After Mega CD and Sega 32X add-ons for Mega Drive, and the corresponding failures, Sega Saturn appeared as Sega’s 32 bits’ “stand-alone” console.
Although being a powerful machine at the time of its release and potentiated by Mega Drive’s big success worldwide, Saturn was only a relative success, losing the 32 bits’ war for Playstation.
Nevertheless, it was still the home of some of the most inspired games at the time (some of them exclusively released in this console), and got an 18th place in IGN’s list of best consoles of all time.
How i got it
I clearly remember going with a friend of mine, and my mother to a shop to buy the console, with some money I had been saving (and probably a little help from my mother too). I also remember thinking that the console was not working when I got home, only to realize (about half an hour later) that with all the excitement I forgot to put the cable totally on.
All these years later, the first time I played Saturn kind of reminds me the first time I had sex, where all the excitement also almost destroyed the experience. But at least on that second occasion there was no problem with “inputting the cable”. Well, probably enough of this subject.
The console came with Christmas Nights, Worldwide Soccer and a demos’ CD. What I clearly remember (and regret) of my time with this console was that I spent too much time with driving simulations and football games, and did not buy some (excellent) games which I end up borrowing from friends but, of course, did not keep. Sega Saturn is also the “turning point” from my time playing consoles to my time playing in the computer.
Although not having such fond memories of Sega Saturn as I have of Mega Drive, we still had some pretty cool times together, motivated by the fact that despite not being a huge success worldwide, Saturn was a success in my group of friends. This meant a lot of games trading, and long afternoons playing, switching from house to house.
Condition and description
Sega Saturn was released in 1994 in Japan and 1995 in the United States (first) and Europe (later). Initially aiming at being the best 2D console with 3D capabilities, the focus of the development switched after some information about the superior Playstation 1 specifications emerged. Besides this strategic change, Sega also anticipated Saturn’s release date by four months, trying to win the market before Playstation hit the stores. This marketing movement was proven wrong, for third-party developers were not ready to release their games right away, and the marketing plan was not well-set yet. When Playstation finally came out, it easily surpassed Sega’s 32 bit console. Sega is a major company, but proved more than once that strategic and marketing decisions were not their strong. Saturn’s release was one of those cases.
Despite the rushed release, which made the game developers rush as well, and the (described by developers) difficulty to develop to the console, Sega Saturn really had some outstanding games (some of them exclusive to this system), extremely inspired and innovative. This motivated a relative success (mostly in Japan), but Saturn lost the “war” to Playstation and Nintendo 64 nevertheless.
The console was discontinued in 1998 in Europe and North America and in 2000 in Japan, selling 9.5 million units worldwide.
Saturn had several models, both in Japan as in other markets. We will describe one of those specifications.
CPU – 2x Hitachi SH2 28.6 MHz 32-bit 28MIPS
Memory – Work RAM 16Mbit; Video RAM 12Mbit; Sound RAM 4Mbit; CD Buffer RAM 4Mbit; IPL ROM 4Mbit; Backup RAM 256Kbit
Video – Resolution of 320 X 224, 640 X 224 of 704 X 480; 32,000 colors displayed in foreground; 24-bit color palette.
Audio – 32 PCM Channels; 8 FM Channels; 512KB Audio RAM
Communication – 28.8K Modem included in a cartridge.
Data – Lithium battery; Optional 512 KB Memory Cartridge for Game Save;
Input – Sega Saturn Controllers; Arcade Racer; 3D pad; Light Gun.