With the Sega Saturn celebrating its 13th Birthday in the States tomorrow, there's no better time than now to reminisce about Sega's 32-bit beast. Most of us have a story of some sort to go along with how we first fell in love with a game system. This is, unsurprisingly, mine...
Happy 13 big boy! 3 more years for the keys!
A QUICK NOTE BEFORE WE BEGIN...
If it weren't for the Saturn, I probably wouldn't be into video games today. Although I grew up LOVING the NES, Genesis and Super Nintendo, it wasn't until my time with the Sega Saturn that I came to appreciate games on a 'deeper' level. Of course, age maturation factored in, too. Unknowingly, the Saturn turned out to be my first voyage into "diehard" gaming pastures. It all started innocently enough before morphing into a savage monster. Sit back a while, young lad, and listen to the tale of the elders
IN THE BEGINNING...
My brother and I had a PlayStation in the late '90s. Sure, I played and liked it reasonably, but my passion for gaming was slowly and surely slipping away around 1998. By the tail end of that year I was barely playing video games at all. The PlayStation did not appeal to me in the way the NES, Genesis or SNES had. I was on the brink of losing interest in gaming altogether
Then fate decided to step in
At that time my bro was going through his e-fed fad. An e-fed is basically a group of folks who role play their own wrestling persona, and the "booker" pits the wrestlers against one another, with the victor being decided by how well their promo was written. The e-fed community was buzzing about a wrestling game available only on the Japanese Saturn: FIRE PRO WRESTLING SIX MEN SCRAMBLE
Thanks to YAKUMO for this scan
Just like in the old days when my bro made me do all the dirty work renting his video games, he ordered me to find a Saturn for cheap. Of course, his motivation was Fire Pro. But I had my own: WORLD HEROES PERFECT. I remember seeing the little preview in an EGM issue a couple years back, thinking how cool it would be to own a copy but because it was a Saturn game, and an import no less, I thought I never would. But what was once seemingly a far-fetched fantasy was quickly morphing into reality!
Here's the EGM issue I can thank, or blame, for that unconscious desire to one day, somehow, own a copy of the Saturn port of World Heroes Perfect. My bro subscribed to EGM in '96 and I remember seeing WHP featured in a quick half-page preview in the back of this August '96 issue. I was indifferent toward the Saturn at the time, and my bro, who made all the game system purchasing decisions, was totally anti-Saturn. So, I knew I could pretty much kiss any realistic thought of owning WHP goodbye. Still, when you're 13, there's a certain robust shimmer of hope that nobody can ever deny you, and that includes older brothers who are in charge of, well, everything
EGM was still a pretty solid read in '96
For years the thought and hopes of owning this laid dormant in my mind. Until, that is, one frosty winter evening of 1998. My bro literally charged at me and commanded me to go find a Saturn on the cheap. At that precise moment of shock it hit me... I can finally soon play, and own, World Heroes Perfect!
Really, were it not for this game and my brother's burning desire to own a copy back in the winter of '98, I probably wouldn't be into games today. I'm not sure if that's a good thing, or a bad thing!
The best thing ever in video games, EVER
We each had our own reasons to get a Saturn. And thus, the search was on!
HOOK ME UP, BRO
On a cold December night of 1998, my dad drove me to a local import store that promised to find any game in Japan your heart desired for the low deposit price of $14.99. I fondly remember rushing in that tiny, long strip of a mom n' pop-ish store, shoving the EGM issue in the guy's face and saying, almost out of breath, "Put me down for this game!" "World... Heroes... Perfect-uh," the clerk said in a very thick Japanese accent. "What's that?" "World... Heroes... Perfect-uh... what's that?"
My jaw dropped ten meters. This fool never heard of these games before?! "Very old Street Fighter II wannabe," I told him, pointing to the half page preview. "Can you please find it for me?"
"Hmmmmmmmm," he pondered, scratching his chin. "I am sure so. Our search and locate skills are the best. I just need one thing from you"
"Fourteen ninety-nine," he said, a small grin crossing his face as he held out his hand
I glanced over at my dad and just like the good ole days, once again like he had done so many times before, he whipped out his wallet and made the magic happen
I watched with intense interest as the clerk jotted down my information -- name, number, title of wanted game, all that -- before asking him excitedly and optimistically, "When can I expect to pick it up?" "Oh, well, there's a, uhhh, slight chance we might not be able to find it..." his voice trailed off
So much for "best search and locate skills" eh? "But don't worry," he assured. "We usually have success. If not, you get your full fifteen dollars back"
While my dad paid, I stared at the Sonic Adventure demo running in the corner. It drew a hearty crowd, but I found myself only thinking WHP
Dreamcast? Shoot, I was barely starting out with Saturn!
That night as my dad and I walked out of the small import shop sandwiched between a bakery and knick-knack store, I remember soaking in the energy of the night. In less than one month hopefully, I will finally be playing me some World Heroes Perfect! For the first time ever... BOO-YAH!
Only a month or two at the most, right? Right...
