Nostaljourney is a retro gaming podcast that features an new cast every episode. Each episode is based on discussing a particular game or series, then finding people who are nostalgic for it and people who have never played it before. If need be we go so far as to donate all the necessary gaming hardware to the newcomers. We compare the experiences of the two groups to find out how well a game has really aged as well as discuss its history.
For younger community members it may be a chance to learn what gaming was like in the past. For older community members it may be a chance to discover what games are truly classic and what games are not. In general the show exists to evaluate and discuss the nature of nostalgia and for everyone in the community to get to know each other better. Because the show involves giving out free games, it only records once every couple of months.
Recent changes to the game plan will hopefully entail the show recording every 2 weeks.
Wryviews are my personal review series where I try to do things different from the norm by asking myself how well the game achieved its goal, instead of if I liked the game or not. Wryviews are a personal challenge to stay objective and identify who would enjoy a certain game, rather than complain about who wouldn't. I feel that being a good reviewer entails being able to identify each game's audience.
Gemnalysis is a series where I hunt down lesser known or neglected games and make a case for playing them despite the fact that they're older. Instead of flat out reviewing these games I look at them from the perspective of a collector and go over the game's history, and special trivia it may have.
Fatal Impact is a series of community tournaments revolving around SNK fighters; rather, it was. I happen to host the tournaments, but only once in a blue moon when I have the free time. I accept any and all callers, though I am not an entrant. Instead I am a trainer who organizes my entrants and helps to improve their game while introducing them to new and lesser appreciated fighting games.
The Fatal Impact tournaments will likely not continue until SNK releases games with better netcode. With recent promises from Atlus, King of Fighters XIII is likely to become the next big Fatal Impact game.
The King of Fighters Love Letter is a series dedicated to the storyline and history of SNK fighting games. Many people don't know anything about SNK in general, and with King of Fighters XIII on its way I'm going to bring everyone up to speed on the story in the series thus far.
Now that King of Fighters XIII has an actual release date this series may continue beyond the first story arc (Orochi Saga), but it's difficult to find solid information on the series' backstory.
Podsumaki Episode 09: Mortal Kombat Special Podsumaki is a fighting game podcast that I hosted on and organized. There was a lot of random smack talk but it was a fun show. Currently it's on hold and none of the hosts are sure if it will ever come back. Our last episode was our highlight, where we spoke with three of the best Mortal Kombat players in the US and discussed the Mortal Kombat community and the upcoming game. If you were to listen to any one episode of Podsumaki, I'd recommend it be this.
The Top Three Things "Gamers" Should Care About Less Somebody on Call of Duty: Black Ops screamed at me for not being good enough at the game, even though I wasn't on his team. Thanks to that I decided to write an article on some of the biggest problems with the gaming community, mostly their inability to care about things that actually matter.
Tainted Beauty: The Death and Rebirth of a Genre What we have here is an article revolving around the 2D fighting game genre, the path one must go through to become good at the games, and all the obstacles in the way of this that I feel eventually led to the temporary death of the genre prior to the release of games like Street Fighter IV and BlazBlue.
Wry Guides: Goozex Training Manual Wry Guides are a series where I try to educate the people of the community by writing about something that I in particular know a lot about. More than anything else though, it's just me unleashing a bad pun upon the world.
Top 11 Dreamcast Games You Probably Didn't Play In this article I recap my experience as a guy who loved the Dreamcast, because he grew up with it as one of his primary forms of entertainment. The games listed aren't the popular and trendy choices so much as the lesser played B-list and C-list games that only true Dreamcast veterans touched.
Hey, I liked it: Mega Man VII Hey, I liked it was a series where I reflected on games that I'm fond of that weren't appreciated by many people. As opposed to Wryviews which are meant to be impartial, this was a much more personal series. This series might continue some day but I could really not think of a bigger black sheep game than Mega Man VII.
