Whatever Happened To? Part 10 : Virtua Golf.

Back in late 2000, many projects came and went again for the Dreamcast, what was once a dead-cert that a Naomi based arcade game would see a DC conversion, became sadly hit and miss at best, often resources were pulled from a quick Dreamcast port, to a more involved other console conversion due to the audience fading away from Sega’s machine. What would also occur is some games would be planned for home release and then be later locked away to be forever just an arcade board, one such example is game number 10 in the series; Virtua Golf.

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Announced in the late part of 2000, it was Sega who were planning to bring this arcade board (and perhaps the last in the Virtua sports range?) home to their own hardware, this was to be a good turn for the Dreamcast as golf games had been sadly lacking with mostly Tee Off seen as the main gap filler there. Virtua Golf was a gorgeous looking title that shared many graphical cues from Virtua Tennis 2 and Sports Jam (which in itself had a golf mode), it was developed by Sega WOW who had developed Sega GT, Bass Fishing and Alien Front Online to name a few, this sports game could really have done well on the machine, as it stands, golf is a quite popular sport and EA had success with it’s Tiger Woods series of games.

Being known as Dynamic Golf in Japan, and already running on Dreamcast derived arcade hardware, the game was up to 4 players and featured a roller ball which could control your power whilst rolling toward the screen would take the shot, this is a departure from the tried amnd tested shot guage found in all golf games before Tiger Woods revolutionised the control method with analogue stick control. Surprisingly in-depth were the modes of play, which unlike other arcade games at the time, featured most of the modes expected of a home title, even a full 18 hole endurance mode.

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Typical Sega blue skies were found in this game, it looked great for a 2001 game, and seemed to have all the right mix for the home port treatment, so what went wrong? Well, to be honest I think Dreamcast Magazine were a bit premature in 2000, saying this was coming to the console – they later, in 2001 featured it on their missing games section, with that year coming to a close, and Sega seemingly less interested in persuing the Dreamcast, I’d be surprised if this made it past the ‘is it possible’ stage, which yes, it would have easily ported across but like many really impressive games from that era that were meant to be eyed with the Dreamcast in mind, it just wasn’t meant to be and this one is locked to the arcade without emulating the board. Such a shame.

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Duranik Show Glimpse Of Midsummer.

Soon after Duranik had finished with the developement of Sturmwind, the team’s previous Dreamcast release, word had got around that another game was being worked on here and there, things naturally went a bit quiet as Sturmwind initially suffered backlash at the hands of a botched release with the blame being mostly aimed towards the now-defunct Redspotgames, as we know, Sturmwind has since be reissued and sold via different outlets, becoming one of the most recognised games amongst owners of post-death software for the console.

Midsummer was, and is the name of the project that Duranik have been working on in the background, quietly for some time, it’s based around the tech and game engine elements found in Sturmwind, which is needless to say, highly impressive. This time around sees you take the role of an almost Shinobi-like character stalking through the beautiful side scrolling plains in a variation of different landscapes, huge creatures make themselves known from the background to the foreground, presumably for an end of level encounter, although no enemies have been implimented as of yet, the animation certainly seems to be coming along very nicely.

Midsummer is still a work in progress effort, and as such could very well be some time off yet, it’s already been yapped about in years gone by. Duranik have stated they have no interest in crowd funding the title, it’ll be ready when it’s done in a statement posted on the Facebook page :

As we promised some Midsummer infos over the years and always postponed it – today is the
day. Not exactly as planned but thats the way it is.

Unfortunatly there is very little time to work on at the moment so i wanted to share at least a glimpse, raw and totally unedited look of the the game.

Enemies are missing in this video captures, but you know, thats en vogue at the moment.

This is captured directly from a Dreamcast, there will be no Kickstarter/Crowdfunding/Preorder
or anything of that sort. It will be finished when its done or when there will be enough time to work on it.

You can check the video here, what do you think? Is this the sort of game you could get excited for?

