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Games NeoGAF Official SEGA SATURN Community

DT MEDIA

GAF's Resident Saturn Omnibus
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In honor of Sega Saturn's 25th birthday, I thought I would dig into the vaults and share some old screenshots of Nights: Into Dreams. I created these back in 2003 or so using a PC emulator called Giri Giri. It was an early build, but I could play this game very well. The emulator was later discovered to be a pirated version of Sega of Japan's own (very incomplete) Saturn emulator, so it was shut down. Unfortunately, these were the very early days of Saturn emulation, so if you wanted to play, you needed a real console.

I posted these photos with my essay review of Nights in early 2003 to my arts website, part of a "videogame classics" series. My site was never hugely popular but it did see a fair amount of traffic. I soon discovered that my main screenshot popping up everywhere online. Several years later, that same photo found its way onto the pages of Retro Gamer. If memory serves, some other magazine grabbed my screenshot for Super Bomberman 2, so this was apparently a thing.

Funny enough, I just saw this screenshot again this morning on Twitter. I thought that was funny. Of all the work I've created, of all my attempts at being a successful artist and writer, this is what got the most attention. In any case, I always took my own photos for my videogame reviews and put a lot of effort into creating dynamic shots.

The screenshot sizes are a bit small by today's standards, but they did look a lot larger on old VGA monitors. Also, I had to severely optimize art assets for the website, as many users were still using dialup modems. I took great pride in building a site that would load almost instantly, while everybody else was still obsessed with Flash animations and popups and doodles and whatnot.
 

Kazza

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1. Streets of Rage
2. Phantasy Star
3. Sonic the Hedgehog (a platform game)
4. Eternal Champions
5. Mickey Mouse: Castle of Illusion

I think both Sega and Nintendo were both caught a little off-guard by how successful RPGs would become that gen and it's a shame Phantasy Star didn't get an entry. Seeing the huge number of quality fighters (both 2D and 3D) on the system, I wasn't initially convinced that it needed yet another in the form of Eternal Champions, but SLX makes a good argument that western gamers craved the kind of characters and themes featured in the game.
 

DT MEDIA

GAF's Resident Saturn Omnibus
Jan 7, 2018
512
653
465
Chicago, IL
www.dtm-arts.com
Anyone played Psychic Killer Toramaru?

One of Saturn’s standout 2.5D titles. It gets full marks for atmospher, style and difficulty. It gets half marks for overly precise controls that may feel janky if your timing is off (I wish the controls were more loose, like Contra or NES. Ninja Gaiden). But I remind readers that Taromaru is meant to be played by two players.

The retail disc is rare and criminally expensive. You’ll have to get a copy online or get a repro disc instead. I do wish this game were reissued on modern consoles, as it was an arcade game.
 

The Brooklyn Brawler

Formerly 'Davidj1178'
Oct 27, 2019
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A few more to go and I've downloaded every saturn game I will ever want or need

Now I just need my wife kids and job to disappear so I can play them
 
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DT MEDIA

GAF's Resident Saturn Omnibus
Jan 7, 2018
512
653
465
Chicago, IL
www.dtm-arts.com
I'm sure I saw this somewhere before, but here it is anyway:



Happy to see Nights so high.

This list is very similar to one that was posted by Afro Republican last year. Here are the numbers he shared, presumably taken from NPD:

----

Here are the top 10 best-selling Sega Saturn games:

1. Virtua Fighter (Bundled sales only) - 250,000
2. Madden NFL 97 - 240,000
3. NiGHTS (All versions) - 220,000
4. Virtua Fighter 2 (All versions) - 200,000
5. Sega Rally (All versions) - 190,000
6. Daytona USA - 170,000
7. Sonic 3D Blast - 170,000
8. Tomb Raider - 170,000
9. NHL 97 - 130,000
10. Virtua Cop - 130,000

----

The two lists are nearly identical with a few differences, a couple sports titles here and there. We can infer a few points from this data:

1. Sega Saturn never had any breakout hits in the USA. This was all too obvious at the time, and these numbers reinforce the experience. The console peaked very early, between Christmas 1995 and the arrival of Nintendo 64 the following September. After that, Sega just fell off the radar. Nothing released in 1997 or 1998 received any attention or made any dents in the charts.

In Japan, Virtua Fighter was a blockbuster success, but never achieved more than minor cult status in the States. Daytona USA did very well for a racing game, but that was a minor genre at the time. Nights fared very poorly compared to Super Mario 64 and Crash Bandicoot, both of which were multi-million sellers, and this is surely frustrating to fans. And Saturn Tomb Raider was left in the dust by its PSX cousin, which became one of the iconic videogames of the era. I don't think most kids even knew the Sega version existed.

A videogame system can get away with a lot if it only has the right breakout hit. A killer app solves a lot of problems. Unfortunately, for whatever reasons, Saturn never got that hit. A single million-seller might have been enough to sustain those first two years.

