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The History of Sega

Rush of Saturn

The Saturn was rushed to shelves in Japan just months before the planned release of Sony's machine. It contained two processors, the second quickly added after Sony released the specifications to its unit. The Saturn was launched with Virtua Fighter, and sold in decent numbers until Sony finally released the Playstation.

What followed was a continued stream of criticism on the Saturn by Developers, who accused it of being too difficult to work with. And once the Playstation took a strangle hold of the market, the Saturn began to struggle.

While the Saturn found it hard to cope with the continued pressure, Sega's arcade division had little problems in convincing gamers to play their games. Daytona USA took the world by storm, a racing game allowing multiple arcade cabinets to be connected together for multiplayer action. You will be hard pressed to find an arcade center that doesn't have the machines today.

Sega Rally, Virtua Fighter 2, Virtua Striker and Virtua Cop soon followed in the wake of Daytona, and were soon all ported to the Saturn for the US release, along with a new title, Panzer Dragoon.

What puzzled many Sega fans during the days of the Saturn was the lack of titles based on their most important character, Sonic. After Sonic 3 on the Genesis, the little blue hedgehog never made it big on the Saturn. One or two games find their way onto the system, including a collection of the first three titles, but fans were seeking something new. What made life worse was the oncoming barrage of nemesis Nintendo with their new system, the Nintendo 64. The N64's flagship title was, of course, Mario, in the first full 3D-platform title which single handedly sold the N64 to thousands of customers worldwide. It was this type of game that the Saturn lacked, and although Nights, Fighting Vipers and a redesigned analog control pad added some resurgence to Saturn sales in 1996, it continued to be overshadowed by the N64 and PSX.

Sega attempted to add some life into the console with an online system, allowing gamers to play their favourite games over the internet using an add-on modem. The Modem was released along with a keyboard for an e-mail service in Japan to limited success. It was renamed the NetLink upon release in the US, but it was too late. The Saturn came to a close not long afterwards.

Before and during the time of the NetLink, rumours grew of a new system in the works that would correct many mistakes found in the Saturn. The Dural (as it was first called) would contain a VideoLogic graphics card and a Microsoft operating system. Rumours became news, and the Dreamcast was shown to the public for the first time in early 1998.

Continued: Dreaming of Dreamcast

Table of Contents: The History of Sega