We Played a Broken Sword game…. on Dreamcast..?

Ah the Dreamcast, such a versatile little box of wonders isn’t it, capable of running lovely looking 128 Bit games, online capabilities, arcade ports, emulation…. Yes, that’s correct, we are talking about something that never came to the console being played on it.

This time around, we took a look at Broken Sword, a classic point and click series that started in 1997 and was locked behind either the PC on PlayStation or many years missing both the Saturn and the Dreamcast with Sega users, particularly on the Dreamcast, left out in the dark, in fact, Stupid Invaders is the only point and click we can think of to hand on the system.

Thankfully, many years ago, ScummVM was made to work with the console, allowing for many classic Lucas Arts stalwarts of this genre to come over unofficially, as well as both of the original Broken Sword games, Shadows of the Templars and The Smoking Mirror. We had a chance to give the first of these games a belated try, see how we felt via the video below.

 

Volgarr the Viking Sees Second Physical Print Run.

Some of the more hardcore Dreamcast fans out there may remember that back in 2015, Crazy Viking Studios granted permission for Volgarr the Viking to be ported to the machine, initially as freeware. This polished but unforgiving platform game was met with praise upon release which led to users over at the Circuit-Board community self-publishing 100 physical copies of the game complete with manual and certificate in the PAL blue boxes, these mega-exclusive versions very rarely come up for sale, and we kick ourselves every time we think about missing out on one of these gaming keepsakes.

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Image found on Dreamcast-Talk of the original 100 print run version

Fast forward to 2019, and JoshProd have stepped on up to bat, supplying a DC home run in the form of a new issue of the game, taking cues from the already impressive work these guys have done with previous releases so far, the Dreamcast will thankfully play host to Volgarr once more, this time around 19.90 Euros secures you a PAL style version, with no doubt the other region styles coming later on as usual. Worth mentioning is that only 3000 will be produced and sold via PixelHeart so get in there quickly to secure yours today, the release date in May 15th 2019.

 

 

https://www.pixelheart.eu/shop/dreamcast-pal/volgarr-the-viking-dreamcast-pal-1006-40604.htm

Dreamcast : Year One – Two Thirds Funded, Final Interviewee Revealed.

We are routing for Andrew Dickinson’s Kickstarter that currently has 2 weeks left of the campaign, it’s already had pledges totalling over £4k of the 6K target, with many backers snagging the book at £8, which is an absolute bargain, 7 flush backers have even pledged £99 to feature in the book’s retrospective section, but this isn’t just for die-hard gamers who want their memories shared, oh no – in actual fact, as shared via a few project updates, some famous guys from the Dreamcast’s prime feature in the book!

Bernie Stolar, the former president of Sega of America around the time of the Dreamcast’s availability features as one of the interviewed cool dudes, Caspar Field who was the editor of the cool-as-ice DC-UK magazine over here in the United Kingdom gets a section too which is awesome as DC-UK was a bloody awesome stylistic magazine which almost read like the gadget magazines around at the time, very ‘early 21st century’ excitement.

Perhaps the most exciting is Ed Lomas, the reviews and deputy editor of none other than the Official Dreamcast Magazine (UK), this publication ran from launch until around June 2001, so we are really hoping that Ed may have some insider info on the games they received to review and perhaps an insight into how those demo discs were decided by Sega with the communication of the publication, maybe we might get an insight into games that never released.

All in all, some real great picks for the interview section. Remember that the book still requires some funding, so head on over and drop a pledge since it’s so low risk, and share it about Dreamcast fans!

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/dreamcastyearone/dreamcast-year-one-unofficial-book/description

Hidden Palace Have A Few More Dreamcast Surprises Planned.

If you follow our Facebook page (if not, why not?) you’ll have noticed we posted a Twitter screen grab about the Dreamcast Internet Pack being released, this was a bit of software that was to be given with Official Dreamcast Magazine that allowed parlour style games to be played via the Internet, we assume the execution would be much like Sega Swirl, where the software would have been given on the face of the magazine in a demo disc style execution.

