Dreamcast Printer Prototype Discovered

Whilst flicking through the second issue of Official Dreamcast Magazine, I noticed on the letters page a keen reader had written in asking if Sega had any plans to release a printer for the Dreamcast so that they could print out web pages they’d found. Sega’s response to this particular letter sounded like it was something they’d already been considering:

Dreamcast is an evolutionary product with flexibility built into the whole design. If enough people develop a need for a printer, then we will look into releasing one in Europe.

This was enough to make me curious. Were Sega working on a printer add-on for the Dreamcast? It’s not as crazy as it sounds -- don’t forget, back in the late 90’s/early 00’s, not everyone owned a PC and so browsing the web on their Dreamcast was the only way possible for a lot of people to get online. The Dreamcast already had a keyboard and mouse, so having a printer just seemed too obvious not to be true in my eyes.
I also knew that Sega were not afraid to work with other hardware manufacturers for PC-like peripherals, such as the ultimately unreleased Zip Drive from Iomega. So, I sent some emails. Through various contacts, I fired off a few speculative enquiries to various sources who were working for major printer manufacturers back at the turn of the millennium.

Amazingly, weeks later, one individual who had previously worked for Canon’s R&D department in Uxbridge, in the UK, got back to me with this amazing reply:

Sega approached us (Canon) in early 2000 to make an inkjet printer for their Dreamcast console. It was early days but we had a fully working prototype that, as long as you had a keyboard connected to the console, would allow you to print whatever was currently displayed on the TV by a simple press of the “Print Screen” key. Amazingly, this worked during gameplay as well, so you could print off screenshots if you wanted to. During testing, we had numerous copies of printed screenshots all over the office -- I think gamers would've loved it.

Even more amazing, attached to the email was a photo of the prototype for this printer from my source’s personal collection. Known only by its internal model number at the time, 5L-00FLIRPA, here she is: the Sega/Canon Dreamcast Printer Prototype:
Note the modified cord with a Dreamcast controller plug added to it, allowing you to simply use one of the available controller ports on your console to attach the printer.

Unfortunately, the current whereabouts of this prototype are unknown but my source does not believe it has been destroyed. This means there is still hope we can enjoy printing out our favourite web pages and Spirit of Speed screenshots directly from our Dreamcast at some point.

It’s incredible that here we are, over 20 years since the Dreamcast launched and we’re still uncovering new and unknown things about our beloved system. Would you have bought this printer had it actually been released in 2000?

Let us know in the comments below, or on Twitter.

Update: If you've read this far, your reward is the knowledge that yes, this was an April Fool! Look at the date in the photo; and the model number of the printer. We do like a good April Fool here at the Junkyard, as was seen back in 2017 when everyone lost their shit when we announced DreamStream - a Switch streaming service for Dreamcast games. One that didn't go down too well was when we announced on 1st April 2016 that we had become the 'PlayStation 2 Junkyard.' We don't mention that. Thanks for playing along...and remember - it's all just a bit of fun!

7 comments:

Richard Gottfried said...

What a day this is. Kind of makes me wish I had a Dreamcast.

Unknown said...

Love the datestamp on the photo!

James Harvey said...

A mere coincidence that the photo was taken exactly 15 years ago to the day.

pcwzrd13 said...

They were actually ready to launch the printer right before the Dreamcast was discontinued. They had a whole warehouse full of them. I actually recently purchased said warehouse and I plan to auction off the printers on eBay. I will use the proceeds to start up Dreamcast production again.

Mister Duffy said...

Has anyone looked closely at the plug?

Seba said...

Bad bad photoshop

phillylou said...

Oh man the plug on that photo is brutal. Also I'm officially announcing I will be competing with pcwzrd13 and name my product the "PlayStation 2"