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Sega seemed to hit its peak around early 1994, then WTF happened?

NeoIkaruGAF

Gold Member
This is an interesting question which everyone gets wrong all the time because they just repeat what they heard without looking into it, so everyone speaks of the same 4-6 ills without realizing those weren't causes but symptoms.

Sonic 1 arguably the issue, and I'm not talking about the game, I'm talking about how SoA handled it. Because it was from there that Sega suddenly wanted to be on war footing with competition when they were not before, I've seen more and more people bring this up and they are right on further inspection, and that grew more and more each year, the Genesis success everywhere but Japan prompted the captains to take control of the ship and compete their way(SoJ). Now all of a sudden Sega was reacting, they were thinking about strategies to attract new customers yet never had the infrastructure to do it, they wanted marketing but didn't know how to do it on a competitive scale without bleeding cash, they thought if they overinvest in product and arcades, the result would cause enough novelty and hype for people to swarm to stores or waste coins in the arcades in crowds, it didn't happen, none of this had a safety net either.


TL : DR Yep, I hope this ridiculously long rant on a gaming internet forum, educates you on the matter.
Holy shit buddy, I hope you had all that ready for a while because if you wrote all of that up just like that… whoa.

And yeah, I agree with you. I think Sega just stumbled upon success with Sonic 1 thanks to Kalinske and his aggressive strategies to make the game a Mario killer and have it bundled with the console when SoJ wouldn’t. So Sega suddenly found themselves actually competing with Nintendo, and went on without a clear long-term strategy. Infighting between the US and JP branches made sure no strategy would ever be agreed upon, and when Sega went out of steam in the US, everything came tumbling down. They looked like they could keep staying winning all through 1991-1993, which admittedly was a very busy period in gaming and seemed longer than it actually was - but just as you say, in 1994 the writing was starting to appear on the wall.
 
Actually it's a PhD level opinion from someone who's been playing games since 1977 but good job on being wrong. You have no idea what you're talking about. The 3DO's focus was actually FMV and multimedia NOT 3D.

i can list 200 non-FMV games right here, you have no idea what you're talking about he whole point of ti's graphics architecture was 3D, the name 3DO was a play on the word, it even had texture mapping support that the Jaguar, another console designed for 3D, didn't have, which was planned from 1992, which is why along with the license plan, the console launched expensive, however cut the price down quicker than people expected. of course that ended up being a liability later.

You aren't really saying anything, this is just a pointless childish attack line you'd see on twitter or the Youtube comments.

The Saturn was actually MORE focused on 3D than the 3DO was.

No it wasn't, hence the reaction to the Jaguar.

Some shitty NFL game was NOT the top selling game internationally. No one in Japan gave two turds about that game.

This is a goal post movie and is completely irrelevant to the conversation you jumped into. The whole console failed in japan, which had already been mentioned more than once.

Are you sure you're old enough to be on this board? Isn't the age requirement over 15 or something? because it seems you don't know how to conduct basic discourse in a respectable way.
 
i can list 200 non-FMV games right here, you have no idea what you're talking about he whole point of ti's graphics architecture was 3D, the name 3DO was a play on the word, it even had texture mapping support that the Jaguar, another console designed for 3D, didn't have, which was planned from 1992, which is why along with the license plan, the console launched expensive, however cut the price down quicker than people expected. of course that ended up being a liability later.

You aren't really saying anything, this is just a pointless childish attack line you'd see on twitter or the Youtube comments.



No it wasn't, hence the reaction to the Jaguar.



This is a goal post movie and is completely irrelevant to the conversation you jumped into. The whole console failed in japan, which had already been mentioned more than once.

Are you sure you're old enough to be on this board? Isn't the age requirement over 15 or something? because it seems you don't know how to conduct basic discourse in a respectable way.
Actually, you're the one who disrespected me by personally attacking me by saying that my post was uneducated even though it obviously wasn't, so bug off.

The 3DO was a FMV machine. There's a reason why basically every single game was padded with FMV intermissions even the launch title Crash N' Burn.

It was too slow to run any non superficial 3D games. They struggled porting Doom to it. Road Rash couldn't even hit a consistent 30fps on it. The 3DO was a pure abomination. Technical incompetence. Sucked at everything. It wasn't a 2D or 3D machine. It was simply shit.

The Saturn was much more intended to run 3D games especially quad based ones. The model formats in Sega Model games actually worked pretty well with the Saturn's rendering method. You have no idea what you're talking about.
 
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Awwww, what's that, Timmy? Your so called NPD figures. Sonic was #1 there too.
yeah.... I know.....I never said it wasn't.

That's the story of Sega's life: "for some reason." No one can make rhyme or reason of anything they did because everything they did was stupid. The point is that, had they actually put effort into it, the DC VF3 could have been better than the arcade version, so it's a travesty that it wasn't. Think about it. 3 years after the arcade release. I'd say that it'd almost be as embarrassing as not releasing an arcade perfect version of Street Fighter 2 three years after its release, but the video game industry is such a festering piece of shit, that actually happened.

SFII didn't happen because of the general move to 3D and Video cutscenes, which didn't require the type of hardware usually used for traditional 2D games, instead they would use that hardware to simulate 2D or to brute force 2D to a respectable level, even the Saturn which was best, had to use a memory expansion for some games and that was made to run 2D games at arcade quality. 2DO/Sony/N64 didn't need the cost of the hardware to do that given the amount of effort put into 3D capability.

Not that I believe any of these, though, and I'm not particularly interested in American taste because it tends to be so heavily skewed towards sports dog shit.
Interesting tweets you posted since they prove my point the NFL2K games were pretty much the reason why most people brought Dreamcasts. As for not believing in NPS well, that's a bit silly since it's NPD and they are accurate. Also the Dreamcast is the only console where the top of it's game sales were as lopsided to sports, you're acting like the American market did that for all consoles.
 
yeah.... I know.....I never said it wasn't.



SFII didn't happen because of the general move to 3D and Video cutscenes, which didn't require the type of hardware usually used for traditional 2D games, instead they would use that hardware to simulate 2D or to brute force 2D to a respectable level, even the Saturn which was best, had to use a memory expansion for some games and that was made to run 2D games at arcade quality. 2DO/Sony/N64 didn't need the cost of the hardware to do that given the amount of effort put into 3D capability.


Interesting tweets you posted since they prove my point the NFL2K games were pretty much the reason why most people brought Dreamcasts. As for not believing in NPS well, that's a bit silly since it's NPD and they are accurate. Also the Dreamcast is the only console where the top of it's game sales were as lopsided to sports, you're acting like the American market did that for all consoles.

Stop "moving the goal post." I don't care about the United States. I've said it several times already. Don't bother responding. I'm done with you.
 
Actually, you're the one who disrespected me by personally attacking me by saying that my post was uneducated even though it obviously wasn't, so bug off.

It was and still is, and you are the one who snapped at me so I think me bringing that up was justified.

The 3DO was a FMV machine. There's a reason why basically every single game was padded with FMV intermissions even the launch title Crash N' Burn.
No it wasn't, and you are now revising the history of the Saturn and Playstation for some reason with this post as well.

Most of the games people bring up for it are not FMV and at best my have FMV cutscenes. Crash N Burn was a launch title, no other racing game in such a style which there were like, 2 more, did well, and instead the biggest racers were all polygonal like NFS and so on. Which were not FMV games but 3D titles that were impressive and well reviewed. Using some launch game early example, which itself had positive reception for a time though has aged pretty hilariously, doesn't really equate to your claim that 3DO was an FMV machine. Unless you can actually elaborate and articulate your point better. Doubt it.

