Sega Dreamcast’s iconic memory card makes a (funded) comeback

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You can find all kinds of weird tech on Indiegogo, but this fundraiser for an upgraded version of the Virtual Memory Unit (VMU) for the Sega Dreamcast is one of the crazier gadgets I’ve heard about this year (through Notebook Check). The company, Dreamware Enterprises, is developing the VM2, which it calls a “next-gen VMU for the Dreamcast.” It’s a one-to-one recreation of a niche accessory made for a failed console that aims to release it in black or white in the summer of 2023.

Some of the improvements seem great, such as a higher-resolution LCD with backlighting, microSD card storage for loading and injecting saves, a rechargeable battery with USB-C charging, and support for mini-games. It comes with PC connectivity, with its own GUI for Windows. The firmware and software of the VM2 are developed by one person named Chris Daioglou. The Indiegogo page states that production will take place in Greece.

Here is an exploded view of the VM2, showing the plastic case, circuit board and microSD card slot.
Image: Dreamware Enterprises

It costs a whopping $114 to order one, and I power just do it. Why, exactly, do I really want one of these? Because I’m one of those people who still has a Dreamcast in their entertainment system. I think I have an obsession with dead gaming gadgets.

Enough about me. I could see that the VM2 is very popular among the Dreamcast’s surprisingly active player base. There are people who still play it for the fun of some of the best fighting games. And then there are the more engaged fans who have come up with ways to host or join dedicated servers for online games that have been officially out of service for several years. Not to mention that some indie developers are still making games for the Dreamcast. So yes, there is an audience for this thing. And that audience has spoken with its money. The campaign has 18 days to go, but the goal of raising $89,119 has passed.

I might get one because I really dig the original concept too. In case you missed the too-short Dreamcast, years before it was squashed by the PS2, the VMU stood out because, unlike other memory cards, it had a screen that could display contextual information on a game-by-game basis via a window on the console. controller. It can display your health, your next football game, or just show off the game’s logo pixelated recreated as you played. And most notably, you could rip it out of the controller and trade savings by connecting to another VMU. You can also play solitaire on it with its D-pad and two face buttons, take care of Tamagotchi-style pets, or play other minigames installed from some of the Dreamcast titles. Look, it was a different time.

I have contacted Sega for a comment about this product.

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