Wry's Dreamcast Homebrew Guide: Pre-Brewed There was a time when I was extremely, extremely into my Dreamcast. I didn't just play tons of regular games that I found on sale, I also researched the wealth of bootleg Dreamcast programs. These days I'm a collector and I'm not concerned with unofficial software. I'm too busy playing games I actually own. Still I created a quick guide to some of the easiest and best programs available for the Dreamcast that can be used with no hassle.
Some of you may not know that in my younger game days I was a dual Nintendo and Sega loyalist. Indeed it resulted in me being given the short end of many a stick, many a time. While everyone else was out getting their fancy Playstation: I had a Saturn and Nintendo 64. While everyone was out getting their Playstation 2 and XBox: I was still rocking my Dreamcast; and the same one I had since near its launch date. It's only even through retro collecting that I'm getting to experience what the previous generations had to offer. Mind you I would never have traded any of systems away at the time, even if technically they were the low end consoles of each generation. The inferior models with less robust libraries if you will. To ask me to trade away Pilotwings 64 and NiGHTS into Dreams in exchange for Final Fantasy VII and Metal Gear Solid would be like asking me if I'd enjoy a kick square in the balls. Those were some of my fondest gaming memories.
I would never give those memories up no matter how great the other systems on the block were supposed to be, and these days everyone totes the Dreamcast as one of the greatest consoles of all time. Oh, sure; people say that now, but that wasn't the case back then I can assure you. Kind sirs and madams, allow me to show you a simple equation: "Popular opinion" + "Nobody had one" = "Well how the hell would you know?" I don't want to sound like a snob, and I really hold no grudges despite what happened to what is indeed one of my personal favorite consoles. No matter how much I love my hobby: games are still just games. This much is a social matter. To me it seems like some people are just trying to be trendy. Whenever I see someone doing this whole spiel I have to ask somewhere in the back of my head: "Well where were you at the time if it was such a great system?"
Still, I don't want to talk about the Dreamcast's failure. For me the Dreamcast never was a failure, if not just because it brought me so many fond memories. For years the DC was my baby and we wubbed eachuddah bewwy much. I scoured high and low for new games to play upon the machine. I was always looking for a new title. I would relentlessly look up reviews to find new material; and even when I had played all my current games to death I learned how to turn my Dreamcast into a homebrew machine. By the time I was done with the thing: it was capable of playing SCUMM games like Beneath a Steel Sky, old PC shooters like Quake, and even NES games like good old Mega Man V.
Editor's note: Oh, damn. I totally forgot about this. Any of you folks ever heard of a Treamcast? Those things were awesome.
Surely I could rant about the very same games that everyone else already has. Titles like Shenmue, Jet Grind Radio, Sonic Adventure and even Crazy Taxi: Trust me, I'm familiar with them. There are probably men out there less intimately familiar with their fiances than I am with those games. No, today I honor the Dreamcast with a decidedly more obscure list; because there is a certain point where hearing about how great Phantasy Star Online was gets boring. I truly do not blame you good sirs and madams if you have not played these games or even if you never even touched a Dreamcast, for you had your own digital adventures with which to partake. But in hopes of making this interesting prepare to take a trip down memory lane through the nostalgia goggles of a Sega Loyalist in the the 128-bit age. I'll do my best to infuse a small bit of the overall experience of owning a Dreamcast into each list item.
Let's start with an easy transition and see if we can get on the same page. Really the first survival horror game that I played is Blue Stinger, and logically that should be on this list considering its nature. Most people probably didn't know this game was even ON the Dreamcast though, so we'll give it a pass. Capcom had ported various PS1 horror games to the Dreamcast, and I was quite interested in them thanks to recent samplings of Resident Evil: Code Veronica. I really wanted to be able to play Resident Evil 2 and 3 soon after Code Veronica, but those games are rare as hell on the DC. Instead I settled for Dino Crisis. I was actually pretty happy with this decision.