They struggled porting Doom to it.

Which in your context, wouldn't be counted as a 3D game, and the issue had nothing to do with 3DO hardware, it ran through development hell, it was supposed to be some improved version of the game with a bunch of changes and it didn't happen, it's incredibly easy to look up the facts on Doom 3DO, which you apparently didn't do, which is why you are falsely blaming the hardware instead of incompetence by the porters, which btw, were not even id, and again, were trying to bite off more than they could chew.

Road Rash couldn't even hit a consistent 30fps on it.
And there are 3D games more complex than Road Rash that can so...???

I can't believe that games with more devs with longer time and experience with tools coming from the PC are able to handle 3D FPS better than a team that's last game was a sprite title on the Mega Drive. My gosh.

The Saturn was much more intended to run 3D games especially quad based ones.
Except we no for a fact that's false from Sega staff themselves an the articles at the time.

in 1992 3DO was foreword thinking, maybe a bit too early, while Sega was struggling with their success and where to go and became reactionary to the market.

Yeah, the 3DO again, was likely too early but until 1996, the 3DO the tope example of 3D gaming, with PSX running off of 3DO ports early on, some of which ran worse, some of which ran better, and then Sony's own games and third parties at launch with had mixed performance between poor and great(for the time), but it didn't come out way ahead until that launch window was over. Considering that's a nearing 3 year gap this makes sense.

All this additional ranting and misinfo is pointless to the fact that Sega was expecting the industry to go in a direction that it wasn't ready for and then without planning ahead reacted all the way tot he launch of the Saturn. You yourself even said Sega was incompetent, so this seems to be more of some anti-3DO fanboy grudge more than anything. yet, your posts indicate you know nothing about it, interesting.
 

Ecotic

Member
Sega's problems were numerous in the early and mid-90's. However, I still maintain the singular thing that brought everything down was the decision to launch the Saturn in 1994 head-on versus the Playstation. The problem ultimately was Sony the corporation was too well-resourced and too well-branded, and Sega could only compete effectively if they had some edge that was readily apparent.

What Sega could have done was try to 'get around' the problem of Sony the corporation by committing to launching the Saturn later with clearly superior technology. Imagine if the Sega Saturn launched in Christmas 1996 for $300 with graphics that were a bit better than the N64, the ability to play either CD or cartridge-based games, and with about a dozen high-quality launch games (because Sega would have had more time to develop the launch lineup).

Instantly Sega has an edge, the gaming press is positive towards Sega, and Sega the company believes in the system.
 
Stop "moving the goal post." I don't care about the United States. I've said it several times already. Don't bother responding. I'm done with you.
The clown is running away from his misinformed and uneducated position in a conversation HE JUMPED INTO, and now is saying HE wasn't talking about the topi that was already in play before he came?

Oh Gaf what happen...

For anyone actually interested in the truth, you can read this interview to really understand just how stupid Trip Hawkins is. The 3DO was always imagined as a shitty interactive media machine. It wasn't a 3D game console.

https://shmuplations.com/3do/

From your own link:

The 3DO also excels in polygon rendering and texture mapping, so things like flight simulators will be easy to produce. It can quickly render 3D objects from any angle, allowing players to enjoy more realistic 3D worlds.

Like Xbox 1, 3Do yes was trying to be multimedia (several planned accessories were canned), however like Xbox that doesn't change the fact the 3DO which was being formulated in 1992, wasn't designed for 3D gaming when it clearly was with an architecture that was ahead of the curve and expensive.

The most you can say is they waited to early on the chipset, there wasn't a known clear advantage until 1996 when the PSX proved it could run circles around it in detail, mapping, and FPS. Not some much smoothness and warping though, the PSX had weakness. But yes, it was better for 3D, and the Saturn also later proved to also be better, which is a benefit of the Saturn reacting to events from before.

But initially the Saturn was not really putting much into 3D. This simple fact seems to piss you off and I have no idea why.
 
Sega's problems were numerous in the early and mid-90's. However, I still maintain the singular thing that brought everything down was the decision to launch the Saturn in 1994 head-on versus the Playstation. The problem ultimately was Sony the corporation was too well-resourced and too well-branded, and Sega could only compete effectively if they had some edge that was readily apparent.

What Sega could have done was try to 'get around' the problem of Sony the corporation by committing to launching the Saturn later with clearly superior technology. Imagine if the Sega Saturn launched in Christmas 1996 for $300 with graphics that were a bit better than the N64, the ability to play either CD or cartridge-based games, and with about a dozen high-quality launch games (because Sega would have had more time to develop the launch lineup).

Instantly Sega has an edge, the gaming press is positive towards Sega, and Sega the company believes in the system.
Where would Sega get the tech to be BETTER than the N64 and launch the same year? Nintendo has to spend a pretty penny with a separate company for their graphics, and had to cut corners elsewhere to reach it's affordable price. i can't see Sega being in that position without throwing some overpriced arcade tech into the mix which would not make a 1996 Saturn affordable.

Then there's the fact such a delay would only make sense given the Genesis/Mega Drive was already 6 years old by 1994. 5 years in NA.

If you said Sega Rally 2 I would agree. VF3 was a decent port, looks and plays a lot like the coin op. And DC wasn't Model 3 to begin with, it had a completely different architecture. Should they have done it in-house? Yea, but for some reason they opted not to. Perhaps because the game was kinda old when DC released. At least we got it. But I think its a better port than VF1 and even VF2 on Saturn, though VF2 was downported from much more powerful hardware. Its also a better port than VF4 on PS2. In fact, VF3 might be the closest port of all until VF5 happened.

But SR2, being at 30fps (or a bad fluctuating unlocked one in the JP version) with barely any details etc, was a huge disappointment. SR2 was big in the arcade, it was the number one game I wanted at the time.

VF3 3TB gets a lot of dislike but it plays fine, it's really Fighting Vipers 2 they messed up on, in fact that goes for the arcade version as well.
 
I still remember being tempted by Sega Rally when weighing up a PS1 or Saturn. PS1 had too much going for it and FF7.

Ultimately I think we can broadly agree if no-one else entered the business Sega could've carried on being an alternative to Nintendo but they didn't have what takes to lead or grasp the evolving and growing size of the industry.
 
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Holy shit buddy, I hope you had all that ready for a while because if you wrote all of that up just like that… whoa.

And yeah, I agree with you. I think Sega just stumbled upon success with Sonic 1 thanks to Kalinske and his aggressive strategies to make the game a Mario killer and have it bundled with the console when SoJ wouldn’t. So Sega suddenly found themselves actually competing with Nintendo, and went on without a clear long-term strategy. Infighting between the US and JP branches made sure no strategy would ever be agreed upon, and when Sega went out of steam in the US, everything came tumbling down. They looked like they could keep staying winning all through 1991-1993, which admittedly was a very busy period in gaming and seemed longer than it actually was - but just as you say, in 1994 the writing was starting to appear on the wall.
Infighting was a symptom, because you had the regional problem that Sega never solved all the way until the end.

They went a long time 3 years without doing anything to prepare, so when other competition started coming up JAG/PSX/3DO/N64 Sega was reacting to everything without really planning. Add in SoJ wrestling control and consolidating decisions to Japan because of NEC panick (which ended up being nothing, lol PCFX) and pushing to be viable in Japan over everywhere else, well, everything finally fell apart.

