In their hardware days, Sega was always known for being ahead of their time. The Dreamcast Keyboard and Dreamcast Mouse are interesting example sof thinking outside of normal console gaming protocol in order to bring Sega fans the best console experience possible.
Like many of Sega’s quirky peripherals, there aren’t a whole lot of uses for them. But the Keyboard and Mouse actually have a few tricks up their sleeves.
Fans of the FPS genre are always complaining that console controls just don’t cut it for shooters when you want quick response time and pin-point accuracy. Usually, these gamers will just stay on their PC to game, but if for some reason they find themselves with nothing but a Dreamcast and a copy of Unreal Tournament, the Dreamcast keyboard (teamed with a mouse) may keep them from going insane.
Just about any other FPS on the Dreamcast like Quake III Arena, Outtrigger, Heavy Metal Geomatrix, and a handful of others (including the leaked Half-Life release) also support the Mouse and Keyboard so you can get you true game on.
Web-Browsing & Linux
One of the coolest things about the Dreamcast at the time of its release was the built-in modem. Not only did it allow you to play online multiplayer games, but you could also surf the Net on your couch or use your Dreamcast for a PC device (especially teamed with a Dreamcast VGA adapter). The web browser disc came with the Dreamcast and worked with any standard dial-up connection or a broadband connection teamed with the Dreamcast Broadband Adapter.
The the geekier crowd that wasn’t satisfied with Sega’s web browser, Linux was also an option to turn the Dreamcast into a more PC-like device.
Typing of the Dead
If you ask me, the one game that makes the Dreamcast Keyboard worth owning is Typing of the Dead. Yes, this game from Sega is essentially the light-gun classic House of the Dead 2 but with Keyboards instead of guns. As my friends at Bits, Bytes, Pixels, and Sprites demonstrates, Typing of the Dead is a quirky but fun expedition that shouldn’t be missed by true Dreamcast fans.
Other Game Support
There are also some other games that support the Dreamcast keyboard, but I haven’t figured out the purpose behind all of them.
- Phantasy Star Online was a killer app for the keyboard when you could chat with other players when the servers used to be a-blazin’.
- Worms World Party added keyboard support for those people like me who are used to the PC controls but were disappointed with the limited possibilities in the Dreamcast version of Worms Armedeggon.
- Starlancer was a PC game first, so I imagine the controls can map nicely in that game, but I haven’t tried it.
- Virtual On: OT also supports it, but I haven’t a clue how that would work out.
- And finally, I have see keyboard support a bunch of fighting games, but I haven’t really figured out how that is beneficial.
- If anybody can clue me in more on this topic, I’d appreciate it.
Dreamcast Keyboard & Mouse Adapters
If you have a spare PC mouse and keyboard and don’t want to spend a little extra money for the authentic Dreamcast gear, there are a few third-part adapters that will allow you to use your PC gear on the Dreamcast. Keep in mind, all the ones that I have seen require the older PS/2 keyboards and mice, not the USB ones that are most common now.