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Quite why it never actually happened is a mystery really, but one would assume that perhaps the software was prepared for a 2001 release which would maybe coincide with Sega’s discontinuation of the console and eventually the services, also ODM (in the UK at least) was shelved in July 2001, with only Dreamcast Magazine continuing until the console’s last releases in 2002.

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The build date of this prototype is February 2001, so given the time frame needed to organise it’s roll out, it’s perhaps not surprising Sega decided not to go gold with it, the game can be played offline should you feel the need to give it a try and we are sure some clever users will be able to get it back online too.

It was through Hidden Palace that this prototype ended up, this website is run by gaming enthusiasts with the aim of preserving historic developments samples and beta software ensuring such precious materials aren’t lost for good, we’ll admit – it’s the first we’d heard of the site, but there seems to be chatter about more Dreamcast goodies coming soon so we are looking forward to seeing what’s next and thank whoever decided to allow us as gamers to experience the Internet Game Pack.  Check out their website, where these images came from at http://www.hiddenpalace.org it’s actually a very interesting page to see some games that never made the light of day and how some popular favourites were built and tested.

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Whatever Happened To? : Part 9 – Planet Of The Apes

As 2001 started, Sega began to give out little yellow flyers In the boxes for their own published games which although littered with screenshots of the upcoming big hitters from the company, the rear cover was reserved for games planned later in the year, it was in this section that we got an insight into a few 3rd party games coming to the system, a few of which actually didn’t happen in the end, one such game was Planet of the Apes.

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Planet of the Apes was planned to be released in time for the movie featuring Mark Wahlberg which debuted in cinemas in July 2001, however, the game release didn’t actually happen until later in 2001 when the buzz around the film had come and gone, this was actually seen as an intentional delay as the game had little to do with the movie, not being a standard tie-in, the game opted for an action adventure stance much in the same play style as games like Tomb Raider.

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So, what went wrong here? Well, firstly Fox Interactive decided they wanted to out source the publishing duties for the game, which eventually Ubi Soft picked up the rights to distribute the game, this made the production of the game, which was around the Dreamcast’s era of 2000, to the very end of the lifecycle at the end of 2001 and 2002 (For Europe PS-One version) which would of course not be seen as a worthwhile venture, this wasn’t the first time that Fox had done this, Buffy was also due for Dreamcast and instead was outsourced to Dreamcast haters, EA to which it only came to the Xbox. What was also seen as a factor was advertising, Fox had already marketed the title in 2000, with a year passing by, did Dreamcast gamers care about what would be perceived as a straight PS-One port by this point? Fox didn’t think so, which is a shame as the developers went on record to state in 2000 that the Dreamcast version was using some impressive lighting and shadowing techniques not present in the 32- Bit incarnation. Sadly the game was badly reviewed, none of the actual released version gained a decent Metacritic score so again, cancelling the DC version perhaps seemed the best thing to do between Fox Interactive’s deal with Ubi Soft (who actually supported the Dreamcast quite well).

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So what can you play Planet of the Apes on today? You can give the PS-One version a try if you really feel like giving it a go, or perhaps the PC version would stand up more to what the Dreamcast version may have looked like, sadly no DC builds have been leaked as of yet.

 

RANDOM : A Dreamcast Zip Drive Came Up For Sale, Hardly Anyone Noticed.

Cast your minds back to the last year of the Dreamcast, in it’s official availability, there was talks of a few add-on devices in an attempt to keep interest towards the console, some of these devices actually were released (Sega Kara, DreamEye, 4X Memory Unit) whereas, others were shelved before release (DVD Add on, MP3 VMU and Zip Drive). It’s the Zip drive, a project that Sega that entertained in 2000 with Iomega to produce with the thought process that data such as download content, emails and web content could be stored on 100mb zip diskettes that perhaps holds the most interesting public history really, as there are apparently a few prototypes kicking about with one passing hands on eBay in 2007, that’s pretty much the last time one was seen on such a common garden selling method… Until December 2018 that is, where an example came up for sale In Germany, it’s unknown if this is maybe the same unit from ’07, or if this is a totally different prototype.

