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Looking back at the Dreamcast controllers that might have been

This week a game history buff reminds us of the remarkable array of Dreamcast controller prototypes Sega went through before settling on the now-familiar final model for its console swan song.

Alex Wawro, Contributor

March 24, 2016

1 Min Read

Sega launched its last game console more than 15 years ago, and this week a game industry history buff reminds us of the remarkable array of Dreamcast controller prototypes Sega went through before settling on the now-familiar final model.

Game historian (and occasional Gamasutra contributor) John Andersen has been posting snippets of archived game magazine scans to Twitter for some time, and this week he highlighted a peripheral feature from an '99 issue of Dreamcast Magazine (Japanese) that shows a lineup of Dreamcast controllers that might have been.

While it's not exactly new information, these prototypes seemingly aren't well-known and are worth studying because they offer us a look at how a console manufacturer worked through the problem of designing a comfortable, accessible gamepad with novel components.

Some of those components have become commonplace (like the analog stick) while others have fallen by the wayside (like detachable vibration packs or the iconic Dreamcast visual memory unit [VMU]).

We've taken the liberty of excerpting one page of the aforementioned feature below, and you can find the rest starting on page 168 of the full archived issue.

You can learn more about the history of the console in our feature on the Dreamcast's rise and fall, or read up on the Dreamcast homebrew community, which as recently as 2011 was continuing to produce unofficial Dreamcast games.

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