April 2, 2023

You can find all sorts of weird tech on Indiegogo, but this fundraiser for the Sega Dreamcast’s improved Virtual Memory Unit (VMU) is one of the funniest gadgets I’ve heard this year (pass Notebook check). The company, Dreamware Enterprises, is developing VM2, which it calls “the next-generation VMU for Dreamcast.” It’s a one-on-one game with niche accessories made for the failed console, and it’s scheduled to release in black or white in summer 2023.

Some of the improvements seem great, such as a higher-resolution LCD screen with backlighting, microSD card storage for unloading and injecting saves, a rechargeable battery with USB-C charging, and mini-game support. It will come with a PC connection and its own Windows GUI. The firmware and software for the VM2 were developed by a guy named Chris Daioglou.This Indiegogo page It is stated that production will take place in Greece.

An exploded view of the Sega Dreamcast's VM2 memory card, showing the plastic case, printed circuit board, and microSD card slot.

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

Ordering one costs a whopping $114 and I possible just do it. Why, exactly, do I really want one of these? Because I’m one of those people who still have Dreamcast in their entertainment system. I guess I’m obsessed with dead gaming gadgets.

Enough about me. I can see that VM2 is very popular with Dreamcast’s surprisingly active player base. Some people still play it just to enjoy some of the best fighting games. And many more fans have found ways to host or join dedicated servers for online gaming, which have been officially out of service for a few years. Not to mention, some indie developers are still making games for the Dreamcast. So yes, this thing has an audience. Those viewers are already talking with its cash​​​. There are 18 days left in the campaign, but it has already surpassed its goal of raising $89,119.

I’ll probably get one as I’m also just really digging into the original concept. If you missed the overly brief Dreamcast before it was squashed by the PS2, the VMU stood out because, unlike other memory cards, it had a screen that displayed contextual information about each game through a window on the console controller. It can show your health, your next football game, or just a pixelated re-creation of your match logo as you play. It’s worth noting that you can pull it out of the controller and trade save by connecting to another VMU. You can also use the D-pad and two face buttons to play card games on it, take care of a Tamagotchi-style pet, or play other mini-games installed from some of the Dreamcast’s games. Look, it was a different era.

I have contacted Sega for a review on this product.

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