Monday, April 14, 2008

Arcade Perfect

The Sega Saturn was released on "Saturnday" - May 11, 1995 - in the United States. The system was arguably the most powerful of the 32-bit generation. The sad thing is that this machine literally produced "Arcade Perfect" representations of some of the hottest games on the market, but in many respects was a complete failure. Personally I think Sega bought into the hype that everything had to be 3D, and allowed the system to get bogged down into a type of gaming that just couldn't be matched on the hardware. It was Sega's "Strike 2", after the failed genesis add-on "32x" was canceled quickly after release amid a torrent of bad hardware and limited software releases. Even with the release of what I consider, as well as many others, the best software for the system, Sega canceled the Saturn in 1998. Games such as Panzer Dragoon Saga, which I actually happen to have played at one point and I'm almost sorry I sold, showed the versatility of the system.

To me, the Saturn is one of those systems that wasn't given a fair enough chance to survive in the US. Panzer Dragoon Saga was technically released after the system was canceled in the US, and as such saw a very limited run. The various Capcom games that were released as "Arcade Perfect" in Japan never saw the light of day in the US at all. It's really a shame that it's considered a bad console, as it had a lot to offer. By all accounts it was a difficult system to program for, but the quality games that were made definitely were silky smooth on the system.

I finally found all my old games for the Saturn over the weekend, and got a chance to reconnect with "Bust a Move 2", "Marvel Superheros", "1942" and I attempted to get "Marvel vs StreetFighter" working, but it looks like my 4-in-1 cart needs to be replaced.

It's just an amazing system, with games that many never will know how good they ran in a home console, or how impressive it was to get that kind of system in the home.

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