Think a collection of essays peppered with amazing visuals and you're on the right track.

Anyhow, [lock-on] Volume 003 hit Kickstarter at 6pm on Monday 7 February, and was fully funded to the tune of £24,000 just 6 hours later. And why am I telling you any of this? Well, its because Volume 003 is a full on Dreamcast spectacular! Full disclosure alert here though - [lock-on]'s Editor-in-Chief is one Andrew Dickinson, who you may know as one of the hosts from our podcast DreamPod (as well as Dreamcast Years), and furthmore three of the team here at the Junkyard - myself, Rich Elsey and Lewis Cox - will have Dreamcast-related features published in the journal.

Don't let me contributing put you off though - there are many, many familiar and talented folk from the world of gaming content creation involved with [lock-on] Volume 003, many offering Dreamcast related musings which will make up a large percentage of the 200+ page tome. Names such as Adam Koralik, John Linneman, and Simon Cox and Jörg Tittel from the Official US Dreamcast Magazine head up those writers known for their affinity with Sega's little white box; with many more also contributing.

As with Volumes 001 and 002, [lock-on] Volume 003 will be adorned with incredible artwork, with the hard cover version in particular featuring a lovely Shenmue inspired illustration (the soft cover features equally impressive Sable art); and pretty much every square centimetre of available real estate is plastered with some of the most amazing illustrations from some of the most well known and respected artists in the gaming space.

That's not all though, as some tiers of the Kickstarter come with a digital EP from synthwave musician RyoX - titled Visual Memories EP - which features remixed music tracks from Shenmue, Resident Evil CODE: Veronica, Skies Of Arcadia, Space Channel 5 and Sonic Adventure. That'll sound lovely wafting out of your stereo on a warm summer's evening - mark my words.

[lock-on] Volume 003 looks set to be a real treat for fans of Sega's final console, and though the Kickstarter has been successfully funded, you can still back it to recieve a copy of the physical journal (at the time of writing). Previous copies of [lock-on] tend to become quite sought after as publisher Lost in Cult doesn’t generally do reprints, so my advice would be to head over to the Kickstarter campaign page and chuck some money at it, pronto!

Follow Lost in Cult on Twitter or visit the Lost in Cult website for more information.

Retrospective: Virtua Striker 2 ver 2000.1

When is a football game not actually a football game? When it's Virtua Striker, of course! The Dreamcast iteration of Virtua Striker 2 was initially released in Japan in 1999, under the slightly odd moniker of Virtua Striker 2 ver 2000.1; a title which you'd be forgiven for mistaking as a Windows update patch. This comparison isn't actually as outlandish as you might think though, when you consider that previous Model 3 arcade based versions of Virtua Striker 2 were bequeathed with similarly date specific nomenclature - Virtua Striker 2 was previously delivered to arcades in ver '98, ver '99 and ver 2000 before ver 2000.1 finally made its way into homes as part of the Dreamcast library.

Naturally, that this Sega AM2 developed soccer title has a numerical suffix hints that it is indeed a sequel, and not only that; for if you were to be even more inclined to combine inquisitive cognition and the human ability to conceive of future tenses (even though we are technically going into the past, here), then you'd also be totally correct to hypothesise that it is also simultaneously a prequel. Basically, what that absolute nonsense means in a nutshell is that there was a prequel (Virtua Striker) released in arcades 1994; and two sequels in the form of Virtua Striker 3 released on Nintendo Gamecube and in arcades in 2002; and Virtua Striker 4 released exclusively as a coin-op in 2004.

Now we've covered the potted history of Virtua Striker releases in very abridged form, let's get down to brass tacks. Cast your mind back to when you first started reading this badly constructed article and you'll recall that I rather brazenly announced that Virtua Striker is not a football game. And that's because it's not. Rather, it is football in the most arcadey format you're ever likely to see...which kinda makes sense given the actual arcade cabinet based origins of the series. Apologies if the constantly backpedaling mess of contradictory meandering is confusing the whole situation here, but I've had a long day and I just need to write something. Anything. And it's turned out to be this. Sorry.

Designed to be played in short sessions, easy on the eye and spectacular almost to a fault, the Virtua Striker games are divisive in the extreme...and Virtua Striker 2 ver 2000.1 for Dreamcast does nothing to upset this particular apple cart. Indeed, I think I'm well within my rights to pompously declare Virtua Striker the Marmite of football games - you'll either absolutely loathe it; or you'll think it is the best thing since sliced bread (and then try to spread it on said staple before ravenously devouring it, you contemptible monster).

