Weird game peripherals

Sega Saturn keyboard and printer.

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@hellomrkearns#663 that’s cool, what exactly could you print with it?

Bet on horse races with the Famicom Modem.

For a brief time in Japan in 2013 I owned one of these beautiful things by ASCII and I really regret selling mine.

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@devilsblush#666 that’s cool, what exactly could you print with it?

Anything you typed! It was part of a word processor set by Koei.

Sega had pushed the idea very early on that the Saturn would become the center of your living room. Keep in mind they originally thought to release the Saturn around 1993, back when they expected their next battle would be against industry giants like Phillips and Matsushita and the Nintendo CD-ROM, which is why all the big 3D hoopla was a second thought contrived by the quick progress on PC hardware and the sudden competition of PlayStation.

Originally, the next step was all about better multimedia features to take full advantage of the CD-ROM and follow through the original idea behind the Megadrive as an evolutive core unit, similar to the NEC PC Engine.

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Ahhhh I want that useless FDD!!

You can still get those gamecube keyboards in Japan for not too wild prices, but there's so little to do with it. Tomorrow I'll take pics of some of my odd peripherals cause I've got a fair few.

I so badly wanted that Zip drive for the Dreamcast (I actually had to explain to a young friend that for a brief moment in time, btw 98-02, they were THE format at every publishing house; I had a mountain of Zip disks, cuz of my time at Nickelodeon Magazine)…

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Oh, and re: the Mega Drive FDD, I wish it would have come out and then an additional piece at the bottom, in case someone had a Mega CD: it would have helped to “even out” the system if the karaoke machine was attached…

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Yep! Here's the[ archvied website from Koei](

It supported the Sega Saturn floppy disc as well!

The software ([EGWORD]( had [clip art]( included and there were templates for things like [greeting cards]( and [business cards](

Hmm, I'd take that giant Sega cd monster as well.

Saturn floppy disc! Embarrassingly I didn't realize that existed... But now I've found it and am sharing it here

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Bizarrely two of the very few games that support it (for save data) are midway arcade hits titles, one of which came out in the US :o

Ah! Your last sentence reminded me: if you want more bizarre SegaSaturn paraphernalia…

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Here is the Taisen Cable, i.e. the "Link" cable that allowed two units to play together as a local network. _Surely, just a standard and sadly underused piece of equipment that got used in a few games_, thou may thinkst. But! this cable is certainly weirder than it may appear at first glance.

The Taisen cable was first released on same day as the Sega Saturn in Japan, on 22 November 1994. It used the packaging on the left above. Now, here are the games that use this peripheral. I added the release date for each title.

  • * Hyper 3D Taisen Battle Gebockers (23 February 1996)
  • * Hyper Reverthion (7 June 1996)
  • * Steeldom (6 September 1996)
  • * Daytona USA Circuit Edition (24 January 1997)
  • * Doom (11 July 1997)
  • * GunGriffon II (23 April 1998)
  • So first of all, there have been only six games using this thing. Keep in mind, whichever way you count different versions and re-releases of a same title, there have been around a thousand Saturn games released in Japan. There are twice as many games that have allowed online multiplayer on the Saturn. <capslock> There are twice as many games compatible with the Floppy Disk Drive! </scream>

    Then, the release dates. The first software to use that cable came out fifteen months after the cable itself came out! Those were ¥2000 well spent at launch, evidently. Also, Gebockers came out exactly one month before the HST-0014 (the white SegaSaturn) hardware revision which led to an entire redesign of the hardware and peripherals' packaging. For which, as you can see above (right image), this cable kindly indulged! So the first "golden" edition of the Taisen Cable has only been contemporary to a single (mediocre) third party video game.

    Ah yes! Lastly, those parties. Where the flying fuck is Sega!? There is only one Sega title that makes use of this peripheral. One would have thought Daytona USA (the April 1995 version) made use of the link cable, in the same way that it used the Racing Controller (which released alongside Daytona USA). But OK, maybe they could not find the time? The port was rather choppy after all.

    Then, Sega Rally? Nuh-uh. What about Sega Rally Plus, the version that bothered to add true analogue controls compatibility with the Multi Controller, and an online mode? Niet. Virtual On, surely? No! They got three crappy clones of Virtual On using that thing, but not the game that made the most sense for it.

