Flowerstar: Please introduce yourself.
Andrew Dickinson: I’m Andrew Dickinson. I’m a gaming enthusiast, Dreamcast fan and author of the book ‘Dreamcast: Year One’!
Flowerstar: When did you start being a fan of the Dreamcast?
Andrew Dickinson: I was bought a Dreamcast for my 16th birthday back in the year 2000, and as soon as I played it I was hooked. Before that, I had a PlayStation and was a massive Resident Evil fan. When I heard that the newest chapter in the RE franchise was coming exclusively to the Dreamcast I knew I had to have one. Before that I hadn’t really been much of a Sega fan, but the Dreamcast changed all of that.
Flowerstar: How long have you been a Dreamcast fan?
Andrew Dickinson: Ever since my 16th birthday, basically! I only had a few games to begin with (Crazy Taxi, Power Stone and Resident Evil CODE: Veronica), but those were enough for me to know that the Dreamcast was something very special.
Flowerstar: How many years you’ve been a Dreamcast fan for?
Andrew Dickinson: Nineteen years now! Over half of my life. It’s a bit crazy to think of it in those terms.
Flowerstar: What is your first Dreamcast game?
Andrew Dickinson: The first game I played on the Dreamcast was actually a demo from The Official Dreamcast Magazine for Resident Evil CODE: Veronica. I begged my mum to let me play the Dreamcast before my actual birthday when that issue came out. I then managed to sneak in some time on Crazy Taxi and Power Stone, which are the two games that I got alongside the Dreamcast itself.
Flowerstar: What is the final Dreamcast game you bought and owned?
Andrew Dickinson: Oh goodness, I’m still buying games! The last one I bought was probably Sega Bass Fishing with the fishing rod as I never actually got to try that when the Dreamcast was originally on the market. So really, I’ve not stopped buying Dreamcast games ever! If you mean the last one I bought while the Dreamcast was still on sale, then I think that might have been Headhunter!
Flowerstar: What are your favourite and least favourite Dreamcast games?
Andrew Dickinson: My favourite is probably a tie between Shenmue I and II. I guess you could class them as one game at a stretch as they are one story. I had never experienced a story like that before, told in that way. It was an RPG but set in the real world, in the 80’s. It was ground-breaking when it was released, and to a certain extent it still is. Least favourite is a difficult one. I try not to buy games I know I won’t like, however as part of the research for this book I did buy Godzilla Generations which was a launch title for the Dreamcast in Japan. It held my attention for maybe two minutes before I realised it was the same repetitive gameplay element over and over. It’s a snooze fest!
Flowerstar: Who inspired you to write the Dreamcast: Year One book?
Andrew Dickinson: I’ve wanted to do something like this for a long time, but it wasn’t until I read ‘PlayStation Vita: Year One’ by Sandeep Rai that it all clicked into place. His format for telling the history of a console was fantastic, and the history of the Vita drew a lot of parallels for me to that of the Dreamcast. So I chatted with Sandeep and he was really into the idea of ‘Dreamcast: Year One’ and told me to go for it!
Flowerstar: What inspired you to write the Dreamcast: Year One book?
Andrew Dickinson: My inspiration came from my passion for the console, first and foremost. I’ve written about the console before. I joined a fan site called Dreamcast Source back in 2000 and wrote there as a teen. Unfortunately my writing skills weren’t quite up to scratch back then, but I really enjoyed doing that. I then wrote an article for a friends blog in 2012 about the Dreamcast and what a hidden gem it was. Since then the popularity of the Dreamcast has soared, and so I saw an opportunity to write a book about this console that everyone loves but from a different perspective – both in the fact that I am focussing on the first year, but also that I’m trying to look at it mostly from a British point of view.
Flowerstar: How many pages will there be altogether?
Andrew Dickinson: So, the book will be 104 pages. It’s a short book, however it is only looking at a very specific time frame. There will be a lot of content packed into those pages though!
Flowerstar: What are the sizes for the pages?
Andrew Dickinson: The book is A5 in size. Part of the reason for the small size is also to ensure backers aren’t paying through the nose for postage. A larger book would cost almost double in shipping costs. Crazy, right?
Flowerstar: Whoa! That sounds bonkers! Is this book series a trilogy or is it just this book?
Andrew Dickinson: That really depends on if this one funds, and if people like it! I’d like to write four books in total – ‘Year Two’, ‘Year Three’ and ‘Year Four & Beyond’. That would allow me to tell the full story of the console.