I remember when games magazines of yore would show screens of Virtua Striker, sometimes even going as far as to state that a Sega Saturn port was in production. I would gaze longingly at those chunky-legged polygonal footballers contorted into impossible shapes while toe-poking sharp-edged footballs into bulging nets, and dream of them someday adorning my beloved Saturn. Alas, that dream never became reality, and so my first real taste of Virtua Striker's flavour of footy came when Virtua Striker 2 ver 2000.1 burst onto the PAL Dreamcast in 2000. 

Feverishly I loaded the GD into my console and was instantly mesmerised by opening cinematics of highly detailed footballers lining up for Sega-ised anthems in cathedral-like stadia. Footballing nirvana was a mere button press away. The hype was real, Virtua Striker 2 was finally in my living room and memories of ISS '98 on the Nintendo 64 were ready to be overwritten with the barnstorming return to glory of the mighty Sega. And then the game started and I almost cried. With sadness, that is.

Before I go on, I want to remind you that I'm writing this from memory - I was a teenager who had heard about how amazing Virtua Striker was, had never played it but been a fully paid up passenger on the hype train since the first time I saw the amazing screenshots of Virtua Striker 2 in magazines. And now here it was, finally being pumped into my eyeballs via the power of a Tatung CRT television (with full on mahogany surround and Fastext, I might add)...and yet I was heartbroken. Why? Because - and to be blunt - it played like absolute arse crack.

I was expecting something like ISS 64 but with CGI graphics; instead I was playing a computerised version of Subbuteo with a cloth pitch that hadn't been ironed properly so the ball never made it over the creases to the intended destination. Virtua Striker 2, here, in all it's amazing looking glory...but with no commentary, no changeable camera angles, about two buttons and a stupid 'swooshing' noise every time you attempt to tackle. Idiotic AI teammates, hardly any teams to actually play as, a daft time limit on matches, no half times, and no substitutions. I hated it. I hated what I was witnessing. How could they have gotten something that looked so right, so awfully and harrowingly wrong...?

Review: Ghoul Grind: Night of the Necromancer

The world of indie Dreamcast games has changed dramatically over the last couple of decades. A period of cheap and cheerful, mostly puzzle-orientated titles in the mid-00s was followed by a lengthy period of time where, alongside the last officially pressed GD-ROM releases authorised by Sega, we were treated to several shoot-'em-ups from a variety of indie developers. That period was so lengthy, in fact, that we still see some social media influencers parroting the tired opinion that "the DC only receives indie shooters," instantly earning them the wrath of the collective Junkyard crew. 

By the mid-2010s, the array of titles finding a physical release was a much more diverse selection: racing, platforming, adventures, RPGs, twin stick shooters, 3D shooters and many other genres found their way to the Dreamcast, and still do! 

We're currently staring at the quite ludicrous prospect of nearly 30 upcoming releases for this incredible machine that just refuses to die. As well as a broader selection, the quality has also seen a marked improvement as well – arguably reaching a recent peak with the releases of Xeno Crisis, Xenocider and Intrepid Izzy - three impeccable independent releases that have pushed the boundaries of quality; not only with their gameplay, but in the presentation department as well. Whilst not every game will reach the lofty heights of that trio, the days of any old game being released and instantly receiving praise just because it's 'on the Dreamcast' are long gone. 

Indeed, while I and the rest of the Junkyard crew are overjoyed that so many talented developers are bringing new games to the Dreamcast, we are now in an era - bizarrely - where we can be more objective about new titles than ever before.

Ghoul Grind: Night of the Necromancer may not be a candidate to sit alongside the Izzys or Xenos at the very top level of what's available, but that doesn't mean it's a bad game. Developer Woog Worx's main goal was to Kickstart a brand new NES physical release, with a Dreamcast port as a stretch goal. Ghoul Grind is a 2D, 8-bit, auto scrolling platformer with a distinctly Halloween theme. Due to it being a port of an NES game, on a technical level, it certainly doesn't push the Dreamcast in any way whatsoever. A successful Kickstarter campaign, which didn't seem to elicit much attention from the DC community (if you had listened to us, you would have backed it, so don't complain now!), was completed back in April 2021, and by the end of that year, the game was already in backer's hands - the sort of quick turnaround story that we can always get behind at the 'Yard!

