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Sega Saturn: A Brief History


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Sega Saturn: A Little Bit Too Real


   Sega developed this fifth-generation console and released it on November 22, 1994 in Japan and on May 11th, 1995 in North America.  The Sega Saturn was the direct successor to the Sega Genesis, with several added features and new breakthroughs to distinguish it.  The Saturn uses a dual-CPU and 8 processors to maximize its power.  Its games were in CD-ROM format, and you can find in its library of titles several original games as well as arcade ports.

   The Saturn enjoyed initial success in Japan, though it didn’t perform nearly as well in the United States.  This was partially due to the fact that the Nintendo 64 was released in 1995 which quickly evaporated much of the console market for the product.  As a result of this marketing failure, the Saturn was discontinued in the United States in 1998.

   With only 9.26 million units sold throughout the world, the product is considered a failure in the console market.  Many experts say part of Sega’s failure with this system was their failure to expand the famous Sonic the Hedgehog series on the Sega Saturn.  Additionally, it received little third party support.

   Some of the most popular titles for the Sega Saturn included Night into Dreams, the Panzer Dragoon series and the Virtua Fighter series.  Former president of Sega of America gave his final assessment of the Saturn in 2009, saying “The games were obviously terrific, but the hardware just wasn’t there”.  The hardware was criticized for being overly complicated and lacking in practicality.

   While, all things considered, the Saturn did not perform particularly well in Japan (only 5.75 million units sold), it did manage to surpass the sales of the Nintendo 64 in the country (about 5.54 million).

   In retrospect, many video game enthusiasts praise the game library of the Sega Sturn.  Greg Sewart of 1Up.com says “the Saturn will go down in history as one of the most troubled, and greatest, systems of all time”.  It was even named the 18th best video game console of all time by IGN in 2009.  However, others criticize the handling of the system as well as the hardware.  Many point to changes in Sega management as part of the downfall of the system.



Sega Saturn - Model: MMP-1/MMP-1C


   Original Release - Based on the original Skeleton Saturn model of the Sega Saturn.  It includes oval buttons and a Drive Access LED.


Sega Saturn - Model: MMP-11


   Variation #2 - Based on the second Skeleton Saturn model which uses round buttons instead of oval buttons.


Sega Saturn - Model: MMP-1000NV (Game & Car Navi Hi-Saturn)


   Variation #3 - This is a very distinct model of the Saturn.  As far as design goes, this model has a square profile and an add-on LCD monitor included to play games on.  There is no bulge of the CD drive.  Functionality wise, the system also supported a GPS receiver.


  • Unit Lifetime:  1994 - 2000
  • Units Sold (Worldwide):  9.26 Million
  • Authorized Games Released (Worldwide):  597
  • Backwards Compatibility:  N/A
  • Media Type:  Home video game console
  • Graphics: VDP1 & VDP2 video display processors
  • Sound:  Yamaha YMF292
  • Power Requirements (All Models):  AC 120v

(If you see anything incorrect or that you want added, feel free to comment below and the posting will be edited to reflect the corrections.)

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