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Sega Nomad

The Sega Nomad, released in 1995, was an attempt by Sega to once again tap the resources of the Sega Genesis's fan base in North America. The system was never released in Europe or Japan. This system was inspired by the Sega Mega Jet released for use on Japan Airlines airliners.

It was basically a hand-held Genesis; it played all Genesis games, but looked Sega Game Gear-ish. By the time this was released, the Genesis was well on the way out so it didn't last long. It was also expensive, costing $180.00 in the United States after its October 1995 release. The Nomad only came in NTSC format. There was a rumor that a PAL version for Europe was going to be released for Megadrive players there, but it never happened.

The Nomad suffered from minor incompatibilities with some Genesis games. The 3-inch Active Matrix LCD screen was higher resolution than other handhelds at the time, and was also backlit. Unlike passive matrix LCDs, the Nomad screen was very sharp and did not suffer from blurring as the Gameboy and Game Gear handhelds did. Although this LCD provided excellent visual quality, it contributed to its short battery life. Also, game text designed to be readable on a TV was of course much smaller and potentially difficult to read. Powered by 6 AA batteries, fitted to a case that clipped on back of unit. The batteries only lasted three to five hours, but a rechargeable battery pack and AC Unit was availible. The poor battery life, combined with a high price tag, ensured the Nomad would not become widespread. However, it was a revolutionary handheld in that it took previous generation console games and made them portable. The console has a second joypad port for two-player games.

The Nomad could be connected to the television using the same scart or RF lead as the Sega Genesis 2.

Technical Specifications
Processor: Motorola M68000 16 bit processor running at 7.67Mhz
Co-processor: Zilog Z80 8-bit at 4 MHz
Memory: 136KB total - 64 KB Main RAM, 64KB VRAM, 8KB Sound RAM. 20 Kb ROM
Display Palette: 512
Onscreen colours: 64 (Some games more with Hold and Modify technique)
Maximum onscreen sprites: 80
Resolution: 320 x 224
Sound: Yamaha YM2612 6 channel FM, additional 4 channel PSG. Stereo sound. Also Texas Instruments PSG (Programmable Sound Generator) TI 76480
Display: Integrated LCD display at 320*224