* Prices may differ from that shown
If you've got a dreamcast then you'll need a keyboard to make the most of it. You can surf the net and play games like Quake 3 using it instead of a normal dreamcast controller. It's the same as any other keyboard really apart from that it's got a dreamcast plug on the end and some of the keys are different. It's also very light so you don't need to be superman to have it on your lap. I'm not sure about the quality, it feels pretty good and the keys work without any problems but it feels a bit too light if you know what I mean. If you've got a dreamcast though this is an accessory that you really should get. I got mine for 9.99 recently so that's not very much for an accessory that makes owning a dreamcast much better. Surfing the net will never be the same when you get one of these.
It's grey, it's oblong, it's covered in keys, and it had a SEGA logo on the back.... Why, it must be the Sega Dreamcast keyboard! Actually, if it wasn't for the fact that it's got the word "dreamcast" prominently printed on the top right hand corner, and the ubiquitous SEGA "plug" on the end of the wire, you'd be forgiven for thinking this was just another PC keyboard ...and that's probably because, essentially, the dreamcast keyboard *IS* a thinly disguised windows 95 keyboard. This is evident by the fact that it's even got the extra "windows" keys on the bottom row (although they've been re-labled as "S1" "S2" and "S3", just to stop it being too obvious!). It's also got all those mysterious top-row keys like "SyS Rq", "Scroll Lock", and "Pause/Break"... the ones which nobody really seems to know the purpose of, and seem to only exist on todays keyboards in order to maintain compatability with obsolete 70s hardware.... OK, so I'm drifting away from the topic here... but what I'm trying to say is that the dreamcast keyboard is a very obviously re-badged lump of PC hardware. Furthermore, it's not a particularly top-of-the-range model that they've chosen to re-badge either; it's not in the league of logitech or microsoft... and much more in the class of "something you'd get for a fiver down the computer fair", or bundled with your PC ...a bit angular looking; slightly spartan, and no frills. That's not to say it's a bad keyboard... it's functional, and from a tactile point of view it's pleasant enough to use - but SEGA certainly haven't pushed out the boat in terms of what you get for the asking price! So, what would you want to use it for... the dreamcast is, after all, a games console, right? Well... for starters, the dreamcast comes with a built-in modem and web browser software... so chuck in a dreamcast keyboard and you've effectively got "set top box" internet access. Admittedly you can also use the web browser via the dreamcast joypad, but it's a long and laborious task to punch in URLs or e-mail letter-by-letter via an on-screen keyboard; so if you want to use the dreamcast's internet facilities to any real kind of degree, you're going to need a keyboard. Secondly, there's a couple of first-person shooters that are playable via a mouse/keyboard combination. Yup, I know it might sound strange if you're not familier with the genre, but there is NO better way to play games like QUAKE than with a keyboard/mouse set-up. And thirdly (and, most importantly, the reason why *I* bought the keyboard)... it's pretty much essential if you're going to take part in any kind of online gaming (such as the superlative "Phantasy Star Online")... a keyboard is the ONLY way to effectively communicate with other players (short of constantly communicating like an SMS phone-texting geek that is!), and without one you soon start to feel like you're lacking a *major* aspect of the game. ...so I confess; I bought a keyboard purely to talk to the other players in phantasy star online. Well, I'm sure there's worse reasons :-) Since buying the keyboard, I've discovered that for the same price you can get a third-party adaptor which will allow you to plug any standard keyboard into a dreamcast. In hindsight, I would probably have preferred to plumb for that option from the outset... I'm a big fan of ergonomic keyboards; I use them at home and at work, and it would have been nice to plug one of those into my dreamcast rather than have to use a conventional "wrist-bender" ....so If you're thinking of getting a DC keyboard, but already have a spare keyboard or two lying around, I'd definitely consider th at alternative before splashing out - the Sega keyboard does the job, but it's a bit expensive for what it is!