2. Sonic and Sports were king. As with Genesis, the most crucial genres for Saturn would be Sonic and Sports. The lack of a proper Sonic the Hedgehog absolutely killed the system. Sega of Japan provided the excellent Worldwide Soccer and World Series Baseball franchises, as well as Decathlete and Winter Heat, but Sega of America dropped the ball on American Football and Hockey. Heck, they never created a football game of their own, eventually deciding to publish a third-rate Playstation title that nobody liked.

Fortunately, Sega had a fantastic lineup in '97 with WSB 98, WWS 98, NBA Action 98 and NHL All-Star Hockey 98. Unfortunately, it was far too late to make any difference and none of them ever sold worth a damn. Again, most kids probably had no idea that any of these titles existed.

Again, no Sonic, no mas. There absolutely should have been a 3D Sonic by the time N64 launched. That was a deadline that Sega couldn't possibly afford to miss. And, yet, thanks to mismanagement on both sides of the Pacific, they failed.

3. Arcades were in terminal decline. This was something that no one could have anticipated, but Sega's long string of arcade hits just couldn't translate into the home. Virtua Fighter was a blockbuster success in Japan, but little more than a curiosity in the West. Even the mighty VF2 could only muster 200,000 units sold, a fraction of the numbers seen by Street Fighter 2 and Mortal Kombat on the 16-bit consoles.

It probably didn't help that arcades at that time were dominated by increasingly niche genres: fighting, racing, light gun, spaceship shoot-em-ups. Platformers and beat-em-ups were out of style, to say nothing of 2D games, and sports titles were nonexistent. The technology was becoming more expensive and quarters just weren't flowing like they were during the Street Fighter 2 boom.

4. 2D videogames were dead. This was the other big surprise, but given that the game industry was always driven by hype and novelty, the arrival of realtime 3D polygon graphics just threw 2D bitmap sprites into the dustbin. It's a lot like how Nirvana's topping the Billboard charts in 1992 overturned the music industry and ended the careers of every LA glam-rock band.

5. Saturn's reputation killed the console. In retrospect, it may seem wholly unfair, but Sega Saturn was crippled with that damned obnoxious mantra: "Can't Do Three Dee." Even today, it's the first thing that pops into most gamers' heads when the system is mentioned. Sega seemed unable to do anything to counter this notion, and what's so especially frustrating is that, yes, Saturn can definitely do 3D. Examples: VF Remix, VF2, Sega Rally, Virtua Cop, Panzer Dragoon, Worldwide Soccer, Powerslave. Powerslave, ya jerks!

What Saturn did have was a complex hardware design that required a greater learning curve, as well as better software development tools to teach programmers how everything works. But solving those challenges requires time, something that Sega just didn't have.

6. Japanese imports wouldn't have helped. Saturn fans will point to the spectacular Japanese software titles for proof of Saturn's greatness, citing Grandia, Dead or Alive, Radiant Silvergun, X-Men Vs. Street Fighter and Sakura Wars. Yes, they're all terrific videogames. No, none of them would have sold in America. Note how many of these titles arrived in '97 or later, long after it would have made a difference. Note also the presence of obscure or fading (to Westerners) genres: fighting games, shooters, Strategy-RPGs.

Now, should the JP Saturn games have been released in the West? Absolutely. Should gamers have embraced these videogames instead of passing them by? Absolutely. There's no excuse why Panzer Dragoon, Dragon Force, Powerslave couldn't have sold a million copies, to say nothing of Sega's arcade hits.
 
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Kazza

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Didn't Sakura Wars 1 do 600,000 Lifetime Sales and 2 did 300,000? (Read somewhere online about it).

It is certainly one of the most common Japanese games.

The Sonic 3D rank on the US Sales shown how much people craved Sonic back then too!!!
Those figures sound about right according to that Japanese chart (although it's the sequel that did close to 600k and the original 300k).

A few more to go and I've downloaded every saturn game I will ever want or need

Now I just need my wife kids and job to disappear so I can play them
Haha, one of the things I like about that generation of games is the relative short length of each game, so you shouldn't have to choose between your Saturn and your life (we all know the Saturn would ultimately win out, don't we ;-) ). BTW, don't forget the more obscure Japanese titles:

 
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Kazza

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This list is very similar to one that was posted by Afro Republican last year. Here are the numbers he shared, presumably taken from NPD:

----

Here are the top 10 best-selling Sega Saturn games:

1. Virtua Fighter (Bundled sales only) - 250,000
2. Madden NFL 97 - 240,000
3. NiGHTS (All versions) - 220,000
4. Virtua Fighter 2 (All versions) - 200,000
5. Sega Rally (All versions) - 190,000
6. Daytona USA - 170,000
7. Sonic 3D Blast - 170,000
8. Tomb Raider - 170,000
9. NHL 97 - 130,000
10. Virtua Cop - 130,000

----

The two lists are nearly identical with a few differences, a couple sports titles here and there. We can infer a few points from this data:

1. Sega Saturn never had any breakout hits in the USA. This was all too obvious at the time, and these numbers reinforce the experience. The console peaked very early, between Christmas 1995 and the arrival of Nintendo 64 the following September. After that, Sega just fell off the radar. Nothing released in 1997 or 1998 received any attention or made any dents in the charts.