I don't see anyway the Dreamcast could have been anything more but a good buy to fans and maybe a temporary curiosity to casuals when it, came out since it offered no solutions to previous issues, and their gameplan was basically to roll the dice and hope it stuck.

The Japan "success" of the Saturn which wasn't really a success was temporary, and many people get it wrong because they look at LTD sales of the Sat and N64, as losers but modest sellers, yet they aren't paying attention to dates and context. The Saturn started out with SoJ brute force muscle, and it seemed that it was a viable competitor, but after a surprisingly decent run, the 3DO's death sent support to PSX, and Sony's marketing and more open third-party partnerships than Sega, gave it an edge Sega had nothing to reply with, the FF7 demo that came later as well as the marketing after, along with other major titles just blew the gap wide open. At this point N64 hadn't launched yet, but Segas software sales were nose diving. In Japan it had several exclusives but also SHARED sought after multiplats with PS, it had genre variety, it had IP Japanese consumers wanted, but then the N64 came out and was outpacing it fast WITHOUT ANY OF THOSE, with much less variety, and less third-party domestic favorite series. Sega basically ran into the PC Engine problem.

Saturn had gotten most of it's sales within the first 2 years, took around 5 to get it's LTD. Nintendo almost caught it in less time, with less software, less variety, less domestic favorite IP, barely any Jrpgs, and not much third-party support in general. I mean, glad that Sega wasn't a permanent irrelevant name for consoles in Japan before Sega jumped out the console market, but that one short-term viable system was still not very wanted, and there was a novelty factor involved as well as the timing of the new 3D CD systems all generating excitement as they launched in the same time frame. 3DO/Sat/PSX were basically competing in the same area in japan. But that short-term success initially for the Saturn domestically was at the expensive of Segas standing everywhere else, and as much as SoJ maybe STILL won't admit, the rpeak of Sega was pretty much entirely due to SoA.

But SOJ aside, Sega in general in 1994, even before 32X/Saturn had already tumbled, lost money in many areas, with a declining arcade market, and was losing the ground it had in NA which was a major issue.

Eventually Sega lost their lead and the SNES ended up catching up and passing them which is a pretty interesting story in itself. The Genesis was Sega's biggest success and it was the start of their failure as a company. That 1991-1993 period as you say felt long but it wasn't, Sega has a hit, was supplementing it with other hits or minor hits, third-parties were jumping on board, Midway games was selling as many consoles as Sega was, it seemed like Nintendo was being drowned out, and with 1991 alone, it basically threw the TG16 out the race into a canyon somewhere, whatever viability that still had was gone.

To think that by the end of 1993, were the first hints at things going wrong, and it would have been seen as hard to believe at the time for the average consumer or follower of tech. To think sega would be in the tank just short 3 years after that would have been seen as nuts to people not paying attention, they were on top.

Sega really did undue themselves from their peak really really quick. in 1998 Sega needed help to launch a new console, that's how bad they were in the hole starting in 1996. It seemed to have a strong launch, and seemed to make articles and news on TV, but by the time you blinked and opened your eyes the next second, rumors about Sega discontinuing the Dreamcast were floating around, and they ended up being confirmed by the next day.

Now, I don't agree with people that prefer Sega being multiplat, in fact, I think Sega should have picked a console (not Nintendo) and put all their focus on it. The Xbox/PS2/GC gen has Sega's highest output as a developer and as a publisher. There were many games shared between the 3, which had it's own issues, with a handful of successes, but also many EXCLUSIVES among the 3, with the more cult loyal favorites and mature arcade titles on Xbox, the Family stuff and SONIC on Nintendo among others, and the standard arcade IP on the PS2, as well as Yakuza etc.

Most of which didn't really knock the ball out the park, in fact I'd say must were fumbles, with some doing "adequate" and a handful successful endeavors.

If anything that confirmed the software issues on the Saturn and Dreamcast, that being, people had a limited interested cap for many Sega games, and only a few really held the attention of a higher quantity of buyers/rcade goers.

They really should have just picked either the Xbox or PS2, likely the Xbox given the visuals would meet or exceed the arcades due to the consoles power, and it had better graphical and video output, much cleaner and smoother graphics. Having a central point for the consumers, on a system that also has software that makes people want to buy a machine, would have ended up better serving Sega imo, as people who brought Xboxes for Halo, Splinter Cell, Fable, Project Gotham, etc, would spread out and buy other titles, including Sega, and having a big output increases the likely hood of gamers trying Sega games, becoming fans, and trying other Sega games, instead of splitting the DC base, which not even all Ex-Sega fans brought, 4 different ways between 3 consoles and PC, each with exclusive games. Yikes.

If you were a die hard Sega fan, imagine how much money you would have had to shell out to get half the games released that gen post-DC? Not to mention making your mascot game majority exclusive on the freaking Gamecube. Granted, it was needed on Nintendos end or else the GC would have had a bigger issue with adoption earlier on then it did, but that was basically seen Sega giving up, I know people offline and saw many fans of Sega online trash the Gamecube and wouldn't touch one even for Sega games because they looked at it as a betrayal. The other two were more acceptable and had the cult favorites anyway, if you wanted Virtua Fighter and other such games, you got a PS2, if you wanted Crazy taxi, Shenmue, Outrun and such you'd get an Xbox.

That merger with Sammy wouldn't have been necessary if Sega was smarter. Even after losing their hardware they still made odd decisions.
 

Ecotic

Member
Where would Sega get the tech to be BETTER than the N64 and launch the same year? Nintendo has to spend a pretty penny with a separate company for their graphics, and had to cut corners elsewhere to reach it's affordable price. i can't see Sega being in that position without throwing some overpriced arcade tech into the mix which would not make a 1996 Saturn affordable.

Then there's the fact such a delay would only make sense given the Genesis/Mega Drive was already 6 years old by 1994. 5 years in NA.
Well, at a $300 price point Sega would have had between $50 to $100 over the cost of the N64 to work with to have the best machine of the era. It could have been plausible if they found the right partner a couple of years ahead of time. But still, whether the 1996 Saturn would have had discernibly better graphics than the N64 is a minor point, since a 1996 Saturn (regardless of who supplied the chipset) would have looked great and been the evidently more advanced CD-playing console than the Playstation.
 
I still remember being tempted by Sega Rally when weighing up a PS1 or Saturn. PS1 had too much going for it and FF7.

Ultimately I think we can broadly agree if no-one else entered the business Sega could've carried on being an alternative to Nintendo but they didn't have what takes to lead or grasp the evolving and growing size of the industry.
Sega was fumbling before even the 3DO came out, much less the Jaguar, or Sony.
 

StreetsofBeige

Gold Member
Saturn was doomed from the start everywhere except Japan where they loved 2D games and JRPGs.

Saturn was such a clusterfuck of $100 more than PS1, that whole issue where they pissed off US retailers (which I didnt know about until the internet said it), lousy multiplatform games (3D), solid 2D games (which by then people were phasing out of), the worst first party Sega Sports ever during all their generations, missing lots of key games from Namco, Konami, Square.

For those of you debating whether or not Saturn architecture was focused on 2D gaming, 3D gaming, or half and half, it doesn't matter because all the games they promoted at the beginning to market the system were 3D games..... Virtua arcade games, Daytona, Panzer Dragoon. Even low key games like Clockwork Knight I think was a 2D platformer with 3D background. Bug was even one of the early games. Another 3D game.
 
