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Al3x1s

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Gamefan had some nice covers when they had decent artists do them in 2D. Plenty bad ones too though.
 
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A new Sega Saturn English translation project is underway! This is Magic School Lunar (1997), created by Studio Alex and Game Arts, with assistance by Bits Laboratory. This is an expanded version of a Game Gear RPG, featuring new graphics, 30 minutes of animated cutscenes and a new battle system.

The news of this project appeared this Thursday on the SegaXtreme forums by Ms. Tea, a veteran of the Saturn translation community. Her message reads as follows:


I'm working on Magic School Lunar with Suppertails. Since there's no official translation to port over, this is going to be a brand-new English translation, which is being done by Video Game King.

Current status:

  • A full first draft English translation is complete. This needs editing, but does cover all dialogue and menu text in the game.
  • Script editing and playtesting haven't been started yet.
  • All graphics that need to be translated are complete, except for the end credits, and have been inserted into the game.
  • We have tools to insert the new text and graphics into the game. These work but have some bugs that are still being ironed out.
  • FMVs haven't been started. Tools aren't a problem, it just needs someone to a) transcribe the dialogue, and b) translate it.

Several screenshots were provided showing the English text, and a short YouTube video was also shown of the game in progress. Ms. Tea is also working on an English translation of Lunar: Silver Star Story, with no new updates on that project since August. Let's hope it hasn't been put on hiatus.
 

Al3x1s

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cireza

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Sakura Wars is totally NOT working on my real Saturn. Hangs when having to display text. Too bad.
 
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It looks like a Princess Crown fan translation might finally happen. I really hope these progress reports are truthful, I've been wanting to play this forever. I wish they made a sequel with the same set up/systems.

I love how bosses look like some stupid weird side scrolling JRPG Monster Hunter and like it even works!

Thanks for the update. I wrote about Princess Crown back in August and it's good to learn that the project is still making progress. As always, we must remember that the people responsible for these fan translations and software patches are doing so purely out of love, without any money, and during their spare time. When real life intervenes, such projects must take a back seat.

Here are the latest comments on Princess Crown from the translation team. First, this note from SamIAm on October 12:

"Major progress has been happening on this in the last year. Today we reached a major milestone: I've now completed a thorough playthrough of the translation in an emulator with the finalized print routine in place. The script has undergone heavy editing and only needs one last light pass to call it finished. Many critical bugs have been squished, and the remaining bugs have been clearly save-stated and cataloged.​
"There are certain pieces of text that exist as graphics, and tackling them will be our last big hurdle. That's what I plan to look at next.​
"Real life is very busy for both CyberWarriorX and myself, so it's impossible to give an ETA at this point. In addition to the graphical text, there are several other minor issues to take care of, and who knows how all that will play out. Regardless, the project is ready to move into another phase. We'll keep you posted! Thanks to everyone for your enthusiasm."​

Next, a following message posted on November 13, in response to a 2013 Kotaku article about an old English translation guide written by former IGN staffer Anoop Gantayat:

"I would not encourage people to use that at this point.​
"I mean, if you absolutely must play Princess Crown right now and want to see some English by any means possible, then go ahead, I guess. But what CyberWarriorX and I have made is a fully original translation that is both more accurate and that displays properly in the game itself. With all due respect to the person/people who made the translation in that link, I'm confident that once we're finished with our version, nobody is going to use that again.​
"If you were wondering if there is something in there that might serve as a resource to us, then thank you for trying to help, but there simply isn't. Our script is fully translated and very near its final evolution in the editing process. As the translator, I deliberately avoided looking at that other version because I wanted my work to be truly original. However, I did check just a few spots for comparison at one point, and from what I saw, it's less like they took some liberties and more like they rewrote the whole thing however they wanted. Also, in the intro, the main translator admits that his Japanese isn't that good, and from what I saw, it showed. There might be some lines in there that are clever in their own right, but the tone is drastically altered overall. In a way, I think it would be a pity for someone's perception of Princess Crown to be colored by something so different from the original Japanese game."​

Like everybody else, I am highly anticipating this new Princess Crown translation and am eagerly awaiting news of any updates. Fortunately, Sega Saturn fans already have their hands full with Sakura Wars, Grandia (which is still ironing out its second disc), Policenauts and Shining Force III Trilogy. By the time you complete any of those other titles, this newest gem will be ready and waiting.
 
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Kazza

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Everyone may have already watched this last year, but it's worth watching again at Christmas time (for some reason, SLX decided to release this in June):



A very hopeful time for us Western Saturn fans. The release of those three games (which I believe didn't come out until after Xmas in Europe) proved that the Saturn could do 3D properly. In fact, they may have been the best examples of 3D graphics on any console at the time (can anyone think of a PS1 game in 1995 with better 3D?). Unfortunately, it would prove too little, too late.
 
