Like competitor Nintendo, SEGA has been around a lot longer than some folks may realize. Currently, the company is in the middle of celebrating 60 years of existence. Part of the celebration is a new video detailing the ups and downs of the company’s hardware manufacturing run, which essentially concluded with the ill-fated Dreamcast. In the video, viewers can get their first ever glimpse of the Venus handheld.
Ultimately released in North America as the Nomad, the prototype differs from the end result. If you are familiar with the Nomad, a system that played Genesis games on the go and drained AA batteries like nobody’s business, you may recognize a few modifications. For instance, the circular action buttons more closely resemble something your fingers might enjoy touching during extended play sessions. Also, the case looks closer to beige than black. It probably started out looking a bit grayer.
During development, SEGA liked using planet names for its hardware. “Venus” is a good example of that habit in action. One time, SEGA even released a console without changing its name. The hardware was called the Saturn and, although it didn’t change the company’s fortunes in the west, it did allow Sony to quip in an advertisement that “If you still want a Saturn, your head is in Uranus.” Some consoles just get no respect.
SEGA seems to have permanently given up on the idea of competing on the hardware scene. That’s a disappointment for those loyalists still holding out hope for a proper Dreamcast 2. The original system really did disappear too soon, but at least SEGA brought back the Genesis as a mini-console packed with a solid lineup of first- and third-party software. In Japan, you can also buy a 30th anniversary unit manufactured exclusively for people with hands the same size as the Keebler elves. Maybe more surprises are on the way?
The SEGA celebration is not yet over yet, so feel free to speculate about what announcements and surprises might yet be on their way. Or, if you would like a seminar on the company’s life to date, check out the 22-minute video embedded below. There are lessons to be learned!