Well, at a $300 price point Sega would have had between $50 to $100 over the cost of the N64 to work with to have the best machine of the era. It could have been plausible if they found the right partner a couple of years ahead of time. But still, whether the 1996 Saturn would have had discernibly better graphics than the N64 is a minor point, since a 1996 Saturn (regardless of who supplied the chipset) would have looked great and been the evidently more advanced CD-playing console than the Playstation.
In Screenshots, but not in performance, the PSX and the N64 had better 3D graphics for the time than other consoles but had numerous weaknesses, like neither of them had consistently smooth graphics and non-jagged or blurred polygons like others had despite those being weaker than those two in generating polygons, , mapping, and such. You imply the N64 was notably stronger than the PSX and yet because of these exchanges of weakness that's not really the case.

It's unlikely a 1996 Saturn would have matched the 3DO M2 which was closer to the DC, so if such a thing happened you'd be looking at a $450-500 Saturn with maybe 20% better graphics or so than the N64. The price would have to be necessary since Sega wouldn't have the same areas to corner cut that Nintendo can, and a CD-Drive would have to be at least 4x premium to be worth it's salt at that point. Or 3x but that's an unusual number to see in devices.

Yeah that would be better than the PSX, but when the PSX costs in 1996 from $200-$250 less is the difference large enough to justify the price to consumers? Same with N64, is the difference enough that people will pay that premium?

The likely answer is no, unless they take a hit on price, which they couldn't really do with the current Saturn, but even a $100 drop form the above prices, that's still not only a notable premium, but Segas risking their financial holdings as well, they wouldn't be able to take a bigger hit, and they wouldn't be able to do a traditional price drop for over a year or more.

The only scenario I see is a $500 console based on Model 2, that's the only way I can see the POSSIBILITY of the market going for a 1996 powerful Saturn, because in this case the distance from the competition would be miles apart. Problem is it'd take forever to have a price drop, and in the 90's, that's a big risk to take hoping the Market buys a $500 gaming device.
 
Saturn was doomed from the start everywhere except Japan where they loved 2D games and JRPGs.

Saturn was such a clusterfuck of $100 more than PS1, that whole issue where they pissed off US retailers (which I didnt know about until the internet said it), lousy multiplatform games (3D), solid 2D games (which by then people were phasing out of), the worst first party Sega Sports ever during all their generations, missing lots of key games from Namco, Konami, Square.

For those of you debating whether or not Saturn architecture was focused on 2D gaming, 3D gaming, or half and half, it doesn't matter because all the games they promoted at the beginning to market the system were 3D games..... Virtua arcade games, Daytona, Panzer Dragoon. Even low key games like Clockwork Knight I think was a 2D platformer with 3D background. Bug was even one of the early games. Another 3D game.

It matter because the 2D focus (From Sega themselves) aside from the bare minimum to run model 1 games as initially planned is precisely why developers had so much trouble trying to get 3D to work on the system (or FMV according to the MK3 devs iirc.), and why it excelled in 2D over the competition by miles (except Jaguar, that was a bit closer to the Saturn than the others).

Strangely enough, early on Sega should have marketed some of the more impressive 2D games there was still consumer attraction until late 1996, Rayman ended up being a great seller on the PSX/Jag related to there their console sales were at the time, while Sega was kind of the sports, Daytona machine early on for most consumers outside Japan.
 
I played Sega Rally for the first time two weeks ago. Within 15 minutes I drove all the tracks.

I know the point is to keep playing and get better times but... Yeah.
If you were a kid that prospect may have been acceptable, assuming you hadn't already overindulged in longer more complex titles yet. But really, this was an issue Ridge Racer had as well.
 
Ya know, I've never really thought about it, but when you put it that way, splitting the post-DC output between four different platforms really is the most Sega move possible.
 
Ya know, I've never really thought about it, but when you put it that way, splitting the post-DC output between four different platforms really is the most Sega move possible.

Technically 6, I forgot about the GBA/Ngage.

granted maybe more so 5, since I don't recall Ngage having exclusives, I think the few games it had were shared with the GBA.
 
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Ecotic

Member
In Screenshots, but not in performance, the PSX and the N64 had better 3D graphics for the time than other consoles but had numerous weaknesses, like neither of them had consistently smooth graphics and non-jagged or blurred polygons like others had despite those being weaker than those two in generating polygons, , mapping, and such. You imply the N64 was notably stronger than the PSX and yet because of these exchanges of weakness that's not really the case.

It's unlikely a 1996 Saturn would have matched the 3DO M2 which was closer to the DC, so if such a thing happened you'd be looking at a $450-500 Saturn with maybe 20% better graphics or so than the N64. The price would have to be necessary since Sega wouldn't have the same areas to corner cut that Nintendo can, and a CD-Drive would have to be at least 4x premium to be worth it's salt at that point. Or 3x but that's an unusual number to see in devices.

Yeah that would be better than the PSX, but when the PSX costs in 1996 from $200-$250 less is the difference large enough to justify the price to consumers? Same with N64, is the difference enough that people will pay that premium?

The likely answer is no, unless they take a hit on price, which they couldn't really do with the current Saturn, but even a $100 drop form the above prices, that's still not only a notable premium, but Segas risking their financial holdings as well, they wouldn't be able to take a bigger hit, and they wouldn't be able to do a traditional price drop for over a year or more.

The only scenario I see is a $500 console based on Model 2, that's the only way I can see the POSSIBILITY of the market going for a 1996 powerful Saturn, because in this case the distance from the competition would be miles apart. Problem is it'd take forever to have a price drop, and in the 90's, that's a big risk to take hoping the Market buys a $500 gaming device.
Since taking a loss on hardware was standard at the time, my scenario assumes Sega is taking a loss on the hardware so that the bill of materials is more like $400. Sega took such a loss with the Saturn after the $100 price cut in 1995 so a $400 bill of materials in my scenario is plausible. I just find it hard to believe that such a 1996 system wouldn't look noticeably better than the Playstation.

With regards to whether the difference would be enough for consumers, I'd point to how the gaming press tore the Saturn to shreds for having worse ports of 3D games like Tomb Raider even though the difference wasn't always that significant. So would even a slight edge have mattered? It certainly did to the industry at the time.

And don't forget, the graphical edge is only one facet of my scenario. My scenario gives Sega an extra two years to develop a great launch lineup and the better start would have Sega the company believing in the future of the system. So much would change besides just having better hardware. Considering the Saturn was such a devastating failure, I'd take my scenario's chances any day if I were given a do-over.
 

StreetsofBeige

Gold Member
Since taking a loss on hardware was standard at the time, my scenario assumes Sega is taking a loss on the hardware so that the bill of materials is more like $400. Sega took such a loss with the Saturn after the $100 price cut in 1995 so a $400 bill of materials in my scenario is plausible. I just find it hard to believe that such a 1996 system wouldn't look noticeably better than the Playstation.

With regards to whether the difference would be enough for consumers, I'd point to how the gaming press tore the Saturn to shreds for having worse ports of 3D games like Tomb Raider even though the difference wasn't always that significant. So would even a slight edge have mattered? It certainly did to the industry at the time.

And don't forget, the graphical edge is only one facet of my scenario. My scenario gives Sega an extra two years to develop a great launch lineup and the better start would have Sega the company believing in the future of the system. So much would change besides just having better hardware. Considering the Saturn was such a devastating failure, I'd take my scenario's chances any day if I were given a do-over.
I didnt have an N64, so I can only go by Saturn vs PS1 (all I know is N64 had anti aliasing which was awesome at the time, but gamew could have tons of fog or shitty frame rate).

