Sega Pico

Last updated

Sega Pico
Sega Pico Logo.jpg
Kids Computer Pico-01.jpg
Also known asKids Computer Pico
Manufacturer Sega Toys
Type Video game console
Generation Fourth generation era
Release date
  • JP: June 1993
  • NA: November 1994
  • EU: 1994
  • KOR: 1995
Introductory price JP¥13,440
US$49.95 (Majesco)
  • EU: 1998
  • NA: February 1998
  • JP: 2005
Units sold
  • JP: 3.4 million
  • NA: 400,000 (as of January 1996)
Media"Storyware" (Cartridge)
Successor Advanced Pico Beena

The Sega Pico, also known as Kids Computer Pico, [lower-alpha 1] is an educational video game console by Sega Toys. Marketed as "edutainment", the main focus of the Pico was educational video games for children between 3 and 7 years old. The Pico was released in June 1993 in Japan and November 1994 in North America and Europe, later reaching China. It was succeeded by the Advanced Pico Beena, which was released in Japan in 2005. Though the Pico was sold continuously in Japan through the release of the Beena, in North America and Europe the Pico was less successful and was discontinued in early 1998, later being re-released by Majesco Entertainment. Releases for the Pico were focused on education for children and included titles supported by licensed franchised animated characters, including Sega's own Sonic the Hedgehog series. Overall, Sega claims sales of 3.4 million Pico consoles and 11.2 million game cartridges, and over 350,000 Beena consoles and 800,000 cartridges.


Design and software

A screenshot featuring gameplay from Sonic Gameworld, a typical example of a Pico game KakutouRouletteSonicGameworld.jpg
A screenshot featuring gameplay from Sonic Gameworld , a typical example of a Pico game

Powered by the same hardware used in the Sega Genesis, [1] the physical shape of the Pico was designed to appear similar to a laptop. Included in the Pico is a stylus called the "Magic Pen" and a pad to draw on. Controlling the games for the system is accomplished either by using the Magic Pen like a mouse or by pressing the directional buttons on the console. The Pico does not include its screen or RF output, and instead must be connected to a monitor through Composite video or a VCR to be played on an RF screen. [2] Touching the pen to the pad would either allow drawing or animate a character on the screen. [3]

Cartridges for the system were referred to as "Storyware", and take the form of picture books with a cartridge slot on the bottom. The Pico changes the television display and the set of tasks for the player to accomplish each time a page is turned. [2] Sound, including voices and music, also accompanied every page. Games for the Pico focused on education, including on subjects such as music, counting, spelling, reading, matching, and coloring. Titles included licensed animated characters from various franchises, such as Disney's The Lion King: Adventures at Pride Rock and A Year at Pooh Corner. Sega also released titles including their mascot, Sonic the Hedgehog, including Sonic Gameworld [3] and Tails and the Music Maker . [4]

According to former Sega console hardware research and development head Hideki Sato, the development of the Sega Pico was possible due to the company's past work on the MyCard cartridges developed for the SG-1000, as well as on drawing tablets. The sensor technology used in the pad came from that developed for 1987 arcade game World Derby, while its CPU and graphics chip came from the Genesis. [5]


At the price of JP¥13,440, [6] the Pico was released in Japan in June 1993. [7] In North America, Sega unveiled the Pico at the 1994 American International Toy Fair, showcasing its drawing and display abilities [8] before releasing it in November. [9] The console was advertised at a price of approximately US$160 [10] but was eventually released at a price of US$139. "Storyware" cartridges sold for US$39.99 to US$49.99. The Pico's slogan was: "The computer that thinks it's a toy." [3] The Sega Pico won a few awards including the "National Parenting Seal of Approval", a "Platinum Seal Award" and a gold medal for "National Association of Parenting Publications Awards". [11]

After a lack of success, Sega discontinued the Pico in North America in early 1998. Later, a remake of the Pico made by Majesco Entertainment was released in North America in August 1999 at a price of US$49.99, with Storyware selling at $19.99. [12] [13] The Pico would later be released in China in 2002, priced at CN¥690. [14]

In 2000, Sega claimed that the Pico had sold 2.5 million units. [6] As of April 2005, Sega claims that 3.4 million Pico consoles and 11.2 million software cartridges had been sold worldwide. [15] The Pico was recognized in 1995 by being listed on Dr. Toy's 100 Best Products, as well as being listed in Child as one of the best computer games available. According to Joseph Szadkowski of The Washington Times , "Pico has enough power to be a serious learning aid that teaches counting, spelling, matching, problem-solving, memory, logic, hand/eye coordination and important, basic computer skills." [16] Former Sega of America vice president of product development Joe Miller claims that he named his dog after the system because of his passion for the console. [1] By contrast, Steven L. Kent claims that Sega of Japan CEO Hayao Nakayama watched the Pico "utterly fail" in North America. [17] According to Warren Buckleitner of Children's Software Revenue, the Pico failed in North America due to a lack of credibility in the product. [12]