    So finally, Sega adds Taisen Cable compatibility to Daytona USA Circuit Edition. (By the way: only in the later released Japanese version. The US and EU versions from late 1996 can't use the cable.) Surely, from that point... Sega Touring Car Championship said no thanks. Whaaaaaaaaat!? This is so bizarre, to me. This console has received 30+ racing games compatible with the official racing wheel, including some of its best sellers, yet only a single racing game, released two years after the console's debut, makes use of it. We can't even make the assumption that users did not care for the option, because they were not given the chance to care! There must have been some weird technical issue that made local network synchronization terrible on the early SDK and led everyone to give up early on... That is the only explanation I have.

    I am a HUGE system link / LAN fan so I have the Taisen cable and I agree with a lot of these points. I will say though that it being compatible with Daytona CE makes the whole thing worth owning. The ultra rare Netlink version of Daytona only supports 2 cars on the track when using the Netlink, while you can have all 30 cars on the track using the link cable. There's some fun to be had with Gebockers as well because its so ridiculous. Still, yeah, if this cable worked for Sega Rally, Virtual On, or Duke Nukem 3D it would be a game changer. The Playstation link cable was kind of an after though as well, but the amount of games that make use of that cable is staggering in comparison.

    The PS1 system link was made worthwhile by the totally bizarre Bushido Blade 1st person mode. It does not make the game better. It does make it enjoyably strange.

    Just to note, the ultra rare netlink version of daytona is only ultra rare in the US - you can get the japanese one for a few hundred yen if you wanna!

    What's interesting to me about this dumb cable is how the first three games out were all Virtual On But Not By Sega to varying extents. And yet where's Virtual On in this list!? Nowhere obviously. What a weirdness. But I guess Sega was trying a bunch of things at the time.

    One odd peripheral I like but haven't gotten to actually explore much is the Sbom Joycard

    What's unusual about it is how it links to Hudson games on the Saturn. There's a little switch on there, and when you put it into "Hu position" it "unlocks" new content in Hudson games, specifically. A friend and I have speculated that it actually activates a specific complex button input sequence that they just coded into all their games to make this happen. But no matter how they did it, what a neat and silly thing to do. Plus it looks like bomberman with switches in his eyeballs so there's that.

    I really need to investigate what it does in these hudson games! I'll spend an evening some time soon and chronicle it.

    I strongly suspect it's something even simpler than a complex pre-programmed button sequence and possibly simply a specific cadence for the Start button.

    As you can notice in your picture, the switch is specifically tied to the Start button. It is located just above and has the same maroon color. All the other buttons have their dedicated switch, and I assume a pre-programmed button combination would be easily disrupted by the other switches (and lead to weird customer complaints).

    Another hint is that the same switch then goes from the "Hu" position to the "Slow" position, which is basically a setting that has the controller mashing Start. Also, I remember reading you could brute force the bonus hidden in Yuna 3 by mashing Start in a specific menu (although that might have been an alternate method tied to debugging).

    Another easier method than using pre-programmed command sequences would be physically impossible combinations, such as the Left and Right directions (or even all four directions) on the D-Pad registered as pressed at the same time.

    I also remember this being a thing on the N64 version of their Joycard controller. I am a bit surprised you find it neat, given you are rather consumer-minded usually and this could be seen as artificially blocking contents from some users who have spent less than others. It caused a bit of a debate at the time, before concepts such as DLC and micro-transactions and NFC-tied unlocks were common among video game hobbyists. I personally love the idea, but I am super friendly to inventive ways of interacting with consumers' finances!

    I‘ll test some out and see if I can figure it out!! Either way it’ll be a fun journey. “impossible button presses” seems like a likely culprit to meeeeeee

    Just seen this one today. Worth bringing this thread back from the dead

    Sometimes I lie awake at night and think about the official Sony PS2 horizontal stand:

    y'all might not know about this one.


    Telebradesco was a Brazillian dial up-cartridge for the Mega Drive, manufactured by TecToy.
    You could check your Bradesco's account balance, withdraws, deposits, savings etc.