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Dreamcast Controller

From Sega Retro

Dreamcast Controller.jpg
Fast facts on the Dreamcast Controller
Manufacturer: Sega
Made for: Sega Dreamcast
Release Date RRP Code
Sega Dreamcast
JP
¥2,500 ?
Sega Dreamcast
JP (Millenium 2000)
¥2,500[1] ?
Sega Dreamcast
US
$? ?
Sega Dreamcast
EU
€19.99[2] ? ?
Sega Dreamcast
DE
DM 59,95[3] ? ?
Sega Dreamcast
AU
$49.95 ?


The Dreamcast Controller (ドリームキャスト コントローラ) is the primary interface for interacting with the Sega Dreamcast video game console. It was bundled with every system and is supported by every Dreamcast game.

Hardware

With the Dreamcast, Sega went back to using the term "controller" for its main form of input, having previously preferred the term "control pad" with the Sega Mega Drive and Sega Saturn. As is to be expected, it increments on ideas seen with previous Sega hardware, being the logical progression from the Saturn's 3D Control Pad, originally debuting in mid-1996 as a response to the Nintendo 64. However, the 3D Control Pad was not as widely adopted as perhaps hoped, so the Dreamcast is the first (and only) Sega console to be equipped with analogue controls straight out of the box.

On the top left of the controller sits an "analogue thumb pad" (analogue stick), above a four-way directional pad (D-Pad), a Start button in the centre of the controller and A, B, X and Y face buttons on the right. On top of the controller there are two analogue triggers, L and R in the top-left and top-right, respectively. Unlike the Sega Saturn (and Mega Drive) there are no C and Z buttons, and the controller has moved past the need for a switch to toggle between analogue and digital modes, seen on the 3D Control Pad.

The most striking difference with the Dreamcast controller is its two "expansion sockets" on the top. Typically the first socket (in front) houses a VMU (as there is a gap to see the screen) while the one in back houses other expansions such as the Jump Pack.

The Dreamcast controller stands as Sega's largest standard control pad for any of their systems, and was not redesigned during the console's run. Over the years it has run into some criticism, primarily for being uncomfortable for those with larger hands, but also for the high sensitivity of the thumb pad. Furthermore its lack of a second thumb pad was a noticable disadvantage when compared to the PlayStation 2 (and original PlayStation in its later years). It was also the last mainstream video game controller not to have vibration features as standard.

One curious design feature is controller's lead, which comes out of the bottom, only to be looped back up and clipped in place so as not to get in the way. While unconventional, Sega appears to have designed it this way to assist with storage - that is to say, the lead can be wrapped around the controller and clipped at the end.

Many novelty Dreamcast controllers were produced in a wide variety of colours.

Internal workings

Although each button can be configured to perform a specific and distinctive action, all of the buttons, except for the two analog triggers and thumb pad, work on the same principle. In essence, each button is a switch that completes a circuit whenever it is pressed. A small metal disc beneath the button is pushed into contact with two strips of conductive material on the circuit board inside the controller. While the metal disc is in contact, it conducts electricity between the two strips.

The controller senses that the circuit is closed and sends that data to the Dreamcast. The CPU compares that data with the instructions in the game software for that button, and triggers the appropriate response. There is also a metal disc under each arm of the directional pad. If you're playing a game in which pushing down on the directional pad causes the character to crouch, a similar string of connections is made from the time of the push down on the pad to when the character crouches.

The analog thumb pad and triggers work in a completely different way from the buttons described above. The triggers each have a tiny magnet attached to the end of the trigger arm. When the trigger is depressed, the magnet is pushed toward a sensor mounted on the controller's circuit board. Through the process of induction, the magnet creates resistance to the current passing through the sensor. On the bottom of the magnet is a layer of foam padding. Pushing harder on the trigger compresses the padding, which brings the magnet closer to the sensor. The closer the magnet is to the sensor, the more resistance is induced. This variable resistance makes the triggers pressure-sensitive.

The thumb pad also uses a magnet, along with four small sensors. The sensors are arranged like a compass, with one at each of the cardinal points (north, south, east, west). The base of the joystick is shaped like a ball, with tiny spokes radiating out. The ball sits in a socket above the sensors. Spikes on the socket fit between the spokes on the ball. This allows for an extraordinary amount of movement without letting the thumb pad twist out of alignment with the sensors. As the thumb pad is moved, the magnet in the base moves closer to one or two of the sensors, and farther from the others. The system monitors the changes in induction caused by the magnet's movement to calculate the position of the thumb pad.