In Japan, Virtua Fighter was a blockbuster success, but never achieved more than minor cult status in the States. Daytona USA did very well for a racing game, but that was a minor genre at the time. Nights fared very poorly compared to Super Mario 64 and Crash Bandicoot, both of which were multi-million sellers, and this is surely frustrating to fans. And Saturn Tomb Raider was left in the dust by its PSX cousin, which became one of the iconic videogames of the era. I don't think most kids even knew the Sega version existed.

A videogame system can get away with a lot if it only has the right breakout hit. A killer app solves a lot of problems. Unfortunately, for whatever reasons, Saturn never got that hit. A single million-seller might have been enough to sustain those first two years.

2. Sonic and Sports were king. As with Genesis, the most crucial genres for Saturn would be Sonic and Sports. The lack of a proper Sonic the Hedgehog absolutely killed the system. Sega of Japan provided the excellent Worldwide Soccer and World Series Baseball franchises, as well as Decathlete and Winter Heat, but Sega of America dropped the ball on American Football and Hockey. Heck, they never created a football game of their own, eventually deciding to publish a third-rate Playstation title that nobody liked.

Fortunately, Sega had a fantastic lineup in '97 with WSB 98, WWS 98, NBA Action 98 and NHL All-Star Hockey 98. Unfortunately, it was far too late to make any difference and none of them ever sold worth a damn. Again, most kids probably had no idea that any of these titles existed.

Again, no Sonic, no mas. There absolutely should have been a 3D Sonic by the time N64 launched. That was a deadline that Sega couldn't possibly afford to miss. And, yet, thanks to mismanagement on both sides of the Pacific, they failed.

3. Arcades were in terminal decline. This was something that no one could have anticipated, but Sega's long string of arcade hits just couldn't translate into the home. Virtua Fighter was a blockbuster success in Japan, but little more than a curiosity in the West. Even the mighty VF2 could only muster 200,000 units sold, a fraction of the numbers seen by Street Fighter 2 and Mortal Kombat on the 16-bit consoles.

It probably didn't help that arcades at that time were dominated by increasingly niche genres: fighting, racing, light gun, spaceship shoot-em-ups. Platformers and beat-em-ups were out of style, to say nothing of 2D games, and sports titles were nonexistent. The technology was becoming more expensive and quarters just weren't flowing like they were during the Street Fighter 2 boom.

4. 2D videogames were dead. This was the other big surprise, but given that the game industry was always driven by hype and novelty, the arrival of realtime 3D polygon graphics just threw 2D bitmap sprites into the dustbin. It's a lot like how Nirvana's topping the Billboard charts in 1992 overturned the music industry and ended the careers of every LA glam-rock band.

5. Saturn's reputation killed the console. In retrospect, it may seem wholly unfair, but Sega Saturn was crippled with that damned obnoxious mantra: "Can't Do Three Dee." Even today, it's the first thing that pops into most gamers' heads when the system is mentioned. Sega seemed unable to do anything to counter this notion, and what's so especially frustrating is that, yes, Saturn can definitely do 3D. Examples: VF Remix, VF2, Sega Rally, Virtua Cop, Panzer Dragoon, Worldwide Soccer, Powerslave. Powerslave, ya jerks!

What Saturn did have was a complex hardware design that required a greater learning curve, as well as better software development tools to teach programmers how everything works. But solving those challenges requires time, something that Sega just didn't have.

6. Japanese imports wouldn't have helped. Saturn fans will point to the spectacular Japanese software titles for proof of Saturn's greatness, citing Grandia, Dead or Alive, Radiant Silvergun, X-Men Vs. Street Fighter and Sakura Wars. Yes, they're all terrific videogames. No, none of them would have sold in America. Note how many of these titles arrived in '97 or later, long after it would have made a difference. Note also the presence of obscure or fading (to Westerners) genres: fighting games, shooters, Strategy-RPGs.

Now, should the JP Saturn games have been released in the West? Absolutely. Should gamers have embraced these videogames instead of passing them by? Absolutely. There's no excuse why Panzer Dragoon, Dragon Force, Powerslave couldn't have sold a million copies, to say nothing of Sega's arcade hits.
Hard to disagree with any of this.

It's crazy that the Saturn didn't have an NBA or NFL game available until over a year after the US launch (and apparently the Sega developed NFL 97 was a terrible game too). The lack of Sonic was even more perplexing. Even the Sega CD managed to have a big seller with Sonic CD (well over a million sold).
 
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Kazza

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5. Saturn's reputation killed the console. In retrospect, it may seem wholly unfair, but Sega Saturn was crippled with that damned obnoxious mantra: "Can't Do Three Dee." Even today, it's the first thing that pops into most gamers' heads when the system is mentioned. Sega seemed unable to do anything to counter this notion, and what's so especially frustrating is that, yes, Saturn can definitely do 3D. Examples: VF Remix, VF2, Sega Rally, Virtua Cop, Panzer Dragoon, Worldwide Soccer, Powerslave. Powerslave, ya jerks!