And here, concluding my round up of the Dreamcast peripherals (essential ones), I will write about the Internet device that is currently sitting on the floor under a pile of games, leads and controllers. What could this be? Yes, you guessed it, the Dreamcast keyboard! I could write you a 75word opinion, but that wouldn’t be fair on me. I need to inform you about everything I know of the World Wide Web surfing device for Dreamcast. Firstly, a keyboard is essential if you intend to use your Dreamcast for either playing online games, or surfing the web. When I first got my Dreamcast it took an absolute age to type in a URL because I didn’t have a keyboard – I, and many others, had to make do with the onscreen Alphabetical order keypad. Believe me – this will have put a lot of people off using the DC as an Internet device! It was slow, boring and made a horrible ‘dripping’ sound every time you pressed a letter! Oh the memories…where was I? Oh yes. Keyboard. The Dreamcast keyboard is a must have. You don’t want to be lumbered with standard control pad to surf the net with, but soon you’ll be able to use the keyboard in conjunction with the mouse so you can be online happy! The keyboard has many uses as well as surfing the net. You can play games with it like Quake 3 Arena, the forthcoming Half Life and Unreal Tournament, and also in Soul Calibur, ChuChu Rocket and many more! If you own a PC then you’ll know that playing Quake 3 Arena et al with the Mouse ‘n’ board is so much better than using a control pad when playing! You get more precision from the mouse, and you have access to buttons like ‘`’ which is next to your ‘1’ on the keyboard. This button is particularly useful when playing Quake 3 over the net, as it opens up and enables you to chat to your team members to discuss tactics and who will be the leader etc. You’ll be able to do the same in the p reviously mentioned games also. Despite the keyboard’s usefulness, it does have a few strange features and buttons. You see, it is a direct ‘port’ if you like, of the standard PC equivalent, therefore there are unnecessary buttons like ‘print Screen’ and ‘Num Lock’ and ‘Scroll Lock’, which don’t have a purpose! Whereas they would normally be 3 green lights that show if Caps/Scroll/Num locks are on or not, there is the Dreamcast word. Highly useless, but at least it shows you that it’s the Dreamcast keyboard and not your PC’s! You may otherwise end up typing away only to see nothing on the screen because you had the wrong keyboard! So the word does have a kind of use. All of the ‘F’ keys are there, and it’s the standard ‘QWERTY’ style keyboard. There are ‘S’ keys, which act as the Shoulder buttons would on your normal Dreamcast pad: used for bringing up the menu screens when using the Dream Key Internet portal. The keys are just like the PC board’s – very easy to press, and very clear to read. Should you actually need to read the keys that you’re typing! It’s ergonomically sound! Just as comfortable, if not more so than the one’s you use with your PC, and it’s much lighter too for some reason. I haven’t written an opinion recently using the DC’s, but as I type to you today I’m using a Dell ‘Quiet Key’, which looks rather ugly in comparison – Two different colours for the keys, on the DC’s there s just the standard Dreamcast grey colour. It feels fairly well made, but I doubt very much if you’ll be using it that regularly – should you have a PC or IMAC for the Internet. There is just one key that baffles me – the ‘Euro sign’ key! Why is it there, and how do you use it? Not that I need to use it, only I don’t see h ow it can be used! Packaged in your usual Dreamcast style of box, the keyboard is available at an affordable price of £19.99, you can get a 3rd party ‘surf board’, which is see through blue I think, but I haven’t used that one so can’t state if it’s any good! I rarely use my Dreamcast for playing games yet alone going on the net, as I spend all my time here writing opinions for you lot! So I haven’t actually used it for a long time! Overall, the keyboard is an essential purchase if you intend to be playing games like Half Life, Quake 3, Unreal Tournament and Phantasy Star Online in the near future. It’s an excellent communications device, that can is well worth the money you pay if you don’t have a PC. When I get my Dreamcast set up organised again, I will no doubt be playing Q3A online, so I’ll need to use the keyboard whatever! You can chat using Dreamcast, write opinions at dooyoo.co.uk using Dreamcast and basically speed up your typing every time you use it. Your typing skills will improve, however, as there are no programs like MS Word you cannot spell check what you write – so be careful! You probably know that emailing via Dreamcast is possible, so if you’ll be doing this often then get the keyboard. It’s really good for games like Soul Calibur as well! It may not be an original DC peripheral, but it’s a welcome, useful, and essential accessory that should really be in your possession! Excellent stuff! 4 Stars, not 5 this time because there is only limited use, and I don’t use the DC net anyway (33.6K is pretty slow at times), but let’s not look a gift horse in the mouth! It’s better to have a keyboard available, than not – even if you don’t intend on buying one soon. Packaged well, with full instructions at a reasonable price – what more could you ask for! Hope the opinion was interesting, informative and generally very useful to you. Thanks, D1A1