PUTTING THE FUN IN FUNCOLAND -- *GASP!*
In January 1999, my dad and I entered a FUNCOLAND. Moments later, we walked out with a used Saturn for the low price of $39.99. Cradling the box against my chest as though it were Frankenstein's heart, I walked out of the store feeling a jolt of adrenaline rushing through my body. I just bought a Saturn. A whole new gaming world to explore... hell yeah!
THE HUNT FOR THE GAMES CONTINUE
Meanwhile, no sign of WHP or FPW:6MS. My bro sent our newly acquired Saturn off to NCSX for the modification job. Weeks later, my dad and I stopped by the import shop to inquire about the status of WHP. The clerk apologized, saying his men could not locate a copy over in Japan. Oh, the high walking in hoping for the best, and the low of having your bubble bursted with a ten ton hammer of denial. Hey, at least my dad got back his $14.99, eh?
Then came the beautiful glow of that little thing known as... the internet. I posted on a SEGA newsgroup stating my desire to buy World Heroes Perfect. I received a response from a guy named "Azaziel" or something other. He was willing to sell his complete copy for $25. It was the very first video game internet transaction of my life (of what would end up totaling 1,000+... sheesh!)
Definitely made a killing, like Fuuma does Muscle here
It all started with a newsgroup dealing... no feedback, no pics. I wasn't so shrewd back then as I am now [HA! -Ed.], so I didn't bother asking for those things you see. Really, I relied solely on my gut. Total blind faith. Something told me this would end well. Hell, I even sent cash through the mail. A crisp 20 and a fiver inside a VHS cover. (In fact, my first 50 transactions online or so were paid all by CASH in the mail! I ceased when I finally got burned, luckily though only for $7)
A week later, World Heroes Perfect arrived in the mail. I'll never forget that day. What a high seeing the package sitting pretty in my mailbox! Unfortunately, when NCSX sent our Saturn back there was an error that prevented us from playing World Heroes Perfect. Before my bro could ever send the Saturn back for repairs, there was a slight... snafu...
WHERE'S A HERO WHEN YOU NEED ONE?
That same month we were robbed. It's horrifying to come home only to find your back window smashed, muddy footprints all over the carpet and the house a former shell of its past glory. The computer, my mom's jewelry, and all our game systems, including the Saturn -- were gone. All the cabinets were left open... like the scene out of POLTERGEIST! I scrambled onto a chair to check if the thieves found World Heroes Perfect or not. Remarkably, there the game sat, on the middle shelf, atop a small dictionary. All our games were stolen. Except for one... World Heroes Perfect. The lone consolation prize in what was a horrific day. I realized then and there, it had to be fate. The tables turned, and now it was *I* who wanted the Saturn most of all, no longer my brother. If this terrible experience taught me anything, besides the fact that being robbed sucks the big one, it was that nothing could get in the way between me and my mission of at long last playing World Heroes Perfect. Damnit, by hook or crook, pardon the pun, I was going to play the bloody game
Funcoland didn't get in another Saturn until May 1999. When they did, I jumped on it. My bro once again sent the system to NCSX for modification. OK... round 2, here we go!
Meanwhile, I browsed through WHP's color manual several times in anticipation. I waited this long. A few more weeks won't hurt...
On a calm May day in 1999, after the UPS man dropped off our modded Saturn on our porch, all systems were go. Damn I'll never forget the excitement rushing through my body as the Saturn logo fired up for the very first time. Not to mention those cheesy but memorable ADK tunes blaring in my living room, like it was 1993 all over again! The long wait was at last over. Vindication was finally mine
Now that's what I call JUSTICE Sword! [I C WAT U DID DERE -Ed.]
Later that summer of '99, I frantically searched online for a copy of Fighter's History Dynamite. I loved Fighter's History (arcade, SNES) back in the day, so when I discovered the 'sequel' had hit the Sega Saturn, I was all over that like a fat boy on cake. Like WHP, it proved hard to find, but I searched high and low, determined to track down a copy
FHD went under this moniker in the arcades
Finally I stumbled across GameWorld.com. I was so thrilled to find they had a copy for sell!
It took a while to finally arrive, but arrive in fashion it did. Tearing the envelope open, a card fell out... I made THEIR day? I can remember thinking to myself as I looked inside to find the Fighter's History Dynamite game. More like they had made mine!
GameWorld was a small chain of Texas-based game stores (Merc, wherever you are, GW FTW!). I'm pretty sure they're defunct now, but I ran into a few gamers online over the years who worked for them and had some pretty interesting tales too...