Advanced Pico Beena

Advanced Pico Beena
Advanced Pico Beena Logo.png
Manufacturer Sega Toys
Type Video game console
Generation Sixth generation era
CPU ARM7TDMI clocked at 81MHz
PredecessorSega Pico

The Advanced Pico Beena, also known simply as Beena or BeenaLite, is an educational console system targeted at young children sold by Sega Toys, released in 2005 in Japan. It is the successor to the Pico and marketed around the "learn while playing" concept. According to Sega Toys, the focus of the Advanced Pico Beena is on learning in a new social environment and is listed as their upper-end product. Topics listed as being educational focuses for the Beena include intellectual, moral, physical, dietary and safety education. [15] The name of the console was chosen to sound like the first syllables of "Be Natural". [18]

Compared to the Pico, Beena adds several functions. Beena can be played without a television, and supports multiplayer by a separately sold additional Magic Pen. The console also supports data saving. Playtime can be limited by settings in the system. Some games for the Beena also offer adaptive difficulty, which becomes more difficult to play based on the skill level of the player. [19] The Beena Lite, a more affordable version of the console, was released on July 17, 2008. At the time of its release, Sega estimated that 350,000 Beena consoles had been sold, and 800,000 game cartridges. [20] It is technically the last Sega console.

See also


  1. Japanese: キッズコンピューター・ピコ Hepburn: Kizzu Konpyūtā Piko

Related Research Articles

Handheld game console Small, portable video game console

A handheld game console, or simply handheld console, is a small, portable self-contained video game console with a built-in screen, game controls and speakers. Handheld game consoles are smaller than home video game consoles and contain the console, screen, speakers, and controls in one unit, allowing people to carry them and play them at any time or place.

Nintendo 64 Home video game console produced by Nintendo

The Nintendo 64 (officially abbreviated as N64, hardware model number pre-term: NUS, stylized as NINTENDO64) is a home video game console developed and marketed by Nintendo. Named for its 64-bit central processing unit, it was released in June 1996 in Japan, September 1996 in North America, and March 1997 in Europe and Australia. It was the last major home console to use the cartridge as its primary storage format until the Nintendo Switch in 2017. The Nintendo 64 was discontinued in 2002 following the launch of its successor, the GameCube, in 2001.

PlayStation (console) Fifth-generation and first home video game console developed by Sony

The PlayStation is a home video game console developed and marketed by Sony Computer Entertainment. It was first released on 3 December 1994 in Japan, on 9 September 1995 in North America, on 29 September 1995 in Europe, and on 15 November 1995 in Australia, and was the first of the PlayStation lineup of video game consoles. As a fifth generation console, the PlayStation primarily competed with the Nintendo 64 and the Sega Saturn.

Game Gear handheld game console developed by Sega

The Game Gear is an 8-bit fourth generation handheld game console released by Sega on October 6, 1990 in Japan, in April 1991 throughout North America and Europe, and during 1992 in Australia. The Game Gear primarily competed with Nintendo's Game Boy, the Atari Lynx, and NEC's TurboExpress. It shares much of its hardware with the Master System, and can play Master System games by the use of an adapter. Sega positioned the Game Gear, which had a full-color backlit screen with a landscape format, as a technologically superior handheld to the Game Boy.

Sega CD Add-on for the Sega Genesis video game console

The Sega CD, released as the Mega-CD in most regions outside North America and Brazil, is a CD-ROM accessory for the Mega Drive/Genesis designed and produced by Sega as part of the fourth generation of video game consoles. It was released on December 12, 1991 in Japan, October 15, 1992 in North America, and April 2, 1993 in Europe. The Sega CD plays CD-based games and adds hardware functionality such as a faster central processing unit and graphic enhancements like sprite scaling and rotation. It can also play audio CDs and CD+G discs.

Video game console Interactive entertainment computer or customized computer system for running video games

A video game console is a computer device that outputs a video signal or visual image to display a video game that one or more people can play.

The video game crash of 1983 was a large-scale recession in the video game industry that occurred from 1983 to 1985, primarily in the United States. The crash was attributed to several factors, including market saturation in the number of game consoles and available games, and waning interest in console games in favor of personal computers. Revenues peaked at around $3.2 billion in 1983, then fell to around $100 million by 1985. The crash abruptly ended what is retrospectively considered the second generation of console video gaming in North America.

