Friday, 20 April 2018

SJY Let's Play: Virtua Schlub "Races" and Rambles Through Sonic R

In this episode, Virtua Schlub takes a leisurely stroll through the lush islands and dangerously radioactive cities of Sonic R. Join him as he "races" through the game all while discussing its design, features, mechanics, environments, soundtrack, innovations, critiques, divisiveness, and generally pondering its greater place within the Sega Saturn's legacy. Hope you enjoy delightfully cheesy vocal dance pop because we got that shit is cranked up to 11!


Wednesday, 18 April 2018

The TitanCast Shoots the Shenmue Shit!

A new episode of the Saturn Junkyard's TitanCast has arrived!

We were lazy and forgot to do any planning this week but we recorded it anyway. Listen as we catch up on some of the recent Sega news but we mostly discuss the importance of Shenmue, generational divides, platform identity, and other random stuff.

Listen on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/playlistlist=PLqVG4O_PptZUh9jJq0ptKNZzVjSv7SFPb

Buzzsprout: http://thesaturnjunkyard.buzzsprout.com

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-saturn-junkyards-titancast/id1320249250?mt=2


Friday, 13 April 2018

Tech Battle: Panzer Dragoon



I have a thing for comparing different versions of the same game and see how they differ. It's the very first thing I do before starting a new game for the first time, especially the more ports it has. Most people simply go for their favourite platform (i.e., the Saturn, of course) or the one that's most convenient to them, but assuming that I'll only be playing through the game once, I just need to do it with the very best version there is, whether it's about having better graphics, performance or extra content. The problem is this information is not always so easy to find. There are lots of rumours that upon closer inspection turn out to not be true (the Japanese release of Tomb Raider does not have better performance), and sometimes there's just no info at all.



So, because I'm a curious guy by nature, I thought I'd try and figure this out by myself. The choice of game wasn't random, this whole idea came to me soon after purchasing a second hand copy of the PC version and realising that at that moment I finally had the full set of Panzer Dragoon.

Friday, 6 April 2018

Killing Pixels Parte Três: Aspect Raidou

Aspect ratio is a contentious subject among retro gamers. With widescreen televisions being the norm nowadays, many gamers simply plug and play their old consoles and don’t pay any attention to whether the picture is in the original format or stretched to fill the screen. Some even go as far as stretching it on purpose because to them, having a black bar on either side of the picture is more annoying than round objects becoming oval. Our own Father K would be an example of someone who just wants to play and doesn’t care about such pesky things.

On the other side of the barricade you have people who don’t tolerate a stretched picture, it’s 4:3 with black bars or nothing. To them, preserving the proper aspect ratio is absolutely integral to the experience and changing that is nothing short of heresy. I would be an example of this type. Heck, one of the best moments of my gaming life was when I found a way to force my monitor to show old PC games in proper 4:3.

Sunday, 1 April 2018

Announcing the N64 Junkyard!

After months of thoughtful discussion and debate, myself, the Southern Sega Gentleman (Sam), Nebachadnezzar (Nuno), The Virtua Schlub (Brian) and Arugulaz (Jesse) have decided that we'd like to take the Junkyard ion a new direction... a Nintendo based direction.
Although all of us love the Saturn, it is really the second system in all of our hearts... it was always playing second fiddle to our true love, our true passion... the Nintendo 64. Possessing twice the juice of  the 32bit Saturn, Nintendo's powerhouse vastly exceeds Sega's effort in all areas... Let's take a look...
Power: As already mentioned, the N64 has a 64 bit system (Duh! It's in the name...) whereas Sega's effort only had 32 bits at it's disposal. Consequently, graphics, framerates, polygons and sprites (whatever they are) were all superior on the N64... The machine is just better. And it's made by Nintendo after all... the company that bought us the Virtual Boy and the Wii U. No Nintendo system has ever failed commercially. The N64 vastly outsold all other consoles of it's generation. especially in Japan.
Style: Just looking at these controllers tells you everything you need to know. The Saturn's controllers are small and can easily slip out of the hand whilst playing. Most people think these controllers produced by Sega, are amongst the worst ever made for a video-game system. The N64 controllers are ergonomically designed to stay in the hand. They also have an analogue stick...something NO Saturn controller has ever had. Plus, they come in funky colours.
 