I still remember the moment vividly when the game arrived. It was an early summer afternoon, 4th of July, 1999, ironically exactly TWO years on the dot since when the game was released on Saturn (4th of July, 1997). At around 1 the UPS man knocked on my door. I popped the game in my Saturn and nearly cried tears of joy as adrenaline overtook my every being. I now owned two Saturn games and not just any two, but two dear dear childhood faves whose sequels I had yet to play. Almost too good to be true, and for me, a slice of gaming heaven. Would you believe that for the next two years, I lived off just World Heroes Perfect and Fighter's History Dynamite? True story. That either makes me nuts or just plain freakin' sad. Probably both
The Saturn port was released on July 4, 1997
An appropriate release date in a pretty obvious way, but also a surprising one in another. It's fitting a game with DYNAMITE in it be released on the 4th of July. And how ironic that it arrived on the 4th of July -- two years after its release. It's scary how these unplanned things happen. [Tell me and the wifey about it! -Ed.] The surprising thing about this release is that the arcade came out in early-mid '94, so why even bother porting such an "old" game by 4th of July, 1997, remains something of a mystery. But hey, I surely wasn't complaining! I was just happy to own both WHP and FHD. Two games from two of my most beloved series growing up... all mine to play at any time I want... it was almost too good to be true!
Fireworks, Dynamite, 4th of July release, oh those silly Data East boys
I love its simple gameplay. Good times
And who could ever forget the infamous "BAKED POTATO!"
"REVENGE.... SHALL BE MINE!!! HAHAHA..."
THIS TIME, IT'S SERIOUS
My gaming life, so to speak, all changed in January 2001. For two years, I lived off WHP and FHD. I probably played one or the other once a week or so. I never really thought of expanding my Saturn horizons, as odd as that may seem. I was, pardon the pun, perfectly content with World Heroes Perfect and Fighter's History Dynamite. I'm set for life, right?
I want Karnov at my next summer BBQ party
For nearly two years, I lived off two Saturn games
That all changed one night in January 2001
At my buddy's house to study for a HUGE physics exam, I saw a Saturn lying on the ground. I nearly fell over. Remember, the PlayStation was all the rage back then, and by 2001 the Saturn was a long, LONG afterthought
"Hey -- you're the first person I know who has one too," I said, pointing to his Saturn
"Oh yeah? I haven't touched the thing in years"
What's this? I noticed Street Fighter Alpha 2 and Bust-A-Move 2 beside the system, both games lookin' pretty in their big bulky US cases... seeing them triggered something inside of me that I thought was long dead. Suddenly, I felt very excited about games again... beyond just the two fighting games I had at that point
"I still play my Saturn, though it's been a while too." It was true. It had been months since I played WHP or FHD. Love them though I may, two years is a long time to play JUST two games
"If you want some of the games, go ahead. Take some. It's cool"
I nearly fell over. "I can't do that, man"
"No, go for it. Really. I don't play them anymore. Plus I never even bought any of them to begin with"
"I can't, really, but thanks..."
"... I'll just take these two," I said quickly as the moment overtook me. I lured Street Fighter Alpha 2 and Bust-A-Move 2 out of the pile. I remember seeing BUG! but not giving a damn whatsoever about it. I just wanted some Street Fighter and BAM2 action!
The rest of the study session I found it difficult to focus on atoms or Murphy's Law, and who could blame me. The moment of truth arrived when I came home and fired the games up, one by one. I cheered for every successful Dragon Punch, and I cringed for every "NO! I AIMED THE FREAKIN' BUBBLE THERE, NOT THERE!" moment
Street Fighter Alpha 2 in particular blew me away. It played so smoothly and had just the right amount of style and substance. Playing Bust-A-Move 2 was like being back at an arcade hall, plopping a quarter into a simple but delightful puzzler to tide me over until the lines for the latest fighters died down a bit... ahh, good times
It was an unbelievable arcade-like experience I had that fine evening. It made me think about what other gems this system has to offer....
As they say, the rest is history. I never looked back
"ONE OF US HAS TO DIE!! MWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!"
STRIKES AGAIN, NOT BACK
The very next month, February 2001, I was driving to Uncle Jimmy's house to visit him and my cousin David when I saw FuncoLand's big bright, colorful, neon sign calling out to me in the dark of the night. I remember being awed by their large luminous sign and being ecstatic about what Sega Saturn gems I might find inside. There I saw World Series Baseball II for just $3.99 and Galactic Attack for $4.99, both disc only
This is one of the best, and it effectively got me back into the genre
I had heard WSB II was a quick-paced arcade-like baseball game (like the classic Ken Griffey Jr. Presents Major League Baseballon SNES) and Galactic Attack -- #86 in EGM's top 100 (issue 100, November 1997). I plucked both of them off the rack without a moment's hesitation
There's no flippin' way I could pass up on the 86th best game ever, right?!
There was also QUAKE and Fighters Megamix for $9.99 each but I passed (disc only). The clerk gave me a bewildered look when he saw me bringing World Series Baseball II and Galactic Attack to the counter
"You still playing these games?"
"No... just starting," I said with a little grin on my kisser
He looked at me like I was crazy. And maybe I was... but damnit, if I was crazy, I was gonna have a good time at it
Now I had six games in my collection. My library tripled in two short weeks prior to the two years I owned only WHP and FHD! I couldn't wait to try out Galactic Attack and WSB II. The sense of thrill of adding more quality titles to the ole collection became an addiction in every respect of the word
Leaving my newly acquired Saturn games in my glove compartment, I made my way to my uncle's house. They had to make a run at the grocery store. Told me I could join them or stay back and surf the net or something
I stayed back. On that chilly February night of 2001, I searched for info (read: reviews) on WSB II and Galactic Attack. I'll never forget the moment that evening when I stumbled upon . . .