Master System Video game console

The Sega Master System is a third-generation 8-bit home video game console manufactured by Sega. It was originally a remodeled export version of the Sega Mark III, the third iteration of the SG-1000 series of consoles, which was released in Japan in 1985 and featured enhanced graphical capabilities over its predecessors. The Master System launched in North America in 1986, followed by Europe in 1987, and Brazil in 1989. A Japanese version of the Master System was also launched in 1987, which features a few enhancements over the export models : a built-in FM audio chip, a rapid-fire switch, and a dedicated port for the 3D glasses. A cost-reduced model known as the Master System II was released in 1990 in North America and Europe.

SG-1000 home video game console developed by Sega

The SG-1000 is a home video game console manufactured by Sega and released in Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and other regions. It was Sega's first entry into the home video game hardware business. Introduced in 1983, the SG-1000 was released on the same day that Nintendo released the Family Computer in Japan. The SG-1000 was released in several forms, including the SC-3000 computer and the redesigned SG-1000 II released in 1984. A third iteration of the console, the Sega Mark III, was released in 1985. It provided a custom video display processor over previous iterations and served as the basis for the Master System in 1986, Sega's first internationally released console.

In the history of computer and video games, the fourth generation of game consoles began on October 30, 1987 with the Japanese release of NEC Home Electronics' PC Engine. Although NEC released the first console of this era, sales were mostly dominated by the rivalry between Nintendo's and Sega's consoles in North America: the Super Nintendo Entertainment System and the Sega Genesis. Handheld systems released during this time include the Nintendo Game Boy, released in 1989, and the Sega Game Gear, first released in 1990.

The fifth-generation era refers to computer and video games, video game consoles, and handheld gaming consoles dating from approximately October 4, 1993 to March 23, 2006. For home consoles, the best-selling console was the Sony PlayStation, followed by the Nintendo 64, and then the Sega Saturn. The PlayStation also had a redesigned version, the PSone, which was launched on July 7, 2000.

In the history of computer and video games, the third generation began on July 15, 1983, with the Japanese release of two systems: the Nintendo Family Computer and the Sega SG-1000. When the Famicom was released outside of Japan it was remodelled and marketed as the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). This generation marked the end of the North American video game crash, and a shift in the dominance of home video game manufacturers from the United States to Japan. Handheld consoles were not a major part of this generation, although the Game & Watch line from Nintendo had started in 1980 and the Milton Bradley Microvision came out in 1979 though both are considered second generation hardware.

Sega Genesis Fourth-generation home video game console and fourth developed by Sega

The Sega Genesis, known as the Mega Drive outside North America, is a 16-bit fourth-generation home video game console developed and sold by Sega. The Genesis is Sega's third console and the successor to the Master System. Sega released it as the Mega Drive in Japan in 1988, and later as the Genesis in North America in 1989. In 1990, it was distributed as the Mega Drive by Virgin Mastertronic in Europe, Ozisoft in Australasia, and Tec Toy in Brazil. In South Korea, it was distributed by Samsung as the Super Gam*Boy and later the Super Aladdin Boy.

V.Smile educational home video game console released by VTech in 2004

The V.Smile is a sixth-generation educational home video game console manufactured and released by VTech. Titles are available on ROM cartridges called "Smartridges", to play off the system's educational nature. The graphics are primarily sprite-based. The console is often sold bundled with a particular game, with most of them having a game called "Alphabet Park Adventure." Several variants of the V.Smile console are sold including handheld versions, or models with added functionality such as touch tablet integrated controllers or microphones. The V-Motion is a major variant with its own software lineup that includes motion sensitive controllers and has Smartriges designed to take advantage of motion-related "active learning". The V-Motion and Smartridges however are fully backwards compatible with other V.Smile variants and V.Smile Smartridges, and a V-Motion Smartridge can also be played on V.Smile console or handheld, albeit with limited functionality. However, in 2010, V.Smile NEW and OLD were canceled. VTech still made games for V.Smile Pocket and V.Motion.

Tectoy Brazilian video game and electronics company

Tec Toy S.A., trading as Tectoy since late 2007, is a Brazilian toy and electronics company headquartered in São Paulo. It is best known for producing, publishing, and distributing Sega consoles and video games in Brazil. The company was founded by Daniel Dazcal, Leo Kryss, and Abe Kryss in 1987 because Dazcal saw an opportunity to develop a market for electronic toys and video games, product categories that competitors did not sell in Brazil at the time. The company stock is traded on the Bovespa.

