Sunday, 8 February 2009

"The Rise and Fall....and Rise of the Sega Saturn (With some other consoles mentioned too)"

Just to clarify, this is an article written by SJY commentor, "The Plushiest" (real name Sam Lieff). I may as well use this as an opportunity to welcome his royal Plushiness to the team, as his sterling journalistic efforts and devotion to the Saturn have resulted in a place in our ever expanding team of correspondents! Over to you Mr. P!

"I'm a long time gamer. I wouldn't call myself hardcore, but I've definitely grown up playing games. My First gaming experiences were with the Nintendo Game & Watch series of handhelds (circa 1982), then came the Amstrad CPC. My first real console was the Sega Genesis. I played the shit out of that thing, and owned just about every popular Genesis game at some point or other. All my other friends at the time seemed to have a Nintendo, but I stayed true to Sega. Christmas of 1996 was a life changing (at least with regards to gaming) event for me. That was the year my dad bought me a Sega Saturn. It was the boxed version that came with Virtua Cop, Virtua Fighter 2, and Daytona USA. He also bought me Nights Into Dreams. I immediately bonded with my Saturn. Over the course of the next two years my game library grew extensively. At one point I owned the previously mentioned games, along with, Resident Evil, Tomb Raider, Street Fighter Alpha, Mortal Kombat II, Sega Rally Championship, Sega Touring Car Championship, Die Hard Arcade, Die Hard Trilogy, Croc: Legend of the Gobbos, Panzer Dragoon, and Road Rash.

I spent hours upon hours mastering the tracks on Sega Rally, memorizing every move combination in Virtua Fighter 2, perfecting continuous loops in Nights, and unlocking puzzles in Tomb Raider, but by 1998, even though I had a pretty awesome game library, I had my sights set on the Playstation. With titles like Resident Evil 2, Gran Tourismo, Soul Edge, and Tekken 3, I just couldn't help my self. Sony had games that Sega didn't. I couldn't afford both consoles, and in the heat of the moment, I sold my Saturn along with all of my games in order to by a Playstation. 1998-1999 was the year of the Playstation for me, and I also picked up an N64 for certain titles like Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Mario 64, and 007. In early 1999 (through a very serendipitous event) I picked up an import Dreamcast, and my fond memories of the Playstation and N64 were all but gone (I traded in both those consoles to afford the then pricey $249.00 DC).

I remember the first time I ever played Sega Rally 2 at home ( I hadn't seen it in the arcades before), I was blown away. I had played Sega Super GT (on Sega Model 3 hardware) quite a bit from 1996 - 1998, but I could not believe the graphical power that I was seeing before me....on my own T.V. It would be another 4 months before the Dreamcast came to North America, and showing up to my second year of University that fall with Sega Rally 2, Soul Caliber, Street Fighter Alpha 3, Power Stone, Shotoku High Way Battle, and Virtua Fighter 3....let's just say I was pretty popular with my gaming friends.

1999 - 2002 was a pretty good stretch for me. My Dreamcast library grew extensively with the purchase of import games, and a fair share backups pulled down from IRC channels. Sony had released the PS2, and Nintendo had just rolled out the Game Cube. Microsoft had the X-box, but I was just never very interested in that particular console. The fall of 2001 was one of the biggest turning points in my gaming career. I began DJ'ing, and I started spending just about all of my money on DJ equipment and Vinyl.

By 2004 I rarely played any video games any more, and the decision was made to sell all of my consoles....with the exception of my Dreamcast. From 2004 to 2006, I didn't even really think about video games at all. I had purchased a Nintendo DS, but that was it. I had come a long way since my early days as an avid console gamer. I didn't even follow the video game scene much any more, so when Microsoft released the 360 in 2005, I didn't even really know about it.

