Monday, June 29, 2009

The Sega Nomad 1995

The only reason this is not more well known as the most misguided piece of hardware in gaming history is because it came out around the same time as the Sega Saturn, their follow up to the Genesis. The Saturn was a more high-profile failure that almost certainly lost Sega more money, but at least you could play an entire fucking game on it. The reason that's relevant to the Nomad will be clear in a moment.
At first, the Nomad seemed like the best idea ever. Already the Sega Genesis was hugely popular, and instead of making a whole different handheld game, Sega just made a portable Genesis. It even played the same games, you just shoved the Genesis cartridge right in there.
It came out several years after Nintendo's Game Boy with its crappy black and white screen. So how could this not take the handheld world by storm?
It was more than twice the price of a Game Boy around $270 in today's money. And while it played Genesis games, it only did so for about an hour and a half before all six of your AA batteries died. So, yeah, it would blow through five bucks worth of batteries every time you fired it up, and you'd barely have time to get past a couple of levels.
Sure, you could order a rechargeable battery pack, for about 80 bucks more $110 in today's dollars. But strangely enough, after spending the equivalent of $380 on this thing, it still wouldn't blow you. Oh, and the rechargeable battery ran out even faster.
You also couldn't tilt, turn, drop, shake, bump or otherwise move the Nomad lest it freeze or just quit working altogether. Sega considered adding a feature where they would drive to each customer's house and punch them in the face, but couldn't decide what to charge for it.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, I never heard of the nomad before, at first glance I thought this is awesome, I was already planning on buying one but after reading the rest of the article I don't think I ever will buy one. Very expesive and I bet the freezing thing is a big issue, hell you can't even touch a sega mega drive without it freezing too!