Magazine articles

Main article: Dreamcast Controller/Magazine articles.

Gallery

List of controllers

Japan

DCController NTSC.jpg Standard (HKT-7701) (1998-11-27)
Standard Dreamcast controllers are white, a colour which was reportedly decided very late in the console's development cycle. This original Japanese model was the basis for all controllers which followed.
Dreamcast, JP
Dc standardcontroller jp box back.jpgNospine-small.pngDc standardcontroller jp box front.jpg
Cover
Controller DC JP Millennium2000Blue.jpg Millennium 2000: Aqua Blue (アクアブル) (HKT-7700-01) ()
Dreamcast, JP
Controller DC JP Box Top Millennium2000AquaBlue.jpg
Controller DC JP Box Back Millennium2000AquaBlue.jpgController DC JP Box Spine Millennium2000AquaBlue.jpgController DC JP Box Front Millennium2000AquaBlue.jpgController DC JP Box Spine2 Millennium2000AquaBlue.jpg
Cover
DCController Millennium2000 Green.jpg Millennium 2000: Lime Green (ライム グリーン) (HKT-7700-02) ()
Dreamcast, JP

Controller DC JP Millennium2000Pink.jpg Millennium 2000: Passion Pink (パッションピンク) (HKT-7700-03) ()
Dreamcast, JP

Controller DC JP Millennium2000Black.jpg Millennium 2000: Smoke (スモーク) (HKT-7700-04) ()
Dreamcast, JP

DCController AquaBlue JP.jpg Aqua Blue (アクアブル) (HKT-7700-06) ()
Dreamcast, JP
Controller DC JP Box Back AquaBlue.jpgNospine-small.pngController DC JP Box Front AquaBlue.jpg
Cover
Controller DC JP LimeGreen.jpg Lime Green (ライム グリーン) (HKT-7700-07) ()
Dreamcast, JP
Controller DC JP Box Back LimeGreen.jpgNospine-small.pngController DC JP Box Front LimeGreen.jpg
Cover
Controller DC JP PassionPink.jpg Passion Pink (パッションピンク) (HKT-7700-08) ()
Dreamcast, JP
Controller DC JP Box Back PassionPink.jpgNospine-small.pngController DC JP Box Front PassionPink.jpg
Cover
Controller DC JP Smoke.jpg Smoke (スモーク) (HKT-7700-09) ()
Dreamcast, JP

DCController JP Lepoard.jpg Leopard () ()
Available exclusively through Dreamcast Direct.
Dreamcast, JP

Controller DC JP Wood.jpg Wood () ()
Available exclusively through Dreamcast Direct.
Dreamcast, JP

Controller DC JP Camouflage.jpg Camouflage () ()
Available exclusively through Dreamcast Direct.
Dreamcast, JP

Controller DC JP Marble.jpg Marble () ()
Available exclusively through Dreamcast Direct.
Dreamcast, JP

DCController JP Pink.jpg Pink () ()
Dreamcast, JP

Controller DC PearlBlue.jpg Pearl Blue () ()
Available exclusively through Dreamcast Direct.
Dreamcast, JP

DCController JP Silver.jpg Silver () ()
Available exclusively through Dreamcast Direct.
Dreamcast, JP

DCController JP Black.jpg Super Black () ()
Available exclusively through Dreamcast Direct.
Dreamcast, JP

DCController JP CodeVeronicaRed.jpg Biohazard Code: Veronica (red) () ()
Packaged with console.
DCController JP CodeVeronicaBlack.jpg Biohazard Code: Veronica (black) () ()
Packaged with console.
DCController JP HelloKittyPink.jpg Hello Kitty (pink) () ()
Packaged with console.
DCController JP HelloKittyBlue.jpg Hello Kitty (blue) () ()
Packaged with console.
DCController JP R7.jpg R7 () ()
Packaged with console.
Controller DC JP Clear.jpg Clear (クリア) (HKT-7700-18) ()
Dreamcast, JP

Controller DC JP SakuraTaisen.jpg Sakura Taisen Controller (サクラ大戦 コントローラ) (HKT-7700-19) ()
Dreamcast, JP
Controller DC JP Box Front SakuraTaisen.jpg
Cover
Controller DC JP SakuraTaisen Alt.jpg Sakura Taisen
Packaged with console.
Controller DC JP ChuChuRocket.jpg ChuChu Rocket! Limited Edition (HDR-0048) (1999-11-11)
This orange Dreamcast controller was released as part of a limited edition version of ChuChu Rocket!. It was not sold separately.
Dreamcast, JP
ChuchuRocket DC JP LEControllerBox Back.jpgChuchuRocket DC JP LEControllerBox.jpg
Cover
Divers 2000 Series
Packaged with console.

