Sega Pico

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Launch Years:
NA: 1994, EU: 1994, JP: 1993

The Sega Pico is a goofy hunk of Sega hardware that I and many other people forget exists. It is an edutainment console meant for young kids, similar to Vtech's V-smile or the Leapster which would release years later. Here's a lovely old commercial for it.

Pico features a drawing-pad which can be interacted with via a hard-wired stylus with a button on the tip of it. Interestingly, the system seems to be able to track the stylus even when it is hovering above the drawing-pad. I'm not sure how Sega achieved that. It also features 5 face buttons of varying color.

The Pico itself has the form factor of a suitcase. It has a large handle, and it can be folded closed like a clamshell. Spec-wise, the Pico is essentially a modified Sega Genesis. It has mono composite out and it uses the same power supply as the model-2 Genesis.

The game cartridges (referred to as "Storyware") are gigantic, as it needs to have space for the attached picture book as well as the circuit board. The cartridge plugs into the slot, then it leans back until it "clicks" in. There are 6 sensors which tell the system if they're covered or not. Each plastic page in the picture book cover up different amounts of sensors, which is how the Pico can detect which page the player is on.

The Pico's page sensors, situated behind the pages.

Based on my limited interactions with the Pico, here is a rundown of what playing with a Pico is like. Turning the pages seems to typically select a scenario or minigame. Upon flipping the page, The system plays the according situation, displaying it on the TV. Then you interact with or play the situation utilizing the drawing-pad and/or buttons. I say "situation" because it's not always a game, sometimes it's drawing software.

A really cool dude in my area sold this to me for only $30 with the games and flattened-box. I can't thank him enough for that amazing deal!

Storyware (2)

Title Genre CIB?
Magic Crayons Edutainment & Art Complete In Box
Sonic The Hedgehog's Gameworld Edutainment & Art Loose Cart

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