Saturn games

From Sega Retro

With no hard-hitting Sonic title to combat the likes of Super Mario 64, Sega often used NiGHTS into Dreams to draw people to the console.

The Sega Saturn is an oddball in Sega's console history, failing to secure a large market share in western territories, but doing phenomenally well in Japan. Its success in Japan led to over 1000 Saturn games being released, most of which were exclusive to the Japanese market. It is estimated that more than half of the library was not released in western regions.

Unlike the PlayStation and Nintendo 64 which are famous primarily for revolutionary 3D software, the Saturn's awkward setup meant that very few 3D games were released for the console. However, it is considered to be far superior than its rivals at 2D games, making it the console of choice for 2D shoot-'em-ups and RPGs - both successful genres in Japan. Like previous generations, Sega were able to harvest ports of their arcade releases, notably Sega Model 2 games. The Sega Titan Video arcade system is modelled on the Saturn, and it is common to see ports to both systems.

Sega made many poor marketing decisions in the US and Europe, leading to the system to be discontinued by late 1998. In its place, the Sega Dreamcast - something many Japanese developers originally rejected as the Saturn was performing so well in that region. In Japan, a budget line of games were produced under the Satakore brand.

Sega's game box designs of the era were questionable. Whereas in Japan the company distributed its games in standard CD jewel cases with golden spines, in North America Sega opted for a similar "double size" jewel case to the Sega Mega CD. These cases had the same flaws as they had in the early 90s - they were vulnerable to cracking and did not protect the disc as well as they could have. The artwork for American boxes shares similarities with late Sega Mega Drive, Mega CD, Sega 32X and Sega Game Gear games, this time being white/grey. In some cases there is vast amounts of unused space, bringing back bad memories of early Sega Master System covers.

In Europe, two types of Saturn boxes were created - sturdy plastic cases similar to DVD cases (but slightly taller) and weaker cardboard/plastic cases, which were prone to damage thanks to the heavy multi-language instruction manuals. Sadly the latter became more common in an effort to keep manufacturing costs down. Both cases were black to match the console. Brazil used cardboard boxes similar in style to North America, and regions such as South Korea and China followed the same format as the Japanese.

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