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History of the Sega Saturn

Discussion in 'General Sega Discussion' started by Black Squirrel, Jan 29, 2016.

  1. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    History of the Sega Saturn

    In part 532094 of "the internet is wrong", I've been working on this page for a couple of weeks. There's Dreamcast and Mega Drive ones too, but they're not as fancy (a.k.a. this Saturn page has so many references that it can break the server). I thought you might want to know/improve it.


    Because I'm horrendously biased and determined to prove a point, I set out to rectify this idea that the Sega Saturn was a horrible failure that killed people. Fundementally it is still a failure, but not any more than the GameCube seems to have been compared to the PS2. Japan in particular is a really interesting case study - it honestly seems that it took until Final Fantasy VII to tip the market in Sony's favour - that's pretty significant I think. The situation in Europe isn't quite as terrible either - not great, but perfectly "reasonable" given the circumstances.

    When we see these stupid AVGN-generation lists of crappy video game consoles, I don't think the Saturn belongs on them - the situation is not nearly as bad as has been made out in recent years.


    There's no saving the 32X though.
     
  2. Rosie

    Rosie

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    Really great job, mate! It's a real shame that "didn't sell well in the US" is often understood to mean "everyone hated it", and it's good that you're trying to put things right for the Saturn. It's personally not my favourite SEGA system, although I admittedly haven't put that much time into it (buying and renovating a house has eaten up most of my time and money for retrogaming), but there are some real gems on the platform. It doesn't have so many of the sexy cinematic titles that the PlayStation did, but it generally excels in that classic arcade-style gameplay that SEGA was known for.

    :colbert:
     
  3. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    Genuinely, the peak of the 32X's popularity seems to have been before (and just after) it was released - before Sega started denying it could play Saturn games.

    The advertising is wonderful though - everyone sucks but us. And it could be France's best.



    I'd love to know how it's six times more powerful than 3DO.
     
  4. Rosie

    Rosie

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    I know the 32X was a sales disaster, and just not a great idea in general that wasn't even particularly well implemented, but I can't help but have a soft spot for The Shroom. It's worth it just for some of the arcade conversions alone in my opinion, and it's a shame that there was never a 32X version of Out Run.
     
  5. Overlord

    Overlord

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    I've said it before, but speaking AS a 32X owner it was a piece of tat that should never have been made. Those arcade conversions should have been saved just for Saturn.

    And yeah, it's a shame how US-centric the web can be at times. Saturn's perceived as being much worse than it is.
     
  6. Have you forgotten that we're the center of everything? :specialed:
     
  7. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    The curious one is actually the Mega-CD - one day everyone decided to hate it.

    Not that it was ever really "loved" per se, but we move from a general feeling of indifference in 1993 to "Sega's terrible legacy" in 1998. Haven't quite worked that one out yet.
     
  8. JennyTablina

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    I think in the case of Sega CD, people were hoping for more Sonic CD and Lunar type efforts would eventually arrive over the FMV stuff (once the novelty wore off), but instead of fully fledged unique experiences, Sega CD just slowly slipped into getting Genesis ports that simply added some video or CD audio quality tracks. Plus the RPG market had yet to take off in the way it would late 90's.

    Also the tech was poorly future-proofed. As the CD drive was based off old audio format, rather than actual CD-ROM. So once actual CD-ROM systems started showing up, it aged quite rapidly

    32X was just a plain terrible idea. Imagine buying a Sega Mega Drive, then a CD - but then finding out that possibly to enjoy the most of the MD/Gen's final years you have to buy a $150 extra block of plastic. Not to mention that particular period came with all sorts of mixed news to boot. As I recall magazines of the day mentioning 32X, Neptune and Saturn all in one paragraph. Then after being convinced, Sega report months later that Saturn is the main priority and you slammed down a bunch of money for a system that's been utterly dead-ended.

    Really in an ideal world. Sega would have R&Ded 32X instead of CD in 1989/1990. Giving it more time to grow and allow Sega to better capitalize on the Virtua series ect. Plus intending Saturn to be a 3D focused system instead of the bizzare choice to focus on 2D Arcade conversion.
     
  9. lordexodus

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    I do admit, there were a few good games that came out of the Saturn. The Legend Of Oasis was one of them...
     
  10. SF94

    SF94

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    I played Beyond Oasis and loved it, so I also tried Legend of Oasis. It had so many depth problems (as in perspective, not story) that I just gave up.
     
  11. rata

    rata

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    I sort of understand this part of sega's move. For lot of things sprites were giving much nicer results than 3D models (see MK3 vs MK4).
     
