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 craziest gadgets I’ve heard of this year (via Notebookcheck). The company, Dreamware Enterprises, is developing VM2, which it calls a “next-generation VMU for the Dreamcast.” This is a one-man recreation of a niche accessory designed for a failed console that he plans to release in black or white in the summer of 2023.
Some of the upgrades look great, like a high-resolution LCD screen with backlight, microSD card storage for offloading and injecting saves, a rechargeable battery with USB-C charging, and mini-game support. It will come with PC connectivity, with its own GUI for Windows. The VM2 firmware and software are developed by a single person named Chris Daioglou. The Indiegogo page says production will take place in Greece.
It costs $114 to order one, and I strength just do it. Why, exactly, do I really want one? Because I’m one of those people who still have a Dreamcast in their entertainment system. I guess I have an obsession with dead gaming gadgets.
Enough about me. I could see that the VM2 was very popular among Dreamcast’s surprisingly active playerbase. There are those who still play it for the sake of some of the best fighting games. And then there are the more dedicated fans who have found 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 independent developers still create games for the Dreamcast. So, yes, there is an audience for this stuff. And this public spoke with its money. The campaign has 18 days left, but it has exceeded its goal of raising $89,119.
I might get one because I’m also really digging the original concept. In case you missed the all-too-brief Dreamcast years before it was crushed by the PS2, the VMU stood out because, unlike other memory cards, it had a screen that could display per-game contextual information through a console window. controller. It could display your health, your next football match, or just show the game’s logo recreated in a pixelated fashion while you play. And notably, you can remove it from the controller and exchange saves 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 mini-games installed from some of the Dreamcast titles. Look, it was a different time.
I contacted Sega for a review on this product.