What Saturn did have was a complex hardware design that required a greater learning curve, as well as better software development tools to teach programmers how everything works. But solving those challenges requires time, something that Sega just didn't have.
A lot is said about the disastrous North American launch, but the European launch went just as badly too. Remember, Sega had been number one console here during both the 8-bit and 16 era, but its market share just completely collapsed with the Saturn.

I was skimming through the Official UK Saturn Magazine's December 1995 issue and come across the following article. I was going to post this as a thread on the main gaming forum ("Christmas 95"), but have decided to save it for next year, as it will be relevant with the new consoles coming out. Since we're discussing the Saturn's bad reputation, I think it's relevant now:



Whatever happened in Europe in the summer and autumn of 95, it obviously hit the Saturn really hard. I think the story will be quite familiar to Us readers too:
- the rushed launch, pissing off retailers and media alike
- suspicions about the Saturn's 3D capabilities
- it's unpolished launch line-up (when compared to the slick PS games)
- Sony's much bigger budget ad campaign
- difficulties programming for the system
- the anti-Saturn media bias (seemingly the same in the US too, as pointed out by DT MEDIA DT MEDIA in other posts)








I think it's obvious from this that the war in the West was already lost within the first 6 months of launch. It was like a football team which goes down 3-0 in the first 5 minutes of a game due to a sleepy defence. Once that happens you are always on the back foot, and Sega just didn't have the resources to be able come back from that. The whole Video CD issue was a strange one to be worried about though :messenger_tears_of_joy:

Perhaps a little ironically, it was precisely this issue that made me ask my parents for a Saturn instead of the Playstation that Xmas. At the ripe old age of 13, I already felt myself mature enough to be above petty fanboyism and console wars, and undertook a very objective and scientific analysis of the next-gen options available before making a final decision. The 3DO and Jaguar already looked to be dying, the N64 (or Ultra 64, as I would probably have known it then) was still some ways off, so the choice was narrowed down between the Saturn and the Playstation. Like most people back then, I had a very good impression of Sony and viewed their electronics as being of really good quality. That and the impressive demo station at Toys R Us meant that I was split 50-50 between the Playstation and Sega's latest offering. It was this article in the same magazine which clinched it for the Saturn:



The game that impressed me most at that Toys R Us demo station was Wipeout. There was just something about it that captured the zeitgeist of the time. Destruction Derby was another favourite (what 13 year old kid wouldn't love a game where you could smash cars into each other in a 3D arena?). The prospect of Namco's games being ported too was just icing on the cake (of course, those would never come). It's as if it were to be announced today that God of War 2, TLOU2 and Horizon Zero Dawn 2 would all be coming to the Xbox Scarlet. Sony's console would suddenly seem much less attractive.





In the end of course, the Saturn would lose round 2 as well (and rounds 3, 4, 5...) and would throw in the towel in 1998. I still don't regret my decision that Christmas though.

 
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Kazza

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The release line-up for that month was great too:



I ended up buying three of those games (VF2, Virtua Cop and Firestorm). The next month was almost as good, seeing reviews of Sega Rally and Mystaria/Blazing Heroes. The Saturn really seemed like it was shifting up a gear that Christmas. Unfortunately it would prove too little, too late.
 
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The Brooklyn Brawler

Formerly 'Davidj1178'
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I'm a sucker for an underdog or "failed" console

I had a Saturn, dreamcast and Amiga CD32 when they were the respective black sheepskin of theirngenerstions and I still love them all like my little electronic discarded babies
 
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The Brooklyn Brawler

Formerly 'Davidj1178'
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Those figures sound about right according to that Japanese chart (although it's the sequel that did close to 600k and the original 300k).



Haha, one of the things I like about that generation of games is the relative short length of each game, so you shouldn't have to choose between your Saturn and your life (we all know the Saturn would ultimately win out, don't we ;-) ). BTW, don't forget the more obscure Japanese titles:

I never knew liquid kids was on Saturn gonna get that.

That game Hissatsu looks great as well
 
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DT MEDIA

GAF's Resident Saturn Omnibus
Jan 7, 2018
512
653
465
Chicago, IL
www.dtm-arts.com










Here are some scans from the Sega Saturn Magazine JP's special "final rankings" issue from 2000. It features the results of a readers poll that ranks the entire Saturn software library, of which I have posted entries 1-100. In addition, there are several pages that show the sales numbers for a number of select, high profile titles. Finally, a timeline marks important evens in the console's life, as well as showing the sales numbers of Saturn and Playstation (the chart on page 16).