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It seems to have flown totally under the radar of your usual suspects that report on this sort of stuff, we had only found some information in Russian about the eBay listing and having clicked the link, the Zip Drive ended up selling for €4225.00 which is a hefty chunk of cash but perhaps worth it for something so hard to obtain, some would say it’s the ultimate Dreamcast collectible up to this point…. Until a DVD add on comes up for sale, of course!

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Looking at the device, it isn’t far off the design for the Sega Kara unit, with the power supply acting as a passthrough from the main unit, and a similar metal heat shield (as seen in the Mega CD days) sandwiched between the two devices, on the front is where the discs are inserted and the modem is cabled from the console rather than attached as the zip drive requires the modem bay.

What’s your views on unreleased hardware? Do you think this justified it’s selling price?

A Q&A With Andrew Dickinson

Sometimes here a Dreamcast Today, we like to pester folk in the scene with random questions and form it up as some sort of interview. To tie in with the upcoming Kickstarter of Dreamcast : Year One, Forbes has caught up with the man behind the book – Andrew Dickinson, take a look at the somewhat random (but relevant ) questions we throw his way.

DCT : Hi Andrew, thanks for taking the time to chat with us today and answer some questions, first of all, can you introduce yourself to our readers and what it is you’re working on briefly ?

Andrew  – My Twitter bio sums me up pretty well I think! I’m a cat-loving, vegetarian games enthusiast who lives in Brighton, UK. I’m also a slight Kickstarter addict, having backed and been a part of various campaigns over the years! I finally decided to take the plunge and put something out there of my own, which is ‘Dreamcast: Year One’, a book about the conception, launch and first year on the market of this classic console.

DCT- What sort of background have you got in creating this sort of product? We think we spotted that you’ve already working on other books like this? 

Andrew – In terms of writing background, I don’t have any formal qualifications or a career in writing, but as a teenager I wrote for a Dreamcast fan site (dreamcastsource.co.uk) and have written other articles and such throughout the years. This particular opportunity came up when I backed a Kickstarter project last year, ‘PlayStation Vita: Year One’ by Sandeep Rai. The Vita is another underrated console in my eyes, and reading its story brought back so many memories of my time with the Dreamcast while it was still on the market. I realised this format that Sandeep had created would be a perfect way to tell the story of the DC as well. I’m now working with Sandeep as my editor, and I’m even writing a retrospective for his follow-up book, ‘PlayStation Vita: Years Two & Three’, about Power Stone Collection.

DCT- What’s your history with the Dreamcast? Have you had one since launch or did you discover it late on, were first hand experiences the fuel to create the book?

Andrew – I’ve had a Dreamcast since I was 16 – it was my birthday present from my mum that year. I’d been a gamer since the NES, but seriously started to get into it with the dawn of the PlayStation. That’s when I discovered the Resident Evil franchise, and I fell in love instantly. So when we started to hear that the next chapter in the franchise was going to be exclusive to the newly released Dreamcast, I started to pay attention! So I got my Dreamcast in August 2000 with a copy of RECV, as well as  Crazy Taxi and Power Stone. From that moment on I basically just fell in love with the system, to the extent that I found like-minded teens on chat rooms so I could gush about how great the Dreamcast was. That’s where I met Faz Asif, who set up Dreamcast Source, and I was a part of that site from when it launched until things wound down in 2002. So in terms of the period of time Year One covers, my first hand experience is fairly limited as I got involved after launch, however my experience with the games of that time will come out in the retrospectives I’ll be writing, and I also have interviews with people who were there for the launch, including Caspar Field who is the former editor of British Dreamcast magazine DC-UK.

