The Sega Pico: A Look into Sega’s Educational Video Game Console 

By  Melinda Richardson

 May 9, 2023

When it comes to classic video game consoles, the Sega Pico is an often underrated one. This game console has a remarkable history that’s worth knowing about, and this guide is here to cover everything you need to know about the Sega Pico. The Sega Pico, also known as Kids Computer Pico and Advanced Pico Beena, was a console released by Sega in 1993 in Japan. It was released as both a standalone console, and as an add-on to the Sega Mega Drive system.

The console was focused on educational games aimed towards the younger audience, with educational titles covering topics such as mathematics, science, stories, music, and more. While the console was limited to the Japanese market with no releases outside of it, it was met with decent success with over 1.5 million units sold by 2003. Throughout its life, the Pico had numerous game releases for it, the majority of which were developed by a dedicated team within Sega.

These games were mostly puzzle and learning games, and some even had a unique feature that made use of an included stylus and drawing pad, allowing kids to draw and interact with the game in a more tactile way that was rare for its time. Additionally, many third-party publishers also released titles for the console, often times being localized versions of popular Japanese games. In this guide, we’ll take a look at the history, the games, and the legacy of Sega’s underrated educational console. So without further ado, let’s dive into the console that made learning fun: the Sega Pico.

History of the Sega Pico

The Sega Pico is an educational video game console released by Sega in 1993. It was designed for children between the ages of 3 to 7, and was meant to provide them with an interactive learning experience. The console featured a library of over 70 titles that focused on topics such as language, math, science, and history. The games featured colorful characters and engaging animations to help keep children entertained while they learned.

The Sega Pico was a success in its native Japan, selling over a million units. It was released in the US in 1995, but failed to gain a foothold in the market. Despite this, it has gained a cult following among retro gamers as a unique piece of gaming history. It was also popular in other parts of the world, such as Europe and Australia.

The Sega Pico was designed to be user friendly and easy to use. It featured a simplified controller, a touchscreen, and a stylus that allowed users to control the games on the console. Unlike traditional game consoles, the Sega Pico had no cartridges and all games were built into the console. This made it easier for children to learn how to play the games quickly.

In addition to the educational games, the Sega Pico also featured creative tools such as Paint and Music. Paint allowed users to draw pictures and save them onto the console, while Music allowed them to create their own songs. The console also featured a variety of ports, allowing users to link it to other Sega consoles and accessories.

Despite the failure of the Sega Pico in the US, it has become a beloved piece of gaming history. Its unique design, user-friendly interface, and library of educational games will always be remembered as a classic gaming console.

Features of the Sega Pico

The Sega Pico, released in 1993, was Sega’s first foray into the educational video game market. While it was not a commercial success, it featured a number of interesting features that set it apart from other consoles of the time.

The Sega Pico was designed as an educational video game console that allowed children to interact with books, puzzles, and games. It came with a stylus pen, which allowed users to easily draw and write on the console. The games were designed to teach basic reading, writing, mathematics, and other educational topics.

Another unique feature of the Sega Pico was its “Picture Magic” cartridge. This cartridge allowed users to insert a blank cartridge into the console, which could be filled with various images and patterns. This feature allowed users to create custom art and share it with others.

In addition to its educational games, the Sega Pico also featured a number of mini-games. These mini-games included sports, arcade-style games, and even a racing game. The console also included a variety of educational tools, such as a calendar, timer, clock, and calculator.

The Sega Pico was considered a failure at the time of its release due to its lack of commercial success. However, it is still remembered fondly by many people today as an innovative console with a variety of features. Its unique design and educational focus set it apart from other consoles of the time and its Picture Magic cartridge allowed users to create and share their own artwork. The Sega Pico was ahead of its time and is still an interesting console to explore.

Development and Production of the Console

The Sega Pico, first released in Japan in 1993, was Sega’s first foray into educational gaming. This console was unique in its ability to combine video game entertainment with educational activities. The Sega Pico was designed to be a multimedia device, able to play both educational games and classic Sega titles. The console was produced by Sega’s educational entertainment division and was primarily targeted towards children aged 3-8.

The Sega Pico was designed to be used in the classroom environment or at home. The console was designed with a large LCD screen, allowing for larger and more interactive visual content. This was coupled with a stylus to allow for precise control of the interface. It featured a removable cartridge, which allowed for multiple games to be played on the same console.

