Today, the Nintendo Switch is one of the most popular video game consoles, partly due to its versatility to be used as either a home video game consoles or as a handheld console that you can take on the go. However, nearly thirty years ago, Sega was a gaming company that tried to develop something similar. The Sega Nomad, introduced in 1995, was meant to allow gamers to take their Sega Genesis games with them on the go.
With the Sega Nomad, while perhaps not executed perfectly, Sega may have been ahead of their time with the idea itself.
Here are interesting five facts about the Sega Nomad.
- The codename for the Sega Nomad was “Project Venus.” (source) Sega’s policy at the time was to codename all of their gaming systems after planets. However, the planet names didn’t always stay as just codenames, as proven with the release of the Sega Saturn shortly after the Sega Nomad was released.
- Today, it’s estimated that roughly one million Sega Nomad units were sold. (source) The Sega Nomad was released in North American in October 1995 across various test markets, with a launch price of $179.00. Despite the reviews being favorable for the Nomad, Sega found sales to be less than ideal, a trend that continued even after the company dropped the price by $100.00. Sega discontinued the Nomad shortly thereafter.
- The Sega Nomad was notable for its battery life. (source) Much like the Sega Game Gear in years prior, the battery life for the Sega Nomad left quite a bit to be desired. As was the case with the Sega Game Gear, the Sega Nomad required six AA batteries, which would only give gamers somewhere between two and three hours of play time before the system needed the batteries to be replaced. Rechargeable batteries weren’t accessible for the console at the time, so gaming on the Nomad proved to be very costly for owners.
- The Sega Nomad was the only Sega system to not feature any exclusive games. (source) While other Sega products at the time like the Sega 32X played games from the Sega Genesis library, there were still exclusive games made specifically for the Sega 32X. With the Sega Nomad, the sole purpose of the handled system was to play Sega Genesis titles on the go.
- The Sega Nomad could play most of, but not the entire Sega Genesis library. (source) While the Nomad could play a majority of the Genesis’ wide library of games, it couldn’t play them all, due to certain titles requiring Sega Genesis-specific actions. For example, some of the early launch titles and sports titles on the Genesis required the use of the MODE button, which the Nomad did not have. Also, the original X-Men game for the Sega Genesis requires the player to reset the game at one point, which was another button that the Sega Nomad didn’t have.
Without a doubt, the Sega Nomad is not one of the more memorable video game systems ever, but the idea was certainly ahead of its time, as proven by the success today of the Nintendo Switch.