DCT- Would you have rather had Sega continue making the Dreamcast and it came to it’s natural end, much like the GameCube and Xbox etc, or would you keep things the same, where support continues freely without risk of repercussions?

Andrew – That’s a hard question! At the time I would have wanted the Dreamcast to continue because it was my dream console (pun very much intended). It was so far ahead of the curve with online gaming and innovations like the VMU, and Sega were still churning out amazing first party titles. In my eyes, the Dreamcast could have gone on for years longer. However, looking back now with hindsight, it was obviously the right decision for Sega to take. Had they continued to soldier on with the Dreamcast we may not have Sega at all today, and that would be a very sad thing for the gaming landscape. More importantly though, the Dreamcast itself may have become forgotten and not revered as it is right now.

DCT – A difficult one for you here but, what has been your favourite Dreamcast game and why? 

Andrew – I’m sat doing this interview in my office next to my stack of Dreamcast games. I look over and just reading the titles of some of them bring back amazing memories for me, so trying to find just one is difficult, not least because my favourite can change depending on what mood I’m in! The answer that I think most Dreamcast fans will give is Shenmue, and for me it’d be both 1 and 2 together, as I had never experienced a story told in that way before. It was truly a magical journey (through mundanity at times, sure) that I will never forget. However, to single out the Shenmue games is to drown out a whole cacophony of amazing games that were just as awe-inspiring in their own way. To list just a few, some of my other favourites would be Skies Of Arcadia, Rez, Power Stone, Jet Set Radio and Space Channel 5.

DCT – Some solid answers there! Rez is up there for us too, what about this – you are on a secluded in a bunker, by yourself for a year – what games machine would you take with you, and why? 

Andrew – These questions! Jeez! My brain is in overdrive trying to make that decision. I would certainly not get bored playing Dreamcast games for a whole year, because there are so many gems! Being realistic though, I’d probably take something modern. I bought a Switch recently and love it (I was one of the few people who bought and loved the Wii U, so I held off a while for the Switch), however I have a feeling I might run out of games I’d want to play in a year on that. The PlayStation 4 has some of my favourite contemporary game experiences in titles like ‘The Last Of Us’ and ‘Uncharted 4’, however to me it would make sense to take an Xbox One X. Not the most popular console of today, but the only one that allows you to play games from previous generations without having to buy them all over again! The Xbox 360 had some good Dreamcast ports that are playable on Xbox One too, so I’d have a year with a wide range of games spanning decades, plus a 4K blu ray player! What could be better than that?

DCT -Good call, Xbox does seem to have the all-in-one media approach done well, it’s such a tough call, can we expect to see more work from you in the future? A Dreamcast sequel book, maybe a Saturn one? 

Andrew – If ‘Dreamcast: Year One’ goes well, then I do have plans for more books to complete the story of the little white box! I end Year One on the 31st March 2000, a year before the Dreamcast is officially discontinued, so Year Two would look at the highs and crushing lows that occurred during that year. Year Three would therefore look at those last titles being officially released as things came to a close, but I’d then ideally like to write a final fourth book detailing everything that happened after that. The home brew scene, the resurgence in popularity, the cult status… There is a lot to say about all of that!

In terms of other projects, I’d certainly love to read a book about the Saturn, but I don’t think I have enough experience with that console to do it any justice. Personally I’d be more interested in looking into the Wii U, why it failed to set the world on fire while simultaneously generating some phenomenal games!

DCT – Ah the Wii U! Now that was a shame, but thankfully it led to Nintendo heading to the top again with the Switch, we would love to see a follow on book covering the later part of the consoles life too, so fingers crossed all goes well. How did you go about creating your product? Is it a hard process? 