Saturn ports were typically bad. They looked bad, they ran bad. EA Sports were pretty shitty in that era and even then the PS1 version still looked and performed a bit better.

Also at that time, there was lots of chat about special FX, which in modern day isnt an issue. But back then PS1 could do transparencies, JPEG FMV (Saturn had the grainiest video ever), anything resembling flames looked better on PS1 etc...

Check out Wipeout 1 on PS1 vs Saturn. Aside from the menu screens which looked equal, you'd think the Saturn game was a generation behind.
 
I didnt have an N64, so I can only go by Saturn vs PS1 (all I know is N64 had anti aliasing which was awesome at the time, but gamew could have tons of fog or shitty frame rate).

Saturn ports were typically bad. They looked bad, they ran bad. EA Sports were pretty shitty in that era and even then the PS1 version still looked and performed a bit better.

Also at that time, there was lots of chat about special FX, which in modern day isnt an issue. But back then PS1 could do transparencies, JPEG FMV (Saturn had the grainiest video ever), anything resembling flames looked better on PS1 etc...

Check out Wipeout 1 on PS1 vs Saturn. Aside from the menu screens which looked equal, you'd think the Saturn game was a generation behind.

Hyperbolic. Yeah, the PS1 version as better, but it's not generation ahead better.

 
By the looks of it, the game barely runs at 20 fps, looks jaggier, and misses any cool special fx like transparencies.

An awful port. And that's not on Psygnosis gimping the Saturn game. Saturn just cant handle it.
There were later generation Saturn racers that were more impressive than Wipeout. The hardware was just poorly designed and too difficult to exploit fully.

I think a lot of "awful port" talk is really worthless because 9 times out of 10 developers just did the only thing they could do. You couldn't do the PS1 transparencies the same on the Saturn. The hardware just couldn't do it. Even with certain hacks that games tried to use to get transparencies, it was just never going to be the same. That's just a hardware limitation.
 
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ManaByte

Gold Member
By the looks of it, the game barely runs at 20 fps, looks jaggier, and misses any cool special fx like transparencies.

An awful port. And that's not on Psygnosis gimping the Saturn game. Saturn just cant handle it.

Then again you have Tomb Raider, which was better on the Saturn and scared Sony so much they moneyhatted the franchise for the entire console generation.
 

Polygonal_Sprite

Gold Member
I’d like to remind you that Sonic Adventure is the best-selling Dreamcast game of all time. 86K copies were sold in Europe in the first five days alone. As of 2006, it had sold 2.5M copies worldwide, including 440,000 in Japan and 1.27M in the US. It has 87% on GameRankings/Metacritic. So, tell me again, why was Sonic never good?
Wow a whole 2.5 million from a launch game!!! That must prove Sonic is great lol. The original Sonic for Mega Drive was the best it ever got. The series was all downhill from there and bringing up the pathetic sales of a terrible 3D instalment in the series won't change that.
 
Sega took such a loss with the Saturn after the $100 price cut in 1995 so a $400 bill of materials in my scenario is plausible.
Except you forget that Sega couldn't really afford to take that hit in the end.

I just find it hard to believe that such a 1996 system wouldn't look noticeably better than the Playstation.
I literally said the exact opposite of this what, the issue is the margin of difference, and whether consumers would justify the premium.

With regards to whether the difference would be enough for consumers, I'd point to how the gaming press tore the Saturn to shreds for having worse ports of 3D games like Tomb Raider even though the difference wasn't always that significant. So would even a slight edge have mattered? It certainly did to the industry at the time.
Saturn was in the hole before the media was tearing up the Saturn i NA and Europe anyway.

My scenario gives Sega an extra two years to develop a great launch lineup and the better start would have Sega the company believing in the future of the system. So much would change besides just having better hardware.

Your forgetting about the issue of the launch being after certain studios had already moved to Sega, and then for what's left, plus any new titles releasing on time without delay like with the current launch, there's still one big problem.

People didn't want to buy a console for most of those games, so them releasing around the same time instead of being a year or two later doesn't really help Sega at all outside maybe some initial novelty hype for Segas first major 3D console having seemingly a bunch of games available, they are still the same games people weren't buying consoles for.

A better launch yes, but it still doesn't solve that issue, and that's not including all the inherited problems from late Genesis and the SoJ issues that would come with the Saturn outside Japan, adding that just makes this scenario more unlikely to change any fortunes outside removing the "it's weak" or "bad at 3D" lines. Consumers are also fickler on the prices back then, in the 90;s.
 
I didnt have an N64, so I can only go by Saturn vs PS1 (all I know is N64 had anti aliasing which was awesome at the time, but gamew could have tons of fog or shitty frame rate).

Saturn ports were typically bad. They looked bad, they ran bad. EA Sports were pretty shitty in that era and even then the PS1 version still looked and performed a bit better.

Also at that time, there was lots of chat about special FX, which in modern day isnt an issue. But back then PS1 could do transparencies, JPEG FMV (Saturn had the grainiest video ever), anything resembling flames looked better on PS1 etc...

Check out Wipeout 1 on PS1 vs Saturn. Aside from the menu screens which looked equal, you'd think the Saturn game was a generation behind.
Issue with Saturn is even in screenshots the games looked muddled and grainy, and for games going for a more realistic look, brownish. Screen shots were usually some of the easiest things to spin in your favor back then, but Saturn has a problem with shaking that. Also cutscene screenshots were a bad idea for Sega games for the reasons you said.
The Genesis was their epitome and they crashed and burned in a nuclear flux capacitor fashion!

1. They Came out with the Sega 32x sega add on. Expensive at the time, very little support, abandoned.

2. They Came out with the Sega CD. Expensive at the time, very little support, abandoned.

3. Then Sega Released the Sega Saturn. Expensive, Trouble running 3D, Didn't support it long, abandoned.

See the trend? They lost the trust of the consumer. It's ashame because they nailed it with the dreamcast but it was too little and too late. EA saying no to supporting the DC at the time was also a killer.
Lost trust of retailers and consumers (gradually) before 2/3 of your list, and the Sega CD wasn't really abandoned, they were stubborn on that one and kept it around longer then they should have.


This is required viewing not just WRT Turbographx in America, but even PC Engine in Japan. Truth is PC Engine didn't perform at the level in Japan people think it did, it basically petered out in sales once the SFC arrived, same as the MegaDrive actually.

I'd probably go as far to say the PC Engine was closer to MegaDrive in terms of overall sales volume and marketshare in Japan, than it was to Super Famicom, altho the perception seems to be it was a very close 2nd to SFC in that territory.
People look at the final LTD numbers but they don't look at the dates, they see 5 million or so sold in Japan and claim that's a modest success, but really a lot for that was NEC spamming the market because the Famicom was way outdated, the Mega Drive was going nowhere, and NEC had games based on comedians, they had anime adaptions purchased, and a bunch of games that looked cool in screenshots, then the CD came out and stopped it's gradual decline, but the software sales completely collapsed.

The SFC coming out was met with a poorly handled successor that was quickly abandoned with 5-6 games and THEN they came out with a CD-based console the Turbo-Duo combining the PC Engine CD with a bit more power, and able to play Arcade CD and "Super" CD games, which was barely a successor more like a half step, and that while doing better than the SuperGrafx, had a short life.

Most of NEC's sales were early on, and some when SFC first came out, but the software sales were giving clear indication that it would only take one more twig being snapped for the whole thing to fall to pieces. NEC was notorious about NOT revealing sales, even though there were Hucard games that sold decent numbers earlier, NEC wouldn't publish them years later because most of their software sales were low and sporadic across FP/Hudson and Third-party games.