Everyone asserts that Dino Crisis is just a clone, but Dino Crisis really didn't feel like that to me. It had a lot of its own ideas. Replacing zombies with dinosaurs in itself seems like a lazy decision, but it was just a smart idea if you ask me. I mean, what's really fucking scarier? A slow limping zombie just begging for you to penetrate its thick skull with bullets, or a Velociraptor twice your size that actually chases you? If memory serves some of the dinosaurs would even chase you between rooms Nemesis style, and mixing ammo was one of the core mechanics of the game. In fact; though it wasn't in quite the same nature Dino Crisis even forced you to make quick decisions that altered the outcome of the game. Most of Resident Evil 3's innovations seemed to have simply lifted themselves straight out of Dino Crisis, which was itself released prior. What I really enjoyed about Dino Crisis though was its heavier emphasis on puzzles than what was normal. None of them were huge brain busters, but the interesting scenarios and puzzles you were presented with kept the game memorable and replayable.
In terms of enhancements the Dreamcast versions of all these games were somewhat bare bones but they are the definitive versions. While most people think the Gamecube versions are the best, the Dreamcast versions had all the enhancements from the PC versions; and they still ran in a higher resolution than the Gamecube variants released so much later. What's more you got a health and ammo display on your VMU in the same way Code Veronica offered on the Dreamcast. That's a novelty you just can't replace, trust me. As a Dreamcast owner I often relied on the table scraps of the PS1 by taking high resolution ports with fairly minor enhancements. Dino Crisis is but the beginning of its own sub-list: with other games like Tony Hawk, Soul Reaver, and Spider-Man getting honorable mentions.
Hydro Thunder on the Dreamcast was at the same time a flawless and yet horribly flawed game. The visually incredible arcade release was ported very faithfully to Sega's white box, but the actual interface was god awful. I could probably blame this on the game being a launch title pushed out the door too soon, but I don't really care. A good boat racing game was extremely rare in this time and I'd been craving something new ever since Waverace 64. Man, this game really delivered where it counted. Everyone likes to push Rush 2049 as the definitive Dreamcast racer, but when I compare it to Hydro Thunder's colorful courses, outrageous shortcuts, tight controls and frantic music; man San Francisco Rush just seems boring in comparison.
The thing is the game itself was a blast, but it had some pretty horrid loading times. You had to wait periodically from the title screen to the boat selection screen to the course select screen just about every time. The game was brutally difficult too, and the game did NOT offer you a reset option. Something as incredibly basic as a retry button: it did not have. You would have to back out to the title screen and suffer the loading times all over again if you wanted to give a course another shot. Every time. As for features: beyond a handful of really difficult to obtain bonus boats and courses not featured in the arcade, there were absolutely none. Still, I suffered these flaws and gladly enjoyed the excellent game that rested underneath the awful port.
Hydro Thunder was probably one of the weakest games from the Dreamcast launch lineup, but even some of the most poorly done games at that particular time were still great fun out the door. At least from the moment the Dreamcast came out, you had some pretty entertaining games to play, with Sonic Adventure and Power Stone of course being the highlights. Compare that to something like the PS3's launch lineup and I feel lucky.
MDK2 is a peculiar beast and also the subject of some very specific retro goggles. Because see, when you talk to me about MDK2 you aren't going to be able to avoid reminding me about The Official Dreamcast Magazine. I was an avid reader of the publication and I loved it. It knew how to not take itself too seriously, frequently featuring joke articles like a goofy take off the movie Fight Club; and best of all the magazine shipped with demo discs. Remember those days when demo discs were basically free entertainment because you were too poor to afford the actual games? MDK2 was very much so one of those games for me. I would play the demo endlessly, blissfully unaware of what the game was like after the first stage for each of the game's 3 characters.