My God -- hundreds of user reviews! US and Japanese game reviews. The freakin' works! I was absolutely floored by what they had on offer. I read through all the WSB II and GA reviews til my cousins came back. It thrilled me to read all the good things the reviewers had to say about these two games. Over the years, I frequently referred back to the reviews found on sega-saturn dot com, either before purchasing a game, or just after playing it, usually the latter; reading what others thought of certain games and then comparing that to how I felt. It was part of the fun of buying and playing all the Saturn games that I did... and MAN was it a lot of fun
I've definitely read one too many JM Vargas and Dark Falcon reviews! Those guys effin' rock. Wherever you two are out there in the vastness of cyberspace, I salute y'all. Goes to show you how voice in reviews can go a long way to leaving lasting impressions. Some odd seven years later, I still remember JM Vargas and Dark Falcon fondly, as well as their friendly ribbing and in-review in-jokes tossed at one another... good times. You felt as if you knew them and they knew you. Perhaps the best compliment a writer can ever hope to receive
My 15 minutes of fame came when I wrote a review for Sega-Saturn.com myself (2-23-01) Can you guess for which game?
BINGO! How did you guess right? Nothing gets by you, eh? I was so moved by seeing all the Saturn reviews on the site that I knew I wanted to contribute some of my own. Besides, there was one review of WHP and I felt the guy (fastguy, to be precise) did it wrong. I had to get my viewpoint out there. Looking back, I'm proud to have been a small part of that awesome site. I keep waiting for a successor, but year after year I always find myself disappointed. There may never be another quite like it
I also submitted one for Fighter's History Dynamite the very next day as well (February 24, 2001). Those two reviews that I wrote were actually among the final four or so that was ever published by the site. Thanks for the memories, Dave Z.
Know what the weird thing is? In the update where Dave Z. published my reviews for World Heroes Perfect and Fighter's History Dynamite, there was a third review: LAST BRONX... written by James "MILKMAN" Mielke! You know him, the dude who worked for EGM some time earlier this decade, and who just recently supplanted Dan Hsu as new EGM editor-in-chief! Whoa... what are the odds, eh? In one epic Sega-Saturn.com update, dated Saturday February 24, 2001, three reader reviews were published. The two authors? Milkman and me. One runs the EGM ship. The other, well, I hear he's a pretty cool guy who runs a pretty rad SNES/Saturn-based site! [Oh brother -Ed.] It doesn't get much better than that! Seeing my two reviews go up live that Saturday evening, I felt so excited and proud. The reviewing craze was born!
Dan Hsu, Shoe, ohhh I get it. Big shoes to fill, literally and figuratively, eh? Those EGM boys haven't lost their wit, I see. Milkman, we got some history, brother. All bias aside, the two EGM issues so far with you running the show, are the best I've read in recent memory. Keep up the good work! Sega Saturn dot com for life!
Milkman then (February 2001) and Milkman now (April 2008)... he must love that pose!
WHATEVER HAPPENED WITH FIRE PRO?
Ah, I'm glad you asked. That's what good readers do! They employ the questioning strategy! Ahem, sorry. [Y'kno, I fire you every time it seems but you always come back, what are you, bloody effin' Jason?! -Ed.]
Funnily enough, I never did buy a copy for my brother. And the reason why was, he no longer wanted it. His same wrestling e-fed group was now raving about the PlayStation version, Fire Pro G. My bro focused on that instead since he was always a PlayStation guy at heart. Go figure!
We played the shit outta Fire Pro G. I loved it as much as he did. AWESOME game. But I owe a lot to Six Men Scramble. Were it not for this game, I probably never would have pursued a Saturn, and I probably would have lost touch with video gaming altogether. Seriously. Yet because of this one game, I went on to have six WONDERFUL years with the Saturn, all the games played, people I met, the obscure impressions, the SSM snag and Top 50 list... all of that never would have happened were it not for Six Men Scramble. In honor, in 2003 I went ahead and bought a copy for myself. It only felt right. And while Fire Pro G is better, Six Men Scramble will always have a special spot in my gaming library, as well as, indeed, my gaming heart
In late '98 this sacred game here was ALL the rage. I remember it being talked about in hush tones. There were really two Saturn imports making a ton of noise online at that time: this...
... And of course this was the other. Thank God for the buzz too. Otherwise, I wouldn't be here right now [CAN I GET A TIME MACHINE UP IN HERE, DOC?! -Ed.]
Ah, mighty good times. Joined at the hip, and rightfully so!
HEROES AND HISTORY
To this day, I still play Saturn World Heroes Perfect and Fighter's History Dynamite. Not to the extent I did roughly nine years ago, mind you, but I still break 'em out once in a blue moon. And I probably always will. From two Saturn games owned, to eventually, around 350 (!), I have had quite the experience with this damn system. Lots of good times, and there will always be one more Dragon Punch to do, a shuriken or two to be thrown, and much more Thanks for all the memories, boys
A part of me still can't believe this twist of fate: I started out loving World Heroes and Fighter's History in the arcade and later the SNES, but never got to play the last game in each series until 1999 with the Saturn. That was around the same time my brother and I donated our SNES to a cousin. Many years later I got back into the SNES, bought copies of the originals, and to this day still love playing any one of them. That's pretty wild! I've come full circle with this hobby not even Hollywood could have scripted better!
