The Hunt for the PlayStation 2, GameCube and Xbox versions of the Sega Dreamcast

Over the years, fans of the Sega Dreamcast have had the opportunity to see many interesting and artistic case mods, but some of the oldest to make a splash in the Dreamcast scene were the ones you see below; case mods designed to look like the Dreamcast's sixth generation competitors: Microsoft's Xbox, Nintendo's GameCube and Sony's PlayStation 2.
Cool designs? Or heresy against the Dreamcast? These case mods have had many fans and detractors over the years.
Long-time fans may dimly recall seeing pictures of these customised Dreamcasts making the rounds on Dreamcast forums and fan websites as early as 2002. The pictures have continued to show up over the last 20 years on various forums, fan sites and social media pages across the internet (including a 2006 post on this very blog), although genuine information about their origin has tended to be scarce. Given their relatively polished-looking designs and their appearance around the time of the Dreamcast’s commercial death, theories and rumors have spread that a Japanese gaming magazine or even Sega themselves may have commissioned them to use in conjunction with a story or announcement about Sega’s decision to create games for third party systems. Some critics have even gone as far as to argue that the images were mere Photoshop creations and never even truly existed.

After being reminded of these designs through a chance encounter with a fan who had found the GameCube design for sale on an online marketplace, I set off on the complex mission of discovering the truth about these mysterious custom Dreamcasts. I searched my own memory, trawled through defunct websites of yesteryear on the Internet Archive, and even managed to track down and discuss the case mods with the original Japanese creator. After all of this, I can finally provide the authentic story of these early and unusual custom designs.

The Creator

Enter G-Cube – the name of a group of Japanese model kit builders. In the early 2000s, G-Cube was a group of three people who would get together and use their extensive modeling, graphic design and painting skills to cosmetically enhance existing model kits, toys and other items. 
One of many logos used by G-Cube
Their projects involved assembling things such as retail model kits with highly detailed custom paint jobs, some of which would also have significant modifications, including custom fabricated parts, to make finished products that were substantially different from their original design. The group’s work often included designs for mecha, figures, spaceships, and other vehicles from anime and video games. Over the years, G-Cube’s creations would be profiled in Japanese hobby magazines, and the group would even display their work at public exhibitions and festivals. The group would also take commissions from customers, and to this day, G-Cube puts recent creations up for sale on Yahoo! Auctions Japan from time to time.
Various older works by G-Cube
I was fortunate enough to find contact information for a Mr. Fuminori of G-Cube, who as luck would have it, was the designer behind all three of the Dreamcast case mods shown above. The following is a summary of information about each of the case mods...

The "Dreamcast 2" PlayStation 2 case modification

This design was modeled after the PlayStation 2 and was completed in May of 2001. It is the first of the three designs that was completed, featuring a console shell with a custom paint job and a controller with custom decals. Special attention was made to paint the controller ports blue so that the Dreamcast would better mimic the color scheme of the PlayStation 2 and thereby not be too reminiscent of a black Sega Saturn.

The "Segaend Dreamcast" GameCube case modification

This design was modeled after the cube-like shape of the GameCube, and was completed in October 2001. For this design, it was decided that more than a custom paint job and decals would be required to emulate the look of the GameCube. In addition to the Sega karaoke unit, which added the height needed to achieve a cube-like shape, a custom black plastic handle was created and attached to the back of this system to provide an analogue to the distinctive handle of the GameCube. However, this handle was simply for decorative purposes, as the placement of the Dreamcast’s components inside the case made it difficult to bolt the handle on in a secure enough manner for carrying purposes.
Various cuts and cosmetic modifications using modeling putty were made to the top and lid area of the Dreamcast shell to make the design more reminiscent of the GameCube’s casing. Mr. Fuminori explained that the term “Segaend” shown on the top of the case was an amalgamation of "Sega" and “end” from the middle of "Nintendo". While not explicitly mentioned by Mr. Fuminori himself, “Segaend Dreamcast” may have had a double meaning: a reference to the fact that Sega had recently ended its production and support for the Dreamcast at the time this case modification was created.

