Sega Nomad

From Academic Kids

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The Sega Nomad was a essentially a portable Sega Genesis

The Sega Nomad, released in 1995, is a handheld game console released in North America. The system was never officially released in either Europe or Japan. It was inspired by the Sega Mega Jet released for use on Japan Airlines airliners. (Note that the Sega Mega Jet does not have a screen built in, whereas the Sega Nomad does).



The Sega Nomad is basically a handheld Genesis; it plays almost all Genesis games, and has six buttons similar in layout to the Genesis six button gamepad. It is about the same size as Sega's previous handheld system, the Game Gear, but is thicker and heavier.

The Nomad can also be connected to a television using the same SCART or RF leads as the Sega Genesis 2. A Genesis controller can also be connected to a port on the bottom of the machine for two player games. The Sega CD and Sega 32x add-ons, however, are not compatible with the Nomad.

The 3-inch Active Matrix LCD screen is higher resolution than the Nomad's rivals of its time, and the screen was also backlit. Unlike passive matrix LCDs, the Nomad screen was very sharp and did not suffer from as much blurring as the Nintendo Game Boy and Game Gear handhelds do.


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The Nomad shown with optional A/C power cord attached

By the time the Nomad 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 of a European PAL release but the lack of US success and the dying Sega Megadrive market in Europe meant that the release never happened.

The Nomad suffered from minor incompatibilities with some Genesis games. Although the Active Matrix 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. The Nomad was 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 available. The poor battery life, combined with a high price tag, ensured the Nomad would not become widespread.

Technical specifications

Processor: Motorola M68000 16 bit processor running at 7.67 MHz
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 colors: 64
Maximum onscreen sprites: 80
Resolution: 320 x 224
Sound: Yamaha YM2612 6 channel FM, additional 4 channel PSG. Stereo sound. Also Texas Instruments SN76489 PSG (Programmable Sound Generator)
Display: Integrated LCD at 320*224

See Also

sv:Sega Nomad


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