It's why the few sales that are out there are for CD titles, many of them incomplete but some are close, and they are in the tens of thousands on the lower end.

Hucard games from earlier likely sold a lot but finding Japanese articles on those are hard because not only is Japans news archives terrible, but NEC was kind of controlling the media, NEC was pretty big at the time domestically. By 1990 domestic hardware and software sales for anything NEC related PCE,SGFX,TURBO etc was basically off a cliff. Their last attempt to bring the same confusion and abandonment strategies tot he US surprisingly, didn't work who would have possibly seen that coming....

it seems that 1987-1990 pre SFC launch was NEC basically having the Japanese market by themselves along with their PC dominance (which they also screwed up later), and yet they were imploding in the late part of that time span. But to screw up clear market dominance is a NEC stable so that's not surprising. Hudson was making bank of each software sold, and for Hucards, the Hucard itself, they were not interested in helping NEC court correct which I think may is one of the many problems that NEC had, preventing them from being a viable player.

The Sega Saturn while it had a software collapse of it's own, sold around similar numbers as the PC Engine, with 5x the software sales.

It should have been obvious with the botched release of the PC-FX how much loyalty was actually retained by NEC/Hudson which was well...none to barely. They screwed over retail and consumers so bad, they dropped projects, canned games, put out new hardware, and quickly abandoned that new hardware, sometimes raised prices(wut) they had no idea what they were doing after that initial success, it's almost like they got ther lessons form a company like Sega or som-

wait.....
 
The PS3 era basically wiped out all of Sony's PS1 and PS2 profits. And the first few years of PS4 were barely profitable.

And like more than half the company directly and indirectly. Sony was in a position where people were starting to ask if they would be around in another 5 years. The media frenzy was brutal, this section was closed, this department downsized, this project canned, this financing rejected, this building was sold, that guy quit/laid off/fired and said X about Sony, Ex-executive said Y about Sony, one Ex-Sony manager "they may be looking for a buyer", more Sony stores closing, that whole era was a mess for Sony.
 


Still remember the madness ensued in the relative thread here on GAF.

Nintendo from time to time, takes some big risks.
That's why they are debt free and have a big stash of cash always ready so they have free hands to experiment and if some potentially interesting new concept emerge they have all the means to commercialize it.

Maybe to some, in hindsight, it would seem obvious that a new concept put out by Nintendo would become a smashing hit but in reality when you release unprecedented concepts you can't be sure of the outcome until it reaches the hands of consumers.
If the assumptions at design stage were wrong then your investment goes in smoke and in the case of consoles a company may risks billions of dollars.

Speaking of captain obvious, here a post I made a few months ago:
It will never cease to humour me how in 32-64 bit wave of consoles there were several game systems ready to display 3D graphics (polygon based) but no one, except Nintendo, understood that to adequately fullfil the 3D concept it was also needed to innovate at the input interface level.
What are videogames if not interactive entertainment?

Looks with what game pads PlayStation, Saturn, 3DO and Jaguar debuted with...





Most early 3D games didn't need analog, then again the N64 stick itself is digital but that's another story.

To go after the Jag and 3DO is slightly silly, especially the Jag which has a Dpad that works better for 3D than all the others pads, the the rest of the controller is a different story.

Most 3DO games and Jag 3D games had no need for analog, in several cases it wouldn't even improve the game, in some cases it would result in worse gameplay based on the mechanics and/or stage designs.

Considering 3DO was starting development in 1992 and Jaguar proper in early 1993, the controllers make sense for the time, since the Saturn and PSX were released off of what those two, primarily the 3DO, had for 3D gaming in their early period, they would have no reason at least THEN, to use analog out the gate either.

granted 3DO was working on a stick and canned it.

But despite this Sony and Sega were aware, Sega had a analog stock that was being made in parallel to the N64, and Sony had the flight stick which where all released the same year, the flight stick in 1997 being adapted to the dual analog, which then became the dual shock in 1998. These are all too close in date to make the cliaim Nintendo got both to put out sticks.

So to say Nintendo was the only one who understood the need for some Analog style control is false in both the early part of the era and the later part. The N64's late launch just made it so they released with it standard built in with their odd shaped controller. Which Sony pretty much did with both it's iterations.

It's really just the Saturn that didn't make it standard, not all games on Sat (or PSX) used them, and Saturns reputation toward 2D basically made the Analog controller a default inclusion pointless.

The 3D games that were on PSX and Saturn, even several later games, did not have sticks, some games allowed both, hence that red light on the Dual Shock you can turn off and on. These early console 3D games weren't like the 3D games that were later released on the Amiga or the ST, or the mid-90's PC stuff where you had analog pads or analog joysticks, these 3d games worked very well with standard controls.

As far as I know Nintendo never sold a system at a loss. So even the Wii U disaster wouldn't burn them to the ground just like the GC didn't.
Nintendo did sell the GC at a loss, that's what promoted them to stall production after the price cut sales. The GC lost money, the only reason why that it didn't create a reported loss is because the GBA covered the difference. Also that last 2.-3 year drive after the Xbox was slowly being left to die and replaced with the 360, was beneficial to the Gamecube in not only shrinking the loss gap in hardware sales, but Nintendo supported the GC even after the GC came out just a bit long with software.

That’s certainly true in Japan. Sony, Sega and Nintendo had fought to a three-way tie by the end of 1996. If it weren’t for Square and Enix, The two biggest names in videogames over there, who knows how it might have ended.

This reminds me of a Famitsu reader poll of the greatest videogames, circa 2005 or so. The entire list is nothing but Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest games.
There was not a 3-way tie in Japan, not sure where that came from.
 
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I think there's no doubt to anyone that "peak Sega" was around 1992 to early 1994.

This was when they were on top of the world. They were outselling the SNES and pumping out hits like SOR2, Sonic 2/3, Shining Force, PS4, Virtua Fighter and Daytona USA in the arcades.

Sega was at the peak of their creativity and quality. During this time they made some of the best games of all time. It's like they could do no wrong.

But by around 1994, cracks were beginning to show. SOR3 felt unfinished and rushed and didn't live up to SOR2. The Sega CD while popular never really took off.
Some of their other big games like Sonic CD and Eternal Champions failed to live up to the hype.

It just seemed like they started to lose focus around that time. Trying to do too many things and not focusing on just making great games. There might be some deeper reason behind it though.
The Saturn and 32X happened. Bigger issue being the Saturn because Sega barely supported the 32X. Sega soured retailers with the Saturn launch shenanigans and the Saturn was challenging to develop for making food usage of it's power an issue. Devs were also not as interested in the Ultra 64(N64) because it didn't use CDs and was delayed a year leaving them with the PS1 as the sweet spot console. No prior drama to deal with and easier to develop 3D games for than the Saturn.

Imo the Saturn was a great machine, I would have loved to see an alternate universe where Sony doesn't enter gaming to see how things shake out with the Saturn, N64, Atari Jaguar and the 3DO.
 

Crayon

Member
I would estimate their last chance was after playstation was taking the lead. The sould have figured out how to position the Saturn because they kept acting like they were toe to toe with sony.

Sega should have gone hard on localizing more games. And they could have had some greatest hits kind of pricing for all those short ass arcade ports. They should have been plotting and scheming how to do 3d sonic 24hrs a day.

