History of video games/Platforms/Sega Saturn

History edit

Development edit

Sega approached both Sony and Silicon Graphics about collaborating on console hardware, but these deals fell through.[1] Both companies would market consoles that would prove to be significant competitors to the Saturn. Sony would launch the original Playstation and Silicon Graphics became a key technology partner with Nintendo during the development of the Nintendo 64.

The Sega Saturn was initially focused on 2D games, but fearing competition from Sony's Playstation, Sega engineer Hideki Sato decided to add another CPU to give the Saturn extra power this without consulting the company's main experts in 3D Graphics, who were busy in the Arcade division.[2][3] This lead to a strange and unique technical architecture for the Saturn, which somewhat increased it's capabilities at the great expenses of additional production costs and development complexity.

Launch edit

The Japanese Mark 1 console.

The Sega Saturn was launched in Japan in November of 1994 at a cost of 44,800 yen.[4]

The Sega Saturn was launched in the USA four months earlier then initially planned when a surprise E3 1995 announcement was made that the Saturn would be released that weekend at a price of $399, which caused Sega to take a $100 loss on each Saturn sold.[5] The surprise launch damaged relations with 3rd party developers and retailers.[6]

Sega had a hard time attracting 3rd party developers in part because the Saturn very difficult to develop for on its own, and this was made worse by the Saturn initially lacking a compiler - requiring programmers to use platform specific assembly for Saturn games.[3]

In December 1995 the Hi-Saturn was released in Japan at a cost of 150,000 yen.[7][8] The Hi-Saturn is an automotive version of the Saturn that was a GPS navigation system and entertainment system.[8][7]

Legacy edit

The Sega Saturn was discontinued in 1998.[9] The system sold less than 10 million units, but has a cult following.[10] The Saturn was followed by the Dreamcast.

Following the failure of the Saturn, Ken Kutaragi of Sony would boast to Saturn designer Hideki Sato of the vertical integration advantage Sony had over Sega, and urged them to become a software focused developer, which Sega eventually did following the inability of the Dreamcast to gain marketshare.[2]

By 2020 the Sega Saturn was known as a difficult console to collect for.[11]

Technology edit

Saturn was nuts
—John Carmack, Tweet on February 21st, 2013.[12]

Compute edit

The Sega Saturn has two Hitachi 32-bit SH-2 processors clocked at 28.63 megahertz with 4 kilobytes of cache memory.[13][14]

The Sega Saturn has 2MB of RAM, split into one megabyte of SDRAM, and one megabyte of slower DRAM.[14] The Saturn also has 1.5 megabytes of VRAM.[15]

The Saturn uses two custom GPUs, the VDP1 and the VDP2.[14]

Hardware edit

Audio was handled by the Saturn Custom Sound Processor, the Yamaha YMF292.[16]

Development Hardware edit

A special development model, Sega Saturn Address Checker, was used by developers to verify memory usage compliance.[17] Early revisions of this hardware is notable for it's length, at approximately 3 feet (0.91 m) long.[18]

Notable Games edit

Used Sega Saturn games for sale in a Japanese store.

1995 edit

Panzer Dragoon edit

A cult classic rail shooter.

Read more about Panzer Dragoon on Wikipedia.

1996 edit

1997 edit

Shining Force III edit

Read more about Shining Force III on Wikipedia.

Last Bronx edit

Read more about Last Bronx on Wikipedia.

Devil Summoner: Soul Hackers edit

An entry in the Shin Megami Tensei series.

Read more about Devil Summoner: Soul Hackers on Wikipedia.

Sonic R edit

A racing game in the Sonic series, and the poster Sonic game for the Sega Saturn. Well known for the song "Super Sonic Racing".

Read more about Sonic R on Wikipedia.

Shinrei Jusatsushi Tarōmaru edit

A sidescroller action game noted for its extremely limited production run.

Read more about Shinrei Jusatsushi Tarōmaru on Wikipedia.

Cotton 2: Magical Night Dreams edit

A port of the arcade side scrolling shooter game.

Read more about Cotton 2: Magical Night Dreams on Wikipedia.

Bulk Slash edit

Open 3D environment mech game.

Read more about Bulk Slash on Wikipedia.

1998 edit

The House of the Dead edit

Read more about The House of the Dead on Wikipedia.

Radiant Silvergun edit

Read more about Radiant Silvergun on Wikipedia.

Gallery edit

Consoles edit

Controllers & Accessories edit

Internals edit

Marketing edit

References edit

  1. Shea, Brian. "How A Series Of Bad Decisions Led To The Sega Saturn Failure" (in en). Game Informer. https://www.gameinformer.com/b/features/archive/2017/07/03/gi-classic-the-saturn-spiral.aspx. Retrieved 27 October 2020. 
  2. a b "Hideki Sato talks about creating SEGA Saturn hardware and Sony asking SEGA to go third party". Hideki Sato talks about creating SEGA Saturn hardware and Sony asking SEGA to go third party. http://segabits.com/blog/2018/06/29/hideki-sato-talks-about-creating-sega-saturn-hardware-and-sony-asking-sega-to-go-third-party/. 
  3. a b "Hideki Sato Discussing the Sega Saturn". Mega Drive Shock. 16 June 2020. Retrieved 27 October 2020.
  4. "HISTORY SEGA 60th Anniversary". SEGA 60th Anniversary site. Retrieved 18 November 2020.
  5. "It's Been 25 Years Since Sega Shocked the Gaming World: Here's What Happened" (in en). PCMAG. https://www.pcmag.com/news/its-been-25-years-since-sega-shocked-the-gaming-world-heres-what-happened. Retrieved 26 October 2020. 
  6. Reisinger, Don. "Why the Saturn was the worst major console of all time". CNET. Retrieved 29 October 2020.
  7. a b "Sega / Hitachi HiSaturn Navi". nfggames.com. Retrieved 29 October 2020.
  8. a b Beyman, Alex (26 January 2019). "Remember That Time the Sega Saturn was an In-Car GPS Navigation System? …No?". Medium. Retrieved 29 October 2020.
  9. "Sega Saturn - Game Console - Computing History". www.computinghistory.org.uk. Retrieved 27 October 2020.
  10. Parish, Jeremy (18 November 2014). "The Lost Child of a House Divided: A Sega Saturn Retrospective" (in en). USgamer. https://www.usgamer.net/articles/the-lost-child-of-a-house-divided-a-sega-saturn-retrospective. Retrieved 27 October 2020. 
  11. "Collecting Sega Saturn Games Is A Total Nightmare" (in en-us). Kotaku. https://kotaku.com/collecting-sega-saturn-games-is-a-total-nightmare-1844421642. 
  12. "@ID_AA_Carmack". Twitter. https://twitter.com/ID_AA_Carmack/status/304662242627031040?. 
  13. "Sega Saturn - game console Specs". CNET. Retrieved 29 October 2020.
  14. a b c "Sega Saturn Architecture A Practical Analysis". Rodrigo's Stuff. 3 August 2019. Retrieved 29 October 2020.
  15. "PS1 Strengths and Weaknesses vs N64 and Sega Saturn". RetroGaming with Racketboy. 11 January 2020. Retrieved 29 October 2020.
  16. "Sega Saturn Architecture | A Practical Analysis". Rodrigo's Stuff. 3 August 2019. Retrieved 16 October 2021.
  17. "Here's A Long Sega Saturn" (in en-AU). Kotaku Australia. 26 January 2021. https://www.kotaku.com.au/2021/01/heres-a-long-sega-saturn/. 
  18. "The first Sega Saturn dev kits were super long". TechSpot. Retrieved 20 October 2021.