The SEGA Saturn: A 2×12-Year Retrospective

The Sega Saturn was an important chapter in the history of game consoles, mostly for not doing much of anything right. Though it was a technically sound piece of hardware that theoretically should (and could) have gone toe to toe with Sony's disruptive PlayStation, a series of monumental errors on the part of Sega caused the Saturn to wither and die a tragic and somewhat untimely death at retail. Since that time, it has been all but forgotten by the majority of gaming culture but it's worth remembering for the lessons that can be learned from its various associated blunders, as well as for the few things the console did have going for it.

Sega's failures with the Saturn were manifold and they arguably began before the system was even conceived of. In the early part of the '90s, in order to compete with NEC's recently released TurboGrafx CD (as well as Nintendo's rumored upcoming Super Nintendo CD add-on (which is what essentially went on to become the PlayStation) Sega decided to develop and release their own CD drive for their popular Genesis console. Later, Sega would also release an additional, more powerful, cartridge-based add-on for the Genesis - the 32X. Both of these peripherals were largely over-priced failures that mainly served to fragment and frustrate Sega's previously growing fan base.

Despite the fact that backwards compatibility has never been much of an industry standard, the lack of it in the Saturn's case certainly didn't win it any supporters. Sega's newest console included a CD drive and a cartridge slot, yet could play neither Sega CD discs, nor any of the two previous generations worth of Master System, Genesis, or 32X cartridges. Adding insult to injury, the Saturn was announced at a price point of $399, $100 more than Sony's PlayStation. Many fans balked at the prospect of having to pay more for Sega's hardware, after having already shelled out for supefluous add-ons and media that were no longer being supported.

Finally, Sega had initially indicated that the Saturn would launch on Satur[n]day, September 2nd, 1995. However, they decided to be clever and try to get a jump on the competition. At the (very first) Electronic Entertainment Expo on May 11th of that year, they surprised everyone by announcing that it was already available, that very day, at select stores. Unfortunately, the plan backfired. Key retailers that were not let in on the surprise were more than a little upset with Sega. One store chain even responded by dropping Sega's wares altogether. To make matters worse, most of the launch games were still scheduled for release in September, leaving the Saturn with few titles to choose from during the first several months of its life. By the time the PlayStation was released, not a great deal of gamers had opted to pick up a Saturn and Sony's console quickly and easily surpassed the sales of Sega's offering.

Sega may have inadvertently sealed the Saturn's fate before (and even on) the date it came out, but that doesn't mean the console was totally worthless. To the Sega loyalists who were still willing to buy one when it launched, or the more cost-conscious fans who waited for the price reductions that followed soon after, the Saturn was still the best place to play fantastic new titles that could only be found in the arcades (if anywhere else). The games are the biggest reason why, despite all of its numerous failings, the Saturn is still viewed with a modicum of respect, and a good bit of nostalgia in certain circles. So, as a way to honor it on its 24th birthday today, we would like to present you with 12 such examples of the Sega Saturn's said sole saving grace.

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WRUP: Happy Satur(n)day!

So , little known fact: today is actually the 24th anniversary of the American release of the Sega Saturn! And it's a Saturday. Saturn, Saturday...Satur(n)day! Get it Anyway, in honor of the occasion, I will be posting a retrospective in short order. I hope it will inspire you to celebrate the rest of this Satur(n)day in your own way.

First, however, we are in need of a WRUP! And since nobody else seems willing or able at present, and I, apparently, haven't done one in a very, very long time, the responsibility seems to have fallen to me this time around. Lucky me and lucky you.

What's everybody playing this weekend?

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WRUP Big Money

Did you guys get your free copy of Assassin's Creed Unity from Uplay? Ubi did something nice for once and donated a half million dollars to hep rebuild Notre Dame after the very recent fire. They also gave out a free of copy AC Unity since it features the nearly thousand year old cathedral. The money that's been donated to to rebuild Notre Dame is pretty staggering. Over a billion dollars so far. Pretty crazy how people have come together for this old building. The human history and art that was lost can't ever be replaced. Hell the ceiling itself is a feat that's going to take a lot of engineering to rebuild, and that's if it's even put back the way it was before. To say it's going to be quite a repair project is an understatement. Goes to show that humanity can come together when there's a focus. Now if all these people could just donate a billion dollars to curing various cancers and other, wider sweeping, current tragedies... that would be something else.