Andrew – Luckily for me, I had a template to follow in ‘PlayStation Vita: Year One’! I love the format of that book, so the general layout will remain the same – story, interviews and retrospectives. However, I wanted to bring a little something extra to really make the book pop, and so I have commissioned a bunch of illustrations from artist Eric Pavik to fill the book. The designer of my book, Steve Novaković-Thone, had found an illustration that Eric had done of the Dreamcast and used it as a placeholder for the cover while he was going through the design process. I took one look at it and realised he’d hit on something great, and that it had to be our actual cover! So I got in touch with Eric, and we started putting together images for the book. He amended his original console image to show the blue swirl used in PAL territories (I’ll be taking a very British slant with the book), and created artwork for key retrospectives and our interviews. They feel like the missing piece that truly ties together the writing and the design to form a cohesive whole.

DCT – Where does your information come from? Extensive research? Personal knowledge? 

Andrew – For Year One it was a lot of research, backed up by what I already knew. As I say, I didn’t actually get a Dreamcast until August 2000, nearly a year after it had launched in the UK, so my own knowledge of that time was fairly limited. Being a lover of the console though, I have done a lot of reading over the years, so I supplemented that with further research, and I also got a lot of great information from people like Caspar. I can’t wait for people to read his interview in full, because there are some fantastic insights in there!

DCT – Some would say that you got the console bang at the right time, we got ours in June 2001! Lastly, how long did it take to compile all the information together, did you look back and think ‘I forgot I need to add….’ 

Andrew – The book is actually still a work in progress. I’ve been working on it for about 6 months now, and I have a lot planned out already (and 20% is completed writing wise), however I also work and study alongside this which means it takes a little longer to get everything done, as you can imagine!

Another reason I haven’t yet completed the book is because I wanted to know that there was the support out there for a book like this to be released. I didn’t want to write a whole book, pay for all the design work, illustrations and printing only to find that no-one was really that interested, you know? As I mentioned right at the start, I’m a big user of Kickstarter, and while it certainly has its flaws in some regards, when it comes to things like board games and the video game community, it has allowed some amazing creators to get their vision out there.

It helps people who have these great ideas to connect with their audience and produce things that ordinarily just wouldn’t get made. So I figured what better way to find out if there is enough interest than to use Kickstarter. I’m really looking forward to connecting more with other Dreamcast fans through my project, getting feedback and suggestions, having conversations. The simple fact is that without Kickstarter this book won’t exist. ’Dreamcast: Year One’ is meant to provide a written, unofficial history of a true cult classic aimed at old and new fans alike, so having the Dreamcast community come on this journey with me is something I’m really excited about!

 

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Many thanks to Andrew for taking the time out to chat to us, make sure you keep an eye out on Kickstarter for Dreamcast : Year One and give the Facebook page a like here :

 

https://www.facebook.com/dreamcastyearone/

Has The Dreamcast Version of Saber Rider Been Cancelled?

Bad news hit our inbox this morning regarding the Dreamcast Saber Riders & The Star Sheriffs from Rush On Game, turns out that Pixel Heart / JoshProd will no longer be publishing the game and Rush On Game are distancing themselves from the project entirely. Pre-orders started around May 2018 with an August 2018 release window, this soon shifted to around Christmas and after that, all went rather quiet, we began suspecting something was adrift with the Dreamcast version when it began missing projected dates and updates were becoming somewhat sparse, keeping in mind that the game was crowdfunded through Kickstarter, many backers stand to be out of pocket should the game end up ‘doing a Paprium’. We backed the game and I’m sure many of you have too, Rush On Game are offering refunds or an exchange towards the recently announced games, however, trying to get a refund from Kickstarter is going to be tough and sadly the PayPal claim back assist has gone past the time frame to claim – sadly this is proving more and more why crowd funding up front is a bad idea when it comes to small developed projects, I’m sure none of these developers aim to steal the cash and run, but life gets in the way and circumstances change, our advice would be vigilant, if there isn’t a demo up front and a clear product release line, don’t back it.

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Tweets about the game haven’t been updated since October 2018, we are currently trying to chase down more details and will let you know as we know more, in the meantime, feel free to make your voices heard on the Twitter page for the game :