But I want one of them...
This is the Third installment in an all-new ongoing feature by Olly023 that seeks to delve deep into the mind of a child when certain retro items were not retro, they were the hot new ticket in town!
Drawing mostly from personal thoughts, feelings and experiences of a much younger and less hairy Olly023, he seek's to bounce back to you, the readers, a sense of need and want for select hardware and software titles. Some vaporware, a few he has since obtained and others that fall between the lines.
It's time to go stargazing at Sega's majestic planet!
My dad is a Nintendo boy?
Why? I'll tell you why... A little game came out by the name of NiGHTS Into Dreams. One day, little Olly023 trawling round town with his Daddy023 was in a video game store (the old GAME in Bargate (Southampton), IIRC). There, Olly023's tiny mind was absolutely blown. Seriously, it was like brain matter seeped from the ears while thoughts were left splattered around the room. Horrendous, in the good way, peeps.
For it was that day in which for the first time I properly saw a Saturn in action. In a games kiosk in the shop, they had a Saturn running the aforementioned NiGHTS. I literally had no bloody idea what was going on, I just knew what I saw was a game changer. Crazy turning and spinning in 3D, a ridiculous amount of colours...I still can't comprehend it. Yet, it was that very moment that sparked the journey. The Sega Saturn HAD to be MINE!!! And nothing would stop me, nothing!!!
Naturally, parents were begged and pleaded with. It all amounted to nothing, however. I would say: "but it is obviously the greatest thing in the history of human achievements" (in lesser terms, at least), to which they'd respond with a simple "no, son". Eventually no turned to shut up. I guess this can pinpoint an exact moment in my life story of video gaming that my father didn't want something (at least openly) that I did. He actually had his eye on something else that didn't come out for a time after. But we'll get to that at another point in time, folks. This is Saturn time!
Whenever kids at school would talk about their hot new chipped PlayStations, I'd just be biting my lip and biding my time. The Saturn was gonna win this one, but first I needed it. Well, many a school day past. Then so did a few school months. Then some school years. In between this point we got a Nintendo 64 when Diddy Kong Racing. As it turns out, the reason we never owned a Saturn (a Sega console) was all due to my dads manipulative turncoat ways! He didn't want the new Sega, he sought to change it up and get the new Nintendo! I would be mad at him, but y'know. As disinterested as I was in SNES, as un-cool as Nintendo may have seemed - Super Mario 64, man. Seriously. All that did in the grand scheme though was confirm a Saturn wouldn't be in my future.
The struggle continues...
What made this all worse was the simple fact no one I knew friends wise owned a Saturn. If I was heading round a mates, it always ended up in playing PlayStation (you should have seen my face when I first properly encountered load times at this point). Quite frankly, it sucked. I wanted to play Saturn. It was bad enough my parents did not get me one, but not even having mates with one!? Ridiculous!
At some point in this whole journey my dad sold the Amiga and bought our first Windows-based PC. Basically, as a sorry of sorts; he got me Sonic 3D: Flickies Island for it. Now, don't get me wrong - I actually really like the game and the gesture was awesome in itself - but seriously, no amount of Sonic 3D on a CD-ROM for a PC would make up for what always felt like a big hole in my life. I began to feel guilty. That's right. Such was Sega's power over me that a young kid actually felt guilt over the fact he didn't contribute to the possible success of a games console. Madness, huh? All true facts, though.
The Saturn in PAL regions soon came and went. It was a blur that felt as speedy as Sonic himself. It's a crying shame it never got the attention it truly deserved in the West, which is ironic when you factor in its unusual (for Sega) success in Japan. All that's talked about elsewhere, though. This is the human story of a kids want for something he believed he'd never own.
I was soon in Secondary school while the Dreamcast was rocking my socks and the world at large with its incredible everything ever. It was there I met a guy who was soon to be a life long friend who had somewhat shared my journey. He too always wanted a Saturn, yet was denied. We both had Dreamcast’s, we both loved Sega the most...
Then, one glorious British summer on a Sunday morn'. By glorious, I mean it was pissing it down with rain and utterly miserable outside. But when you're a young teen with not much else to do and a little bit of pocket money, a half an hour walk to a boot sale seems logical. That's what we did, to kill time if nothing else. And then..? There it was. The unicorn, staring back at us. It was beautiful, it was majestic. It was a goddamn Sega Saturn.