With the Sega Saturn turning 13 here in the States tomorrow, as FOB sang, thanks for the memories. It was real, it was fun.... it was real damn fun. Though my Saturn honeymoon is now officially two-plus years over and counting, and while I'll never view the system quite in the same awe as I did those six years from 1999-2005, it shall always carry a special spot in my gaming heart
Cheers, Sega Saturn
If I were to list all the memories I had with the Saturn from 2001-2005, it'd stack up to the moon. Too many stories... for another day, definitely. Right now I'd like to share some amazing Saturn memories from gamers the world over.... including one story of how LITERALLY the Saturn NetLink saved a soul... and be sure to look out for new commentaries added May 10, 2008
My Dear Friend
The Saturn is a great system and was the only constant in my life for a-many years. I was weened on the MegaDrive and naturally, when it came time to upgrade I stuck with Sega.
And somehow... Sega stuck with me.
My family moved a total of six times during high school. I would make friends one day, and it'd seem like I had to say good-bye the next. But wherever I moved, I of course brought my Saturn along. It kept me entertained and occupied on a-many nights where I just could have killed myself out of wondering "Why me?" Conceivably so... I easily could have thrown in the towel and was ready to do just that on several occasions. I was also ready to go out and do stupid things I'd probably only later regret... but I usually ended up cozying on the couch with my Saturn.
It was not easy moving town to town during my high school years. Bar-hopping is one thing, but town-hopping -- no thank you. A kid needs stability. A constant.
For all those years, my constant was a little black box I never imagined would give so much and ask so little.
Off the top of my head some games that I really enjoyed over the years include Dragon Force, Saturn Bomberman, MegaMan 8, Resident Evil, Street Fighter Collection, Fighters Megamix, and Burning Rangers. As the Saturn died off in the US, I looked to the import avenue and discover a whole new world. It was like ... Saturn 2. I got my hands on greats like X-Men vs. Street Fighter, Metal Slug, Elevator Action Returns and Radiant Silvergun.
Like I said, many "friends" came and go. The Saturn, on the other hand, never did. The day I got my driver's license, I celebrated with the citizens of Legendra. The day I got my first job, I celebrated by saving the Sonic Team in Burning Rangers. The day I got my first straight A's report card in high school, I celebrated with Bonk, Mr. Higgins and the gang. The day I got my first girlfriend, I celebrated by playing... with her. *wink*
At any rate, I'd just like to thank the SEGA Saturn for the innumerous memories it gave me. In some ways, it was like an anti-drug... it helped keep me out of trouble. Most of all, I will always consider it a dear friend for life. -Glenn David Hanson
The Saturn was a funny little thing for me. I bought it and have supported it since day one. While everyone in the later part of the 1990s were going ga-ga over the latest PSX releases, I was perfectly content in that little corner at the far end of the game store looking to pick out my latest Saturn purchase(s).
And lemme tell you -- it was the most fun I ever had with a game system. I bought a game every week. I have over 200 Saturn games. 100 domestic 100 import. Every game I have, I have either beaten or invested at least ten hours into. That's a lotta value... and there's just a mystique to the Saturn I can't put my finger on.
I played the hell outta "triple A" releases like VF2, Sega Rally and Panzer Saga. But I also found a lot of fun in lesser known titles like Herc's Adventures, Crusader No Remorse and NHL All-Star Hockey '98. That's what really was fun to me. Taking a risk of those "double or single A" games and discovering some REAL genuine value within them. Going home and devoting the whole evening to the latest games you just paid for with your hard-earned cash.
It was the best of times... and it was the worst of times... but mostly, it was the best of times. -Moe "not THAT Moe" Jones
The Saturn Changed My Life -- No, Really
Here's a little history of my Sega Saturn and how it changed my life. My Saturn has been at over 10 different homes I have lived at in 5 different cities in 4 different states in the course of four years.
*Thanks to my Sega Saturn NetLink, I was able to move away from Hawaii to save myself from being homeless thanks to a good person I knew from the Sega Saturn NetLink IRC chat server who paid my way to Ozark, Missouri (of course I paid him back) where I lived for six months.
*Thanks to my Sega Saturn NetLink, I was able to meet three different sets of roommates (one roommate who ended up saving me from being homeless) and lived at three different apartments in Springfield, Missouri where I lived at for another six months.
*Thanks to my Sega Saturn NetLink, I met a girl in the Sega Saturn Netlink IRC chat server (no, I wasn't gonna go steady with her, we were just friends) who lived in Tulsa, Oklahoma who let me come live with her. Then I ended up meeting her uncle at a Christmas party and he ends up being the vice president of the Bank of Oklahoma where he actually hired me with no questions asked as a Data Entry Remittance Clerk getting paid $7 an hour.