You can't help but be charmed by MDK2 if you don't mind some goofy and occasionally crude humor. The game takes its inspiration from old comic books with their absurd plots, and it shows. Among your cast of characters was an emotionally clingy mad scientist, a four armed robotic cigar smoking dog, and a reluctant janitor armed with a flying suit and a sniper helmet. This was one of those very few laugh out loud games, and oddly enough it was developed by Bioware. What I soon learned after getting the full version of the game, though? Jesus, this was the hardest game I'd ever played before I found God Hand. The Playstation 2 version that came out later offered you variable difficulty levels, but on the Dreamcast your only option was to be met with the ultimate challenge. As far as I'm concerned this was the real experience. All 3 characters pushed you to the limit in various ways that could drive some to madness. The thing is this game's difficulty is so incredibly absurd; so mind blowing in its cruelty that there will always be a select few who absolutely must know how far they can make it through this beast of a title.
Before I Wanna Be The Guy, there was MDK2 sneaking onto my console through demo discs. I was one of those curious souls blindsided by the game upon buying it, and I cried a shout of triumph when I beat this game.
Upon departing from this game we will likewise depart from the games that were available on other platforms and go Dreamcast exclusive. Select titles may be available overseas or on the PC, but in terms of US console releases the Dreamcast will be the only real source. That said: Grandia II should be played on the Dreamcast if you have the opportunity. Still this game is so great that even though the game is graphically simple and it's mind boggling that the PS2 version suffers from consistent slowdown, I really think everyone should experience this game any way they possibly can. Then again, it's a nostalgic game for me.
Some opinions are split on if Grandia II is really that great an RPG or not. Skies of Arcadia is the popular RPG choice, and admittedly I love that game as well. Still, Skies of Arcadia was a game that was technically lacking in innovation. Instead Skies made itself so fondly remembered by simply having so many memorable environments and moments. Grandia actually tried something genuinely different from the norm. Random battles are nowhere to be seen, two characters somehow manage to get themselves caught in a love triangle, and the battle system is a hybrid of real time and turn based. There's complaints against the game and surely they're valid, but Grandia II was one of my first RPGs I really got into. Prior to this I was not exactly in RPG territory. The N64 in particular was an RPG wasteland, and the Saturn wasn't that much better. Even the Dreamcast only had a few worth playing.
Still, this game did some really interesting things, especially being one of the first games I'd seen that questioned religious values. I was recently testing out the PS2 version to give to a friend as a gift, and the game's inherent fun got the better of me. Even though the PS2 version is a shoddy port I still stayed up about 4 hours just playing the game before realizing, "Oh, so yeah. I guess this works." Forget the fact I wasted 4 hours on a game without even saving. I didn't really regret it. The game was just fun to experience in an otherwise desolate desert lacking in RPGs.
And now we hit the exclusives. Toy Commander was another somewhat flawed game, but it's a case of a really creative premise pulling the whole package together. The concept of taking miniature toy vechicles on specialized missions through a relatively large house was and still is pretty unique. Toy trucks, helicopters, planes, tanks. You name it, this game had it. I'd say this game was pretty obscure, and it's a shame.
Still, it did have flaws. The controls themselves are difficult to get the hang of, but with time you can become quite adept at the unique way the toys behave. Considering you're controlling a substantially different sort of vehicle in a likewise very different type of environment it's only natural that the game didn't control in a normal fashion. The real flaw this game had was some of its mission structure. While this game had tons of mission ideas, even as early in the beginning of the game they were complex and strange enough to be confusing. While it did stop me from every completely beating the game, it didn't stop me from starting that game back up several times over the years. It's one of the only games on the list I haven't personally beaten, but I surely won't forget it anytime soon.
People always attribute the most creative games on the console to first party Sega itself, but other companies brought some good ideas to the table too. Well, neverminding that Toy Commander was made by a second party developer that Sega had bought.