The history of Nintendo traces back to 1889, when it was founded to produce handmade hanafuda. Nintendo Co., Ltd. is a Japanese multinational consumer electronics company headquartered in Kyoto, Japan. It eventually became one of the most prominent figures in today's video game industry, being the world's largest video game company by revenue.

A home video game console or simply home console, is a video game device that is primarily used for home gamers, as opposed to in arcades or some other commercial establishment. Home consoles are one type of video game consoles, in contrast to the handheld game consoles which are smaller and portable, allowing people to carry them and play them at any time or place, along with microconsoles and dedicated consoles.

As the Sonic the Hedgehog series of platform games has grown in popularity, its publisher Sega has expanded the franchise into multiple different genres. Among these are several educational video games designed to appeal to young children. The first attempt to create an educational Sonic game was Tiertex Design Studios' Sonic's Edusoft for the Master System in late 1991, which was canceled despite having been nearly finished. When Sega launched the Sega Pico in 1994, it released Sonic the Hedgehog's Gameworld and Tails and the Music Maker for it. Orion Interactive also developed the 1996 Sega PC game Sonic's Schoolhouse, which used a 3D game engine and had an exceptionally large marketing budget. In the mid-2000s, LeapFrog Enterprises released educational Sonic games for its Leapster and LeapFrog Didj.


  1. 1 2 Horowitz, Ken (February 7, 2013). "Interview: Joe Miller". Sega-16. Archived from the original on June 20, 2018. Retrieved January 10, 2014.
  2. 1 2 "Sega's Younger Side: Pico and Sega Club Software". GamePro (65). IDG. December 1994. p. 80.
  3. 1 2 3 Beuscher, David. "Sega Pico - Overview". AllGame . Archived from the original on April 24, 2011. Retrieved September 1, 2014.
  4. "Tails and the Music Maker". AllGame . Archived from the original on November 16, 2014. Retrieved November 12, 2012.
  5. Sato, Hideki (November 1998). "The History of Sega Console Hardware". Famitsu (in Japanese). ASCII Corporation . Retrieved March 5, 2019 via Shmuplations.
  6. 1 2 "Sega Pico information" (in Japanese). Sega Toys. Archived from the original on April 8, 2009. Retrieved March 3, 2018.
  7. "Sega Pico Q&A" (in Japanese). Sega Toys. Archived from the original on August 27, 2008. Retrieved March 3, 2018.
  8. Fainaru, Steve (February 18, 1994). "It may be a Toy Fair, but it ain't kid stuff: High-tech goods shine at industry show". The Boston Globe . Archived from the original on September 24, 2014. Retrieved September 1, 2014 via HighBeam Research.
  9. "Sega captures dollar share of videogame market -- again; diverse product strategy yields market growth; Sega charts path for 1996". Business Wire . January 10, 1996. Retrieved September 29, 2011 via The Free Library.
  10. Gillen, Marilyn A. (July 9, 1994). "Sega, Nintendo Bring Big Plans To CES". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. 106 (28): 73. Retrieved September 29, 2011.
  11. "Pico Awards". Sega. Archived from the original on March 27, 1997. Retrieved March 3, 2018.
  12. 1 2 "Edison, N.J.-Based Firm Signs Video Game Distribution Deal with Sega". Home News Tribune. August 6, 1999. Archived from the original on June 29, 2014. Retrieved September 29, 2011 via HighBeam Research.
  13. "Majesco Signs Licensing Deal to Distribute Sega Pico Educational Systems: Systems Will Be Available In All Major Toy Retailers By Holiday Season". Business Wire. August 5, 1999.
  14. "Sega Toys markets Pico computer toy in China". Japan Toy and Game Software Journal. March 25, 2002. Archived from the original on September 21, 2014. Retrieved September 1, 2014 via HighBeam Research(subscription required).
  15. 1 2 "Sega Toys Business Strategy". Sega Toys. Archived from the original on December 16, 2005.
  16. Szadkowski, Joseph (February 26, 1996). "ROMper Room: The Best in Play" . The Washington Times . Retrieved September 1, 2014 via Questia Online Library.
  17. Horowitz, Ken (May 9, 2006). "Interview: Steven Kent". Sega-16. Archived from the original on February 23, 2018. Retrieved September 1, 2014.
  18. "Beena(ビーナ) シリーズ" (in Japanese). Sega Toys. Archived from the original on July 6, 2014. Retrieved October 23, 2014.
  19. "Beena Q&A" (in Japanese). Sega Toys. Archived from the original on December 12, 2005. Retrieved September 1, 2014.
  20. "『BeenaLite(ビーナライト)』7月17日新発売" (PDF) (in Japanese). Sega Toys. June 18, 2008. Archived (PDF) from the original on February 23, 2018. Retrieved October 23, 2014.