Treamcast DreamPhoto Mouse

It's a bit of an oddity this one. Last week I was just mindlessly browsing eBay to pass the time while I was waiting for something interesting to happen, and I came across an item I'd never seen before: a Treamcast-branded mouse called DreamPhoto. Now, most Dreamcast collectors will know all about the Treamcast and we've featured the system here at the Junkyard a few times in the past (and several members of the team here own them), but for those who are wondering if I've just misspelled the word Dreamcast, here's a very brief info burst: the Treamcast is an all-in-one clone of the Dreamcast that has it's own built-in LCD screen.

It originates from China and is in no way associated with Sega, but it will run Dreamcast games from all regions (due to it's firmware) and also has it's own bespoke range of software...and as far as I can tell, DreamPhoto is intended for use with such a package called Photo Hunter. More (or not, as the case may be) on that in a moment, but first - here are some pictures of the DreamPhoto unit:
DreamPhoto Treamcast Mouse
Treamcast DreamPhoto Mouse
Treamcast DreamPhoto Mouse
Treamcast DreamPhoto Mouse
The DreamPhoto is essentially just a mouse that operates in the same way as the official one. It has left and right buttons and uses a clunky ball (as opposed to a laser) which was the norm in the late 90s and early 2000s. This in itself makes the DreamPhoto quite a chore to use in this age of touch-sensitive Apple magic mice (mouses?) and the like; but it works just fine with all of the games I tested it with. I also tried it with DreamShell and found no issues. There are some interesting features of the DreamPhoto though. Firstly, it has a VMU slot on the console connector which is actually really useful, as it means you don't have to have a regular controller plugged in alongside the keyboard and mouse like you do with the official peripherals. Secondly, the DreamPhoto has a little button on the side that apparently changes the functionality of the device - one mode makes it act like a regular mouse, while the other allows you to use Photo Hunter...and this is where things get a little hazy.

If you do a Google search for Photo Hunter, very little information comes up, but from what little there is on the various forums I have deduced that it is/was a photo organising suite (or similar) that's only compatible with the Treamcast. The front of the DreamPhoto box also alludes to 'PDA, Network system and a whole Lot more'[sic] so I'm a little confused to what Photo Hunter actually allows Treamcast owners to do with their systems. Alas, I don't own the disc and from what I can tell it isn't compatible with a regular Dreamcast anyway. If anyone knows differently, please let us know (and likewise if you know of anywhere it is available to download from - I'd still like to try it, even if it is believed to be incompatible).
Treamcast DreamPhoto Mouse
Treamcast DreamPhoto Mouse
One other thing I thought it was worth mentioning are the warnings on the back of the box: apparently you should avoid using the DreamPhoto in the bathroom; never pad it powerfully and don't fiddle with the DC1/DC2 button. Oh - and never, ever feed it after midnight.

In slightly unrelated news, I was featured in the latest (April 2015) issue of RetroGamer Magazine's Collector's Corner - thought you might like a little look, especially if the mag isn't available in your part of the world:
Tom Charnock Collector Corner
Reports that I previously auditioned for the part of the Moon in the 3DS update of Majora's Mask are completely untrue.


pcwzrd13 said...

Very interesting. I'd really love to find out what the software does. I can't find anything on it either.

Eyz said...

Congrats on that retro gaming article!

BimboBoop said...

HI..I own this one one...also several years ago i was able to download the infamous Dream Photo Mouse game . SO i just got it burned on a disc... and i can confirm it will work on a regular Dreamcast but whit the weird Dream Photo Function enabled. Apparently that function changes the mouse functions for the analog stick functions... but i works weird, so you can just use it whitout problems whit the DPH game. Well, for collectors..i am ready to sell it on the next days...if i found somebody that offers a really good price for it. :) I have it whit the original box. The mouse never came whit the Dream Photo Hunter, but i can also add the still working burned disc that i mentioned. people can writte to me at best Vibes!

Tom Charnock said...

Thanks for the comment, BimboBoop. Can you say where you got the Dream Photo Hunter software from? I would like to download and burn a copy myself.