It has been a long time I did not write anything about retrogaming, but today marked the 20th anniversary of the Sega Saturn launch. I bought mine somewhere back in November 1995 for $200 (it was a huge sum for me) but it was a memorable experience.
For the first time, you were capable to have almost the same quality than existing Arcade Game. I still remember playing Virtua Fighter at home (the first game I bought) as well as the first Demo CDs you could buy with official magazines.
Everybody was eyeing on the Sony Playstation, whereas all the fun was indeed on the Sega Saturn. But it was already too late. The “trendy” stuff was 3D graphics, not 2D graphics anymore. But it meant Saturn games sucked? Hell No, I had way much fun to play on my Sega then I had when I was playing on the PSOne.
I grew with arcade games, the one you put a quarter to play and Sega was the next logical step for it. Virtua Fighter, Daytona USA, Sega Rally Championship were my games but I also enjoyed Street Fighter Zero and Darkstalkers. They were just great and really close from the Arcade version. Some say the programming of the Saturn was a nightmare and rebutted many software development companies.
But look back at Panzer Dragoon, Nights. When there is a will, there is a way. I still remember playing at games like Virtual Hydlide, Myst, Alien Trilogy, Theme Park, Earthworm Jim 2 (the soundtrack was awesome), Space Hulk (this introduced me to the Warhammer 40K franchise), Mystaria. Gun Griffon was certainly one of my favorite surprise, bought it as it was on clearance and it was a love at first sight. Imagine driving a Battlemech on a 3D structure, fighting over Mechas and accomplish missions like defending your base from invasion. I really had fun with mine.
But as surprising as it was, it will be the last time I would have fun with a Sega machine. After a couple of years, I got a PC and now the FPS were ruling (Duke Nukem 3D, Doom, Rise of the Triad, Heretic). It was too much too handle for the Saturn, its SH2 processor was not designed for such heavy 3D processing. Also the PC opened you to the ability to connect to the Internet.
Sadly my Saturn was put in rest in my cellar and 10 years after I bought it I sold it as I was newly married, yet trying to tie my ends to take care of essential things in life: rent, bills, grocery.
Ten years later this tragic separation, I am better off, kids are growing and I am seriously trying to build up my SEGA mecca. SEGA gave me so much enjoyment as a kid and teenager. Maybe it is time to have my kids enjoy when SEGA was a great console maker and was making great games. A time were Sonic was SEGA exclusive with amazing games to play with, not the mere shadow it became during these last 10 years. Today SEGA announced removing some of its games from the App Store, decided to focus on Mobile Gaming sector. Maybe it is time to pull the plug to it. Who knew that 20 years ago, SEGA had climaxed and was only getting downhill and disappear?