The plot (played out through a short introduction sequence and in the game's lovely full colour manual - more about that later) sees Nox and Veronica - boyfriend and girlfriend - tasked with saving the townsfolk of Saint Crypton from their best friend Vladimir; who is raising the dead, bringing ghouls, ghosts and goblins out onto the streets, forests and crypts of the town. As someone who lives quite happily year round with the oranges and blacks of Halloween decorations decorating my house, the aesthetic on offer really hits a sweet spot. 

The game oozes a charmingly nostalgic All Hallows Eve atmosphere, with a suitably ghoulish 8-bit soundtrack (which may not be to the masterful level of some indie offerings, but considering the limitations of the original hardware, is rather good) and a colour palette full of oranges and browns to give it an autumnal look, as well as eerie blues, blood reds and the blackest blacks, really making the most of those hardware limits again. Woog Worx really do deserve credit for their character design and spooky atmosphere. Ghoul Grind sits in a perfect cross-section of 8-bit, Tim Burton and horror aesthetic.  

Gameplay is pretty straightforward: your characters auto run through the levels, with your control being limited to one button to jump, and one button to fire your weapon. You can change between the two characters on the fly throughout - and need to do so to get past certain sections - but there is little in the way of complexity here. The levels have all manner of suitably Halloween-themed enemies (with some great accompanying artwork in the manual), and are chock full of tricky jumps and platforming elements to challenge the player. 

Chances are, on your first attempt at each stage, you will die a fair few times before you know exactly when to time the action required. When you do die, it's straight back to the beginning where you attempt to traverse the level again, your knowledge of what you've already seen aiding your progress. There are 18 levels in total, as well as six boss encounters, which change up the obstacles you come across, but the gameplay remains broadly the same throughout. 

It'd be fair to say that this can lead to some challenging moments, but the instant restarts lower the sense of frustration. There is the occasional instance of a button press seemingly missed, although I didn't notice this too often. For the most part, this is as smooth as an NES port to the Dreamcast would be expected to be. Smooth can also be used to describe the packaging of the game. We have come to expect good quality packaging in recent years, what with the rise of JoshProd and Wave Game Studios, and Ghoul Grind lives up to that. 

A full colour manual contains loads of excellent illustrations, and the overall package is professional looking. Originally, you could only obtain the Dreamcast version of the game when backing a level with a physical NES cart as well, and whilst we're not the NES Junkyard, I have to say that the high quality of packaging crosses over to that release as well. For those who weren't interested in getting the NES cart too, standalone purchase option for the Dreamcast release are now available.

There isn't much more to say about the game, really. It's a decidedly simple premise, well executed, with a great gothic Halloween-loving atmospheric style (and an awesome name to boot - although it sounds more like the sort of blackened Death Metal band and album title that I'd happily lap up). Just remember that it's not something which was made with the Dreamcast in mind (although, kudos to Woog Worx for replacing the NES controllers featured in the background of the training levels, with Dreamcast controllers); or a game that will thrill those that want indie games to push the envelope of what we've come to expect on the console.


You can purchase your own copy of the game at the Woog Worx store here. You can download a demo or buy a PC version of the game at their itch.io page here. The Woog Worx main website can be found here.

Have you purchased Ghoul Grind: Night of the Necromancer for Dreamcast? If so, please do let us know your thoughts on it in the comments.

Shadow Gangs Kickstarter re-kicked with lower goal

We recently reported on the promising Shadow Gangs Dreamcast port and its Kickstarter campaign. Though the game is a top quality side scrolling punching simulator, one of the most common concerns we saw raised was how high the Kickstarter funding goal had been set. It appears that the team behind Shadow Gangs saw similar cause for concern and as a result, the original campaign for this excellent addition to the Dreamcast indie library has been cancelled with a new one launched in its place. The new campaign has a much more realistic goal of £25,000 (the previous target had been set at a fairly optimistic £140,000) and it can be found here.

Naturally several of us here at the Junkyard backed the previous Kickstarter, and have also now pledged towards the new campaign. If you're wondering what all the fuss is about though, below is a preview of the game running on a GDEMU equipped DCHDMI system:

Honestly, this is a really high quality, hard as nails scrapper and I'm very much looking forward to playing the final game on a Dreamcast. Not sure I'll be seeing much more than the first level judging from my shockingly bad playthrough of the demo, but cest la vie and all that.