*Thanks to my Sega Saturn NetLink, I was able to finally meet my future wife (we're getting married at the end of this year), the mother of my child (she's a month pregnant), and the love of my life after knowing her off of the Sega Saturn NetLink IRC chat server for almost 2 years.
*Thanks to my Sega Saturn NetLink I was able to move to Cincinatti, Ohio and finally get an apartment with the love of my life. *Thanks to my Sega Saturn NetLink, I was able to attend a party in Cincinnati, Ohio of whom over a dozen people attended where I got to meet my best buddies that I knew online that I met using my Sega Saturn NetLink to IRC chat.
And finally, thanks to my Sega Saturn NetLink, I was able to live the experience of a lifetime for the past two years, meet dozens of great and not so great people, mature a lot, live in many different cities, find out that internet romances can actually work (me and Jeanette have been actually living together for six months now, not counting the two years we knew each other from the Sega Saturn Netlink IRC chat server), have a child, and get married.
Never would I have thought that a videogame system would change my life in such a way. Isn't that funny? A video game system? I mean, who would of thought that a video game system could change and improve one's life this much? Anyways, this was just my story that I needed to share with you all about how my Sega Saturn changed my life and how it helped me started a new and better life. -James Stevens
Saturn's the Shit
I don't care if Sony won the quote-unquote battle against the Saturn. In my house, and that's all that matters to me, the SEGA Saturn by far won the WAR.
All those 8 player Bomberman outings, all those 6 player Guardian Heroes epics, all those "winner keeps controller" nights of Puzzle Fighter, Baku Baku, VF2, and Street Fighter Collection... what can I say?
The Saturn, for pure fun and enjoyment, was is and always will be...the shit.
Saturn, I'll Miss You
Unfortunately, with Dreamcast arriving in Japan this fall, the Saturn seems to be going under. With the United States market long inactive and unproductive, it looks as if Sega of Japan will begin to focus its efforts on the Dreamcast. Most current Saturn owners have relied on imports lately, but with the Dreamcast on developer's minds, they will most likely cease production of Saturn games.
This is sad because Saturn, in my opinion, was the best 32-bit system ever. Yeah, I'm probably favoring emotion in lieu of factual basis, but I like Saturn better than Playstation. I don't care if the Saturn can't do transparencies like PSX can; I'd like to see a Guardian Heroes-caliber game on the Playstation or the Nintendo 64. I didn't think there were any takers for that one.
The sad thing is that it seems as if Sega didn't want the Saturn to succeed. They underestimated the customers.
All in all, I'm sure everyone will agree that the Saturn died an early death, and could've been much more than the sad state it's in today. My friends still scoff at me when they hear I have a Saturn, and snicker wickedly when word is that I actually like it... They, too, are oblivious to Saturn and what a great system it is. I'll love my Saturn until the very last game hits the shelves. But for now, I'll enjoy the precious three months I have until the Dreamcast frenzy hits Japan... -Henry Knapp
The Best Ever
It has been a few years since the "death" of the Sega Saturn, and I found it a good time to reflect on the state of Sega, as well as take a retrospective look on everyone's favorite (or not) 32-bit system.
A little background here... I got the Sega Saturn for Christmas of '96, the year the 3-free promotion was running. I was initially enthralled with the Ultra 64, so much so that I actually held SGI stock anticipating the new Nintendo system to sell millions and millions... Luckily I dumped that soon after buying, made a profit, and don't have to jump out a window because of SGI's stock price today ... but back to my affair with Sega...
I was still a Nintendo 64 lover when I went to Hades Haunted House in Villa Park, IL.. (The largest haunted house in the country!) On the way out of the haunted house, Sega had a setup to display the Saturn... this wass where I played "NiGHTS: into Dreams" for the first time... it was an experience I can remember vividly to this day, and I immediately was in love... That christmas I got the Sega Saturn. (I also got alot of NiGHTS playtime in at various kiosks around Chicagoland when Christmas shopping with the family)...
I was then what you'd call, a Sega freak. If anyone remembers the AOL screenname "YujiNaka", that was me... Sitting in the videogame lounge all night, reading Saturnworld.com and sega-saturn.com throughout the day... It was sick.
But ... it was one of the funnest times, and the best time I have ever had with a video game system.
Anyone else run to the mall to get the new Next-Generation because of the Christmas Nights demo? I am sure lots of us did. Ditching school to read the E3 updates (Sonic R! woohoo!) ...
Goodness, Sega Saturn was and continues to be my favorite system ever.
On spring break from school this week (Go Illini!) I have been heavily investing time into Burning Rangers... It seems whenever I come home, I play my Saturn more than I ever play my Dreamcast back at school... Sure, Sonic Adventure, Phantasy Star Online, Quake 3 Arena (w/ BBA), etc etc are AWESOME games... but c'mon... they don't have the same magic to them as the Saturn did... maybe the fact that Dreamcast was at least somewhat successful makes me resent the games somewhat... but I just can't find the same magic in Crazy Taxi as I can in the original Sega Rally. Sonic Adventure does well, but can't topple NiGHTS. And Phantasy Star, while AWESOME, I'd still rather be locked in a room with Burning Rangers trying to rescue Sonic Team members!