And speaking of free games - Transistor, is free on Epic games. Get you some of that. Read more

Something WRUP

Well it's the weekend. And video games are somethings people play. And this is a video game website! So what are all the twinstiqers (Twinnies? Twinstqies?) playing this weekend?

Who knows, so here's a super catchy song and a few blurbs from people who blurb about games and stuff.


 

Greywolfe: by the time you read this, i should be done grinding all 507 levels of rogue legacy. next job: either grind up some coin to buy some better armor and good runes [one of the ways that game has to give you extra passive powers in the game] or just go tackle the bosses. i want to go and look at the armor before i decide that, though. otherwise: etherlords 2 and beneath a steel sky have started up. bass is a game i've recently played and am playing again to properly finish, while etherlords 2 is a game i've been playing spread across three years, now. when i get through a campaign, i put it to bed, then pick it up the next year. it's been a very relaxed way to play that game and i'm glad i did it like this. i'm in campaign three, so this will be the end of that game. lastly, more quest for glory 4! which is much more fun than i thought it would be.

AJ: I recently sprang for an actual, real-life drum set which I intend to play along to Pro (no fail) mode on Rock Band 3 and/or 4. Should be lots of loud, rockin’ fun. Also, possibly some Owlboy and/or Hyper Light Drifter, both of which I just recently tried for the first time and pretty much immediately enjoyed.

Tru: I've been a teacher.

Scroo: I've been loose.

Dr. S: I've been strange. Thumb.

Yoda: Really want to finish Ass Creed this weekend but I doubt I'll find the time. If i have some game time i may squeeze in a round or two of CSGO

Dusk WRUP Jumble

Well, okay maybe not actually dusk yet here but I've had a long day and I couldn't do the WRUP before it started. So I feel late to the party this weekend I guess. I just had lots of work to do today, which is great cos I need to make money.

Just imagine a smooth segway has taken place and we're talking about shows to watch now.

I've been watching Love Death Robots on Netflix and it's been really awesome. A collection of animated short stories, each with their own message - really, really good. I recommend it. The other show is similar but with a main theme. It's called, The Kirilan Frequency. I won't say much about it but it's another collection of short stories told like a talk radio program in a pretty strange place. Hard to tear away from and weird. Read more

Skip A WRUP

What's up guys? It's me Scrooloose! Hey, so I was gone last week and nobody picked up the WRUP even though I left a clearly written message stating I would, in fact, be gone. We skipped one WRUP as a result. Get it? Hard to find good, free help these days I guess. I can't be mad at these guys though, I'm not even the boss around here. Anyway --- Was anyone at the Watsky show at the Warfield in San Fransisco last weekend? I was there and that show was great. I went with some friends and my Sister, who rented us a legit Mystery Machine to drive around in for four days. We got ripped off hard on parking in a sketch ass dirt lot by the Tenderloin, however we had little choice but to accept the extra cost even though it was seriously fist waving time. The dude didn't even keep a ticket corresponding to our vehicle for the sake of effs! We could have told him we owned any of those cars and drove away with it! But we did at least get to watch two full seasons of the original Scooby Doo show. And when the horn was honked it said "Scoooby Dooby Doooo!!" and everyone around us took pictures and cheered. It was a great trip and hopefully I won't be doing any more of that kind of stuff until May when I leave for Ireland, because that shit is exhausting.

Here are a couple of blurry low light photos from the show and a sweet album cover shot of the Mystery Machine. Read more

Salt in the WRUP

Gotta say, it's looking too be a fairly demon heavy weekend. Or Demon-killing, rather.
Also send love to our resident old half-black and half-white wolf. He's got a real bad case of the very much not fun back issues :(

So don't forget to relax and enjoy the moments of quiet in your days off. And of course, kill more demons.

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Rush Wrup

Gotta be fast, the day is clear and I have work to do.

Devil May Cry 5 is out and quite a bit of fun when you can actually play the game. There are so many cutscenes I'm surprised it's not just a movie. Still looking forward to progressing though because it looks and runs quite well and it's ridiculous over the top silliness is something I really dig. Except, whoever decided to combine mouse and keyboard movement with the controller is high on so many drugs! Shift + Left Stick + Spacebar to dodge? WHAT?!!1one!! Read more