The Video System Enigma Machine

Special edition systems are nothing new when it comes to the Dreamcast. There are a multitude of officially-commissioned commemorative and promotional models that are well documented over at Sega Retro; with franchises like Resident Evil, Gundam, Seaman and Hello Kitty all being celebrated with their own bespoke consoles. Further to this, the number of other special editions, fan-made custom jobs and competition prize one-offs is difficult to actually quantify. Put simply, the Dreamcast customization scene is a subject of internet and pop-culture lore that could spawn an entire thesis if somebody was brave enough (and had the time) to devote themselves to it.
That person is not me, thankfully but with this post I wanted to investigate an oddity I found online and pose the question - is this an ultra rare, officially licensed promo Dreamcast...or simply the work of an over zealous F1 World Grand Prix II fan?


This customised Dreamcast is currently listed on eBay, and as you can see from the images the top half of the shell has been painted red and has some pretty professional looking Video System, Formula 1, FIA and F1 World Grand Prix II logos on it. As the seller states in the auction description, it's been in his possession for at least 12 years, and he has no idea if this is just a fan creation or was actually commissioned by Video System and/or Sega as some kind of competition giveaway or promotional item.

There were countless magazine competitions during the Dreamcast's life where specially branded consoles were given away to winners (we know about the Millennium Soldier and UEFA Striker consoles offered by Dreamcast Monthly, for example; and also the themed consoles airbrush artist Torsten Rachu created as prizes for various Sega competitions); but looking through my collection of Dreamcast magazines, and extensive use of Google and Wayback Machine I can find no reference to such a console ever being given away.
As I said, this really could just be the work of a massive F1 World Grand Prix II fan...but to my eyes at least, it looks way too professional. The fact that it's a PAL console and comes with the original PAL box leads me to believe this is a European-centric anomaly, too. It really is something of a mystery - even more so when you consider the little note stating that the console's warranty is now void because the shell had to be opened:
Would a fan making it for themselves bother to include this? Alas, the artist never left an insignia on this note and the identity of who did this job may well be lost to time, and as Video System no longer exists finding an answer there is a non-starter. Nevertheless, with this post hopefully someone will recognise this special edition and be able to shed some light on it. If you know anything, please share your knowledge in the comments!

2 comments:

Troy Thomson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Manuel Sonic said...

Pretty Cool!