Flowerstar: Can you please tell me the whole list of games from the first book?
Andrew Dickinson: Absolutely! The games that I will be covering in retrospective form are ‘Sonic Adventure’, ‘Power Stone’, ‘SoulCalibur’, ‘Crazy Taxi’, ‘Sega Rally 2’, ‘Sega Bass Fishing’, ‘Toy Commander’, ‘Virtua Fighter 3tb’, ‘House of the Dead 2’, ‘Blue Stinger’, ‘Armada’ and ‘Godzilla Generations’. There will also be more as some backers have gotten the opportunity to write their own short retrospective which will also be added! I can’t tell you what all those will be, though it’s no secret which game you’ll be covering!!
Flowerstar: What inspired the backer tier which granted your backers the golden, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to write a retrospective of their favourite game for your first book?
Andrew Dickinson: Some will say that Sandeep was the inspiration, as he had a similar thing for his last book (‘PlayStation Vita: Years Two & Three), which funded just before my campaign started. However, I had thought of the idea for my campaign before then and Sandeep liked it so much he wanted to see if he could get some backer retrospectives into his book, though in a different way. I am using his book format, so I’m okay with him using my idea for backer involvement! Haha. The reason I wanted to get people involved is two-fold really. It allows me to include more games into the book that I may not otherwise have covered myself, and it also allows fans the opportunity to tell people what they love about some of the games released at this time in the life of the Dreamcast. The Dreamcast and retro gaming community mean a lot to me, and I wanted a way to include some of them.
Flowerstar: Is anyone helping you with the book, besides “GameTripperUK”?
Andrew Dickinson: GameTripperUK is our sub-editor. His name is Matt Gardner and he’s been really passionate about the project since he got involved! Very excited to have him on board. Sandeep Rai will also be acting as an editor, and will also be writing a foreword to my book. Steve Novaković-Thone is our graphic designer, so he’s putting together the layout and style of the book. We also have Eric Pavik who is our illustrator, creating original artwork for the book, including profile pics for all contributors!
Flowerstar: Will there be any reviews and articles in the future books?
Andrew Dickinson: Future books will follow the same format as this one. So they’ll all contain a story section, interviews and retrospectives.
Flowerstar: Why are the retrospectives 100 words instead of 600 words?
Andrew Dickinson: The backer retrospectives you mean? Those are 100 words due to the size of the book. There will be 12 of then, and they’ll be half a page each, which equates to roughly 100 words. If the book was larger I’d love to allow for more space, however I have written a couple of samples retrospectives at the 100 word mark and there is a lot you can say. It’ll be concise and to the point I think, but give the readers a good idea of what the game was!
Flowerstar: Why you didn’t make a YouTube account to promote your book?
Andrew Dickinson: That’s a good question! Honestly, social media isn’t my forte! However, I may be setting up more of a presence online after the campaign. Watch this space!
Flowerstar: I assumed the retrospectives are 100 words because you didn’t want to increase the shipping and postage prices or there is no space in the book?
Andrew Dickinson: Well it’s a bit of both! 104 pages is the maximum page count before postage goes up. Therefore, with only 104 pages to work with, there is limited space in the book to fit everything in. So the backer retrospectives have to be 100 words so that the rest of the awesome content I have planned will be able to fit in as well!
Flowerstar: Can people still pledge to the project after it reaches its deadline?
Andrew Dickinson: Unfortunately not. So if you’re interested in the book you need to pledge by midday on the 5th April!!
Flowerstar: It’s just that some projects in the past have allowed people to pledge if they were too late.
Andrew Dickinson: Absolutely. If we fund, then there may be the opportunity to buy a copy of the book once all backers have gotten their copy, depending on how many we have left over. But as of now, there are no plans for late pledges. If enough people are interested though, I may reconsider.
Flowerstar: Speaking of deadlines, did you set yourself a deadline for your book?
Andrew Dickinson: Yes! I did indeed. I would like it to be finished, printed and ready to ship by October this year. That’s because October 2019 marks 20 years since the Dreamcast launched in the UK, so I would love people to start receiving their books then, to celebrate that. However, there’s always the chance that things may get delayed a bit if there are issues out of my control, which I mention on my KS page. I will make sure to let backers know of any delays, but I am very hopeful there won’t be any,
Flowerstar: Most importantly, do you have any form of social medias so people can follow the updates of the book?
Andrew Dickinson: The best places for people to follow along on social media are the ‘Dreamcast: Year One’ page on Facebook or my personal Twitter account, @oddment84.