North America

DCController NTSC.jpg Standard (MK-50100) (1999-09-09)
Dreamcast, US
Dc standardcontroller us box front.jpg
Cover
DreamcastControllerInstructionManualU.pdf
Manual
DCController Blue NTSC.jpg Transparent-blue (MK-50101) ()
Dreamcast, US

DCController Green NTSC.jpg Transparent-green (MK-50102) ()
Dreamcast, US

DCController Red US.jpg Transparent-red (MK-50103) ()
Dreamcast, US

DCController US Yellow.jpg Transparent-yellow (MK-50104) ()
It is said yellow controllers (and VMUs) are the hardest colour to find in North America.
Dreamcast, US

DCController BlackGrey US.jpg Charcoal Anthracite (MK-50105) ()
Dreamcast, US
Controller DC US Box Back Charcoal.jpgNospine-small.pngDCController US Black Box Front.jpgController DC US Box Spine2 Charcoal.jpg
Cover
DCController US SegaSports.jpg Sega Sports () ()
Packaged with console.

Europe

Dreamcast Controller.jpg Standard () (1999-10-14)
Dreamcast, EU
DCController EU Box Front.jpg
Cover
Controller DC EU Red.jpg Transparent-red() ()
Available exclusively via Dreamarena.
Dreamcast, EU

Controller DC EU Yellow.jpg Transparent-yellow () ()
Available exclusively via Dreamarena.
Dreamcast, EU

Controller DC EU Green.jpg Transparent-green () ()
Available exclusively via Dreamarena.
Dreamcast, EU

Controller DC EU Blue.jpg Transparent-blue () ()
Available exclusively via Dreamarena.
Dreamcast, EU

DCController EU Sonic.jpg Sonic the Hedgehog 10th Anniversary
Packaged with console.

Hardware Diagrams

References

Sega Retro Average 
Publication Score Source
80 №216, p66[4]
Sega Dreamcast
80
Based on
1 review

  1. 1.0 1.1 File:DreamInformation Vol12, page 9
  2. File:CVG UK 215.pdf, page 59
  3. File:SegaMagazin DE 71.pdf, page 7
  4. File:CVG UK 216.pdf, page 66
Sega Dreamcast Hardware
 Dreamcast Variations   Special Dreamcast Models
 Console Add-ons   Dreamcast Karaoke | Dreameye
Game Controllers   Controller | Arcade Stick | Fishing Controller | Gun (Dream Blaster) | Racing Controller | Maracas Controller | Twin Stick | Keyboard | Mouse
Controller Add-ons   Jump Pack (Third Party) | Microphone | VMU (Third Party)
Controller Connectors DC Tsunaident 123 | Dream Connection 2 in 1 | Dream Connection 4 in 1 | Dream Connection II | Super Converter 3 | Total Control | Total Control 2 | Total Control Plus | Total Control 3 | Total Control 5
Development Hardware Dreamcast Dev.Box | Controller Box | Dreamcast Controller Function Checker | Sound Box | GD-Writer | C1/C2 Checker | Dev.Cas | Dreamcast GD-ROM Duplicator
Online Services/Add-ons   Dreamarena | SegaNet | WebTV for Dreamcast | Modem | Modular Cable | Dreamcast Modular Extension Cable | Broadband Adapter | Dreamphone
Connector Cables   5-Pin Cable | Audio Cable | RF Adapter | Scart Cable | Stereo AV Cable | VGA Adapter

Dreamcast MIDI Interface Cable | Neo Geo Pocket/Dreamcast Setsuzoku Cable | Taisen Cable

Misc. Hardware   Action Replay | Code Breaker | Kiosk | MP3 DC | MP3 DC Audio Player | Treamcast
Unreleased Accessories   Dreamcast DVD Player | Dreamcast Zip Drive | Swatch Access for Dreamcast | VMU MP3 Player
Arcade Variants   Sega NAOMI | Atomiswave | Sega Aurora
Other Articles Hardware Comparison | History (Development | Release | Decline and Legacy) | List of Games