Thanks for reading my nostalgic rant, oh and...
Long Live Sega!
issue 34, August '98
Dear SSM, When it came to getting a "next generation" machine I opted for a PlayStation. Now I think the PSX is great, but since I've been hooked on videogames since the late 70s I felt that it failed to deliver me anything as thoroughly addictive and playable as, say Space Invaders or Scramble... Whilst shopping one day I went into a local videogame store and there on the top shelf was a second-hand Saturn for $65. Now, as I was new to the Saturn I'd not played any of its games so I thought I'd get stuff like Virtua Cop, NiGHTS and Sega Rally to see what the hype was all about. Boy -- was this what the doctor ordered! Just these few games restored my faith in the next generation machines and supplied the playability and addictiveness that I so longed for. This was six months ago. Now I know that Saturn's lifespan is going to be cut short soon, but games like Panzer Saga, House of the Dead and World League Soccer '98 are all stunning and cannot be matched on any system. I would like to say a big thank you to Sega for getting me back into videogames and from now on I shall be loyal to them and will definitely get their new system when it comes out. Andy Gurr, Sheffield
As your experiences bear out, it's all about the gameplay. I think that we all agree that when it comes to certain styles of games and specific gameplay experiences, the Saturn just can't be matched and will be superseded only by the new Dreamcast, where those values will live on.RICH
issue 35, September '98
DAZZLED BY PLAYSTATION HYPE
Dear SSM, Two weeks ago was a turning point in my gaming life. You see, I was walking down a side street in my local town and I couldn't help but notice that a Saturn with a $35 price ticket was slapped on it was sitting in the window of a pawn shop. There was nothing I could do, I just had the overwhelming desire to buy it then and there. I've never been anti-Sega, but I'd been concentrating on my collection of retro import machines over the last couple of years in the form of a PC Engine and Neo Geo.
That's all changed now though, I really can't get enough of the machine, every waking moment is spent wondering which game I should buy next and counting the hours till I can get off work and get home to get burnt to death as Tillis again! I've found that most of the back catalog of software can be picked up for peanuts if you shop around, and the machine has some particularly good software being released for it. I bought Burning Rangers the other day and it's a totally absorbing and challenging game, it's a classic example of what I've been missing while I've been dazzled by the PlayStation hype.
I'm personally looking forward to the release of the Dreamcast. Okay, so it's essentially going to mean the Saturn will be fading out, but if any SSM readers have any fears that this will mean instant death for their beloved console, then they should take heart from the continuing life that the PC Engine enjoys. There is a thriving global community of PC Engine fans out there whose mission it is to collect all 800 odd titles for the machine. The Saturn is a superb machine, and its memory and software will live on long after Dreamcast has established itself as the best console ever. Mark Campbell, via email
SEGA-16.COM VETERAN CONTRIBUTOR SPEAKS -- YOU LISTEN, ER, READ
I have probably told this story before but I will tell it again. Gather 'round, kiddies!
The very day the Saturn launched in the US I was sitting at home or something similar. Then my pal Dave calls me from his work (he had an office job, the poor sap). He said "OMG d00d i saw teh Saturnz at teh storez on my lunch breakXorz i guess dey releeses it early cuz it iz out u shud go get 1 foo!" I was really amazed that he was able to talk like that since text messaging hadn't been invented yet and the internet was not popular. But I decided to get the Saturn right away regardless of how he told me about it. Problem: I did not have a (working) car at the time or it was in the shop or something like that. It was a Ford. It spent more time in the shop than my garage. Anyway I called one of my other friends and told him to come over and get me and take me down to Electronics Boutique so I could get one. That's right, Electronics Boutique. Not EB Games. I bet most of you young saps didn't even know what the letters E and B in EB Games stood for. NOW GET THE HELL OFF MY LAWN!
So we go down there and I pick it up along with Panzer Dragoon and Daytona USA. Virtua Fighter came with the system. The total amount was something like $515 or so, I have the receipt in the box still. I actually told the cashier "Eh, that's really not too bad" and he replied "No, it really isn't!". Keep in mind that several months before this I bought a 3DO for $700 which came with one lame game and a sampler disc, so the Saturn seemed like a damn steal.
TREASURING THE MEMORIES (NO PUN INTENDED)
As far as my memories go there's 3 huge Saturn moments for me.
1. The first day I got my new Saturn. I paid AU$699.00 for a Mega CD just after launch and had decided that I would hold off on buying the Saturn until Sega Rally arrived. So January '96 saw me racing excitedly into the indie game shop I used to buy most of my stuff from as they'd called that day to say that Sega Rally was in! And that it and my new Saturn were waiting for me. Got home, put it on and was blown away. Finally, the arcade had come home.
