Happy 15th Birthday, European Saturn!

July 8th 1995 was the launch date of the Sega Saturn in Europe, and while I may be blasphemous enough to cram my Master System with spaghetti, there’s no way I’m stuffing birthday cake in my Saturn’s CD drive. So I’ve done the next best thing and borrowed the Saturn launch issue of Official UK Sega Magazine (Issue #20) from bcdcdude, one of the moderators on Sonic composer Jun Senoue’s forums.

Thanks to Benji for the kind loan of the magazine

I scoured the hallowed pages for some mythical Saturn games that were announced but never released and found the usual suspects, perhaps presciently with no screenshots, such as Legacy of Kain and Sega’s own Freerunner. Sadly, I turned up nothing much else that we don’t commonly know other than the fact that Hang On GP was to be called Virtua Hang On and Gungriffon was originally named 3D Polygon (!)

Perhaps the most telling parts of the magazine are those that hint at why the Saturn faced such an uphill struggle. You will see on the front cover that even by 1995 the magazine was still covering the Master System, meaning a total of six Sega consoles in the market. The news pages also tell of the upcoming relaunch of the Megadrive, Mega-CD AND 32X, all with new pack-in titles, adding to the confusion many Sega Addicts faced at the time. This, combined with the fact that just as many games were reviewed this issue for the seven year old Megadrive as for the freshly released Saturn, meant many Europeans were reluctant to be early adopters of the new system.

There’s an interesting Sonic glitch in the cheats and tIps pages though. It makes Knuckles appear green in Sonic 3:

However, during my fairly fruitless search for “old news” I made an important discovery and picked out a few snippets that work together to prove an amazing fact… Sega Addicts is better than the Official UK Sega Magazine!!!

Evidence A: Our Daytona screenshots are better

The below screen is taken from the Daytona review in the magazine

Compare this blurry pic to the clean, bright pics used in Brett Hatfield’s Daytona feature last week and I think you’ll agree the score is:

Sega Addicts 1 – Official UK Sega Magazine 0

Evidence B: Our “Win A Saturn” contest had a better controller than their contest

Admittedly, at the time the Sega magazine gave away their Saturn there was only the one type of official pad available but in our Sega Saturn competition we not only gave the newer, more comfortable Sega pad but also a third-party unofficial controller to let your friends use, so that you can beat them all at Fighters Megamix. In their defence though, they were offering four games rather than just Virtua Cop, so maybe we’ll call this round a draw and let the score stand for now at:

Sega Addicts 2 – Official UK Sega Magazine 1

Evidence C: We Can Answer Important Questions That They Couldn’t

The magazine had a Q and A section where readers could send in their Sega related questions. Most of the time, these questions were answered perfectly well… However, Jamie Shaw from Fife in Scotland received a truly unsatisfactory response to his third question, as you will see below.

Sonic and Knuckles was Sonic 4?! Tsk tsk...

Now, I don’t know if the poor chap reads Sega Addicts or is even still interested in video games but today Sega Addicts are proud to give Jamie the answer he has waited for these 15 long years. YES! There will be a Sonic 4, Mr Shaw, and the first episode will be released by the end of this year. I’m guessing the money you put aside to buy it all that time ago has accumulated enough interest for you to buy any or all of the platforms it’s launching on too.

So, I think Sega Addicts safely wins again, leaving the final score:

Sega Addicts 3 – Official UK Sega Magazine 1

And you just can’t argue with that kind of logic. Go us!

As a footnote, the Saturn turns 16 next year, which means all the filthy pervs out there can finally make sweet love to their 32-bit consoles legally! Just remember to remove your copy of Radiant Silvergun first.

Disclaimer: This piece is nowhere near what I expected to be writing when I first thought of using the magazine for a Sega Saturn anniversary news article, partly because much of the information contained in older print magazines is now common knowledge on the all-knowing internet. I love the old Sega magazine really, I just needed to search a little harder than expected to find something relevant to us all fifteen years later.

Thanks again to bcdcdude for letting Sega Addicts borrow his prized magazine!

[Source: Official UK Sega Magazine, issue 20]

  • “Compare this blurry pic to the clean, bright pics used in Brett Hatfield’s Daytona feature last week and I think you’ll agree the score is:

    Sega Addicts 1 – Official UK Sega Magazine 0”

    DAMN RIGHT I AM THE BIG BOSS.

    And when you’re playing Sonic 4, Mister Shaw, just remember who REALLY hooked you up.

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