The Sega Pico was developed with proprietary software, which was designed to be used in educational settings. This software included a variety of educational titles, such as math, spelling, and geography games. The software was also capable of displaying digital books with interactive elements, such as animations and audio narration.

The Sega Pico was well received by the public, being sold in both Japan and the United States. In Japan, it was marketed as an educational device, while in North America it was marketed as a console. Its innovative technology and educational content made it popular with both parents and educators. In addition to its educational content, the Sega Pico was also able to play classic Sega titles, such as Sonic the Hedgehog, Ecco the Dolphin, and Streets of Rage.

The Sega Pico was produced for nearly a decade and was eventually succeeded by the Sega Advanced Pico Beena in 2003. Although the console has been discontinued, its legacy still lives on, with a handful of rare Sega Pico titles still regularly being sold in the secondary market. The Sega Pico remains a testament to Sega’s innovative design and educational development.

Educational Games and Content

Educational video games are becoming increasingly popular for learning and teaching in classrooms. One of the most recognizable early educational video game consoles is the Sega Pico, released in 1994 in Japan.

The Sega Pico was sold with a library of over 100 cartridges, each containing educational content created by a variety of third-party developers. The console was designed to be used by children between the ages of three and eight, offering a range of activities and games which focused on learning and development.

The games on the Sega Pico featured basic gameplay styles and visuals, but also used sound and animation to keep the player engaged. For example, the game “Pico Rally” used a racing game style with a map to provide guidance, while the game “Paint Studio” used a drawing program to teach the fundamentals of art.

The Sega Pico also featured activities such as board games, puzzles, and educational software. The “Pico Reader” cartridge, for example, was a storybook game which featured interactive stories and animations. Similarly, the “Pico Clock” cartridge was used to teach kids about time management, with a colorful clock and other educational activities.

The Sega Pico was widely praised for its educational content, with many parents and educators noting its effectiveness in teaching children. While the console is no longer available, many of its games can be found online, allowing kids to experience the Sega Pico’s educational content even today.

The Legacy of the Sega Pico

The Sega Pico was a video game console made by Sega and released in 1994. It was designed to be an educational tool to help children learn basic skills such as reading and counting. While the console was not widely popular, it has found a strong following among retro gamers and those who appreciate the unique nature of the system.

The Sega Pico was the first console to feature a touchscreen, allowing for a level of interactivity not seen in previous video game consoles. It also had a unique library of games that focused on educational topics. Players could learn about history and science, practice their reading and math skills, and even play music. The console also featured a wide variety of accessories, including pens and other tools that could be used to customize games and create new experiences.

The legacy of the Sega Pico has been kept alive over the years by retro gamers and those who appreciate the unique nature of the console. Its library of educational games is a reminder of how video games can be used to teach important skills. Its touchscreen design has been adopted by many modern consoles and its interactive nature was a precursor to the motion control systems common today.

The Sega Pico is a unique and important piece of video game history. It may not have been the most popular system, but it still has an impact on modern gaming. With its focus on educational games and its innovative use of a touchscreen, the Sega Pico has left a lasting legacy.

Alternatives to the Sega Pico

If you’re looking for an alternative to the Sega Pico, you have a wide variety of options. From classic home consoles to handheld systems, there’s something for everyone.

If you love the classic Sega Genesis console, you can find the Sega Genesis Mini, a smaller version of the original that comes with 40 pre-loaded Genesis games. It also has two controllers and an HDMI output for connecting to a TV. The console is small enough to fit in your pocket, so you can take it on the go.

If you’re looking for a more modern gaming experience, you can opt for the Nintendo Switch. This console is incredibly versatile and can be used on the go or in the comfort of your own home. It has an array of motion-control games, allowing you to get the most out of your gaming experience.

If you want something specifically designed for younger gamers, the LeapFrog LeapPad Ultimate is a great choice. LeapPad is an interactive learning system that features educational games and apps designed to help kids learn and grow. It also has a Kids First Mode, which allows parents to customize the settings to limit game time and more.

Finally, if you’re looking for a more affordable option, you can check out the Raspberry Pi. This tiny computer is incredibly cheap and can be used to play old-school games as well as create your own. With the Raspberry Pi, you can customize your gaming experience however you want.

No matter what type of gaming experience you’re looking for, there’s an alternative to the Sega Pico that’s perfect for you. So go ahead and explore your options today!

About the author

Melinda Richardson

Melinda is a videogame programmer who developed video games for the original Sony PlayStation and for the Sega Saturn.

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