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Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah! We have a new update on the Grandia English translation by project lead TrekkiesUnite. He posted a new video showing his most recent work on the game's menu screens, which you can see above. The videogame has been in "beta testing" for the past few months as players have been able to download revisions of the software patch.

TrekkiesUnite put Grandia on hold to help complete the Sakura Wars project, particularly helping on adding subtitles to the video clips. Now he is able to return and finally finish translating the Game Arts RPG classic (ranked #2 on the 2000 JP Sega Saturn Magazine readers poll).

I have asked about his future projects, as well as the possibility of translating Grandia Digital Museum, which is a short addendum disc that was released in Japan and features a short quest alongside a fair amount of promotional material. I also asked about any future Sega Saturn projects and hope he'll respond. If and when I receive any news, I'll pass it along.
 
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An indie programmer named Ponut64 has been working on a new Sega Saturn project. He states that he doesn't yet have any firm plans but is still working on perfecting the graphics engine before proceeding. As you can see from these latest videos, what has been created is highly impressive. At this point, you shouldn't expect anything more than what's shown here, but it's still highly encouraging to see the indie community tackle this console at last.

The most recent videos were uploaded on December 1. Ponut64 also posts at the SegaXtreme forums, which is a home for Saturn homebrew/indie developers.
 
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Al3x1s

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They look quite glitchy with things going over them acting like they're under them (that bomb). But neat. And I guess they were quite glitchy in Burning Rangers as well in terms of priorities/sorting.
 
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Now that it's Christmas and Hanukkah-time, it's time for all Sega Saturn fans to play Christmas Nights. I find it most fun to play a complete game from the very beginning, unlocking all of the presents and playing through all the cool bonus modes like Link Mode, Time Attack and Sonic.

As always, when I begin, I don't run immediately towards the gazebo but wander around in search of 20 blue spheres. Many are hidden inside Christmas trees and along platforms that cannot be reached when flying as Nights. You must also watch out for hills that suddenly pop up into mountains when you step on them.

Keep your eyes and ears open for the egg clock that is relentlessly stalking you. If you jump onto its head, you can knock it out for a short while, buying you valuable time. You should also keep your eyes open for those pop-whistle-thingies that jump you forward towards the gazebo. Even though Spring Valley is small, it's easy to become lost.

To see the complete ending, you'll need to complete a run with both children in Christmas mode. This includes the closing animation and that wonderful vocal music at the closing credits. Winter and Christmas modes are nearly identical, aside from the music and change of wardrobe for the children. Of course, you'll need to set your Saturn to December 25 in order to see Santa Claus, and there are variations in floating objects based on the time you play, ranging from snow to candies and other surprises.

All of the presents can be unlocked by playing, but one final surprise awaits you when playing on April 1: playable Raela. Once this character is unlocked, you can select them at any time, so I would recommend changing your Saturn clock and cheating a little instead of waiting another ten weeks.

Christmas Nights is a really fantastic disc. Had this been the only Nights title released by Sonic Team, it would still qualify as an all-time classic. The sheer amount of gameplay features and bonus items, as well as the variations between the two children's stages (they share the same Spring Valley but use different racetracks), raise this game far above the ranks of a mere demo. Why Sega couldn't properly promote this disc more wisely is another mystery for the ages. Personally, I would have made this the Saturn's pack-in title and released worldwide for the 1996 Holiday season. If memory serves, we Westerners didn't see this game until the following summer, which doesn't make any sense. But that's Sega for you.
 

Kazza

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Now that it's Christmas and Hanukkah-time, it's time for all Sega Saturn fans to play Christmas Nights. I find it most fun to play a complete game from the very beginning, unlocking all of the presents and playing through all the cool bonus modes like Link Mode, Time Attack and Sonic.

As always, when I begin, I don't run immediately towards the gazebo but wander around in search of 20 blue spheres. Many are hidden inside Christmas trees and along platforms that cannot be reached when flying as Nights. You must also watch out for hills that suddenly pop up into mountains when you step on them.

Keep your eyes and ears open for the egg clock that is relentlessly stalking you. If you jump onto its head, you can knock it out for a short while, buying you valuable time. You should also keep your eyes open for those pop-whistle-thingies that jump you forward towards the gazebo. Even though Spring Valley is small, it's easy to become lost.

