At this point in my system collecting, I'm falling into the abyss of oddities and obscurities. Sega Pico is a system I hadn't even heard of until just a few weeks ago. It's not super rare, but I had never seen it on any of the game console reference lists that I usually use--instead, I discovered it during a random scroll through Wikipedia's list of consoles. Like the R-Zone, VTech V.Smile, and Mattel Hyperscan, the Sega Pico straddles that strange line between game system and toy. And like the V.Tech's, it was marketed as a educational device for the age 3-8 crowd. Which is probably why I never saw it on the usual reference lists. But it looked like a cool concept and it was made by Sega, with some games based on Sega characters, and the asking price isn't too crazy, so I figured I'd pick one up.
The system was released in the mid-90s and it uses the same technology as the Genesis. Each of the cartridges is like a book. The system detects when you've flipped the page, and each page is it's own "world map" with things to do on each page. The most unique part of the system is the pen. The pen corresponds to a cursor on the screen. The system has a pad area that can detect the pen movement and can be clicked on...acting almost like a mouse. In each page, you can click certain areas to initiate mini-games. In each mini-game (which are usually educational or pretend to have some educational purpose), you will use either the cursor buttons or the pen for the controls, depending on the mini-game you're playing.
I have about 10 games with the system, but so far I've only tried Sonic's Gameworld, Tails and the Music Maker, and Winnie the Pooh. Others include games based on Ecco the Dolphin Jr, Mickey Mouse, Berenstein Bears, The Muppets, Magic School Bus, Lion King, and more. I had fun messing around with the Pico for an hour or so, and a couple of the mini-games weren't half bad (the best was on Winnie the Pooh, guiding Pooh with the pen while he floats up with a balloon and tries to avoid bees flying by that want to pop the balloon), but obviously there's not much here that's going to exilerate the adult gamer. If you have kids, or nieces/nephews, etc., or just want an odd system for your Sega collection, then I think the Pico is worth a look.
Any thoughts on this system / anyone tried one recently or back in the day?
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The family has evolved through these 'my firsr video game console' edutainment units. Never played the Pico, but been through several Leapfrog units. Leapfrog seemed to enter the marketplace after the Pico, and has done pretty well. We also have had a Vtech unit, with quite a lot of games and the early reading books. Games often use a licensced IP like Thomas the Tank Engine, a Disney character, a superhero, etc.