Here are the individual sales numbers for the games shown on these pages:

Virtua Fighter - 710K
Virtua Fighter 2 - 1.7M
World Advanced War (Iron Storm) - 190K
Nights - 500K
Fighting Vipers - 460K
EVE Burst Error - 190K
Street Fighter Zero 2 - 42K
Advanced World War - 70K
Kakyuusei - 270K
Fighters Megamix - 610K
Soukyugurentai - 20K
Sakura Wars - 550K
Sakura Wars 2 - 530K
Sonic Jam - 90K
Dead or Alive - 150K
Thunder Force 5 - 20K
Devil Summoner: Soul Hackers - 320K
Desire - 130K
X-Men Vs. Street Fighter - 250K
Super Robot Wars F - 540K
Grandia - 430K
Azel: Panzer Dragoon RPG (Panzer Saga) - 90K
Langrisser 5 - 90K
Chaos Seed - 10K
Shining Force III: Scenario 3 - 60K
YU-NO - 22K
Kidou Senkan Nadesico: The Blank of 3 Years - 80K
Pia Carrot - 100K
 
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Those figures sound about right according to that Japanese chart (although it's the sequel that did close to 600k and the original 300k).
Ah okay. I was thinking it was the original game and the Sequel did less. My bad. Haha.

I also recognise Martian Successor Nadesico on that list of images if only because I bought the Anime the other week as the UK FINALLY got a release for it!!!

Regarding Yu-No...is the PS4 version based on the original PC game or the Saturn one? I noticed that we are starting to get those type of games now for the PS4.
 
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Al3x1s

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A new SSF version came out. Not sure of the changelog. For me it seems to have fixed instances where settings weren't saved and auto-select of region also seems to work 100% (but you do have to restart the app if the next game is of a different region).

I love this emulator the most of all for Saturn and keep it around even if I've replaced most my other stuff with RetroArch instead (but I also keep Mednafen proper around just in case some cool update in that doesn't make it over to the core quickly enough).
 
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DT MEDIA

GAF's Resident Saturn Omnibus
Jan 7, 2018
512
653
465
Chicago, IL
www.dtm-arts.com






Here is a series of Virtua Fighter 2 "Super Combo" videos that were originally found in a Japanese VF2 forum many years ago. These videos were published on YouTube in 2006. Most of these videos were taken from Sega Saturn version, while videos three and six used the Playstation 2 (Sega Ages) version.

A quick note about the Akira combos. Many of these employ a move known as a "senbon punch," performed by pressing PKG, or punch, then kick, then guard, all very quickly. It uses the "guard cancel" feature which can be used to break out of a canned combo (like PPPK). Guard Cancel is an advanced technique that is highly effective in creating "rolled" or improvised attack combos, and you can see some examples of that in these videos.

Because the senbon punch is a punch with zero recovery time, it's regarded as a cheap move, something of a cheat. It was essentially a glitch in VF2.0 that was removed from future installments. I presume the creator of these videos just wanted to show off his fast button skills.

In any case, these videos are a must-see for all Virtua Fighter fans, and doubly so for all those who thought the game was nothing more than "punch-punch-kick."
 
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Al3x1s

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Virtua Fighter 4 looks so good. I wish we had a DC port even if pared down, it'd be brilliant. I think most of the improvement is from better modeling technique, not that much higher polycounts on characters. VF1 and 3 have high numbers for the end results with wasted (imo) polys.

I kinda like the look more than evolution even, it does definitely improve technically but something is off?

The PS2 ports are good outside the aliasing. I'd be fine with a DC version that took polys away from the elaborate environments (maybe all polys to make them high res 2D outside the arena) to keep the characters closer to the original and the resolution high. Sorry, I guess it's off topic :(
 
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Kazza

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A new SSF version came out. Not sure of the changelog. For me it seems to have fixed instances where settings weren't saved and auto-select of region also seems to work 100% (but you do have to restart the app if the next game is of a different region).

I love this emulator the most of all for Saturn and keep it around even if I've replaced most my other stuff with RetroArch instead (but I also keep Mednafen proper around just in case some cool update in that doesn't make it over to the core quickly enough).
It's amazing that we currently have 3 separate Saturn emulators being worked on (this, Yaba Sanshiro and Mednafen). Hopefully this eventually leads to some official re-releases of Saturn games.
 
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The Brooklyn Brawler

Formerly 'Davidj1178'
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Console suddenly stopped reading cdrs yesterday even ones that had been working 10 minutes before

Looked online ad opened it up and slightly turned a wee orange screw on laser and it seems to be ok again for now
 
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The Brooklyn Brawler

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Some games I tried for the first time yesterday

Crows battle action: basic but I love the graphics and am a aucker for scrolling best em ups

Nekketsu Okayu: same as above

Hissatsu: love it more 2d goodness

Soukyugurentai: not usually a fan of space stuff but this is superb
 
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DT MEDIA

GAF's Resident Saturn Omnibus
Jan 7, 2018
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Chicago, IL
www.dtm-arts.com




Virtua Fighter Remix was given to registered Saturn owners by mail in September 1995, but there was also a retail release. It appears to have been extremely limited and has since become a highly sought collectible. I did see this in FuncoLand stores in the Twin Cities and I've also read that it was released in Canada, but not elsewhere.

