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33 Consoles of Christmas
Sega Saturn (1995)
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on December 08, 2006   |   Episode 16 (Show Archive)  

   
It's time once again for Defunct Games' 33 Consoles of Christmas, your 33 part guide to the best and worst system designs of all time. Join Cyril Lachel and Chad Reinhardt as they judge 33 different game consoles based on what they think of the look. Forget about actual hardware and software, the only thing these guys care about is talking about their exterior design. Join us every day between November 23 and December 25 for a new console review!


Synopsis: Following the success of the Genesis, Sega decided to release the Saturn, a 32-bit system that would go head to head with the Sony PlayStation. Early on many considered the Saturn to have a major advantage, thanks to Sega's popular line of arcade games (Virtua Fighter, Daytona USA, etc.). But quickly the PlayStation took off and the Saturn was left to play second fiddle ... that is until the Nintendo 64 showed up. Regardless of how well it sold, the Saturn managed to release a number of unique games that are still being played today.

Best Games: Guardian Heroes, Radiant Silvergun, Sega Rally Championship, NiGHTS Into Dreams, Shining Force III, Panzer Dragoon Saga, among others!




A lot of game systems are nothing more than a box, but the Sega Saturn is the boxiest box of them all. That doesn't mean I don't like the Saturn, but there's just something about the design that I could never get into. Perhaps now is the time to figure out and put this long-standing ugliness to rest. First and foremost, I don't like how large the system is. While it's not that much larger than the original PlayStation, it's also wider and taller than Sony's 32-bitter. This gives off the impression that it is bigger than it actually is, especially if you put them next to each other. The size is certainly not helped by the tiny CD tray. Granted, CDs aren't all that large and you don't need a giant flap that opens ... but when your flap is so small it makes the system look gigantic. I also don't care much for the cartridge slot, the fact that the carts are so big seems unnecessary to me. The rest of my complaints are minor, at best. I'm not a big fan of the tiny power and reset buttons, they are almost completely hidden with a system of this size. Hmm, I've noticed that it all seems to come back to the size of the system. I guess that's my big problem with the Saturn. Wow, I feel a lot better now. I feel like I've made a breakthrough.

I was a loyal fan of Sega during the bitter 16-bit console wars, and as such, I purchased a Saturn as soon as it came out. The commercials pitting the Saturn and the PlayStation against each other were sexily aggressive, and the look sort of reflects that. Personal preference aside, I think Sega did a fine job designing their system. While very similar to the Neo Geo CD, the Saturn is still elegant in its simplicity, and the all-black motif continues the Sega tradition. The cartridge port on the back left much to be desired; at least, more than just a memory add-on. The first generation controllers were a little blocky, but that was rectified later, and I can't think of a negative thing to say on their behalf. The system is a bit large and boxy, though, but will cram nicely into an entertainment center after a little effort. I'll admit the Saturn's look wasn't a huge step up from the Genesis/Sega CD combo, but if it ain't broke...
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