To see the complete ending, you'll need to complete a run with both children in Christmas mode. This includes the closing animation and that wonderful vocal music at the closing credits. Winter and Christmas modes are nearly identical, aside from the music and change of wardrobe for the children. Of course, you'll need to set your Saturn to December 25 in order to see Santa Claus, and there are variations in floating objects based on the time you play, ranging from snow to candies and other surprises.

All of the presents can be unlocked by playing, but one final surprise awaits you when playing on April 1: playable Raela. Once this character is unlocked, you can select them at any time, so I would recommend changing your Saturn clock and cheating a little instead of waiting another ten weeks.

Christmas Nights is a really fantastic disc. Had this been the only Nights title released by Sonic Team, it would still qualify as an all-time classic. The sheer amount of gameplay features and bonus items, as well as the variations between the two children's stages (they share the same Spring Valley but use different racetracks), raise this game far above the ranks of a mere demo. Why Sega couldn't properly promote this disc more wisely is another mystery for the ages. Personally, I would have made this the Saturn's pack-in title and released worldwide for the 1996 Holiday season. If memory serves, we Westerners didn't see this game until the following summer, which doesn't make any sense. But that's Sega for you.
Digital Foundry did a nice play through (talking about the history and technical aspects while playing):

 

SpiceRacz

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My introduction to Nights was through a demo kiosk at Toys R Us. I didn't own a Saturn and I was coming immediately from Super Mario 64. It was so uniquely Sega and I was in love the moment I saw it. I didn't pick up a Saturn and Nights until a few years later, but it was everything I hoped it would be. It's still one of my favorite games of all time.
 
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Al3x1s

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I really loved Nights back in the day, the whole atmosphere and story told without text/voice and the design of Nights itself. But I tried to play Christmas Nights for the holiday spirit and found it doesn't really hold up as a game in my opinion. Other Saturn classics fare a lot better.
 
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Al3x1s

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Again new SSF version.

Edit: not sure if the issue was introduced in this version (edit: it wasn't!) but Samurai Shodown IV is glitchy with missing sprites/frames. Capcom games are fine. I tried different options like gpu/vulkan/transparency in case one of those was messing it up to no avail.

Also, sometimes the controller ceases to work but going back to the input mapping and doing it again it's fine so idk what's up with that. I'd stick with the previous version for now (or it's a fluke and those also happen in that, but I never noticed any of it before this one).
 
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MarkMan

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Really excited and hopeful that one day the Satiator and Phoebe/Rhea will be widely/easily available (lol, yeah I know).

I'm going to be proactive and try to get some clean/nice Saturn hardware when I go to Japan in a few weeks. I just got my RADX2 HDMI cable.
 
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Kazza

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Really excited and hopeful that one day the Satiator and Phoebe/Rhea will be widely/easily available (lol, yeah I know).

I'm going to be proactive and try to get some clean/nice Saturn hardware when I go to Japan in a few weeks. I just got my RADX2 HDMI cable.
With the emulators improing by the day, I think I'll be happy to stick with them for the future (I especially like the resolution bumps that some now allow), although the Satiator and Phoebe/Rhea are still great for those that want them. However, I'd still like to buy a beautiful white Japanese Saturn, even if it's just for show:

 

Kazza

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Atlantis - The lost Tales
Discworld II - Missing Presumed... !?
Formula Karts - Special Edition
Frankenstein - Through the Eyes of the Monster
Jonah Lomu Rugby
Swagman
Trash it
UEFA Euro '96
World League Soccer '98
Z

Of these, I only ever had Euro 96 (based on Actua Soccer). I thought it was a really good game at the time, but it doesn't look like it's aged as well as Sega's Worldwide Soccer series. Formula Karts looks fun (remember seeing that in a magazine). It's rare to have a serious kart racer. I bough the original Discworld, as I loved point and click adventure games, but I found it really hard to make progress, and wasn't a massive fan of the humour. I always liked the look of the sequel, but never bought it.

Trash It looks just...absolute trash.
 
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Kazza

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All-Star Baseball 97 Featuring Frank Thomas
BattleSport
Bottom of the 9th
College Slam
CONGO The Movie: The Lost City of Zinj
Contra: Legacy of War
Corpse Killer: Graveyard Edition
Double Switch
Grand Slam
Herc's Adventures
Midway Presents Arcade's Greatest Hits
NFL 97
Quarterback Attack
Scud: The Disposable Assassin
Ten Pin Alley

Of these games, Herc's Adventures looks the most interesting (kind of like Legend of Oasis). stange it never got a worldwide release.

 

Cravis

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Herc’s Adventures is great. It’s a spiritual successor to Zombies Ate My Neighbors. Definitely worth tracking down and playing today.
 