The "XDCX" Xbox case modification

This design was modeled after the original Xbox and was completed in August of 2002. The design was considered by the creator to be a major remodel of the Dreamcast case as it involved the liberal use of modelling putty, cuts and incisions, along with custom acrylic pieces to create a design that evoked the distinctive features of the original Xbox. These included a green jewel, a raised X shape, and prominent cooling vents. Mr. Fuminori remembers this as a particularly time consuming and difficult modification.
Mr. Fuminori has confirmed that all three of these modifications were created as commissions for a friend, with no relation to any Japanese gaming magazine or Sega. All of the designs were case mods only, as, despite their inspiration from other systems, the hardware within was nothing more than that of a standard Dreamcast. Following their delivery to the customer, not much was heard about these designs until…

20+ Years Later in 2023

A Dreamcast fan in rural Thailand found the GameCube case mod for sale locally. Not knowing what it was, he posted it on Reddit looking for information about what he had found.

Looking a little worse for wear yet still unmistakably the same design from 2001, G-Cube’s custom GameCube from 2001 lives on in Thailand in our current year of 2023. After identifying the design, I was able to contact the Thai seller to learn even more exciting information: it turned out that a friend of the seller was in possession of G-Cube’s Xbox and PlayStation 2 designs as well!
From brief conversations with the seller of the GameCube design, it seems that at some point between the early 2000s and now, these three unique Dreamcasts made their way from the original G-Cube customer to a Japanese electronics recycler, and it is from the Japanese electronics recycler that the Thai seller and their friend came into possession of them, taking them back to rural Thailand.

Inquiries were made about the possibility of buying all three consoles myself, but unfortunately a sale could not be worked out, and the GameCube and Xbox designs ended up being sold locally in Thailand to new owners, with the PlayStation 2 design not being sold at this time.


As a long-time Dreamcast fan, and a fan of these designs from when they originally made the rounds back in 2002, I decided to ask Mr. Fuminori of G-Cube about whether he would consider making one of these designs again as a commission in 2023, over twenty years on since he originally created them. The response was favorable, albeit with some stipulations and a price tag that would appeal only to the most devoted fans. Among other terms, a potential customer would need to make a full upfront payment of 100,000 yen (approximately $670 USD), along with committing to provide additional funds should there be unanticipated costs during production. The customer would also have to provide G-Cube with a Dreamcast, and accept that G-Cube will only ship the finished product to a Japanese address.

It has been quite an adventure and a nostalgic walk down memory lane to go through old archives of defunct Dreamcast fan sites, forums (and even ancient copies of G-Cube’s website) to track down the information you see above about these very early Dreamcast case mods. While I am content enough with remembering these designs through the well-staged photos from 2001/2002, it is still fun to consider that these old designs continue to live on somewhere out there, and that the original creator would even consider recreating the designs on commission over twenty years later! While these case mods are unofficial, to long-time fans like me who have seen them pop up in many places online over the last 20 years, they feel like an interesting and notable part of the Dreamcast’s rich history.


Tom Charnock said...

Absolutley fascinating stuff. The definitive story of these elusive consoles I'm sure everyone with even a passing interest in the Dreamcast has seen used on social media etc. I would expect no less from the DCJY!

Lewis Cox said...

Excellent article! After I saw a post from the person who bought the GameCube version on Twitter, I really wanted to know the true origin of these custom designs, so thanks for finally getting to the bottom of the mystery!

Dark said...

By the way, this Ferrari dreamcast was also recently found in Thailand proximate to the others, and has also been confirmed as a G-Cube work from the 2001/2002 time period.

Laurence Goodchild said...

Great sleuthing Dark. The quote for a re-creation is out of my price range, but there might be someone out there with deeper pockets and a hankering for a special DC makeover. Tom is probably putting his Atari Jaguar order in as I type this...

f said...

Great work mate!