Monday, March 30, 2009

Blaze Megadrive video review

From Benzaie's Hard Corner (found on a review of the Blaze Megadrive handheld. A Nomad-like handheld that features a collection of built in games. The "giant-ass" Nomad itself gets a shoutout in the video intro!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

NNN: Turning Japanese Part 2 - Inserts!

Not Nomad News
Welcome back to part two of The Nomad Junkyard's unrelated Japanese Dreamcast special! Last time we looked at the differences between a Japanese and US Dreamcast, now we're going to have an in depth look at all those little paper inserts that the Japanese love so much.

First up we have the warning guide. What was a minor mention in the US manual is a four page booklet in itself for the Japanese. While you might say it's because they are being more safety conscious, I think they just wanted a reason to draw cute pictures. Every possible scenario of a Dreamcast being abused and broken is played out via a anthropomorphic console. His friends include a sly power cord and a suicidal baby. The Dreamcast's enemies include socks, lightening, pillows, humidifiers and even his friends baby and power cord. OH! And I nearly forgot, the English manuals fail to mention this warning, DO NOT PLACE YOUR DREAMCAST ON AN ELECTRIC BLANKET!!! The more you know, folks.

I'm going to have to claim ignorance on this piece. I do know that the Dream Passport is the Japanese Dreamcast web browser, but I have no clue what yellow hankies and red arrows have to do with it. Supposedly the ultimate outcome is "GET!". And who doesn't love GET!-ting things?

This insert looks to be a trial subscription card for WebTV, an internet service provider that provided similar services akin to SegaNet which then became Earthlink roughly 2 years after SegaNet's launch. Japanese customers are prompted to complete the card and mail it away to receive a webtv launch disc that will allow them to sign up for the service and browse the internet. I particularly like the artwork of the man playing the dreamcast (who looks eerily like me and is oddly not Japanese). The reverse of the card features the BEST drawing I have ever seen of a Dreamcast. If that was on a t-shirt I'd wear it.

This rather unexciting insert describes how to hook your Dreamcast up to a phone line and connect to the internet. I could make a funny remark on the wacky "internet building" on the reverse side, but I won't.

The last two inserts are not too graphically interesting, but if you ever wanted to see what forms for Dreamcast Point Cards and Dreamcast Partners looked like, then marvel at the images below!

Join me in part 3 for a look at the box itself, emblazoned with images of Sega's then Managing Director Hidekazu Yukawa!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Free With Nomad: Shampoo Samples

Scouring the internet for Sega Nomad print ads, I came across this hilarious and interesting Toys"R"Us ad. From the page 71 snowman in the corner, I assume this is the huge Toys"R"Us toy bible, released just weeks after the Nomad's October 1995 debut. The ad mentions "Only Available At Toys"R"Us", though I swear the Nomad wasn't an exclusive to the store.

First off, reading "$249.99" nowadays makes me want to crap my pants. Is that REALLY how much the Nomad f*ckin' cost?? Reading the price on Wikipedia is one thing, but in the context of an ad really shows how expensive it was. On top of that, to push the Nomad, Toys"R"Us had to promise a gift basket of cereal, pizza and shampoo. The shampoo would come in handy, as you'd feel so unclean for dropping $250 on a bulky handheld that would eventually drop a hundred dollars within 6 months and then end up for $25 on ebay in ten years.

From what I can make out, the selling points to the left of the system are:
- Sega's hottest video game system (Technically true as it's a Genesis, but it's funny how they used this tricky technicality to make Nomad #1)
- 16-bits of incredible power
- Full stereo sound
- Clear full-colour screen (interesting note: they use the British spelling of color)
- Plays Sega Genesis game cartridges! (as opposed to Nomad game carts)
- Fully portable! Take it with you! (after paying for it, I would hope)

Also, where can I get this Genesis game titled Genesis?

NNN: Turning Japanese Part 1

Welcome to another Not Nomad News! Forgive me for the posting title, but "Used Japanese Dreamcast" just wasn't as catchy.

As mentioned in my previous post, I won a used Japanese Dreamcast on ebay complete with a Eiichi Yukawa box and all inserts (to be seen in Part 2) as well as three games: Rez, King of Fighters '99 and Virtua Fighter 3tb. What was insanely awesome about the purchase was that it totaled to what one would usually spend on a NTSC/J copy of Rez alone. Total epic win.

Upon unboxing my newest Dreamcast (the unboxing is in Part 3) I was surprised to see that while it's simply a standard white Dreamcast, there are still a number of visual differences between it and my NTSC/U model. The biggest "wow" moment was when I noticed that the top portion of the triangle on the lid is a clear plastic with a rough silver texture beneath it. Subtle but sleek. Compared to the US model, the clear plastic is beautiful! Just compare the flat gray US triangle to Japan's sexy clear silver:

The next difference I spotted was in the Windows CE logo. While the US says "Compatible with", the Japanese say "Designed for". I'm not sure why this change was made, both say the same thing but still are confusing to the consumer. "So... uh, does it run Windows? Or..."

The third difference came when I unplugged my old system to swap with the new one. The A/V cable fit fine, but the AC cord just wouldn't fit. Turning the system around I saw the problem, the US has a square-round size while the Japanese have round-round size. Also, the Japanese cable is much thinner (not pictured).

Finally, and most obviously, we have the bottom of the system. The US loves their stickers as you can see, while the Japanese took the minimal approach (surprise, surprise).

These were the aesthetic differences I have found, though I'm sure there are a few more. I do know my Japanese system is an HKT-3000 model*, the earliest model produced, and from what I've read this model has a metal cooling fan while the US model has a plastic fan.

Join me next time for part 2 of this article, in which we take a look at all the inserts found inside the Dreamcast box. They have a drawing of a Dreamcast hitting itself with a hammer, if that entices you to return.

*More information of Dreamcast serial numbers can be found here: