Thursday, April 16, 2009

"No Nomad? No Problem!" Sega Systems on the GO!

So you want to take your Sega Genesis/Mega Drive on the go? Easy, buy a Nomad! Can't afford the $75 ebay asking price for a Nomad? Again, easy: pick up the pre-loaded Tectoy or Blaze portables ($40-$60). Another alternative is to pick up any one of Radica's PlayTV systems and you can enjoy a limited number of Sega classics within the size of one controller, though you need to supply your own screen.

But what of the other Sega systems? One portable system is not enough! Let's move through Sega's console timeline to find the best ways to play portable.

Master System
The earliest Sega console is the easiest to take on the go. Development of a portable Master System began in 1989 under the codename "Project Mercury" (Sega loves planet names, don't they?). Mercury came to be known as the Sega Game Gear, launching in 1990, and has since been Sega's ONLY portable to have its own library of games. Many popular Master System games made their way to the Game Gear, offering a larger color palate though running at a lower resolution. Though the Game Gear met its end in 1997, independent game publisher Majesco picked up production of the system and select rereleased games in 2000. Bought online, a Game Gear can run anywhere from $20-$40 and often includes games and a carrying case. Like the Genesis, smaller pre-loaded Game Gear-like handhelds have been made by independent manufacturers including PlayPal and Coleco.

CDX/Mega CD and 32X
From here on out we're moving into hacker and modding territory. In terms of legitimate first or third parties, there is no way to play a Sega CD or 32X game on a handheld. While there is the infamous Sega CDX/Multi-Mega, you'll have to supply your own screen. One Sega fan did so, creating a bulky but impressive mod featuring a 5" display, external speakers and an import switch. According to TechEBlog it also play 32X. Note: unless heavily modded, a 32X will not play on a Nomad, though you CAN construct a Game Genie, Sonic & Knuckles and Sonic 3 tower of babel.

I'll have to call "Google incapable" here, as I have not found a portable Saturn mod anywhere online. I did come across a iffy Saturn emulator for the PSP, but beyond that nothing. If any reader has a link, please post it in the comments section. :)

Ahem! Moving on. While I dissapointed in the Saturn area, I will not dissapoint for the Dreamcast. The most popular portable Dreamcast is China's Treamcast. Basically a boxy clone, the Treamcast includes an LCD screen atop the disc lid. From what I've read, it's just what you'd expect and is a recommended purchase for the Dreamcast fan who must have everything. Moving into the mods, there are a wide variety. Below are my favorite handheld and laptop Dreamcasts.

As we've seen, there are many ways to take Sega goodness with you wherever you go. But we're not done yet! I close this article with the "phattist" most "fly" and ultimate portable Sega setup. I present to you: Fat Joe's 2002 Cadillac Escalade


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