September 24, 2022

You can find all kinds of weird tech on Indiegogo, but this fundraiser for an improved version of the virtual memory unit (VMU) for the Sega Dreamcast is one of the coolest devices I’ve heard of this year (over Notebookcheck). Dreamware Enterprises is in the process of developing VM2, which it calls the “next-generation VMU for the Dreamcast.” It’s a custom recreation of a niche accessory made for the failed console that it plans to release in black or white in the summer of 2023.

Some of the improvements look great, like a higher-resolution backlit LCD screen, microSD card storage for downloads and injecting savings, a rechargeable battery with USB-C charging, and mini-game support. It will ship with the ability to connect to a PC, with its own GUI for Windows. The VM2 firmware and software is developed by one person named Chris Daioglou. The Indiegogo page states that production will take place in Greece.

Exploded view of the VM2 memory card for the Sega Dreamcast, showing the plastic shell, circuit board and microSD card slot.

Here’s an exploded view of the VM2, showing the plastic shell, 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 guess I’m obsessed with dead gadgets.

Enough about me. I could see that VM2 was very popular among the Dreamcast’s surprisingly active player base. There are those who still play it to enjoy some of the best fighting games. And then there are the more involved fans who have come up with ways to host or join dedicated online game servers that have been officially out of business for a few years now. Not to mention, some indie developers are still making games for the Dreamcast. So yes, there is an audience for this thing. And that audience spoke with their money. The campaign still has 18 days left, and has already surpassed its goal of raising $89,119.

I might get it because I also really fell in love with 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 contextual information for each game through a window on the console’s controller. It can show your health, your next soccer game, or just show the game logo recreated in a pixelated way while you played. And especially, you can pull it out of the controller and change the savings by connecting it to another VMU. You can also play solitaire with the D-pad and two face buttons, take care of Tamagotchi-style pets, or play other mini-games installed from some Dreamcast titles. Look, it was a different time.

I’ve reached out to Sega for comment on this product.

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