The Sega Nomad, released in 1995, is a handheld game console released in North America and Japan. The system was never released in Europe. It was inspired by the Sega Mega Jet released for use on Japan Airlines airliners.
It was basically a handheld Genesis; it played all Genesis games, and the controls had six action buttons similar to the Genesis six button gamepad. It was about the same size as the previous Sega handheld system Game Gear, but was thicker and heavier.
The Nomad could be connected to the television using the same scart or RF lead as the Sega Genesis 2. A Genesis controller could also connect to a port on the bottom of the machine for two player games. The Sega CD and Sega 32x add-ons, however, were not compatible with the Nomad.
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 Nintendo Game Boy and Game Gear handhelds did.
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.
||Motorola M68000 16 bit processor running at 7.67 MHz
||Zilog Z80 8-bit at 4 MHz
||136KB total - 64 KB Main RAM, 64KB VRAM, 8KB Sound RAM. 20 Kb ROM
|Maximum onscreen sprites:
||320 x 224
||Yamaha YM2612 6 channel FM, additional 4 channel PSG. Stereo sound. Also Texas Instruments SN76489 PSG (Programmable Sound Generator)
||Integrated LCD at 320*224