The Dreamcast[a] is a home video game console released by Sega on November 27, 1998 in Japan, September 9, 1999 in North America, and October 14, 1999 in Europe. It was the first in the sixth generation of video game consoles, preceding Sony’s PlayStation 2, Nintendo’s GameCube and Microsoft’s Xbox. The Dreamcast was Sega’s final home console, marking the end of the company’s 18 years in the console market.
The Dreamcast controller includes both an analog stick and a digital pad, four action buttons, and two analog triggers. The system has four ports for controller inputs, although it was bundled with only one controller.
Dreamcast uses a 128 kbyte memory card called the VMU (or «Visual Memory Unit») for data storage. The VMU features a small LCD screen, audio output from a one-channel PWM sound source, non-volatile memory, a directional pad, and four buttons. The VMU can present game information, be used as a minimal handheld gaming device, and connect to certain Sega arcade machines.
After a VMU slot was incorporated into the controller’s design, Sega’s engineers found many additional uses for it, so a second slot was added. This slot was generally used for vibration packs providing force feedback like Sega’s «Jump Pack» and Performance’s «Tremor Pack», although it could also be used for other peripherals including a microphone enabling voice control and player communication. Various third-party cards provide storage, and some contain the LCD screen addition. Iomega announced a Dreamcast-compatible zip drive that could store up to 100 MB of data on removable discs, but it was never released.
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