Sega Dreamcast peripherals: Remembering the Dreamcast fishing rod controller, maracas and other bizarre add-ons

Want to find out about the fishing rod controller and the Sega Dreamcast maracas? (Yes, those are both real things!) Look no further.

by Daryl Baxter
Sega Dreamcast

If you’re not familiar with the vast world of Sega Dreamcast peripherals, keep reading to learn all!

There’s always a console that people regard as the underdog, and if it’s given enough love, its lifespan is extended way past the date it was intended.

Sega’s Dreamcast console repeatedly reminds us all of this notion, and similar to the Nintendo PlayStation, people want to discover just what could have been, and everything that was to be announced around it, from the games, to the peripherals, even to its successor.

But since the console had its premature death cast in March 2001 by Sega, fans have been keeping it going by way of discovering just how the console came to be, what games could have been released for it, and what peripherals were being planned.

With that, we thought we’d show you a few peripherals of the Dreamcast; some known, some widely not.

Dreameye

Having the design lifted from a Polaroid Camera it seems, it would be able to shoot 32 pictures in the 1999-era resolution of 640 by 480. 

An article by IGN had mentioned it being used for future uses in games, and it seemed to compete with the ‘Game Boy Camera’ that had been released only the year before.

It had a colour scheme that matched the console and the controller, while it also had connections for a microphone and a way for it to communicate with the console; through the controller port and another at the back of the console.

But it was a bulky design, even for 1999, and even though it had its own game, ‘Visual Park’ where you could record video and even attempt to communicate with someone over the internet service that the Dreamcast came with, it saw a very limited release in Japan, and was slowly forgotten.

But it was forward-thinking, as we did see the ‘EyeToy’ on the PlayStation 2 just a couple of years later, and one only wonders what could have happened if the DreamEye had another chance.


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VMU

Even though we briefly spoke about this in another article, it’s worth going into more detail. This was Sega’s way of redefining what a ‘memory card’ was. It would slot into the controller, and depending on the game, it would either show the logo of the game, or something else to help guide you when you were at a specific level, or how the character you were controlling was doing.

When playing Code: Veronica, there would be a health-status bar to let you know if a herb was needed, while ‘Sega GT’ had its own mini-game with tracks to play, directly on the VMU. But of course, the one that most people remember is the Chao from Sonic Adventure, where you could look after one of the little creatures, and even battle them against other Chao with another VMU.

Way ahead of its time, and introduced the concept of an extension of the console beyond the bedroom, a part of the game could be played before you came back home.

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Maracas

Just using the Dreamcast controller wasn’t enough with some games; it had to show just what certain games could achieve with the right peripheral, and there couldn’t be a better example than the maracas.

Introduced with the game ‘Samba De Amigo’ towards the end of 1999, you could shake, swing and lunge your best maraca-battle to win the game as best you could.

The maracas plugged into a sensor, which would track the movements of the peripherals, while a mat would place the player’s feet at the correct position, so even the cord of the maracas could triangulate the position of them, making sure that the accuracy was almost-exact.

Unfortunately the peripheral was only used for this game, and while an improved version of ‘Samba De Amigo’ appeared the following year with new songs, that was it for the maracas, but one can dream to use a successor to the peripheral as joy-con extensions some day.

Fishing Controller

The one peripheral that is still remembered today, as much as the VMU. Compatible with all the fishing classics such as ‘Sega Bass Fishing’, ‘Fish Eyes Wild’ and, up to a point, Sonic Adventure with ‘Big the Cat’, it was one for the ages.

Having a design that perfectly mimicked a fishing-rod, the player could be able to control the game through the new layout of buttons on the rod, while the lever to the side would be able to reel in any fish caught in these games.

Oddly enough, they worked, and they worked well. There were even third-party fishing rods brought out at the time by ‘Mad Catz’ for example, so you could challenge your neighbours to a fishing-battle if that was your thing on Friday nights.

This peripheral was simply fun, and it admittedly had a design which was comfortable to use. Even some have attempted to play games such as Soul Calibur and Crazy Taxi with it, resulting in some fun videos.

It may be someone’s speedrun-streaming career someday, it could even be you.


There you have it; what could have been coming to your local electronics store twenty years back.

There’s rumoured additions to what could have been released if the Dreamcast had fared better, such as a DVD Player addon or an enhanced VMU pack. But for now, marvel at what Sega had brought out for the console, and what could have been if the Dreamcast had been given a couple of more years.

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Daryl Baxter