The Kids Computer Pico (キッズコンピューター・ピコ Kizzu Konpyūtā Piko?), also known as Sega Pico, is an electronic toy by Sega. The aim of creating the Pico was to get more young children (specifically, ages 2–8) to use video game systems.
The Pico was the first Sega-branded console to carry an officially licensed game from former competitor Nintendo.
The Pico was released in 1993 in Japan and 1994 in North America and Europe. In Japan, the system was a huge success and games were developed until 2005. In North America and Europe, however, the Pico was less successful and games were developed only until 1997. During its introduction in North America, Binney & Smith (now known as Crayola LLC) did a promotion with the Pico to enter a contest when purchasing the "Crayola Big Box of Crayons" and featured two scented colors out of the 96 colors. The Pico was also released in South Korea by Samsung, and it was very successful in that region. To celebrate its 10th anniversary in 2003 in Japan, Sega re-released some of the Pico games. As of April 2005, 3.4 million Pico consoles and 11.2 million software cartridges had been sold.
The ROM cartridges were called "Storyware," and were book shaped. Each time a player turned the page of the cartridge the screen changed to replicate the image in the book. The games were controlled by a "magic" pen and buttons. The last page of each book features a freehand drawing mode, where the player can also insert stamps of characters shown previously in the game. All software released for the Pico received a rating from either the V.R.C. or the ESRB.
The hardware is based upon the Mega Drive, with some parts removed and/or replaced by others
- CPU: a Motorola 68000, the same as the Mega Drive.
- RAM: 64 KB of Main RAM
- Video RAM: 64 KB
- ROM: "Storyware" cartridges of various sizes.
- Video: a YM7101 ASIC, which was replaced with an FQ8007 ASIC in newer units. Both were used in Mega Drive consoles as well.
- Sound: a Texas Instruments SN76489 Programmable sound generator and an NEC µPD7759 PCM chip.
- Input: a pen with an action button at its tip, a four button directional pad, and one on-board action button.
In Japan, 296 games were released. In North America, 20 games were released while Europe released about 15 or 18 games. The total number of games released in South Korea is unknown, but released more than North America and Europe. Four games that were planned for the Pico were cancelled.