I've never been a fan of the US Saturn "long boxes," but Remix does look great. The back cover offers solid bullet points and good screenshots (something Sega of America often screwed up). This game should obviously have become the pack-in title for the console, replacing the original Virtua Fighter, and I'm not certain if that ever happened. Sega had already introduced their $299 "base" model for Saturn, meaning no pack-in game, and that eventually replaced the $349 "deluxe" model entirely.

This raises another issue for Sega, namely why they couldn't effectively counter the public image of Sony's "$299" Playstation, which included no pack-in software title or game saves. You had to pay extra for those, meaning you were really paying $370 for that new shiny console. Surely, once Saturn had dropped down to $349, it was the better bargain. The battery save is extremely useful for the short term, and a single cartridge solves your game saves forever. No having to buy another stupid card for each sports game in your library (thanks, EA).

Oh, well. In any case, VF Remix was also released in the arcades as a ST-V Titan title. I remember seeing one in the games room at Coffman Union at the University of Minnesota, alongside Virtua Fighter 2 and Fighting Vipers (whoever ran the arcade was a real Sega fan). This game strangely fell off the radar rather quickly, as it was overshadowed by its spectacular sequel, but it's still great fun and well worth playing.
 
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Dec 25, 2018
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A lot is said about the disastrous North American launch, but the European launch went just as badly too. Remember, Sega had been number one console here during both the 8-bit and 16 era, but its market share just completely collapsed with the Saturn.

I was skimming through the Official UK Saturn Magazine's December 1995 issue and come across the following article. I was going to post this as a thread on the main gaming forum ("Christmas 95"), but have decided to save it for next year, as it will be relevant with the new consoles coming out. Since we're discussing the Saturn's bad reputation, I think it's relevant now:



Whatever happened in Europe in the summer and autumn of 95, it obviously hit the Saturn really hard. I think the story will be quite familiar to Us readers too:
- the rushed launch, pissing off retailers and media alike
- suspicions about the Saturn's 3D capabilities
- it's unpolished launch line-up (when compared to the slick PS games)
- Sony's much bigger budget ad campaign
- difficulties programming for the system
- the anti-Saturn media bias (seemingly the same in the US too, as pointed out by DT MEDIA DT MEDIA in other posts)








I think it's obvious from this that the war in the West was already lost within the first 6 months of launch. It was like a football team which goes down 3-0 in the first 5 minutes of a game due to a sleepy defence. Once that happens you are always on the back foot, and Sega just didn't have the resources to be able come back from that. The whole Video CD issue was a strange one to be worried about though :messenger_tears_of_joy:

Perhaps a little ironically, it was precisely this issue that made me ask my parents for a Saturn instead of the Playstation that Xmas. At the ripe old age of 13, I already felt myself mature enough to be above petty fanboyism and console wars, and undertook a very objective and scientific analysis of the next-gen options available before making a final decision. The 3DO and Jaguar already looked to be dying, the N64 (or Ultra 64, as I would probably have known it then) was still some ways off, so the choice was narrowed down between the Saturn and the Playstation. Like most people back then, I had a very good impression of Sony and viewed their electronics as being of really good quality. That and the impressive demo station at Toys R Us meant that I was split 50-50 between the Playstation and Sega's latest offering. It was this article in the same magazine which clinched it for the Saturn:



The game that impressed me most at that Toys R Us demo station was Wipeout. There was just something about it that captured the zeitgeist of the time. Destruction Derby was another favourite (what 13 year old kid wouldn't love a game where you could smash cars into each other in a 3D arena?). The prospect of Namco's games being ported too was just icing on the cake (of course, those would never come). It's as if it were to be announced today that God of War 2, TLOU2 and Horizon Zero Dawn 2 would all be coming to the Xbox Scarlet. Sony's console would suddenly seem much less attractive.





In the end of course, the Saturn would lose round 2 as well (and rounds 3, 4, 5...) and would throw in the towel in 1998. I still don't regret my decision that Christmas though.

I was too young to see the effects of the Saturn, but I do recall the Saturn being barely marketed and the only game I saw for it was Sonic R as a kid.

I think the UK wanted a new Alex Kidd game and the Magazine did damage control from what the screenshot suggests. :LOL:

"It was like a football team which goes down 3-0 in the first 5 minutes of a game due to a sleepy defence." - Oooh boy...have you seen Manchester City's final game in 1999 where they got relegated over not doing their Maths properly?

Long story short, they assumed they needed a Draw to stay in the league, and pretty much played it safe. Some fans did some calculations and they realised they needed a WIN to stay in the League! Cue the final 5 Minutes of Manically trying to score...and crashing out of the League.

I know this as a Man City fan. :(

Speaking of which, the Newcastle/United Title Race is EXACTLY like the Sony/SEGA fued of 1995, which Newcastle being so cocksure they would win (like SEGA), Kevin Keegan got riled up by Alex Ferguson's comment (they were 12 points ahead at Christmas), that he said "I'd love it if we beat them", and started using their new Player late on....who couldn't score for shit! They ended up losing the League by a single point.