Anyone who wants to try the demo on actual Dreamcast hardware (or an emulator) themselves can do so by heading over to the new Shadow Gangs Kickstarter here, and grabbing the file via the handy download link. Oh, and maybe support the campaign too. New Dreamcast games, especially ones with Shadow Gangs' level of quality, are never a bad thing to back. Unlike that coffee maker I backed two years ago and still haven't recieved. Yes Oomph, I'm looking at you. Harrumph.

Let's take a look at SEGA Powered magazine

SEGA Powered is a brand new Sega-focused magazine that was successfully funded on Kickstarter back in 2021. Naturally, several of us here at the Junkyard threw our cash at the campaign when we heard that somebody was attempting to bring us a games mag that echoed the feel and style of those 90's rags we grew up reading. And now that it's finally here, how does SEGA Powered live up to those lofty expectations?

Pretty well, actually. For starters, SEGA Powered is helmed by Dean Mortlock, a veteran of the games journalism scene of the 1990s. Dean was the Editor of both SEGA Power and its successor Saturn Power - the pair of them magazines I read as a child and later a teen - and so I knew this was going to be decent. Dean is supported by former DC-UK and Edge staffer Neil Randall as Dep Ed, along with Staff Writers Paul Monaghan (who you may know from the Maximum Power Up podcast); and Marc Jowett from SegaMags. There's enough gaming experience, credibility and knowledge contained within the noggins of this foursome that you know these guys know what makes a good games mag. And I know that you know that I like a good games mag. And you know what? SEGA Powered is a good mag. Check it out in the video below:

SEGA Powered issue uno weighs in at 78 pages, and there's a really good mix of content covering modern Sega news and games, alongside a healthy serving of retro themed reviews and features. Sonic features on the cover and Sega's mascot is treated to a multi page 30th anniversary spread. What's especially nice for us Dreamcast fans though, is the amount of Dreamcast-specific content. There are reviews of Virtua Tennis and Intrepid Izzy, some good information on Dreamcast indie titles, and an interview with Roel van Mastbergen from Senile Team. There's also a rather excellent 'directory' of the essential games for every Sega console, along with prices you should expect to pay for them. No Spirit of Speed 1937 in the Dreamcast section though, which is honestly quite alarming.

I'm reliably informed by Paul that issue 2 of SEGA Powered is already well underway and we're excited to see what's next for the magazine. As a passive-aggresive suggestion, I'd very much like to see a revival of Mean Yob's letters page in future issues, and possibly even Games Master Magazine's Grip Chimp for highly specialised peripheral reviews. Oh, and an Amiga Power style 'reader art' section where the editorial staff essentially laugh at how bad the submissions are. If you build it, they will come.

Jokes aside, SEGA Powered is yet another high quality physical gaming peridocal that has been funded by fans and lovingly crafted by people who clearly know what they're doing. If you missed the Kickstarter campaign and would like to get hold of a copy of issue 1 though, be sure to head to the SEGA Powered website (when it launches in early 2022) or grab a copy from one of the gaming events the team will be attending in 2022. Oh, and give them a follow on Twitter here.

Two Dreamcast shooters now playable in English!

We're not even a week into 2022 and we've already received not one, but two English fan translations of Japanese Dreamcast games! This community sure works at a rapid pace. Both of the games are vertically scrolling shooters, or 'shmups,' as the cool kids like to say. Let's check ‘em out...

First up is Radirgy, which was originally developed by MileStone, Inc. for the Sega NAOMI arcade platform. It was eventually ported over to the Dreamcast in 2006, exclusively in Japan, years after the West presumed the rest of the world had given up on Sega's swan song console. Radirgy replaces the usually dark, space theming of other shoot-em-ups with a colourful, cel-shaded anime style. With gameplay that verges on bullet hell, and a protagonist that is allergic to radio waves, this one is about as Japanese as they come. Even the box art is slightly odd, simply opting to feature said protagonist pushing her glasses up her nose in that cool way anime people do (should probably go to your local optician and get those adjusted, bud). Check out our Radirgy retrospective here.

An English translation of Radirgy appeared seemingly out of nowhere on the 2nd of January, submitted to RomHacking.net by user wiredcrackpot. The translation is based on the official US Wii release of the game, which wiredcrackpot admits isn't the best translation ever, but it's at least something that can serve to help us non-Japanese speakers understand the bonkers story that is taking place. 
You can download the translation patch at RomHacking.net. If you can't be bothered with all that patching stuff, though, you can simply go to the Dreamcast-Talk thread, where you will find an already patched .CDI and .GDI available for download. Burn the game onto a CD-R or throw it on to your GDEMU. Whatever you do, take a moment to speculate what drugs the people over at MileStone were taking when they made Radirgy. We'll have a debate about it next time we talk.

