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Showing posts with label Unreleased Dreamcast Hardware. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Unreleased Dreamcast Hardware. Show all posts

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!

The Mystery Of The Victor Wondercast

We've looked at - and failed to find any concrete details on - several mysterious and largely undocumented variations of the Dreamcast hardware here at the Junkyard in recent times. There was the F1 World Grand Prix II custom console which we kinda deduced was either a fan-made console or a professionally created competition prize; and then there was the Coca-Cola Dreamcast that even the Coca-Cola archive couldn't give us any solid answers about. But now there's a new mystery to pore over, and it's probably the most tantalising yet. Before I go any further though, props must go to a Dreamcast fan and collector who goes by the online name Sega Emultion Sanshiro (no relation to Segata Sanshiro, I'm sure), who is responsible for bringing this whole topic to my attention. What am I talking about? Why, the Victor Wondercast of course!

Now, it's common knowledge in retro circles that Victor (or JVC in most territories) released a special edition of the Sega Saturn called the V-Saturn. The V-Saturn is essentially the same console as the standard Sega Saturn, but with a few internal differences and a different boot screen and logo (check out the entry at Sega Retro for more information). The firm also released licensed versions of other Sega consoles too. What isn't common knowledge, is that Victor/JVC may very well have been planning to license the Dreamcast hardware and produce their own version of the console, dubbed 'Wondercast.' The only proof we have of this comes in the form of a single image, printed in the August 1998 issue of defunct French games magazine Consoles+:
The image is very small and pixellated, but it clearly shows a purple Dreamcast with the Victor logo and the name Wondercast, along with the code number RG-X0 1. This is interesting because JVC/Victor's previous Sega consoles also had similar RG codes - RG-X1 for the V-Saturn and RG-M2 for the Wondermega. The accompanying article is mainly about the impending launch of the Dreamcast and Sega's plans for the console, but this single image is the only evidence we know of that the Victor Wondercast ever existed or was planned. The original is below, along with an isolated image of the console (click for larger versions):