Games: Whilst the Saturn had a lot of games that were good, the N64's library was vastly better. This is due to the fact that as everyone knows, the newer the system, the better the games. Plus a 64 bit system has more... erm... bits. Take Mario 64 for example... it's in 3D whereas Sonic's first 3D outing, "Sonic Adventure 2" didn't even appear on the Saturn. It was on the Dreamcast. Sega took a full console generation to catch up. In fact no Sonic game ever appeared on the system, which has irked all of us for a while. The N64 also pioneered First Person Shooters... Golden Eye being the best FPS ever made. There are no FPS games on the Saturn. RPGs are also missing from the library, whereas the N64 has both Zelda games... Ocarina of Time AND Majora's Mask.
Fan Demand: We're not the only ones that have had these thoughts... Many of the posters on the SJY Facebook page have called for the switch too. It seems many of us have harboured the desire to convert the Yard, to a shrine to Nintendo. So we've finally bowed to the pressure. From now on, we look forward to bringing you news, reviews and opinion on the best 64 Bit console ever!





Also check out the new video on our favorite N64 games on our YouTube channel:



Friday, 30 March 2018

Sengoku Blade video review



I first reviewed this game 10 years ago. You can still read that here:

http://www.thesaturnjunkyard.com/2008/04/sengoku-blade.html

and it's an interesting time capsule of the period.

I never addressed the gameplay mechanics that make this game unique, probably because I didn't even notice them. That's a testament to the game, that it can still be accessible and engaging even if you barely know how to play it, as I apparently did (familiars have a special attack? What???).

The Saturn Junkyard was a lot smaller and more intimate, as you can see from my last message to our old friend elend. Father K had a bad habit. Underground Gamer was still around (god, I miss that site).

I mentioned how "The web obviously can't make it justice, with small images and blurry videos", which might seem weird nowadays but that was the reality of the time. Youtube was only 2 years old, and only supported videos in 240p. Even images weren't usually up to the resolutions that we're accustomed to nowadays. Back then I still had a 4:3 monitor with a maximum resolution of 1280x1024. And depending on where you lived broadband speeds could be...lethargic...

You can see why we've since taken to video production so strongly. For 10 years I wanted to do that, but I had neither the equipment, the internet speed or even, in the early days, the adequate streaming platforms to do it. The result of all that pent up passion is the video at the start of this article. Compare that to my first written review and tell me what you think.

Monday, 26 March 2018

The Fine Art Of The Shoot 'Em Up by SEGA LORD X


This month on the Junkyard we have the extreme honour of featuring the musings and opinions of YouTube legend and Saturn devotee, SEGA Lord X!!! Not only does Sega Lord X produce the finest no-nonsense
video-based insights into the Saturn's hidden gems, he is also a generous supporter of our growing Saturn community. That being so, he has allowed us to reproduce his recent Facebook post here on the Junkyard. On our last Titancast
we discussed Shmups... Here SEGA Lord X shares his thoughts on the subject...

"The shoot'em up has been a staple of gaming for over 30 years. I can remember vividly playing Eugene Jarvis's Defender in the arcade at just 7 years old, in fact. The horizontally scrolling screen, flashing graphics, and iconic sounds, stick out as a pivotal moment in my gaming memories. It berthed my love of what would become one of the hobbies most prominent genres for years to come. 

Sunday, 25 March 2018

Pure and Perfect Pandemonium!


pandemonium
ˌpandɪˈməʊnɪəm/
noun
  1. wild and noisy disorder or confusion; uproar...

Pandemonium - One of my favourite games from the 32 bit generation. The reason I open this article with that statement, as opposed to "one of my favourite Saturn games..." is that I originally experienced this game and indeed, played it to it's conclusion - on the PlayStation. Yes it's time for one of those Father Krishna confessions again... but hold on! Before you light up your Tiki torches and prepare to storm Krishna Towers, I tell you this only to put my experience of the game into context. It remains, along with Casper, the only game I own on both systems. "But Father K..." I hear you cry... "This is the Saturn Junkyard, not the PlayStation Junkyard!" Calm down dear reader... to all intents and purposes, the games are exactly the same... You're not going to hear that familiar cry: "The Saturn port is inferior!" So lets delve into this classic and see what all the pandemonium is about...

Saturday, 10 March 2018

Pseudo Saturn And How It Changed My Life

When I decided to crowbar open the rusty gates of the Saturn Junkyard, back in September 2017, my intention was to simply and carefully explore, my collection of approximately sixty PAL games and about twenty Japanese imports. The lion's share of my personal collection, had been procured about twelve years ago in the mid-noughties, from the wonderful 'Gamestation' (nestled within the confines of entertainment behemoth Blockbuster - remember that?) The majority of those games were bought for approximately £2.50 to 10.00, many within the infamous BOGOF deal (buy two and only pay for the more expensive title.) They were also bought at a time when I was realistically more interested in the Dreamcast, and so only the finest Saturn games purchased at that time - House OF The Dead for example - got any kind of playtime...


Monday, 5 March 2018

Saturn Emulation Reaches New Heights with YabaSanshiro!

Hi, it's your friendly neighborhood Saturn addict, ArugulaZ. I've got some important news to report, but first... uh, we need to talk. Whenever I go to Blogger to update my own blog, I get redirected to the Saturn Junkyard instead, because it's more frequently updated. See though, I'm just a contributor here. I'm the editor of Kiblitzing, and I'd really rather my blog come up first... it would make it easier to post new entries and check my stats. If there's any way to force it to become my default (aside from the obvious solution of being dropped from the Saturn Junkyard staff), please let me know... I'd appreciate it.

Okay, now onto the good stuff. Console hacking and emulation site Wololo.net recently reported that the Saturn emulator uoYabause has been rechristened YabaSanshiro. It's also been updated several times since the name swap, drastically improving its speed and performance. Reddit user OldManKain tested over thirty of his own games with the emulator, and reports that a sizable majority of the titles run perfectly or with only minor issues. My own testing has not been nearly as thorough, but I tried four different titles and the lion's share of them ran brilliantly on my crusty old desktop. These include Radiant Silvergun and Bulk Slash, two games which ran at the speed of slug on other Saturn emulators. Hold on, let me dig up some pictures...


Here's Bulk Slash, a futuristic action title that looks better than Virtual On and runs at a faster clip than the Armored Core series on Playstation. You pick up hitchhiking co-pilots, you lob bombs at cannons, you transform into a jet and rain hot death on your enemies... it's ten tons of iron-plated fun, and it's a shame that it's never been ported to other systems. Most emulators can't handle Bulk Slash, downshifting into first gear when the action gets too intense, but YabaSanshiro runs it at roughly the same speed as a real Saturn. That alone makes it worth the download.


But wait, there's more! YabaSanshiro also runs Radiant Silvergun without much difficulty. It seems just a hair bit slower than it was on the Saturn, but everything else, from the legions of enemies to the powerful sword clap that sweeps them all off the screen, has remained intact. Note that my gaming desktop is from 2011, an antique by today's standards. You'd need a machine with much higher specs to get the same kind of performance from competing Saturn emulators.


Here's Street Fighter Alpha Zero 3, the best home version of the game until the PSP release came along five years later. It looks gorgeous in YabaSanshiro, and runs without any apparent glitches. However, as you'll notice from this image, the top of the screen is slightly cut off. Hitting Alt+Enter a couple of times brings back those extra pixels, but I haven't found a permanent solution to this problem.


The only game that gave me any real issues was Street Fighter: The Movie... you'll notice here that Ken and Vega's shadows have horizontal stripes, and another stage has a layer that covers the entire bottom third of the screen, obscuring the characters as they battle. On the plus side, the transparent shadows that trail your character during super moves have been preserved. Why they're here in Street Fighter: The Movie and not in more worthy Saturn games is anyone's guess.