2. Just after both Duke and Quake came out, I played right through Quake and got it to 100%. That took me 2 months. Then I popped in Duke and cleared it within 2 weeks. This then spurred me into going back and finishing Exhumed. That took me 3 months but included getting all the team dolls! 5 months of the best FPSing anyone could want and I'm still to play an FPS that I'd rank above those 3 in terms of gameplay.
3. Radiant Silvergun.
'Nuff said ;)
BEST CHRISTMAS EVER
Christmas '95 still remains as probably the best Christmas evah.
Saturn w/ 2 controllers + Daytona USA + Virtua Cop + Virtua Fighter 2 + Sega Rally.
Do the math on that shit, it's insane. I used have the receipt for this epic purchase, which was made at the now defunct "Incredible Universe" chain of stores. Remember those? There was one in Sacramento, CA (where we bought ours) - I wanna say it was near SMF (Sacramento International) but my memory is hazy.
I don't think as a kid we quite ever made out that good before or after this particular Xmas. Looking back on it now, that was a hefty bit of change. Of course it was a joint gift for myself, my sister, AND my dad (who was mostly responsible for this epic xmas since it was part his gift to himself too). It was always pretty cool to play games with my dad.
Hurrrray for the Saturn.
I think I got Panzer Dragoon shortly afterwards for my birthday (in April) as well. I don't think I ever got a video game as a Christmas or Birthday present after this though.
The Saturn will remain my favorite console of all time. It's honestly what really got me in to video games, that and probably GameFan magazine which I started reading towards the end of the Genesis/SNES years...
Steve, you always give us a nice walk down memory lane. [You're welcome! -Me]
SHORT AND SWEET... LIKE JOLT COLA
The Saturn what can I say......Panzer Dragoon Saga, Dragon Force, and Shining Force III still puts a smile on my face. Nice memories, many late nights drinking Jolt Cola =) -Jag-Master
Wow I can't believe it's been that long. I still remember pouring over all the new issues of Game Players, drooling over all of the Saturn import goodness before it hit our shores. Hell, I remember when the screens of Virtual Hylide actually looked incredible. How things have changed..
I've actually been playing quite a bit of my Saturn lately, namely Magic Knight Rayearth, Galactic Attack, and I've been meaning to start a new game of Shining Force III. Oddly enough I never got into the Saturn import scene, and since I start collecting cabs I really wonder if it's worth it when I'll end up buying most the games I want in PCB format. However, I do love the hell out of the Saturn US library, and it is by far one of my favorite systems ever released.
After my wife goes to bed (tomorrow is her first Mother's Day), I'll surely have to fire up the Saturn for some classic 32-bit goodness.
"SEGA SATURN IS HERE!!!!"
As I said before, I just got mine and I'm thankful I picked it up for 45 bucks.
I remember when it came out. No fanfare, no big commercials, it was just there. I remember we drove past the Toys r Us and there was a HUGE banner over the side of the building that just said, "SEGA SATURN IS HERE!!!!"
I remember the first time I tried it and didn't like it. I think because they had BUG! as the demo game, I just thought it was crap and wasn't worth the 400 dollars when you had great stuff still coming out on the SNES and Genny.
It wasn't till the end of the Saturn's life span that I wanted one. I remember the first time I played NiGHTS and I loved how peaceful it was and how fun it was flying around and even thought the controller looked odd, it played great.
Then a few years ago this guy at the local sci-fi convention took along his Japanese Saturn and I finally got to play ALL of the great import games. Parodius, Radiant Silvergun, the few DBZ games and some of the Capcom fighters and I knew I had to pick one up.
I love the Saturn; comes in second for me behind the Genesis.
Was working at TRU in '95 when a surprise (well to me at least) shipment of Saturn arrived. Me and the guys went nuts. The guy running the videogame section snagged one on the spot, hooked it up to the TV in the break room and we fired up Virtua Fighter and Daytona. Good times.
A year later, I bought one in '96 after purchasing an issue of GameFan with Guardian Heroes on the cover. Their write up on the game convinced me that I had to have one. Never regretted it, and it still sees regular use here to this day.
ONE AND ONLY
Coincidentally, I was in Toys R Us the day Saturn launched. It was probably some ill-conceived, underhanded plot to see if my mom would take pity on me and buy me one... She didn't.
Years and years later, however, I bought one myself. Great times on the Saturn. My first import game was on Saturn (Salamander Deluxe Pack Plus). My first Metal Slug exposure was on Saturn (this may or may not be true... I think that's how it happened though). My first Cave experience was on Saturn (but, in those days, nobody gave a f*ck about Cave any more than they did any other company, and you know it ;) ) I suppose I gained a real appreciation for 2D games with Saturn. A truly great system. A hardcore system. Real, solid games on Saturn. There will never be another system like it.
Well said, Aaron. And with that said, go give your Saturn some love today. "ORA!"
And be sure you also check out Dave Z.'s epic Sega-Saturn.com site, although now long defunct, thanks to Archive.org, you can reminisce again about the good times, or check it out for the very first time. Whichever spectrum you fall, I think you'll agree it's an awesome site =) And make sure you scroll down on the main page there to the Saturday, February 24, 2001 site update ;-)