So many things. After a year of Saturn, the 32x was behind them and it was clear that sony and nintendo were elbowing them out. That time window was their last chance to get a bunch of games out and make the Saturn at least go the distance and be notable for a library of unique games and a third-place than at least was supported through the generation.

By the time the Dreamcast came out, their reputation was ruined and I don't think they could have turned it around that late in the game.
 
This is also a Myth, 32X was a smart move, SoJ signed off on it, it was the best selling "new" 3D console hardware until it was cut short and ahd architecture similarities with the Saturn, several devs not on Saturn early on but were on 32X split between PC and PSX, that's telling alone.
The 32x may have been "smart" enough to work for a couple of months, but as soon as the Saturn showed up, or was even close to show up it did not make any sense.... Don't take this the wrong way, I really like some games on it, but there is no actual benefit to its presence and it caused confusion (what ANOTHER sega 32-bit machine).

Also, these things were less reliable than any piece of electronics I have ever seen.

This is not a myth, I was there.
Sega CD switched to full motion video because non-FMV games were failing to move units and the FMV games were starting to, but Sega picked some mixed and bad ones out of the few gems in the pile, their video output was also a pretty big issue. Blur, low colors, static, and other issues.
I had a Sega CD within weeks of its launch, here is a list of the launch titles.

U.S. launch: October 15, 1992

  • Black Hole Assault
  • Chuck Rock
  • Cobra Command
  • INXS: Make My Video
  • Marky Mark: Make My Video
  • Night Trap
  • Sega Classics 4-in-1
  • Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective
  • Sol-Feace
  • Sewer Shark

Sega CD released with 60% FMV games day 1 (Sherlock Holmes, Sol Feace and the Classics 4 in 1) then all packages always had some sort of FMV game in them.

Now, as for the mood regarding this system, well the fact that it shipped with 6 extremely boring FMV games + 4 glorified cart games truly did not help its image. People noticed, it was a pretty hard sell after that, it took a while for the Sega CD to outgrow this stench (with Sonic CD, Final Fight CD, the driving in Batman, Silpheed, the Lunar games, and a few other titles that showed off what this system really could do). If anything there must have been a lot less FMV game after the first year or so, because few ever got ported or made for subsequent consoles like the 3D0, PSX and Saturn, even if they had access to much better color palettes.

Again, the vision that the Sega CD was an FMV machine partly killed it, Sega invested millions in a studio to make these high budget games too, such a waste or time and talent, these people at Sega of America killed their business.
 

StreetsofBeige

Gold Member
The 32x may have been "smart" enough to work for a couple of months, but as soon as the Saturn showed up, or was even close to show up it did not make any sense.... Don't take this the wrong way, I really like some games on it, but there is no actual benefit to its presence and it caused confusion (what ANOTHER sega 32-bit machine).

Also, these things were less reliable than any piece of electronics I have ever seen.

This is not a myth, I was there.

I had a Sega CD within weeks of its launch, here is a list of the launch titles.

U.S. launch: October 15, 1992

  • Black Hole Assault
  • Chuck Rock
  • Cobra Command
  • INXS: Make My Video
  • Marky Mark: Make My Video
  • Night Trap
  • Sega Classics 4-in-1
  • Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective
  • Sol-Feace
  • Sewer Shark

Sega CD released with 60% FMV games day 1 (Sherlock Holmes, Sol Feace and the Classics 4 in 1) then all packages always had some sort of FMV game in them.

Now, as for the mood regarding this system, well the fact that it shipped with 6 extremely boring FMV games + 4 glorified cart games truly did not help its image. People noticed, it was a pretty hard sell after that, it took a while for the Sega CD to outgrow this stench (with Sonic CD, Final Fight CD, the driving in Batman, Silpheed, the Lunar games, and a few other titles that showed off what this system really could do). If anything there must have been a lot less FMV game after the first year or so, because few ever got ported or made for subsequent consoles like the 3D0, PSX and Saturn, even if they had access to much better color palettes.

Again, the vision that the Sega CD was an FMV machine partly killed it, Sega invested millions in a studio to make these high budget games too, such a waste or time and talent, these people at Sega of America killed their business.
I never had a Sega CD, but had a Genesis and SNES at the same time.

From what I read in mags, saw in stores, and watched clips on the net, Sega CD games were great if a gamer loved FMV (which was the craze at the time), and highly valued CD audio. If not, dont bother. The core visuals in gameplay barely looked better and the loading times could be crippling. It has a scaling effect feature, but no better than what SNES could do. So it was an easy pass for me.

For many games, I dont think the core visuals were even improved. All they did was add some FMV clips and better sound like voiceovers and better music (NHL 94). The rest of the game seemed the exact same.
 

Crayon

Member
I remember sega cd like it was
Those fmv games did stand out on tv commercials. Looked awesome till you played it.

That's how it went. One kid had a sega cd and when you went over to play it, it was always super disappointing. I remember hearing a lot about silpheed in magazines, but nobody had it. I got it much later and it was graphically much more impressive than expected. Fucking weird that Sega didn't try to get more of games really built for the Sega cd out. If they leaned on that thing they it could have been a legit option if a 3do or jaguar ever piqued your interest. For someone looking to step it up a bit, but still wants actual good games.

Remember a pretty good pc was $3000.

I'm going to say that cartridge games with cd music was worse than the fmv tho. If there were real games that clearly looked and played a cut above genesis and snes, the bad fmv games would not have held that back.

Fuuuck.... I'm imagining Sega cd games that never were. Sonic Kart...

I don't know how many games they would have needed or if it was getting cheap enough fast enough. Nah, there wasn't enough time. It could have been big in Japan, I guess. They shouldn't have release the stupid thing.
 

DT MEDIA

GAF's Resident Saturn Omnibus
By the looks of it, the game barely runs at 20 fps, looks jaggier, and misses any cool special fx like transparencies.

An awful port. And that's not on Psygnosis gimping the Saturn game. Saturn just cant handle it.

Wipeout XL, Sega Rally, Daytona CE, Manx TT, Impact Racing and Sonic R would kindly disagree.

One of the biggest (and oldest) mistakes gamers make is believing that any given videogame represents the absolute peak of its hardware platform, that you could not possibly do any better than what’s shown on cartridge or disc.

As always, this is an apples-to-oranges comparison, but it does illuminate a couple points: 1) Saturn’s hardware was more complex and required a steeper learning curve, 2) the system was not nearly as equipped to handle C coding as Sony, and 3) Saturn was really built for Assembly, not C.

A perfect example of Saturn handling Assembly versus C would be the soccer games. Sega, Tecmo and Konami’s soccer games all look much better than efforts by EA, Gremlin and Rage. The difference is quite striking. Then, of course, we have the interesting case of Silicon Dreams’ World League Soccer 98. I’m not sure how that was coded. According to Next Generation, software on Saturn ran as high as 8x faster in Assembly. The SGL suites clearly helped things greatly, as we can see third party games reaching parity in 1996-97, but there’s no question that PlayStation was built for C language programming (having aggressively courted Western software developers).

Back to Wipeout. Tantalus, who handled the Saturn conversion, used the original PSX code (you can see this in how the background pop-up occurs exactly the same way). You can see they are still learning the hardware, as you can see by the lower frame rate and lower resolution textures (particularly the billboards). To their credit, they did maintain the sense of speed and the controls are much better than the PSX original. Your vehicle doesn’t grind to a halt when hitting the side rails, but scrapes along like a canoe hitting rocks in shallow water. Psychosis must have noticed, because this improved handling was incorporated into the Wipeout sequels on all platforms.