If you are also interested in playing an English translation of Radirgy's darker kind-of sequel, Karous, head here to download that.

Next up is Chaos Field, which was the first game ever developed by MileStone Inc. and was released in 2004 for the Sega NAOMI, with a Dreamcast release following a few months later. Perhaps a more standard shmup affair compared to Radirgy (stylistically, at least), the game consists entirely of boss battles, and has a pretty unique mechanic in which players can flip the environment at will between two parallel worlds. 

The Chaos Field translation patch was created by Derek Pascarella, whose work we've previously featured on the Junkyard (multiple times, in fact) and has also appeared on an episode of the Dreampod (check that out here). Inspired by wiredcrackpot's Radirgy patch, Derek started poking around in the code of Chaos Field to find the game actually shipped with about 80% of the text and images already translated into English - it had just been hidden away in the game’s code this entire time! Derek then translated the remaining 20%, and voilà! We now have Chaos Field completely in English, for the first time on Dreamcast.

You can download Derek's patch by going to this project’s GitHub repository. Patched CDIs and GDIs are available from the Dreamcast-Talk thread.
These projects are a good start to what is hopefully another big year for the Dreamcast community. Have you played any of these shooters before? Are you excited to play them in English? Let us know in the comments below, or by sounding off on our various social media channels.

Voting is open for The Dreamcast Junkyard Top 200 Dreamcast Games 2022!

Long time readers of The Dreamcast Junkyard may recall that back in 2016 we asked you, the loyal legions of Dreamcast gamers out there, to vote for your favourite titles. The Dreamcast Junkyard 'Top 200' 2016 has been a favourite online destination for many people looking for a definitive run down of the best games for Sega's final console - as voted for by you, the people who actually play them. Well, it's now 2022 and the 2016 listing - while still a solid representation of the finest games on the Dreamcast - just feels a bit...outdated.

Since those heady days of 2016, when Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and Captain America: Civil War dominated the movie charts; and Cake by the Ocean from DNCE drifted from Bluetooth speakers across the world, a hell of a lot has changed. Petrol prices have gone through the roof, buying plastic carrier bags at supermarket checkouts now comes with a complimentary death threat, and the size of a KitKat has shrunk at least 8 fold. Oh, and something about a pandemic? Drawing a blank on that last one to be honest.

No, in the last 6 years the Dreamcast indie scene has really hit its stride, with titles from independents genuinely starting to match the efforts of big name studios from the time of the Dreamcast's natural life. Elsewhere, other games have garnered almost cult status, with Spirit of Speed 1937 in particular being treated to a bizarre underground subculture of surrealist revisionist history; and let's not forget that a whole new generation of gamers is discovering the Dreamcast and they want us old gits to move aside so they can tell us that yes, Kao the Kangaroo is a better game than Super Magnetic Neo. Because reasons. Get over it, grandpa. "Can't believe you remember the 80s. That's weird." But enough about what my nephew said to me mere days ago, as I tried to explain what a Dreamcast was. Kids these days...


The point is, we thought it high time to refresh our Top 200, and now we are once again turning to you - the Great Dreamcast Nation - to vote for your top Dreamcast titles. Voting is simple - visit our voting form here and nominate your top 10 Dreamcast games. They can be official releases, indie or homebrew titles...the only rule is that the game needs to have been released on Dreamcast as a Dreamcast game or port. Obviously don't vote for emulated Super Nintendo or Genesis roms or things like that, but stuff like Breakers or 4x4 Jam or Flashback is allowed as they were given proper Dreamcast ports. Essentially any Dreamcast title that you enjoy is fair game. Pun intended.

So that's it really - head over to the voting form, add your games and hit submit. In the near future we'll collate all the votes and then update the Top 200 with the new list, and I dare say our crack team of in-house statisticians (that's Mike and James, in case you wondered) will pore over the data and initiate a lockdown give a full analysis and update the Top 200 to reflect modern tastes. 

Click on the button below to vote. Just remember: we gonna have have some fun, are you ready? Here we go...!


Voting is now closed.