It wasn't until the fall of 2006 that a my life would undergo a gaming renaissance. Something must have changed in my brain, maybe it was something chemical or emotional, but what ever it was, all of a sudden, I was set on procuring a PS3 and a Wii. I did, but that still wasn't enough. Over the next two years, by way of scouring garage sales and pawn shops, I was able to find a PS1, PS2, NES, SNES, N64, TurboGrafx 16, Sega Genesis, Sega Master System, 3DO, Game Gear, PSP, Game Boy Micro, Game Boy Advance, Game Boy, XBOX, XBOX 360......and Yes.....another Saturn.....actually two of them (a Model 1 and a Model 2) and many games to go along with all of these consoles. I honestly wish that I had never let my original Saturn go in the first place, but there is no use crying over spilt milk. I'm currently building up my Saturn game library again....slowly but surely, and currently own Virtua Fighter 2, Sega Rally Championship, Virtua Cop, NBA Jam T.E., Street Fighter Collection, and NHL '97. I'm basically buying any decent Saturn Games that I can find at the local swap and pawn shops. Not quite as great as my original collection.....but some day I'll get back there. I've found a 3D pad, but sadly no Nights yet. It does work with Sega Rally, but it's a little bit touchy. I'm too lazy to do the Ebay thing, and to be truthful, it's more fun finding gems at pawn shops and garage sales anyways. The Saturn will always be part of my console collection from now on, and to this day, I wonder where my original Saturn is.....I hope it's in good hands.

Of all my classic consoles, there's just something about the Saturn that stands out. And to some degree, I'm glad that not too many people really ever played the system in the first place, and it's only a select group of gamers who are privy to all of the amazing titles that the Saturn has to offer. And I have to say that it's great to find a place like the Saturn Junkyard, where there are people that share my enthusiasm about the Sega Saturn. I'm currently tracking down an 4mb action replay cartridge and Marvel Superheroes vs. Street Fighter....I might just have to pick up an import console wile I'm at it. I leave you with a picture of my happy Sega Family....and a few of their extended relatives who happened to sneak into the picture.

UPDATE: X-Men vs. Street Fighter and Akumajo Dracula X: Gekka no Yasoukyoku just arrived this week. I've never played this particular Castlevania (I do own Castelvania I, III, and IV though), but I've read such good things about it that I had to pick it up. These are my first import titles for the SS, and I'm super excited. I've been wanting to pick up X-Men vs. Street Fighter and Marvel Superheroes vs. Street Fighter for about 10 years now....and I've got some good stories to go along with it....but that's another story....for another day."


Barry said...

Cool post!
It always breaks my heart to read of people selling their systems. You get less than what you paid for, and when the system was a gift to begin with there's the guilt.
Better to keep than buy again later at higher prices.

マーティン said...

Welcome! Glad you had your epiphany and got back into the gaming. I tell a similar story though - after the Dreamcast I was based at university and had an XBOX. I lost total interest in gaming and was pursuing girls and was rowing (in a boat - think Oxford/Cambridge) all the time.

It's only recently, during my Ph.D, that I have wanted to distract myself from work so much that I have gone mental about games again - but old games.

I have only ever sold two consoles and I don't regret it at all. An original Playstation and the original XBOX. The PS brings out more emotion for me, but I still don't care for it too much.

Never sell your Saturn again! Also; get an import model!

Caleb said...

Was Dracula X that remake of SoTN for the Playstation?

'Cause I love some Castlevania.

Caleb said...

I never sold any of my systems but I have to sell a bunch of my games once during college because I had no money. And I had my Dreamcast stolen.

Barry said...

I should clarify, I don't see a problem with selling consoles when you have a newer system that is backwards compatible (although I have to keep my original Xbox just to play Otogi and DOA Volleyball) :-P

If only the Dreamcast played Saturn games... a man can dream....

NebachadnezzaR said...

Welcome aboard Plushiest (that has to be one of the most awesome nicknames I've ever seen) :)

I feel your pain, I sold my first Saturn too, but at least I bought a second one cheap and it hasn't failed me once

The Plushiest said...

Yeah, Akumajo Dracula X: Gekka no Yasoukyoku is the Saturn version of SotN. I think it's one of the more collectible SS games these days since it was never released outside of Japan, but it doesn't quite have the value of Radiant Silvergun or Panzer Dragoon Saga.

Franco said...

I never understood why people would sell their old video game stuff, especially the consoles.

The only things I have ever sold is some of my PS2 games because many of them are worthless but I kept the ones I liked the best and the console itself.

Note to anyone thinking of selling their stuff, don't do it unless its just some crappy software. Not hardware and not fun games.