For Wipeout XL, Tantalus was able to use the graphics engine they created for Manx TT, and it shows. The performance is greatly improved and the frame rate is far smoother. The visuals are perfectly preserved this time and all the trackside details are present, as well as the superb handling and sense of speed. This is easily the best of the PSX-SAT conversions, and whatever differences lie between the two is minimal even by 1997 standards. By 2020 standards, only the criminally insane would even care.

The honest truth is that PSX and Saturn are the most evenly matched consoles in the history of the medium. Compared to the likes of ZX/C64, NES/7800/SMS, Genesis/SNES or Gameboy/Lynx, Sony and Sega are practically twins. My advice is for everyone to stop whining about these ancient schoolyard debates and just enjoy the videogames.
 

StreetsofBeige

Gold Member
Wipeout XL, Sega Rally, Daytona CE, Manx TT, Impact Racing and Sonic R would kindly disagree.

One of the biggest (and oldest) mistakes gamers make is believing that any given videogame represents the absolute peak of its hardware platform, that you could not possibly do any better than what’s shown on cartridge or disc.

As always, this is an apples-to-oranges comparison, but it does illuminate a couple points: 1) Saturn’s hardware was more complex and required a steeper learning curve, 2) the system was not nearly as equipped to handle C coding as Sony, and 3) Saturn was really built for Assembly, not C.

A perfect example of Saturn handling Assembly versus C would be the soccer games. Sega, Tecmo and Konami’s soccer games all look much better than efforts by EA, Gremlin and Rage. The difference is quite striking. Then, of course, we have the interesting case of Silicon Dreams’ World League Soccer 98. I’m not sure how that was coded. According to Next Generation, software on Saturn ran as high as 8x faster in Assembly. The SGL suites clearly helped things greatly, as we can see third party games reaching parity in 1996-97, but there’s no question that PlayStation was built for C language programming (having aggressively courted Western software developers).

Back to Wipeout. Tantalus, who handled the Saturn conversion, used the original PSX code (you can see this in how the background pop-up occurs exactly the same way). You can see they are still learning the hardware, as you can see by the lower frame rate and lower resolution textures (particularly the billboards). To their credit, they did maintain the sense of speed and the controls are much better than the PSX original. Your vehicle doesn’t grind to a halt when hitting the side rails, but scrapes along like a canoe hitting rocks in shallow water. Psychosis must have noticed, because this improved handling was incorporated into the Wipeout sequels on all platforms.

For Wipeout XL, Tantalus was able to use the graphics engine they created for Manx TT, and it shows. The performance is greatly improved and the frame rate is far smoother. The visuals are perfectly preserved this time and all the trackside details are present, as well as the superb handling and sense of speed. This is easily the best of the PSX-SAT conversions, and whatever differences lie between the two is minimal even by 1997 standards. By 2020 standards, only the criminally insane would even care.

The honest truth is that PSX and Saturn are the most evenly matched consoles in the history of the medium. Compared to the likes of ZX/C64, NES/7800/SMS, Genesis/SNES or Gameboy/Lynx, Sony and Sega are practically twins. My advice is for everyone to stop whining about these ancient schoolyard debates and just enjoy the videogames.
Considering your tag is GAF's Resident Saturn Omnibus, who knew you'd defend Saturn to the bone.

You're going by 1997 comparisons? What happened to 1994, 1995, and 1996? By 1997, Saturn was already on deaths door knocking.

You can back up Saturn all you want, but it was a lousy system. Overpriced, the game library was laughable compared to PS1 (unless someone is a big Sega arcade gamer), and the games were outright better on PS1. The system was also smaller to boot for gamers who dont want giant Saturns in their TV stand.

You're probably the only guy on Earth who thinks Saturn and PS1 are "practically wins".
 

GenericUser

Member
Not true, yes it was primarily a 2D powerhouse, that could run scaler games and do all kinds of things with spites (though still about a gen behind in tech to run the later releases) it was also designed to at bare minimum run Model 1 3D games. This was something that was in mind s the Saturn was being finalized, hence why sega reacted tot he Jaguar they way they did, and then Sony later.
I disagree. As you said, the bare minimum was running model 1 games and these games were inferior (in graphics) to what the PS1 was capable. Sega tried to showhorn 3D capabilities into the Saturn but it never really was enough to compete with the PS1. The playstation was from the ground up designed to be a 3D console and that shows. Sure, by todays standards, games on both consoles look dated, but back then there was definitly a gap between the two systems. Stuff like Metal Gear Solid, Silent Hill, Gran Turismo and the like would have never been possible on the Saturn. The Sega machine was amazing for 2D games and I think it even got a 4MB ram expansion which futher enhanced its 2D power, but at that time, people wanted everything BUT 2D games.

To add to this, the programming of the saturn was a absolute horror, if you wanted to squeeze out 3D performance. I found this video a few years ago and I was floored by how hecking hard it has been to get shit running on the saturn:


Compare this programming nightmare with the straightforward 1CPU approach of the playstation and you can understand why devs were not particulary fond of working with the saturn.
 
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StreetsofBeige

Gold Member
I disagree. As you said, the bare minimum was running model 1 games and these games were inferior (in graphics) to what the PS1 was capable. Sega tried to showhorn 3D capabilities into the Saturn but it never really was enough to compete with the PS1. The playstation was from the ground up designed to be a 3D console and that shows. Sure, by todays standards, games on both consoles look dated, but back then there was definitly a gap between the two systems. Stuff like Metal Gear Solid, Silent Hill, Gran Turismo and the like would have never been possible on the Saturn. The Sega machine was amazing for 2D games and I think it even got a 4MB ram expension which futher enhanced its 2D power, but at that time, people wanted everything BUT 2D games.

To add to this, the programming of the saturn was a absolute horror, if you wanted to squeeze out 3D performance. I found this video a few years ago and I was floored by how hecking hard it has been to get shit running on the saturn:


Compare this programming nightmare with the straightforward 1CPU approach of the playstation and you can understand why devs were not particulary fond of working with the saturn.
There's no way Saturn could do Tekken 3 either.

As for PS1 being designed more for 3D I agree. But also designed for cut scenes/multimedia better too. Whereas PS1 I believe had JPEG decoding (or whatever), that lead to better smoother looking video clips. Saturn was grainy like hell like it was Sega CD FMV clips v2. But with PS1 CGI clips, they were much clearer.

And anything to do with transparencies was a clear win for PS1. I dont even think Saturn could do them. And if it did, it was crap and barely shown. PS games had cool looking (for its time) transparencies and flame/explosion effects (whatever could come about from transparency effects). Saturn was like looking at a grid or blocks.
 
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GenericUser

Member
And anything to do with transparencies was a clear win for PS1. I dont even think Saturn could do them. And if it did, it was crap and barely shown. PS games had cool looking (for its time) transparencies and flame/explosion effects (whatever could come about from transparency effects). Saturn was like looking at a grid or blocks.
I think the Saturn could do transperencies. But if I remember correctly, the chip responsible for handling the transparency effect and the chip for rendering polygons were seperate. So in order to bring all of the effects together on screen, an insane amount of hardcore programming was needed to keep everything "in synch". That costs time and time is money and I bet a significant portion of programmers couldn't even do it, even if they tried. So most games settled with that "checkerboard" fake transparency effect.
 
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Dlacy13g

Member
Ironically just finished listening to the audio book version of Console Wars. Highly recommend to anyone who is interested in the rise and fall of Sega in the late 80s and early 90s.
 

cireza

Member
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