I personally think that SEGA UK may have changed hands by this time from Mastertronic to SEGA's new recruits, and they were out of their depth. I don't have any evidence to back this up, but to go from the Masterstrokes of Mastertronic's Master System/Mega Drive's smooth operations to the Saturn Launch (and I would even say pre-Launch), I feel like SEGA wanted some more professional members on the team who were all about Marketing and Analytics and they completely flopped as they were likely inexperienced in this area.

That being said, the SEGA Saturn Magazine did have 250,000 Subscribers, which is a great feat for a niche console.

It's extremely ironic then...that Pokémon was that one Nintendo franchise where I saw more N64's thanks to Pokémon Stadium, and probably stole the Dreamcast's Launch thunder as I only EVER saw one Dreamcast and that was a Demo for Sonic Adventure in Toys R Us (a shop we never visited at the best of times).


The Playstation could also be modded and Chipped to gain Pirated games, so people in the UK flocked to that machine and pay people who had knowledge on this instead of paying money for the Saturn's poor offerings. :LOL:
 
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The Brooklyn Brawler

Formerly 'Davidj1178'
Oct 27, 2019
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Ok I've just played a few Parodius games for the first time ever.

How the hell have I never played these?!?!? They are magnificent

I'm a flying pig fighting a dancing panda with a penguin on it's head whilst glen Miller big band music blasts in the background???

Or I'm fighting a big disco ball whilst some old Japanese guy is screaming stuff at me.

Amazing. I love them.

This is what owning a Saturn is all about
 
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Kazza

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Oct 6, 2018
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I was too young to see the effects of the Saturn, but I do recall the Saturn being barely marketed and the only game I saw for it was Sonic R as a kid.

I think the UK wanted a new Alex Kidd game and the Magazine did damage control from what the screenshot suggests. :LOL:

"It was like a football team which goes down 3-0 in the first 5 minutes of a game due to a sleepy defence." - Oooh boy...have you seen Manchester City's final game in 1999 where they got relegated over not doing their Maths properly?

Long story short, they assumed they needed a Draw to stay in the league, and pretty much played it safe. Some fans did some calculations and they realised they needed a WIN to stay in the League! Cue the final 5 Minutes of Manically trying to score...and crashing out of the League.

I know this as a Man City fan. :(

Speaking of which, the Newcastle/United Title Race is EXACTLY like the Sony/SEGA fued of 1995, which Newcastle being so cocksure they would win (like SEGA), Kevin Keegan got riled up by Alex Ferguson's comment (they were 12 points ahead at Christmas), that he said "I'd love it if we beat them", and started using their new Player late on....who couldn't score for shit! They ended up losing the League by a single point.


I personally think that SEGA UK may have changed hands by this time from Mastertronic to SEGA's new recruits, and they were out of their depth. I don't have any evidence to back this up, but to go from the Masterstrokes of Mastertronic's Master System/Mega Drive's smooth operations to the Saturn Launch (and I would even say pre-Launch), I feel like SEGA wanted some more professional members on the team who were all about Marketing and Analytics and they completely flopped as they were likely inexperienced in this area.

That being said, the SEGA Saturn Magazine did have 250,000 Subscribers, which is a great feat for a niche console.

It's extremely ironic then...that Pokémon was that one Nintendo franchise where I saw more N64's thanks to Pokémon Stadium, and probably stole the Dreamcast's Launch thunder as I only EVER saw one Dreamcast and that was a Demo for Sonic Adventure in Toys R Us (a shop we never visited at the best of times).


The Playstation could also be modded and Chipped to gain Pirated games, so people in the UK flocked to that machine and pay people who had knowledge on this instead of paying money for the Saturn's poor offerings. :LOL:
Oh, that takes me back...




The Saturn magazine was amazing, glad to hear it had such a good circulation (for what was, unfortunately, a very niche console)
 

Kazza

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Oct 6, 2018
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Some good lazy Sunday morning viewing for Saturn fans this week. First, another great video from Sega Lord X:



Also another great video from that crazy dude currently engaged in a project to review every single US Saturn release. Don't go thinking these are short ad superficial reviews either, even this one on the relatively obscure third-party title Hi-Octane comes in at nearly half an hour and includes an interview with studio director Peter Molyneux. Interested story to this one: the original PC game was basically created in 6 weeks. EA had just bought out Bullfrog and demanded that they release Dungeon Keeper within 2 months in order to meey their quarterly quotas. Dungeon Keeper was Molyneux's baby and he didn't want to rush it, so he told them he had another game instead and High Octane was created (based on their previous game, Magic Carpet's, engine). Unfortunately, he couldn't get in touch with the guy who programmed the Saturn version (it apparently really was just one single guy), but it turned out much worse than either the PS1 or Saturn version.



I remember seeing this game and was tempted to buy it (Sega Saturn Magazine have it an impressive 90%+ score), but I guess other games got in the way. Any opinions on High-Octane here?
 
