Remembering Sega’s NAOMI-Based Arcade Hardware

arcadehero September 9, 2014 6

Today there is a lot of remembrance for Sega’s last home game console, the Dreamcast. I’m not here to get into why that effort failed but rather to remember something that came from all of Sega’s Dreamcast efforts -the NAOMI hardware that was designed for arcades and released at the end of 1998.

For those unaware of the differences between the two, the NAOMI hardware featured more memory in terms of main, video and sound. Some other variants included the NAOMI 2, Hikaru and Atomiswave. I suggest checking if you ever care to obsess over the technical details 😉 In a way it ended up being similar to SNK’s NeoGeo, in terms of quantity releases. Most older arcade hardware saw a few to a handful of games developed for it. Platforms like the NeoGeo and NAOMI have enough content to rival home console selections. Almost like the DC, the NAOMI has enjoyed some extra life with releases through the 00’s although the homebrew scene for NAOMI / Atomiswave is pretty much non-existent. Either way, the systems based on this hardware have a lot of content to discuss.

Let’s take a brief stroll down memory lane for the arcade side of the Dreamcast.

Among those my personal favorites include Planet Harriers (Hikaru) which was a lesser known sequel to Space Harriers. This one never got a console port and one of these days I would love to get one for my arcade.



Crazy Taxi is perhaps the most famous game released on the NAOMI hardware but for good reason – it was a lot of fun. The home ports did steal some of the thunder this game had but it still did well in the arcade.


Cannon Spike / Gunspike is like an amped up Zombie Revenge, which had some beat ’em up roots to it. Cannon Spike is more of a shoot ’em up than a beat ’em up and it is fun. It was released to the Dreamcast but later in its lifespan and didn’t show up in too many arcades out West so I don’t hear it talked about very often.

Gotta give some love for Under Defeat, created by G.Rev:

Metal Slug 6 (Atomiswave) was the last time the series graced the arcade with its presence. Running on the Atomiswave hardware, the graphics received a nice boost over the MVS (although there are those who prefer the look of the MVS) and they let newer players try and get the hang of things with the easy difficulty. A larger character roster, more weapons and the ability to carry two guns among other things make this one worth paying attention to although opinion varies as to the “best” of the series (that usually falls on 3)


There are more I could get into however I would love to hear what you other Heroes of the Arcade think. On the different Arcade Heroes social media channels (Facebook ; Twitter ; Google Plus) I asked you the readers what your favorite NAOMI-based arcade games are. Here are the responses collected so far:


  • Sascha Sashimi capcom vs. snk pro
    Trey Delvon Mack Wild Riders and Capcom vs. SNK 2
  • Chun Wah Kong Under Defeat. CvS2.
    Ryan Weseling power stone one and two
    Eric Conrad Dixon Capcom Vs SNK 2 by far.
    JJ Kam 18 Wheeler (short game but on the deluxe arcade cab it was awesome with that big wheel), Crazy Taxi, Derby Owners Club, Power Stone. I also liked House of the Dead 2. 4 of 5 of those are on Dreamcast. I wish they made a home port of Derby Owners Club that game was so addicting and EXPENSIVE (they do have a iOS / Andriod app but its not the same).
  • Joe Reno The Initial D: Arcade Stage games!
    (1up to that – the Initial D Special with real cars!)
    D.j. Tatsujin I sunk so much time into Capcom Vs. SNK. My guilty pleasure is the WWF Royal Rumble game.
    Kieran May That’s a toughy, the maze of the kings, initial d series, wild riders, confidential mission and the house of the dead 2.
    Steven Miranda Wild Riders (13 years later, I still don’t know if it was indeed Ronnie James Dio who sang Keith’s theme, “We Are Outlaws”), and of course Marvel vs. Capcom 2 (a.k.a. IT’S MAHVEL BAYBEE!)
    Evan Herbert cosmic smash is wayyy under-rated



He also threw in “Jambo Safari if we include the cool cab with it” in a tweet after that. I came across that cab last year in a showroom, that was quite a sight.





Azrial Alaria: Border Down / Giga Wing 2


ECM: Beach Spikers, Crazy Taxi 1, Jambo Safari, Spawn, Zombie Revenge, Power Stone. I am ONLY noting games I played on actual NAOMI hw, not games I played on DC that came out before/with the DC version.



It was mentioned a few times so let’s end with Power Stone:


  1. chaos September 9, 2014 at 5:33 pm - Reply

    I was a huge fan of Space Harrier so I was really excited when I first saw Planet Harriers. After just one game I wasn’t impressed since I thought the controls weren’t that great. I really feel the analog joystick on the original made a big difference.

  2. Dave_K. September 9, 2014 at 6:38 pm - Reply

    Planet Harriers also uses an analog stick, but needs constant recalibration which most arcade operators likely did not perform. Thus most cabs had floaty controls that didn’t center correctly, or were unable to perform the double roll move (required to dodge certain enemy attacks).

    • chaos September 10, 2014 at 5:35 am - Reply

      Thanks for the info. I didn’t think it was analog and “floaty” is exactly how I would describe the feel. Of course I can’t remember where I played it but it definitely was local. Hopefully I’ll come across one soon with the proper calibration.

  3. voltz15 September 10, 2014 at 12:21 am - Reply

    I’m pretty happy that we got a majority of these games on consoles with similar enough hardware to do the experience justice, but there’s a number of other titles many of us never had an opportunity to try out. One of the bigger titles was Rumble Fish.

  4. CJW September 10, 2014 at 4:49 am - Reply

    I will always remember House of the Dead 2 as not only the best in the HOD franchise, but also one of the best light gun games of all time, with the perfect balance of action and fun… and the cheesiest voice acting of its era. Lucky for us, it’s been faithfully ported to a number of consoles (and even the PC!) so we can keep on enjoying it even as it disappears from arcades.

  5. CD ageS October 22, 2014 at 2:51 pm - Reply

    Rumble Fish got a console release on PS2. The sequel however remains an arcade exclusive. Love this article BTW. Love Dreamcast and NAOMI with a huge passion. Those were some wonderful times at the arcade because Sega.

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