Ahhh, Treasure. You always seem to make some game that gets overlooked and it certainly didn't help your cause releasing something on the Dreamcast. Some of you may be familiar with the name thanks to the DS psuedo-sequel, but trust me when I say it doesn't hold a candle to the original. Even though you couldn't build your own levels in the Dreamcast version, the level of two dimensional madness is almost unparalleled. Picture if you will: A tiny tiny robot flying around in all 8 directions on your big screen TV. Bullets come at it from all angles as it does its best to weave between the assault and shoot down whatever enemies it can. Suddenly you're completely surrounded by bullets with seemingly no way to escape, and then that tiny robot lets loose over a hundred missiles in all directions. In what can only be described as glorious; the missiles arc around you in cool patterns as a mere 2D game causes what was the most powerful system out to stutter and slow down. This only makes it even cooler, though; for now you can witness all the chaos with a seeming slow motion effect to emphasize all the destruction.
Too awesome. To clarify I say the DS version is inferior because many of the levels suffer this same slowdown at pretty much all times. In the Dreamcast version the slowdown almost felt like a special effect. For the DS it was not the case and I don't really think the hardware was really capable of handling this sort of madness. Either way Bangai-O was terribly interesting and fun across all platforms. Sometimes the levels made you think, but when it came down to it the game was all about explosions. Even the most famous Treasure games like Gunstar Heroes and Ikaruga are only recognized by a small niche. Bangai-O gets more obscure still. For a long time this game was a treasured collector's item worth more quite a bit of money on eBay. These days though very few Dreamcast games are very valuable. Even the absolute rarest ones are becoming cheaper and cheaper. Few people out there care to keep a Dreamcast collection anymore, but I gladly paid the absurd price to get in on this game. We're not even going to get into how ridiculous the story was or how easy the music could get stuck in your head.
This... is admittedly a bit of a copout, but I will contest that back in the day Chao Adventure blew the minds of many Sega loyalists. Why? Because our fucking memory cards played fucking games, goddamnit. Several Dreamcast titles let you download mini-games, among them including Power Stone and I believe Skies of Arcadia. Chao Adventure featured in Sonic Adventure was where it was at, though. For those of you that didn't know, Sonic Adventure had a virtual pet area where you could take care of little munchkins called Chao. You could find animals in all the game's levels and give them to the Chao whose appearance and mannerisms would then imitate that animal, while also increasing the Chao's stats so that it would be more proficient in races. You could likewise download your Chao to your VMU to play a simple mini-game, which by the end of the game's course your Chao could return to Sonic Adventure itself with special food.
The Gamecube versions of the games somewhat continued this legacy with the Gameboy Advance, but it'll never be the same without the VMU. Chao Adventure was monotonous, but the pure novelty of what you could do with a mere memory card was most excellent.
I'm the SNK guy, so you had to have seen this coming. Most know this game by its native title of Garou: Mark of the Wolves, and it is one of SNK's definitive masterpieces. However it is the very last Fatal Fury game, and so on the Dreamcast it was known as "Fatal Fury: Mark of the Wolves." On the box, that is. In the game itself the title screen and announcer even still said "GAROOUH. MARK OF DEH WOLVES."
A lot of people like to call it SNK's Street Fighter III thanks to all the similarities it shared with Capcom's opus. The games came out at around the same time, had drastically improved graphics and animation, ditched most of the series' old characters in exchange for fresh ones, and while Third Strike had parrying Mark of the Wolves had Just Defense. The biggest difference between the two, though? Capcom created new arcade hardware that was used primarily to play the Street Fighter III games. Mark of the Wolves was looking as good as it did using the same Neogeo hardware from 1990. SNK was not joking around when they claimed their Neogeo hardware was superior to the NES, SNES, and Genesis.
That aside, Mark of the Wolves was an extremely good game with a cast of enjoyable characters. Like most SNK fighters it got a fair amount of appreciation in Asian territories, but in the States it was very much so overlooked. The port wasn't absolutely perfect, but none of the inconsistencies really affected gameplay. It was one of the absolute most finely tuned 2D fighting games you could have played on your Dreamcast, and probably the one 2D fighter out of the Dreamcast's massive fighter library that you haven't even heard of.
