Every serious console collector needs a Dreamcast. Sega’s last and greatest console only lived for around two years but had an incredibly sweet and short life, publishing many original and innovative game concepts that would influence generations to come. The Dreamcast was first to make online play possible directly from the console (and keep in mind this was the 56k phone-line era, so games had to be designed to function under those speeds — and did). It also came with a device embedded into the game controller called a VMU, or Visual Memory Unit.
Plugged in, the VMU would display game stats or graphics on its small dot matrix display. Removed, it could function as a Tamagotchi of sorts, playing minigames on the go that could factor into the larger console game when you plugged it back in. Not many games used that function but it was still a cool idea.
Used VMUs aren’t hard to get, but none of them have working batteries anymore (unless they’ve been taken apart and had those batteries replaced). But Dreamware Enterprises in Greece is crowdfunding what they call the VM2: a next-gen VMU that serves all the functions of the original and adds some new ones.
The VM2 has a backlit display. It charges via Micro USB, so you don’t need to replace the battery. But the best thing about the VM2 is that it has a Micro-SD slot. That means its storage capacity is nearly unlimited, and that game saves are easily transferrable. You can archive the saves on your PC, or if you’ve been playing a Dreamcast game on an emulator, you can transfer that save to the VM2 and continue your game on a real Dreamcast!
The down side? The price. Each VM2 will cost you a pledge that’s over $100 and this probably doesn’t factor shipping costs in. Since they’re coming from Greece it won’t be cheap to ship. But if you have the console, and the cash, it’s something to think about. Get your VM2 by heading to this page — the campaign stays open for the next 30 days and the units ship in August of 2023.