Dreamcast & SEGA 64: A Visual Analysis

We featured the lesser-spotted SEGA 64 here at the Junkyard way back in 2006 (original post here), but that was little more than the publication of a few pictures. As stated in that original article, the SEGA 64 was first leaked in issue 8 of Saturn Power - a UK magazine that was the evolution of the awesome SEGA Power. Rather than just re-blog those pictures though, I thought it might be quite fun to actually compare the SEGA 64 to the final Dreamcast system design and have a look at how accurate these hoax console designs were. Back in 1997, access to the internet - for me at least - was very limited, so in that era there was no real way of knowing whether lo-res images leaked from 'sources in Japan' and printed in magazines were legitimate or not. With hindsight, we can deduce that the pictures of the SEGA 64 were very probably part of an elaborate wind up...but we won't let that spoil the fun! So first up, let us compare the way the systems themselves look:

The most obvious similarity between the two systems is the large round disk tray in the centre. Both feature a logo, but the final Dreamcast only features a tiny SEGA motif on the front above the controller ports. One would assume from the picture of the SEGA 64 that the round bit is a top-loading disk tray and that the two diagonal slices to the rear of the case are where the hinges would be. In this area, it is quite close to how the Dreamcast actually turned out. Similarly, the SEGA 64 features two buttons - one either side of the media door, however unlike on the Dreamcast they are labelled Power and Reset, while the Open button sits below. On the Dreamcast, we only have Open and Power, and they are on the opposite sides, while a hard reset button does not exist (you have to hold all four joypad face buttons and press Start to perform a soft reset). You could argue that the final Dreamcast shell and the SEGA 64 do look similar in some ways though - there's no denying at least a passing resemblance, especially with the large circular door and the placing of the buttons. The sides of the two machines do not really compare favourably apart from the large vents - both the SEGA 64 and the Dreamcast have these, but the Dreamcast's vents are on the front right, while the SEGA 64's are on the rear left. The fronts do not share many similarities though, as the Dreamcast features four controller ports and look nothing like the meagre two on the SEGA 64:

Speaking of controllers, here are the SEGA 64's compared with the Dreamcast pads we know and (for the most part) love:

There's a definite similarity here, as they both share some of the characteristics of the Saturn 3D pad. Both have a single analogue stick and d-pad located on the left, and do not have a right-hand analogue. The design of the analogue 'nub' on the SEGA 64 pad looks a lot more like that of the Saturn 3D controller than the DC one too. Interestingly, the SEGA 64 pad only has A, B and C buttons...although it does appear to have a Start button located in the centre. Due to the black and white nature of the images, we can only speculate at the colours used on the face buttons but the different hues of grey indicate that they were all different. Tellingly, there is also no hint of a VMU slot on the SEGA 64's pad, so probably the biggest hint that it is just a bastardised re-imagining of the Saturn 3D controller.

I guess we'll never really know if the SEGA 64 images were really leaked from SEGA Japan or whether they were the work of an overactive imagination. One thing is certain though - there are a lot of similarities in the design of both the console and the pad to the final design of the Dreamcast. Educated guesses and pot luck...or genuine blueprints for the Dreamcast...? The truth is out there. Somewhere. Probably at the bottom of this whiskey bottle. *Sob*


Dr. Bilal said...

Come on man, the same similarities can be found with Playstation.

I see greater similarities with Dreamcast and Gamecube.

Tomleecee said...

But the Gamecube and PlayStation aren't realy relevant to the point of this post. I was highlighting the similarities between an early leaked (probably fake) render and the final design. There is no information anywhere online about this particular mock-up, and so comparing it to the final look of the Dreamcast was intended to assess the accuracy. Using your logic, we could just compare any released console to any other - they either have a CD drive or buttons, or they don't. I was assissing the potential authenticity of the designs (they were published in 1997 afterall, before anyone knoew what the Dreamcast's final design would look like).