Flowerstar: Will you be hosting a panel at Play Expo Manchester to talk and promote your book? Or are you going to stand at your stall if you’ve set up one, that is?
Andrew Dickinson: As much as I’d love to, I haven’t arranged to do that. I would certainly consider speaking at future events though, if people will have me. So if you’re an event organiser feel free to contact me! Haha.
Flowerstar: Will Eric Pavik make any Twitter or Facebook banners for the backers, besides icons and portraits of them?
Andrew Dickinson: It will just be a profile picture, but this can be used as your pic on social media for sure.
Flowerstar: How did you come across the people you’re going to interview?
Andrew Dickinson: It all started with Caspar Field, former editor of DC-UK magazine, who also lives in Brighton (which is where I live also). I managed to get in touch with him and we arranged to meet up for the interview in an ice-cream parlour in the city. We had a great time chatting DC-UK, Dreamcast, games journalism and game development. He gave me the contact details for Ed Lomas as they are good friends, so that’s how I started speaking to Ed.
Tom Charnock, founder of The Dreamcast Junkyard, I actually got in touch with for some advice about the book, and we chatted a fair bit. I ended up asking if he could do an interview as I thought it would be great to get a totally different perspective on the Dreamcast, from someone who was a consumer back when it was released,.
Finally, I was put in touch with the legendary former President of Sega of America by a gentleman called Jordan Freeman, who is founder and CEO of ZOOM Platform. He and Bernie work together, and Jordan had come across my book. He has been amazingly supportive of ‘Dreamcast: Year One’ in a number of ways, and put me in touch with Bernie!
Flowerstar: Are you planning to interview anyone else from the Sega Dreamcast community for your first book? Are you going to interview any YouTubers in the future?
Andrew Dickinson: I couldn’t fit any more interviews into the book even if I wanted to! I have a couple of possibilities for ‘Year Two’ so far, but I can’t speak about that just yet. We’re still on ‘Year One’.
Flowerstar: Will you use Kickstarter for the later instalments of the series?
Andrew Dickinson: Due to the cost of producing unofficial books like this, with the quality that I am aiming for, I would have to use Kickstarter in future too. I hope to be able to build a community around the books and the campaigns, and using Kickstarter will also allow me to offer pledges in future books that allow people to write retrospectives. That’s not something you can really do if you go straight to print.
Flowerstar: How many chapters are there in the first book and what are the titles of the chapters/sections?
Andrew Dickinson: I haven’t really settled on chapter names yet, besides the one for chapter one, which is ‘Saturn Descending’. There will be six chapters covering from the launch of the Saturn in 1994 all the way until March 31st 2000.
Flowerstar: Who made the artwork for the book, aside from Eric Pavik?
Andrew Dickinson: All of the art you see is by Eric. There will be screenshots, which I will be taking for the most part. There will also be some other images which myself and Steve will be sourcing. However, all original art is by Eric. I’m in love with the work he has done so far, and can’t wait to see more!
Flowerstar: Is it true a video game journalist helped you with making the book?
Andrew Dickinson: It’s true that I am interviewing a couple of former game journalists (Caspar Field and Ed Lomas), and that Matt Gardner is my sub-editor. Matt is writing about games for Forbes.com. So in that sense, yes. However, all of the story and the retrospectives I’ll be writing are my work.
Flowerstar: Who are your favourite and least favourite Sega characters?
Andrew Dickinson: Ooooh… Hmmm! Least favourite is a hard question. I’m not sure I have one honestly. Favourite would be a tie between Ulala from Space Channel 5 and Ren from Shenmue II.
Flowerstar: What are your favourite and least favourite Sega soundtracks?
Andrew Dickinson: There are a lot of great soundtracks! I have the Shenmue soundtrack on vinyl, but Jet Set Radio has to be up there for me too. I also love the Streets Of Rage soundtracks. Least favourite… I can’t think of one, so either all the music has been great, or the bad ones I’ve blocked from my memory. Lol
Flowerstar: Well, it’s been nice talking to you and it’s been a pleasure. Enjoy the rest of your day. It’s a shame you couldn’t stay for much longer but you told me you have work to do.
Andrew Dickinson: Thanks so much Wing. It has been a pleasure speaking to you too! I think you should have plenty for your interview now. I hope so anyway. Have a lovely afternoon/evening!
Flowerstar: I certainly hope so. Thanks!
Andrew Dickinson: Bye for now! I’m sure we’ll speak again soon.