  12. Lostgame

    Lostgame

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    The Saturn is by far and large my favourite Sega system.

    The cult/creative collective I'm running with uses it as a centrepiece of our whole group - SF2A, Daytona and NiGHTS runs are a frequent endeavour during our weekly meetings and I have been known to travel around with it in my backpack to group meetings.

    My genuine copy of Street Fighter II Alpha while listening to Daft Punk's 'Discovery' on vinyl was the cause of one of my more recent polyamorous adventures.

    I really want a nice copy of the original Panzer Dragoon but I refuse to buy stuff online because I like the experience of going to A&C Games (I live in Toronto, where one can literally take a short subway ride to your choice of 3 or 4 stores that stock everything from Genesis/Sega CD/32x to Saturn/Dreamcast and even 3DO, Virtual Boy and import games.)

    I love this city. :3


    edit:
    I'm also seriously considering setting up a VM with Win98 on one of my MacBook Pros to start some Saturn home-brew dev. The idea of creating a cute and fun 2D platformer for that system kinda makes my heart giggle big.
     
  13. Jason

    Jason

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    I'd be down for some more Saturn homebrew. There isn't as big of a scene as I would have hoped. Frankly, I always thought that with Sonic Jam having source ports, someone could make a faithful "Sonic 4" to be a "preceding ambassador" game, like Alex Kidd in the Enchanted Castle was on Genesis. Closest I can find is this:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gV-7cA9_h-4
     
  14. Lostgame

    Lostgame

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    That is abso-fucka-loutely *gorgeous*...are those custom sprites?

    Also, that translucency...

    Obviously the physics are super-fucked-up, but that can be fixed...

    Because it's open source? What? This guy is amazing. This is exactly what I needed/wanted.

    http://www.jo-engine.org
     
  15. Doctor Butler

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    The Saturn was rather popular in Japan, and South America, if I'm not mistaken. It had some excellent, in some cases near-perfect ports of contemporary arcade games.

    On hell of a feat.

    I can dig it : >
     
  16. rata

    rata

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    At least here in Argentina the PSX was the true 32-bit dominant. I have only talked with one person that heard of the Saturn and he's my dad. Most people here went NES -> Genesis -> PSX -> PS2.
     
  17. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    I am actively seeking sources for any sales figures regarding Sega (or NEC) consoles for any region of the world. Or just any nice news in general.

    Because as you can see from that page, there's a lot about Japan, the US and the UK, but not much else. We have quite a sizable selection of magazines from all over the world, but I struggle a bit with anything that isn't English.

    We've got nothing on South America, save for some bits regarding Brazil. There's barely anything on the Saturn - there really should be.
     
  18. Pirate Dragon

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    I've gone through a lot of magazines looking for sales figures. Most are contained within the thread (I'm BKK) that I posted before. This post has quite a lot of info, but there's more country specific figures spread throughout the thread. Saturn sold really badly outside of Asia, with 1.8m getting shipped to "North America" (may also include South America, as they were the same hardware region), 1.4m of which were sold in the US according to NPD. Along with 1m getting shipped to Europe/PAL, 400k of which were sold in the UK according to Chart-Track. It doesn't leave much to be spread around other countries, so their local distributors didn't really announce Saturn sales figures which were much lower than the competition. In comparison Mega Drive shipped about 19m to North America, and 8m to Europe/PAL.

    Edit: Germany, Brazil (30k Saturn as of 1997).
     
  19. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    Tom Kalinske on Atari:
    http://segaretro.org/index.php?title=File%3AEdge_UK_019.pdf&page=100
    http://segaretro.org/index.php?title=File:NextGeneration_US_13.pdf&page=13

    It appears that Sega, which held a stake in "Atari", were looking at bringing games to the Atari Jaguar, in return for Atari stuff on the Mega Drive/Saturn.


    Super duper bonus points if you can find me hints of Sega actually naming a game for the platform (or conversely, any Atari games on Sega - this doesn't include Tengen - we're talking Atari Corporation not Atari Games. Tempest 2000 is the closest match but was Sega involved in any way?).
     
  20. Pirate Dragon

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    I've come across that story a lot, but never seen any news of anything coming out of it software wise. I think it might have just been a face saving way for Sega to settle a legal dispute.

    Here's an issue of the British trade paper "Computer Retail News" following the UK Saturn release. Might be of use on this subject. There's some other interesting stuff in other issues, such as an article and full page advert for a retail Saturn demo station. They're broadsheet newspaper format, so a real pain to scan, but I'll get to scanning the others eventually.