You’ve bought a Dreamcast with online capabilities and games which originated on the PC and you haven’t got a Dreamcast keyboard yet? Are you completely and utterly insane?!! OK, perhaps 'insane' is taking things a little too far, but if you think that you don’t really need a keyboard then you’re probably going to change that opinion by the time you’ve read this review. In fact, by the end of this review I’m probably going to be accused of working for Sega. Let’s start with the basics. It’s based on your average PC keyboard so those who have a PC will be right at home although you’ll notice a couple of very minor differences. For those of you who’ve done any internet browsing on the Dreamcast you’ll probably admit that getting around is not the quickest experience in the world due to the relatively slow speed of the 33.3k modem. This can be helped dramatically by avoiding the use of the ‘soft’ keyboard which appears every time text has to be entered. Also you’ll be aware that to access the various functions you have to use the Dreamcast controller’s trigger buttons (to view bookmarks, jump to web sites etc). All things considered Sega have actually done quite a good job – I thought browsing with a joypad would be an absolute nightmare but it’s bearable if you only use it occasionally. So why is the keyboard so much better then? As said before it’s based on a normal PC keyboard although a few of the keys like ‘Print Scrn’ (which is used for taking images of your PC desktop) are actually redundant. The ‘Windows’ keys are gone altogether and are replaced with keys S1, S2 and S3. I have absolutely no idea what S3 is for although S1 and S2 are replacements for the triggers on the joypad. Therefore these keys activate the same menus as the trigge r buttons. I can only presume that the S means ‘shoulder’ in relation to the trigger (shoulder) buttons. I may be wrong but to be honest it’s a minor detail. Now I’ll admit that if you’ve never used a PC keyboard or a typewriter (do they still even make them?!) you could be a little confused. The layout of the letters on the keyboard are based on the QWERTY system (QWERTY being the first letters on the top line). It may look like they’re in no sensible order but believe me after a while it becomes very obvious why the layout is so strange looking. Most of the keys you will use are placed closely together which means in time you will be able to type much quicker than using the alphabetical ‘soft’ keyboard which you usually fill in with the joypad. If you’re intending to send e-mails (or already do) then I can’t see any reason on earth why you would want to put up with using the joypad for any longer. You’ll be able to type faster and you’re more likely to write longer as you won’t become so frustrated with the amount of time it takes to write even small words. This also means you spend less time typing hence smaller phone bills so this could actually pay for itself over a period of only a few months if you go online a lot. Sad thing to point out but true. I’d challenge anyone to write a Dooyoo opinion using the joypad!! Let's not forget the games. Quake 3 arena is out already and with the imminent releases of titles like Half Life and Unreal Tournament (all created originally for the PC) you really will only get the best from these games if you have a keyboard and mouse (mouse review to come soon!). You can get used to the Dreamcast controller, but if you’re going to even consider playing online you’re going to need every bit of advantage to win and playing with a controll er will see you losing more than winning – I GUARANTEE it. Even the most novice of players armed with a keyboard and mouse will make mincemeat of the most competent Quake 3 /UT/HL player. Physical properties: It’s white, light so buy one tonight! Sorry, got a bit carried away for a moment. Yes, it’s a white/grey colour and has the same cable as any of the other Dreamcast accessories (both in terms of connector and length). Which leads me on to one very important point: You can’t just buy any old keyboard – it has to be a Dreamcast specific one as the connection on a PC keyboard is completely different. The official one is the only one that you will find commonly but there is also a third party keyboard available (I think it’s by Datel) although the price is the same (£19.99). It is a little more expensive than a typical PC keyboard would be but that's the only realy gripe I have. Quality-wise I have no complaints to make. The keys are solid yet responsive and the keyboard itself is VERY light compared to my PC keyboard so I presume it’s lighter than most PC keyboards. Packaging: Simple and functional is the order of the day. It comes in a box not much larger than the keyboard and has the typical white and blue Dreamcast packaging although in mine there weren’t any instructions (this may not be the case for ALL of them but to be honest the instruction manual would probably read : “Plug in and use”!!) That my friends is about it. It’s such a simple accessory and yet one of the most essential ones as far as I’m concerned. Get one now and get the most out of that lovely white box of tricks.