SEGA Nomad Prototype: Codename Venus

What is the Sega Venus?

Sometimes relics from the past come to the surface. As part of it’s 60th anniversary celebration, SEGA released a subtitled youtube video highlighting it’s planteary codenames. For the first time ever, the prototype for the Sega Nomad was unveiled. Check out the tweet below to see a clip of the device. The Venus appears to have a different visual style more in line with the Sega Saturn rather than the Genesis/Megadrive. It’s hard to tell, but the Venus appears to not have the battery back attachment that was found on the Nomad.

History of the Nomad

The Sega Nomad, also known as the Genesis Nomad was an ambitious attempt made by Sega to make a portable Genesis/Megadrive. The end result was impressive for its time when it was released in October of 1995. The concept of having the ability to take home console-quality games on the road was brand new.

The Nomad had a 3.25-inch diagonal backlit color LC display and an A/V output that allows the Nomad to be played on a television screen. The Nomad was aesthetically similar to the Game Gear, but featured six buttons. the nomad had a power switch, headphone jack, volume control, and separate controller input for multiplayer games. The controller port functions as player 2; single-player games cannot be played with a Genesis controller. The Nomad could be powered by an AC adapter, a battery recharger known as the Genesis Nomad PowerBack, or six AA batteries, which provide a battery life of two to three hours. The AC adapter was handy for car rides, but in practice, even a glancing bump to the plug would result in the game freezing.

The nomad was ultimately discounted in 1999 due to lackluster sales. To me, the Venus prototype is visually striking and perhaps would have done better with a different marketing strategy. Sega, during the mid-nineties, had a problem with trying to accomplish too much at the same time. For an in-depth look at the history of Sega, I highly recommend you check out this youtube video.

Like what you read? Want more? Check out our review of Mario Kart: Super Circuit on Game Boy Advance.

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