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DT MEDIA

GAF's Resident Saturn Omnibus
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I'm a big fan of Pandamonium's video reviews. He goes to great lengths to document each videogame, including discussions with the people behind the scenes and contemporary reviews. I especially enjoyed his video on Ghen War and inspired me to give it a second look. I rented it back in 1995 but came away feeling very disappointed and frustrated. However, it does appear to grow and stretch its legs as it progresses, and given the difficulties in early Saturn development (especially in the West), the programmers did a pretty good job.

As for Hi-Octane, I felt that game was terrible from the very start. Wipeout on Playstation had already raised the bar significantly, and Saturn would receive its own excellent port soon thereafter. Besides, I still had the superb Daytona USA to enjoy and play endlessly, the supremely playable (and underrated) V.R. Virtua Racing, the visually solid High Velocity (another hidden gem) and the spectacular Sega Rally Championship scheduled for Christmas. There was simply no need to settle for a second-rate racer when better options were available.

Looking at this videogame, it's an incredibly sloppy mess on the Saturn, significantly worse than its PSX cousin, to say nothing of the PC original. Critics then and now would gladly harp on their favorite Sega Saturn mantra -- "Can't Do Three Dee, Can't Do Three Dee" -- yet it is very clear that this title was rushed to market, given a scant production time, and was released with a number of very notable bugs. This is nowhere near a completed product and the publishers should have felt ashamed of themselves.

Aye, but note who the publisher is: Electronic Arts, the once brilliant innovators of home computers and Sega Genesis who, in Generation Five, were morphing into their future, evil selves. They were probably Saturn's biggest critics in the US, and half the insider complaints about the console's hardware designs seem to hail from them (one EGM article cited EA's assertion that Daytona USA represented the Saturn's polygon limits, based on nothing more than a passing glance*). By October '95, you can already see the handwriting on the wall. EA is fully behind the Sony Playstation, with Sega given second-fiddle status.

Sometimes, EA could be bothered to put in the effort with Saturn games, such as Magic Carpet, The Need For Speed, Darklight Conflict, and, of course, Madden. Other times, their laziness shone through, such as...well, pretty much all their sports titles that weren't Madden. And Hi-Octane is probably the worst of the whole rotten lot. I don't really mind the short draw distance or flat polygon models that much, but the frame rate is absolutely atrocious, routinely dropping into single digits. Say what you will about Daytona, that game ran very smoothly, and while putting 40 cars on a racetrack, no less.

It should be noted that Hi-Octane was famously created as a throwaway to EA to protect Dungeon Keeper from being rushed to market to appease shareholders (a tactic that is far more common in the videogame industry than many realize). It's a miracle that the PC original was even playable at all, given its scant six-week production time. We're talking 2600 E.T. time, kids. Fortunately, that version does boast a smooth frame rate and solid sense of speed, so it's certainly passable as long as Wipeout is sitting within reach. But it's still not one of Bullfrog's finer moments. It's closer to a B-sides or cover tunes album that bands put out in between the proper studio albums. It's there to just make a quick buck and keep their name in the press, nothing more, quickly consumed and immediately forgotten.

(*Note: It's important to note that while Sega Saturn's critics such as EA were declaring that the hardware could only render 60K-80K polygons, Sony was deliberately lying about Playstation's powers -- claiming the PSX could render over 500K flat-shaded polygons, and 360K texture-mapped polygons. The real performance was nowhere close to those numbers, but nobody seemed to mind. And don't get me started on PS2's "88 million polygons" boast that was pulled out of their butts. As much as I love Sony, their marketing people were Class-A bullshit artists.)
 
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DT MEDIA

GAF's Resident Saturn Omnibus
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The Sakura Wars translation team has announced that they have completed the final testing phase for their eagerly awaited project. The English language patch for the Sega Saturn classic will be available before the end of the year. Here are the newest screenshots.

Sakura Wars is a Strategy-RPG with an elaborate soap opera storyline and elements of dating sims. It features extensive voice acting in cutscenes and animation clips, and features 2D graphics with pre-rendered CG sprites. This title and its sequel are highly praised by Japanese fans as Saturn classics. The fifth installment in the series was released in the USA for Playstation 2 and Nintendo Wii, while all other titles remain exclusive to Japan.

This is one of the best retro videogame releases of the year. Don't miss it!
 
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The Sakura Wars translation team has announced that they have completed the final testing phase for their eagerly awaited project. The English language patch for the Sega Saturn classic will be available before the end of the year. Here are the newest screenshots.

Sakura Wars is a Strategy-RPG with an elaborate soap opera storyline and elements of dating sims. It features extensive voice acting in cutscenes and animation clips, and features 2D graphics with pre-rendered CG sprites. This title and its sequel are highly praised by Japanese fans as Saturn classics. The fifth installment in the series was released in the USA for Playstation 2 and Nintendo Wii, while all other titles remain exclusive to Japan.

This is one of the best retro videogame releases of the year. Don't miss it!
SWEET! How do we play this translation? :3