Cue collective orgasm. UGH! NEED IT RIGHT NOW was the collective thought of the moment. We immediately ran (yes, ran) when we spotted it and pestered the middle-aged woman leaning on her car. "How much, how much!?" She wanted a tenner. This was when we gulped. Neither of us had that kind of change, but we did have some change. We quickly rummaged our pockets empty in search of any fibre or morsel that remotely resembled money. Piling it all together we pushed it along the table, sliding it in her direction. Please let us have it!
Part 3: The Sega Saturn
It's only three volumes in and it's here, folks. Let's talk about that unicorn - coz it's Sega Saturn time, baby!!
If you've followed my articles or read the introduction to the Saturn, you know I have a strong love for that absolute beast of a console and it all started way back in that rather glorious decade of gaming called the 1990's! Although, this instalment of my series of article has a happier ending! I wanted one and by Sonic I eventually got one!
Now, the Sega Saturn isn't vaporware. Far, far from it. Just as the Neo Geo MVS in last weeks article, this is something very real. Released over here in 1995 (while I was still refusing to acknowledge that home console makers outside of Sega were remotely cool) it launched with a small selection of titles in the UK such as Virtua Fighter, Clockwork Knight, International Victory Goal and the mighty Daytona USA. Daytona was all I really paid any mind to, simply as (for a similar reason of my MD love still existing so strong) I had great fun playing it in the arcade so immediately got the idea that whatever this Saturn thing was, it must be awesome.
Plus, it was 32bits! AND disc-based!! In kid mode, that equalled nothing but sheer awesomeness. Think about it: I wanted a MegaCD and then a 32X, but they were add-ons. The Saturn did all that in one! PLUS MORE!! GENIUS!!! So, yeah. Simple mind of a young'un. Alas, an idea that rung true for many I'd be willing to bet!
I was far too young to truly understand as to what and or why Sony were doing what they were doing when they released the PlayStation to compete. It made no sense. Nintendo made old games and Sega was the obvious king to me, so I thought the PlayStation would be rubbish. THEY DON'T KNOW GAMES WHATS UP WITH THAT!? Obviously, not the entire video game playing public felt that way and history tells its own story on that one...
But it was not the launch period that really got me dying for a Saturn. Oh, no. It looked cool, sure. The adverts made it seem like a reinvention of the wheel and flashy text and images will easily capture a kids imagination. But it wasn't until 1996 I knew I needed one. I didn't want, but yet again, needed. I needed a Saturn, folks.
It's ours...It's MINE!
Without a fuss, she was cool with it. She could see we were in desperate need. Hell, we didn't even look at what bloody games it came with. It was a Saturn and without a moments hesitation we'd entered ourselves into our first timeshare agreement.
It did in fact actually come with games and a couple of controllers with the box. I still have the original box to this day, alongside half the games we got with it. Sonic R, Sonic Jam, Tomb Raider, Resident Evil, Sega Rally and most importantly...GUARDIAN HEROES. Now, if you don't know me and that treasure from Treasure, go off to the Review section and read it. It's there, folks.
After a year or so of taking turns as to who had the Saturn for the week, my friend eventually grew tired. I offered to buy him out. We both had amassed a tidy collection of titles, but it was the decision for the both of us that he kept whatever he bought so he could part exchange. I think I bought him out for like £2.50 or something to that extent. It was an insane price whatever it was, such is being a young teen.
But the thing is, I finally got my happy ending. I now own three PAL Saturn’s with my most recent being liberated from a pawn shop for a tenner. That original Mk.1 now sits as a testament to my struggles to tame that wild beast, a trophy that I care more for than much in my collection out of its wonderful history alone. My happy ending, my Sega Saturn!
The Saturn has NEVER disappointed me. So anyone who had one and has been disappointed, well; poo-poo to you, I guess. Coz it's awesome. Long live the Sega Saturn, yet another fine console from the people who did it best: SEGA!
Tune in next week, same RGG time, same RGG channel when Vol. 4 of the But I Want One series takes a little sidestep into the world of the plumber, with my desperate want for something that did come out, but just not in the form for which I had hoped.
Olly's Final Thoughts...
From the heartache of being told no, to the anguish of the waiting game...The Sega Saturn was my unicorn for the longest time. I still pinch myself when I see it sat there with my other consoles in my bedroom. It's a truly wonderful if entirely superficial feeling.
No doubts, I recommend everyone pick one up. A PAL version may logically not be the first choice as Japan was where it was at with the system. But I didn't know any of this at the time and the article is my story, as they are all my stories.
Bless Sega and their Saturn. The thing that drove me insane and the one that made me feel guilt. I have nothing but love.