DCJY welcomes Peter Moore

After almost 6 years, our podcast DreamPod has finally reached the magic number of 100 episodes. Every single one of the previous 99 has been a pleasure to produce, but for episode 100 we thought we needed a guest that could help us really celebrate reaching this not insignificant milestone. First and foremost we invited you, our valued listeners to send in recorded voice messages and email questions that the DreamPod crew could answer with varying degress of idiocy authority. 

However, to really mark this momentous episode, we knew we also had to invite a Dreamcast related special guest onto the show; someone with real stature in the storied history of the Dreamcast to come and tell us their story. In this case, we welcomed former Sega of America president Peter Moore onto the DreamPod to chat all things Dreamcast with us.



It was a real pleasure speaking to Peter and we would like to thank him for taking the time to answer Tom and James' questions. We would also like to thank our listeners for downloading our previous 99 episodes and making the DreamPod the success we like to think it has been.



You can either listen to DreamPod 100 using the embedded player above, or you can watch the recorded video call with Peter on our YouTube channel or by simply clicking play on the YouTube video embedded. You might want to watch the video all the way to the end too, lest you miss the reveal of the greatest piece of Dreamcast branded attire you're ever likely to see...
The must-have outfit this season...
As ever, all of our previous podcast episodes can be found on your favourite podcatcher by simply searching for 'DreamPod.' Once again, a huge thanks to those involved and here's to another 100 episodes! 

Oh, and if you like interviews with former presidents of Sega of America, you can find our interview with Bernie Stolar here.

Xenocider 'next-gen' demo now available

Remember Xenocider? We do - Retro Sumus' excellent Dreamcast shooter burst onto the scene in early 2021 and wowed us with its lovely graphics, challenging gameplay and incredible amount of unlockable content. Check out our review here

The good news is that Retro Sumus are bringing Xara's adventure to modern gaming platforms in 2022, with PlayStation, Nintendo Switch and Xbox One / Series gamers all being given the opportunity to engage in a friendly bit of interstellar planetary genocide. Of course, alongside the consoles, there's also a PC version planned and you can try a demo of Xenocider's non-Dreamcast remaster on Steam right now.

Xenocider was - and still is - a great looking Dreamcast game, and is probably the best looking 3D indie title we've yet seen on Sega's console. Naturally though, the modern remaster takes advantage of the more powerful hardware offered by contemporary consoles and gaming rigs, meaning everything has a rather nice visual upgrade. No floating Dreamcast power-ups though, which will no doubt mark it down in our view.

The updated version of Xenocider is being published by Eastasiasoft and no doubt once the game is released in 2022 we'll cast an eye over it and see how it compares to the Dreamcast original. Grab the Steam demo here, follow Retro Sumus here and buy a digital copy of the original Dreamcast version of Xenocider here.

A Dreamcast port of Postal appears!

Back in 2016 Postal developer Running With Scissors released the source code for their blood-soaked isometric shooter. Alongside this release, an appeal was made for a developer to step forward and create a Dreamcast port, should anyone be so inclined. Fast forward to December 2021 and a beta version of Postal for Dreamcast has now been released.

Coming from developer Dan Redfield, with a little help from fellow Dreamcast developer Ian Michael and members of the Simulant Engine Discord and Dreamcast-Talk forum, Postal for Dreamcast is free to download and play on actual hardware...and it runs really well.

Before booting this beta, I had never previously played Postal. I was familiar with the game's rather unsavory premise, reputation and legacy (and the fact that there's an Uwe Boll movie based on the franchise), but I was pretty much going in blind. What I discovered though, is a fairly playable isometric shooter with a definite leaning towards the 'mindless running around with the trigger held down' gameplay style. And gore. Lots of gore. And shooting. And explosions. 

The Dreamcast port, as stated, is a beta; and the intro does say to expect crashes, although I didn't experience any personally (I'm using a GDEMU enabled console with a DCHDMI fitted). Controls are well mapped to the Dreamcast controller and other than when the screen is absolutley filled with characters running around in terror (understandable, considering the nature of the game), there's hardly any noticeable slowdown or hitching. Here's some gameplay I grabbed while playing the first three levels (badly):

Thanks to Dan Redfield and the other community members who contributed to yet another Dreamcast release. The full version of Postal for Dreamcast is pencilled in for an early 2022 release and we'll no doubt have a full review of the game once it lands.

Dowload the Dreamcast Postal beta here, and be sure to follow both Dan Redfield on Twitter here and Running With Scissors on Twitter here.