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Standard Black Saturn (USA)

Samsung Saturn (Korea)

Tec Toy Clear Saturn (Brazil)

Saturn White (Japan)

Saturn White (Tec Toy, Brazil)

Thanks to GUS for the pic


THE RANT:The Saturn was Sega's first real attempt to make a follow up to the Genesis. Console is sleek and black, but a bit large. Comes with a 8 button controller and has a cartridge slot on top in addition to CD drive. The cartridge slot on the back was used for memeory expasion as well as a Netlink 28.8 baud modem.

Sega, Sony, and Nintendo each announced plans to bring out a new game console right around the same time in 1994. By the end of the Genesis' life Sega was starting to get a reputation for vaporware. They had pushed back the release of the Saturn about a year or so and tried to get all their people to buy 32Xs instead. Then suddenly when Sony looked like they were going to stomp all over Sega's sales with the PS1 they switched tactics and released the Saturn ahead of schedule in an attempt to undercut Sony and grab a larger share of the market. But the thing is all the 3rd party games were still in development and so either weren't ready for the Saturn release or were rushed to coincide with it (with accompanying subtraction of quality.) So in fact Sega ended up shooting themselves in the foot, they released the system too early with not enough quality games to help sales, and the PS1 stomped all over them anyway. I guess you just can't win. Saturn managed to counterattack once some decent games started coming out for it (like Virtua Fighter 2) and in Japan the Saturn sold a lot better than it did in the USA.

Sega held on until 98 when they dropped the Saturn like a bad habit and focused on the Dreamcast instead. I've actually  just gotten into Saturn collecting rather recently and only have a few games for it, so I can't make a well rounded opinon of how "good" it is.

THE GOOD: Lots of import games to collect, although you have to install a mod chip to play them on a US console or use some kind of swap disc trick. Controller is the most durable in recent memory. All the new systems now have cheap controllers with buttons that break, analog sticks that go off center, and cheesy construction that fall apart too easily. I think they make them like that on purpose so that you have to periodically buy new ones from time to time. Saturn controllers are like 8-button Genesis controllers, strong, durable, and easy to use. System is heavy and sturdy, like you could throw it off a cliff and it'll still work. The later games are quite good, with lots of RPGs and even some decent side scrollers. 

THE BAD: The capabilities of the machine I think were never truly realized. The texture mapping and 3d effects remind me of PC games from around 93-95.  Most of the early games pretty much suck, with a gradual progression toward decent titles later in the console's lifetime. When I got the console it didn't come with a controller or an RF cable, while getting the controller was easy the RF cable took a while.

THE UGLY: Throw your Saturn at the wall.  Run it over with a dump truck. Launch it out of a Catapult. Then play Virtua Fighter.

Back to Golden Age Systems





Sega Saturn









Two 32-bit SH-2 (28.6MHz) RISC processors


2MB, Video RAM: 1.5MB


16.7 million


200,000 texture-mapped, 500,000 flat-shaded per second




32-channel PCM, 8-channel FM stereo