Sega’s Extremely Rare 1986 AI Computer: An Incredible Discovery

If you have any background in the game industry, you are most likely aware of Sega. Sega is a well-known and relatively prosperous firm that created famous characters like Sonic the Hedgehog and devices like the Sega Genesis. In 1986, the Sega AI computer was introduced in Japan and was among the company’s less well-known endeavors.

In 1986, the Sega AI computer was introduced in Japan and was among the company's less well-known endeavors.

It has a 16-bit, 5MHz-clocked NEC V20 CPU, 128KB of RAM, and software stored on a combination of cassettes and Sega My Cards. A preserved example of one of these uncommon devices was recently found, providing us with an early look at what may be the first “AI computer.”

All of this is possible because of Omar Cornut, who discovered, bought, and informed SMS Power about one of these devices. The SMS Power team has been able to showcase some of the games and other software that were able to run on this computer. He also dumped a number of program cards and cassettes.

Sega's 1986 AI Computer: Kid-Friendly Journal App

In terms of the software itself, the most of it was created with young users in mind, with the intention of teaching Prolog AI. Prolog is still used in some industrial settings, though it is not as common as it once was. One example is IBM’s Watson, a computer system that can understand plain language.

Sega’s 1986 AI Computer: Kid-Friendly Journal App

One of the software programs that included with the computer was a kid-oriented journal. In its July 1986 issue, “Electronics” magazine said that the application asked the user questions about their day. The user would reply with a single or double word response, from which a diary entry with proper grammar would be generated.

Sega's 1986 AI Computer: Kid-Friendly Journal App

“Considering the elusive nature of this machine, it’s possible that some games have never been seen or completed by anyone outside of their original development teams,” Cornut explained to Dexerto. “The majority of these software titles had zero information about them on the internet prior to us publishing them: no screenshots, no photos, or scans of the actual software.”

We believe that both obscure game and computer historians and enthusiasts will find this release intriguing. By providing more scans, presumably enhancing emulation, and publishing/finding new material, we will gradually modify it further.

Sega’s AI Computer: A Blast from the Past

A computer from nearly forty years ago was being promoted in a way that wouldn’t seem out of place today, especially with companies like Intel talking about “AI PCs.” Sega’s AI computer never made it to the United States (or even left Japan). Though “AI” was quite different back then from what it is today, the Sega AI computer was still incredibly inadequate compared to even the most affordable PCs launched today. One thing is for sureā€”it was nothing like ChatGPT.

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1 thought on “Sega’s Extremely Rare 1986 AI Computer: An Incredible Discovery”

  1. Usually I do not read article on blogs however I would like to say that this writeup very compelled me to take a look at and do it Your writing style has been amazed me Thank you very nice article

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