As of yesterday, it’s been fifteen years since we were introduced to the combination of technology, mismanagement, and gameplay that would make up the legendary Sega Saturn to us Americans. Remember the odd ads of the Saturn Girl and how our Rods and Cones were going to be blown away by the graphics and games? Let’s take the time to reflect on how much we were blown away.
We all remember the on-LSD marketing taken by SOA, featuring naked women representing game goddesses, bodybuilders using Saturn to underscore their success, our eyes reacting to the greatness. For the games, we were introduced to combinations of falling PS1s and A Clockwork Orange-esque crash test dummies demonstrating why you had to buy one. Of course no one did (Sony was on top of the invisible sphere that surrounds the Solar System) and the American launch was famously botched: to beat Sony, Sega released the console weeks in advance, with only one game ready for the American market. It pissed off gamers and developers, but those who decided to stick on were ready for a bumpy ride.
With Bernie Stolar at the wheel, we were treated to the epitome of the 3D action platform genre in full force. It was a shame most of the shit on the Saturn was never brought over to America, though when we did get a unique gem (Shining Force 3 part 1 was a 3D RPG, Mega Man 8 was a 2D side scroller, Sonic Jam and the Ages boxes were compilations) we didn’t hesitate to buy. But we still passed on the Saturn. So the question remains now: were we wrong? Was it the future of gaming?
Fuck no. Just get your barf bag and get on, because this 15th Anniversary is funded by Segata Sanshiro and Mr. Floating Old Head.
Uh, Shining Force III wasn’t very unique, not when it was released (well after FF Tactics). Megaman 8 was also on the PSX, and Sonic Jam was far outclassed by Mario All-stars on the SNES.
I was a saturn gamer since 1995, and I regularly bought games. No, what we DID hang onto was stuff like Panzer Dragoon Zwei, or Dark Savior, or Legend of Oasis, or Astal, or Burning Rangers, or Fighters Megamix. Those are the games which made the system seem a whole level beyond stuff like the 3DO or Atari Jaguar.
I really enjoyed the ‘music’ they were playing over the gameplay videos halfway through. Some of the instruments seemed to be Virtua Fighter sound effects/voice bytes and some could have come from Daytona USA or one of the mentioned sports titles.
But yeah, the rest of it was somewhere between the StarFox 64 Promo Video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jC484DGyOLc) and PS3 Crying Baby (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nBVpzElLO0o) in the spectrum of strange, much like the European ‘Pirate SEGA’ campaign from the Mega Drive days.
My God, it was so powerful it broke my internet connection…
Theater of the Eye was probably the best out of those commericals, the first one they showed with all the systems freaking out. The naked chick with the Saturn Rings on her head and the disembodied head were just creepy. I forget what I was subscribed to but I do remember getting a VHS from Sega on the Saturn, I think it had these commericals and other info in it. Never did own a Saturn, this is where I jumped the boat and tried “PC” gaming. Oh god, old DOS ran Games, what a headache.
The Saturn failed mainly because of bad marketing and bad desidions. It wasn’t and because they didn’t have good games. NiGHTS, Virtua Fighter and Panzer Dragoon were all great killer apps, but it wasn’t advertised good at all. Also, the fact that many games released in japan were never ported over was also a problem.
Oh ok so SEGA designed Kratos
WHAT WERE THEY THINKING? The girl with the rings on her head was creepy, the floating head was weird, the theater of the eye was a little much, and the whole thing was just one WHAT THE HECK!?!?!?!?! after another. Things I would’ve changed:
1)Made the commercials funny instead of frantic and weird.
2)Not make it look like playing the Saturn was gong to fry your brain and kill you.
3)Talk more about the games than how cool the system is.
4)Given the girl hair.
Ha, that’s a weird ass commercial. Oya, the 1-800-See-Saturn phone number listed at the end now leads to a phone sex buisiness.