You can download YabaSanshiro from the developer's web site. Just keep in mind that you'll also need the Visual C Redistributable (x86) to make it work... you can find that here. Also, be sure to set the video plugin to OpenGL so all the layers display properly. Find some Saturn games, plug in your favorite controller, and have a yaba-saturn gay old time.

Thursday, 1 March 2018

Die Hard Arcade VS. Dynamite Cop: A Sega Brawler Grudge Match!

Now playing on the Saturn Junkyard YouTube channel:

Join Virtua Schlub in this hard-hitting Grudge Match episode starring Sega's OTHER iconic beat 'em up games, Die Hard Arcade and Dynamite Cop (a.k.a. Dynamite Deka 1 & 2 in Japan). In this episode, these classic 3D brawlers face off in an action-packed showdown with all of the sumo pirates, killer robots, and frozen tuna beat-downs you can handle!



Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Friday, 16 February 2018

The Winter Olympics are Heating Up on the Junkyard!

Screw the real Olympics! Experience all of the intense winter sports action with our exclusive virtual coverage!



The slopes are frigid but the competition is blistering hot! Tune in for our exclusive virtual Winter Games coverage presented by the Junkyard Sports Network (JYSN)! Our hosts Brian Schlubowski and SImon Krishnapolis will give you a front-row seat to today's action-packed events, including the Ski Jump, Aerials, and Speed Skiing. The real Olympics are rubbish compared to this and the big networks certainly can't rival our amazing(ly awful) production values! Don't miss it!

Featured game: Winter Heat on the Sega Saturn

Thursday, 1 February 2018

Saturn Junkyard '11th Anniversary Competition' Entries And Prize Winners!

Last year, in the month of December, we not only celebrated Christmas, we celebrated 11 years of the Saturn Junkyard, the very blog you are reading now! Whilst not always fully operational, the site has managed to reach a grand old age, which in internet terms is ancient! I set a competition for our members to design a graphic for a Junkyard  that represented and celebrated those eleven glorious years. 

I would like to thank all of the entrants for the excellent work submitted! Thank you so much for your hard work and efforts! Congratulations if you were a place winner! I hope you are not too disappointed if you were a runner up! I'm sure you will be happy with your runner up rewards...

As I know some of the entrants for the competition, it was long ago decided that we would have to have judges from outside of the Saturn Junkyard community. I chose two people who have a knowledge of the Saturn, it's games and it's reference points, such as iconic images, game characters and packaging. They have both played and enjoyed Saturn games and one of the judges has a media degree. They both wish to remain anonymous for their own reasons, and we're going to respect their wishes.

As it's the Saturn Junkyard, everyone wins a prize. The runners up will receive a Club Saturn CD (and perhaps even a mystery bonus!) 

Ben Boyd - First Prize!
Wins A Japanese Sega Saturn Controller 

David Lee - Second Prize!
Wins Custom Made 'Policenauts' Repro Packaging (we're throwing in the discs too!)
Our Very Own Samuel Myles - Third Prize!
Wins a copy of Official Sega Saturn Magazine.


Mark Richardson Fourth Prize! Wins a Saturn Game! (depending on tastes,to be discussed...)


Gaz Cormack: Runner Up - Wins a Club Saturn CD!


Simon Gale: Runner Up  - Wins A Club Saturn CD!
Sam Finston: Runner Up  - Wins A Club Saturn CD!

Jason Luxton: Runner Up  - Wins A Club Saturn CD!

Simon Gale: Runner Up  - Wins Another Club Saturn CD!

Daniel Ripley: Runner Up  - Wins A Club Saturn CD!

Andrew Rosa: Runner Up  - Wins A Club Saturn CD!


Daniel Turner: Runner Up  - Wins A Club Saturn CD!
Daniel Mark: Runner Up  - Wins A Club Saturn CD!





Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Episode 7 - Burning For Burning Rangers

In this week's episode we go full blown book club, or game club if you will. With all the hubbub over Sonic Team's classic over at the Yard, Brian figured it suiting for us to dissect and discuss what made and continues to make this game so great. Tune in and hear what all the fuss is about yourself!

Contributors: 

The SSG - Samuel 
The VirtuaSchlub - Brian 
Father K - Simon 
NebachadnezzaR - Nuno;