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Al3x1s

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It only took me 2,5 decades to discover the Saturn version of Virtua Fighter 2 gives you the option of the original release or the 2.1 revision. Wtf! It makes the attract use alternate costumes as on the arcades to indicate it's 2.1 too. Are there more ports with such settings?

Yeah I now know it's in the manual, I never read it or noticed that button indication on the menu, lol. Why wasn't 2.1 the default, that makes no sense.
 
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It only took me 2,5 decades to discover the Saturn version of Virtua Fighter 2 gives you the option of the original release or the 2.1 revision. Wtf! It makes the attract use alternate costumes as on the arcades to indicate it's 2.1 too. Are there more ports with such settings?

Yeah I now know it's in the manual, I never read it or noticed that button indication on the menu, lol. Why wasn't 2.1 the default, that makes no sense.

There is, however, one massive glitch that renders VF 2.1 all but unplayable: every hit registers as a “major counter,” which normally occurs when you strike an opponent while they are actively attacking. This enables greater damage and, more importunely, higher floats that enable extra hits in combos. Because of this glitch, it becomes easy for some fighters like Lau or Kage to float a character completely off the arena after nothing more than a standing kick. D’oh!
 

Al3x1s

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There is, however, one massive glitch that renders VF 2.1 all but unplayable: every hit registers as a “major counter,” which normally occurs when you strike an opponent while they are actively attacking. This enables greater damage and, more importunely, higher floats that enable extra hits in combos. Because of this glitch, it becomes easy for some fighters like Lau or Kage to float a character completely off the arena after nothing more than a standing kick. D’oh!
Not seeing that behavior, is it every hit or nearly every hit or specific moves or other conditions? Testing Lau vs Lau in 2.0 and 2.1 the regular standing kick does the same damage when not a counter (basically takes the health down to the start of enemy Lau's name box). Float seems the same.
 
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Not seeing that behavior, is it every hit or nearly every hit or specific moves or other conditions? Testing Lau vs Lau in 2.0 and 2.1 the regular standing kick does the same damage when not a counter (basically takes the health down to the start of enemy Lau's name box). Float seems the same.

I'll have to test this out. I'm going purely from memory as well as reading something a number of years ago. The logical thing would be to play both 2.0 and 2.1 with the same standard moves to see if a MC registers when it shouldn't. I could be completely wrong about this, so I'll give it a go and update this post with my findings.
 
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I finally had some time to play the VF 2.1 mode on Virtua Fighter 2. I previously stated that this mode featured a fatal gameplay bug, one where every hit counts as a "Major Counter." After extensive playing, I realize that this was a mistake. As best as I can tell, everything is perfectly fine and all attacks are scored properly as they should. There are no gameplay glitches or bugs

A thought had occurred to me: was I thinking of the PC version of Virtua Fighter 2? I believe this was the case, as I had both read about the MC glitch back around 2005. At the time, I didn't have a Saturn but did have a modestly-powerful PC, which is where I played all my videogames. I had all but given up on consoles after Dreamcast died, retreating to classic system emulators, MAME and more modern titles like Quake 3 Arena and Unreal Tournament 2003/2004.

The PC version of VF2 is no longer compatible with modern PCs, so I haven't managed to play it for many, many years. I found a gameplay video on YouTube which does match up with my own experiences of the game, including a number of gameplay glitches in speed and frame rate (I always assumed that such issues were the fault of my graphics card).

I can't remember where I had first read about any MC glitches, but it probably came from VFDC. Unfortunately, I couldn't find forum archives on that site that go back 15 years or more, meaning that the original posts are now lost. As always, caveat emptor, take everything with a grain of salt, etc.

I'm sharing a gameplay video of the PC version so that you can judge for yourselves. Here, you can see that attacks cause more damage than they ought to. Lau vs Sarah and Jacky vs Lau are two good examples of this. Again, grain of salt, but for the second video, the options menu is shown and the damage meters were at default settings.