To be honest I'm still looking for a copy of this game, but I have played the arcade version and gotten some brief time with the Dreamcast version. Hot damn. This shoot 'em up may not be as crazy as some other games out there but it had a hell of a cool idea and it's certainly up there in obscurity. The two most interesting things about the game are that it can be played with a single button and that your ships have a special mechanic that allow you to actually catch enemy bullets and then send them flying back at enemies. This was incredibly essential to beating the game because the screen could literally fill with bullets, giving you nowhere to run unless you redirected some of the fire.
The Dreamcast is known as an absolute shmup heaven, but this is one of the few pieces of that piece of the Dreamcast library we got to see in the States. Really we got table scraps for the most part. Gunbird II and Giga Wing aren't exactly the cream of the Shmup crop. Mars Matrix is one of the few shmups out there that had a variety of single player options. In the home version you actually needed to buy enough lives to get you through the end of the game. Unless you're some kind of master, in which case: screw you, BULLETMAGNET. This game is so obscure even I don't have it. Yet.
Yep, there's actually a Capcom fighter on this list higher up on the obscurometer than an SNK game. What's more it's a 3D fighter; which is pretty impressive when you consider 3D fighters tend to be far more widely recognized. Rival Schools had to be one of the least appreciated series that Capcom had ever produced, and at the same time it was one of the most fun. That's right, this is the sequel you probably never heard of. Compared to Mark of the Wolves this game was most definitely not one you should play competitively, but that's the charm of this game. It's so funny and off the wall that even though it's just a 2 player game, it's great for parties. Nowhere else but in Rival Schools can you see incredibly ridiculous characters that fight with everything from baseball bats to cameras. Some of the absolutely most absurd moves involve three characters doing a coordinated dance.
This game is just straight up amusing to watch and it was pretty solidly built, even if it shouldn't be taken too seriously. The game is most certainly broken if you really want to push it into competitive territory. Project Justice had a sort of floaty jump and combo system to it that made it feel like a hybrid of traditional Street Fighter and Marvel vs Capcom, with some 3D mechanics like side dodging tossed in for good measure. The Dreamcast was a mecca of both 2D and 3D fighters, and both need to be represented on this list. Even moreso than Power Stone I would have called this a party fighter. Even though it was two players, Project Justice could keep a whole room of people entertained with its crazy characters and absurd attacks. Truly not every fighting game need be a serious affair.
It's only right that an actual first party Sega game make its way onto this list. Everyone must have heard about this game by now, but how many have actually played it? Picture a bunch of zombies coming after you, a lone special agent who for some reason is armed with nothing more than a keyboard strapped to his shoulders. Closer and closer it gets and you have no idea what to do, when suddenly you start frantically smacking the keyboard out of fear. You type out "BANANA" "LOL" "KITTEN" "INUIT IN A KAYACK." SUDDENLY THE ZOMBIE'S HEAD EXPLODES. You have a magic zombie killing keyboard! YOU ARE A GOD.
That's Typing of the Dead in a nutshell. Cheesy B Movie acting, ridiculous words and phrases, and a keyboard. In this case I admit I don't begrudge people for not buying the game. Clearly the need for a separate Dreamcast keyboard hindered many peoples' financial motivation to play the game. This game's available on the PC, where of course you would expect its natural home to be; but it was supposed to be fairly buggy. You'd think such a game would have been made for PC in the first place, but oddly enough Typing of the Dead got its start in the arcade. The PC version was created by an outside company. Supposedly they didn't do that great a job.
Failings of the PC version aside, with the Dreamcast you could sit yourself in front a big TV and really get into things. What's more you could play the game with another person cooperatively. Remember when I said Project Justice was a 2 player party game? Typing of the Dead pulls that off just as well if not moreso. Sega must have realized that House of the Dead was a potential comedy gold mine considering how incredibly ridiculous the things you actually type are. The boss battles in particular are very creative and strange. Despite the fact that there's almost no Dreamcast games worth still having a keyboard for, Typing of the Dead alone justifies the purchase of one. Hell, it justifies the purchase of two. It may very justify the purchase of a Dreamcast considering how cheap they are these days.