The Sega Saturn was released in 1994 as part of the 5th generation of games consoles competing with the Sony Playstation and the Nintendo 64.
Although a commercial failure, the Saturn initially sold well upon its release in Japan. The Saturn was released in the U.S. four months before its scheduled release date and when the Nintendo 64 was released in 1996 the sales of the Saturn plummeted. The failure to release a game in the Sonic the Hedgehog series has been considered a factor in the console’s poor performance (although one was in development but was ultimately not released).
The Saturn had technically impressive hardware at the time of its release, but its complexity made developing for the console quite difficult.
A major criticism was the Saturn’s use of 2D sprites to generate polygons and simulate 3D space. The PlayStation functioned similarly, but also featured a dedicated “Geometry Transfer Engine” that rendered additional polygons. The on-board memory storage was very limited, prompting Sega to release a memory cartridge to add more space.
The Saturns original controller is essentially an evolution of the Mega Drives 6-button controller. Featuring an 8-way quite peculiar concave D-Pad, 6 action buttons, small XYZ buttons across the top and larger ABC buttons below. A start button is located in the middle. This was SEGA’s first controller to feature the now standard shoulder buttons.
Sega released an updated model of the Saturn and its controller in 1996. This console looks very similar to the original model with the exception of a few small differences. the Power and Reset buttons are now round and the drive access light has been removed.
The controller bundled with this console was same smaller version that the Japanese Saturn originally released with which features a more rounded shape and slightly altered D-pad.
I had a Sega Saturn as a teenager and I can only recall that I had one game Sega Worldwide Soccer 97. I don’t think I played the Saturn very much as I have no real memories of it. I have not amassed a large collection of Saturn games as yet, I need to get more.
I have the Sega Saturn model 2, and its controller. It’s a very sturdy and boxy machine. I’m not the biggest fan of the Saturns design. Coming from Segas previous console (the Mega Drive) the look of this console is just very boring, it just stinks of Sega just phoning it in and playing safe.
The Saturn controller though is almost perfect. It feels great to hold and the convex set of buttons on the top row and a concave set on the bottom row really helps you know where your fingers are without looking at the controller. This is my 2nd favourite controller just behind the Playstation 2’s pad.
Price paid – £40
Owned games –
- Sega Rally Championship
- Resident Evil