Update: In case you're wondering, here are all the gameplay differences between VF 2.0 and 2.1. The differences are relatively minor but intended to provide more balance and remove a few annoyances (such as cheating by running away at the end of a match). Enjoy:


Version 2.0:
  • Unblocked P K combo causes character to fall
  • No pauses when running backwards
  • Player and CPU-controlled opponents of Shun and Lion automatically track (face towards them) when Shun or Lion scoot around behind the opponent
  • 2P (right side) Lau floats higher when kicked, and is slower getting up

Version 2.1:
  • Unblocked P K combo causes characters to stagger, but not fall
  • Pause introduced between steps when running away (harder to attack, then run away until time runs out)
  • Player and CPU-controlled players do not automatically track Shun and Lion when they scuttle sideways around their opponents
  • Both Laus react exactly the same to kicks and getting up
  • Kage's Koenraku-thrown characters don't float as long, making it harder to get off attacks before they land
  • Jacky's recovery from the bicycle/back kickflip is longer (by 1/5 of a second), making him more vulnerable afterwards
  • If hit during a backdash, the character staggers
  • Height of Kage's Koenraku adjusted
  • Recovery from staggering after elbow, sidekick attacks now easier to do with lever, buttons
  • Lever controls made easier. (Moves will still work with small misses)
  • In the case of an attack which involves falling to the ground (ie. Shun's various moves), a down attack can hit even if Shun is not completely down on the ground
  • The stopping distance after a long-distance run changed from 3.0 meters to 1.5 meters
  • Shun-di now able to get master ranking in ranking mode.
 
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Here are the latest updates on the Grandia English translation project. TrekkiesUnite is the lead on this project and paused his work to assist the Sakura Wars translation team. Now he is working on audio synchronization and bug fixes. Progress is moving slowly but with confidence.



 
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Al3x1s

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Glad VF2(.1) is once again confirmed awesome on Saturn with nothing marring its reputation :p
 
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Al3x1s

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Any fan translations for this gem? Such a shame we didn't get this. Or any more games like it even.

Overshadowed by the likes of Starfox and Panzer Dragoon I guess? Even though it's not on rails...
 
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Al3x1s

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I've not noticed any problems with this version yet, other than those SNK fighting games not being emulated properly as before. I started from scratch to ensure the ini files and everything don't conflict with settings meant for older versions.
 
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Kazza

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I was looking at old magazine reviews of Gunstar Heroes (as I usually do when playing old Megadrive games on my Mini), and happened to come across some early Saturn news. With the next gen approaching us in 2020, it's fun to look back on the rumours that were knocking about in 1993/94.

Does anyone remember this early prototype/mock-up? (I don't)



Here is an in-depth report from the same issue (Sep 93):



The article discusses potential pricing (corrected guessed at $400) and backwards compatibility with the Megadrive and Mega CD (judged as being unlikely). Interesting that the specs from the prototype ended up being a low-ball estimate of the actual specs (there have been lots of rumours that Sega up the specs after hearing about the 3D abilities of the Playstation). The polygon count in particular seems to have gotten a significant bump:



The was more news, this time from January's CES show in Las Vegas:



The April 94 issue brought more accurate info (two CPUs now, although the 800k polygons per second was a little exaggerated) and a better accurate likeness:



It was only in July 94's issue that UK gamers finally got to see pictures of the Saturn and previews of the launch games:



Anyone here have memories of the Saturn hype cycle?
 
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Kazza

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I found some interesting sales figures too:



Even almost 2 years after launch, the Saturn still managed to just about keep ahead of the Playstation in Japan (apparently helped by the newly released cut-price white Saturn). Nintendo's new N64 seems to have taken a bite out of Sony's market rather than Sega's. Final Fantasy 7 would come in January 1997 and change everything.

Things weren't nearly so rosy in the Europe though, where Andy Mee, Sega Europe's Director of Marketting and Sales, admitted that Sony's system was outselling the Saturn by more than 3-1:



Some highlights:
- Worldwide Soccer 97 was a big hit (especially pleasing after the disappointing Victory Goal)
- feels Sega may have lost customers due to disappointment with the Mega CD and 32X
- thinks that many of Sony's customers are ex-Nintendo gamers who couldn't quite bring themselves to switch to Sega (I hadn't thought of that before, but it makes sense)
- talks about the success of Sega of America's 3 game pack-in promotion (300k units sold in one week, representing a 500% increase in sales)
- Sonic Extreme was scrapped due to Yuji Naka being unhappy with the quality (no surprises there)
- VF3 and the special "Model 3" cart sounds like a sure thing at the time
- calls Playstation owners "graphics tarts" :messenger_tears_of_joy:

It's good to hear from Sega Europe for a change, as the Saturn story often revolves around SoA and SoJ and the conflict between them. After all, Sega Europe were helping to hold up the company when the Master System was floundering in NA and Japan. I wonder how much influence they had during the Megadrive, Saturn and Dreamcast eras? This sales guy sounds quietly optimistic about 1997 - he had steadied the ship and, while admitting that they were unlikely to catch up to Sony, seemed happy to be hitting their own sales targets. Little was he to know that 1997 would bring the double blow of FFVII and Bernie "the Saturn is not our future" Solar.