I'm joined by a special guest to celebrate the Dreamcast's 16th birthday in Europe, would you like to introduce yourself?
Hi Chris, thanks for inviting me. I’m Tom, I’m one of the guys who looks after the Dreamcast Junkyard
To anyone that doesn't know what is Dreamcast Junkyard?
The Junkyard is a fan site that I started in 2005 to document my collecting of Dreamcast games. I owned a Dreamcast from the start, but I swapped it for a PS2 in late 2001 just before Sega pulled the plug. It wasn’t until 2005 that I got another one and started to rebuild my collection and decided to document it online. I didn’t think anyone would be interested, but my exploits collecting Dreamcast games and writing about them became quite popular and the Dreamcast Junkyard went from there.
Cool, I collect Dreamcast games myself, but 2005 was a long time ago, so what do you post about now, you can't have many games left to get?
Haha! Well I’ve almost got a full PAL collection now. The original intention of the site was to give a distinctive UK-perspective on the Dreamcast and collecting. And also collecting on a very limited budget. I say I’ve almost got a full collection because I’m still a skinflint and I refuse to pay the astronomical sums sellers want for newer or ‘rarer’ games. But the site has transformed from me documenting what I’ve collected into a ‘proper’ news site where we document new releases and regularly review games and hardware and also feature upcoming releases. Not only that, but we now have a podcast and attend events and showcase Dreamcast games to the public.
Same I'm missing about 27 PAL games but I'm not paying £80 for MoHo. You talk about new releases but the system was discontinued back in 2001, so what new games or hardware is there?
Yeah, MoHo is one game I don’t own either and by all accounts it certainly isn’t worth what people are asking for it. The Dreamcast is going through something of a renaissance at present. To the layman it’s a dead system, but in 2015 we have already had several new titles. Ghost Blade from Hucast (a shmup), Volgarr The Viking (a 2D platformer) and Fruit’Y (a puzzle game) have already been released this year, and two new Kickstarters have been successfully funded in the last week (Saber Rider and Alice Dreams Tournament). Further to this, SLaVE - a 3D first person shooter is due to release soon. In the next year, even more high profile indie releases are expected. On the hardware front, a new wireless Bluetooth controller, the DreamConn, has just been released. It’s an exciting time for a supposedly ‘dead’ system!
It seems more alive then some of the current systems on the market with all those games just this year and coming. Why do you think that is, my theory has been that because it was SEGA's last system were keeping it alive, what's your thoughts?
Yeah, nostalgia has something to do with it - most certainly. People seem to have a desire to cling onto the past don’t you think? Also, ‘retro gaming’ is undergoing something of a revival at the moment. To that end, the Dreamcast is really the last system that is relatively easy to develop and publish for. The console’s ability to play CD-Rs makes it a perfect platform for small indie teams, and the fact that it is still a relatively powerful and versatile format makes it ideal for start-ups who maybe couldn’t put a game out on Vita, PS4 or XB1 for financial reasons. It’s a perfect test ground in my opinion. There’s still a market for modern retro games, if that makes sense - and the Dreamcast is the format for this.
Now we know more about you and the site, why the Dreamcast to collect for, what makes it so great?
Hmm. Well, when I started collecting Dreamcast stuff it was really cheap. It was a failure and the PS2, Xbox and GameCube had already established themselves. the Dreamcast was dead in 2005 and I recall spotting a brand new, boxed one for £40 in a shop so I snapped it up. After that I just kept buying boxed and mint games. Back then it was easy to find stuff in corners of games shops for a few pounds. Now though, the DC has gained cult status - some of which is not really deserved. Don’t get me wrong, I love the system but mainly for the same reason I love the Atari Jaguar - it represents so much unrealised potential. The later games really show what the Dreamcast could do and it’s relatively short lifespan only gives a small glimpse of what could have been if major developers had supported it for longer. I guess it’s the ‘what if’ that makes it so special to me. That, and it was the first system that really wowed me visually. It filled the void that the N64 promised but didn’t deliver, if that makes sense.
The Jaguar isn't a system you hear the word love attached to, but I get what you mean about the Dreamcast it was the first system I went online with, played user made content along with other things systems now do. Were here to celebrate the consoles and it's 16th birthday, the main thing about any system is games, what are your sort of top 5 or the top games that show off the system to maybe someone that haven't played or owned the system?
That’s a tough question Chris haha! There are so many great games on the Dreamcast that trying to think of five will be hard, but here goes.
You’d probably be expecting me to wax lyrical about the standard Dreamcast fail safes like Shenmue, Crazy Taxi, Jet Set Radio and Soul Calibur, but my tastes go a little deeper than that. While they are stunning games, there are others worthy of attention. Sturmwind is a corking unofficial shooter for the Dreamcast from Duranik. It has an amazing soundtrack and brilliant visuals and plays like a dream. It also started life on the Jaguar, weirdly. The next game I would recommend is Rush 2049. It’s the sequel to that N64 stalwart Rush 2, and even though 2049 also appeared on Nintendo’s system the Dreamcast version is leaps and bounds ahead in terms of visuals. Next, I would say that Bangai-O is worth a look, again it was on the N64 too, but the Dreamcast version is completely reworked. Starlancer is a ridiculously classy space opera with an engaging storyline and genre-defining controls and visuals too. Finally, I would have to say that Metropolis Street Racer is one game that should be a standard entry into every Dreamcast-owner’s library. This is the game that gave birth to PGR - everyone should investigate Bizarre Creations’ superb prequel.
That's some great games, I've not played Sturmwind myself but it's good to hear that the new games getting released are good. You did bring up Shenmue, what's your thoughts on number III & the Kickstarter, were you jumping around the room like me when it was announced at E3?
Haha! Yeah, I couldn’t believe it. I made a flippant comment on Twitter like ‘when I wake up I want Shenmue 3’ or something. And I was woken up by my phone buzzing off the table at about 4am I knew something had happened. Lo and behold - Shenmue 3. I backed it almost immediately and then a few weeks later I was interviewing Corey Marshall - the voice of Ryo Hazuki - and he had pretty much exactly the same experience haha! He knew nothing about it until his phone started to buzz and flash every two seconds! I’m really looking forward to Shenmue 3, regardless of the naysayers who say it can’t be done on the budget it has raised. It’ll come out regardless, even if Sony step in.
Yeah it has been getting a lot of negative press at the moment with the slacker backer PayPal which other projects such as Yooka-Laylee have as well. It's been great to talk to you about the Dreamcast and your site, anything else you want to talk about on the Dreamcast's 16th birthday?
Likewise, it’s been great to be interviewed rather than be the interviewer - thanks for the opportunity! The only thing I want to say really is that the Dreamcast has a great community surrounding it and it’s a great honor to be a central part of it. Cheers Chris :)
It does have a great community with fans helping each other with collection's and what not along with keeping the console going.
Yes, it’s a very friendly community. There are some consoles that have built up some quite militant and unfriendly scenes around them. Thankfully the Dreamcast is not one of them!
Thanks Tom, That's all, I hope you've all enjoyed reading about the Dreamcast and will checkout some of my upcoming reviews on some new games for the system along with The Dreamcast Junkyard.