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January 15, 2021
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Sega unveils never-before-seen prototype 'Venus' handheld

November 30, 2020 | By Chris Kerr

Sega has pulled back the curtain on a prototype handheld called the Venus that served as the precursor to the Genesis Nomad. 

As spotted by Nintendo Life, the company briefly spotlighted the vintage hardware during a video history lesson hosted by Sega producer and manager Hiroyuki Miyazaki. 

The historical deep dive charts Sega's hardware lineage, and offers a glimpse at the never-before-seen prototype -- which sports a less angular design and more metallic finish than the final consumer model that eventually launched in North America in 1995 as the Nomad. 

"Venus was a portable Mega Drive that was released only in North America as the Nomad," explains Miyazaki. "It's a Mega Drive with an LCD screen, [and] it accepts the North American Genesis cartridges. Recently I discovered a prototype of it, and this is the first time for it to be shown publicly.

"You can see its codename is printed on the body here: Venus. This portable console was released in 1995 after both the Super 32X and the Saturn."

Although the Nomad is widely considered a commercial failure after selling just 1 million units in around four years, it still garnered praise for being the first true 16-bit handheld, and it's interesting to see how the device took shape behind closed doors.

You can watch the full history lesson (with captions) by checking out the video embedded above. 

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