Posted on January 31, 2008,

Editorial: Why The Sega Saturn Is Not The Worst Console Ever

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Skimming through random game articles is a daily routine for me. I came across an article titled ‘Why the Saturn Was the Worst Console of All Time’. Of course this article interested me, because there is no way I would ever call the Saturn even a bad system. Of course Sega completely blundered the whole Saturn and 32X debacle, but the system itself wasn’t bad. Although it was a little over-priced in the beginning, many great games came out for it. Some of those games I still enjoy today including Doom, Shining Force III, Virtua Fighter 2, Lunar: Silver Star Story and many others.

The author’s primary point follows:

More than anything else, the Sega Saturn should be considered the worst major console of all time for one reason — it was the catalyst that ultimately led to a series of events that brought one of the foremost hardware companies to its knees.

After thinking about this for a while, I realized that although we are all entitled to our opinions, he was just nowhere close to the mark on this one. If the Saturn brought Sega to its knees, how were they able to rebound with the release of the Sega Dreamcast? The Dreamcast just so happens to be one of the greatest consoles in history in my opinion. The actual catalyst that eventually knocked the Saturn completely out of the picture and led to a “series of events that brought one of the foremost hardware companies to its knees” was a little something called the Sony PlayStation. The Sega Saturn was simply a case of a system being at the wrong place at the wrong time. Had it been released 6 months or a year prior, history may have been different.

Now that I’ve said my piece, I’m sure you’d like to know what systems I believe actually were the worst of all-time. I was almost tempted to throw the Atari Jaguar, Atari 7800 or Atari 5200 on the list, but Atari has enough to worry about these days. Here’s my list of the three worst video game consoles of all-time:

Amstrad GX4000

There’s probably a reason why you don’t remember Amstrad’s attempt to make it in the world of video games. The Amstrad GX4000 was released in 1990 with 8-bit technology. There were very few games released at launch. Quality games didn’t actually hit the shelves until after the GX4000 could be found in nearly any bargain bin. For whatever reason, the company believed at the time that they were entering the market with a major competitor.

3DO Interactive Multiplayer

The 3DO could have been an awesome system, but the high price simply ruined what could have been. The best games that came out for the 3DO were simply ports and nothing to write home about. Although the system was advanced for it’s time, it also relied on way too many Full Motion Video games (FMV) and to be honest, those were beginning to be completely “played out”. The 3DO’s limited library, lack of 3rd party support and extremely high price tag sealed it’s own fate.

Philips CD-i

The CD-I was billed as a video game console in the beginning, but it simply didn’t have the library to support it. If you haven’t played the CD-I, there’s probably a good reason for it. If you want prime examples of how terrible the games were on the system, just check out Link: The Faces of Evil, Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon or Zelda’s Adventure. Nintendo should be ashamed of themselves for ever allowing the Zelda franchise to be cheapened the way it was.

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17 Comments on Editorial: Why The Sega Saturn Is Not The Worst Console Ever

Norbit

On January 31, 2008 at 10:56 am

I would have to say the Phillips CDi gets my vote. A friend of mine had a Panasonic 3DO and Street Fighter 2 Turbo on it was awesome.

BTW its funny how many people forget the prices of these consoles when talking about the PS3 being the most expensive console. The 3DO launch price was $699.95 and the CDi was $700.

William

On January 31, 2008 at 11:04 am

oh yeah.. I remember. Back when those two came out, I stuck with Nintendo and Sega systems, because they were still in my price range. As a kid, there was no way I could afford the 3DO or CD-i. I did play both of them at friend’s houses and was actually glad I had my Sega and Nintendo systems.

ManOfTeal

On January 31, 2008 at 12:34 pm

The 3DO and CDi also share another common trait with Sony’s PS3. A lack of good games.

William

On January 31, 2008 at 12:58 pm

The thing about the 3DO is that it had some great games, but the great ones were just ports. It didn’t have anything unique. At least the PS3 has Uncharted. I think the PS3 will really pick up speed this year though. Some people wrote it off in 2007 as a disaster, but I think it will be a viable option for all gamers in the near future.

Norbit

On January 31, 2008 at 1:35 pm

You are absolutely right ManOfTeal. Uncharted, Ratchet & Clank, Call of Duty 4, Motorstorm, Resistance, Warhawk, Assassins Creed, Guitar Hero, Rock Band and the other 100+ games released over its first year either dont exist or they are all rubbish.

@ William

Only complete morons wrote the PS3 off as a disaster last year. It only sold 700k fewer units than the 360 did but at a far higher price. It was also only out in Pal regions for 9 months of that year. The simple fact is that if Halo 3 had been delayed until 2008 (like all of the PS3′s big games) the PS3 would definitely have outsold the 360 worldwide last year.

William

On January 31, 2008 at 3:12 pm

I agree. Halo 3 is the reason the Xbox 360 stayed in front. The PS3 is a much better system than most people are willing to state.

Dave

On January 31, 2008 at 4:56 pm

panzer dragoon saga.

best 32 bits rpg ever..

Jeremy

On February 1, 2008 at 2:07 am

To be fully honest, this article is a response to an earlier article, which regarded the Saturn as the worst “major” console, and by “major,” I think the columnist meant from the big console companies, such as Nintendo, Sega, Atari, Sony, and Microsoft. Out of those companies, I see two consoles that are by far worse than the Saturn: Nintendo Virtual Boy and the Atari Jaguar.

Sugreev

On February 1, 2008 at 7:56 am

I think Atari Jaguar should be added to that list.It was a calamity from the beginning.

mark richardson

On February 1, 2008 at 8:09 am

I love how people keep thinking the ps3 is dead and burried!
or isnt that good a console as they are all so wrong.
It is by far the most powerfull out of the 3 consoles and at the moment developers still dont know how to tap all of what it can do when the xbox360 is almost at its limits and so is the wii.

that said i actually am not a ps3 fanboy nor do i own any playstation products ever(I am actually a devoult Nintendo fan).

the ps3 suffered from a poor start adn a high price tag, now its struggling due to poor top rated games (yes i know there are many really good games out there for it but none that are system sellers on their own. like halo or mario).

as for the worst comsole ever hmmm i played a 3D0 my friend had one and at the time i was loving it esp wing comander for it. I didnt see the virtual boy or atari jaguar there or the commodore 64 cartridge machine ( if forget its name) they woudl all be on my list for worst consoles.

VGmaster

On February 1, 2008 at 9:24 am

Sega Saturn is not the worst console ever, but it is the worst popular console ever.

Rewind the clock back to 1995, it was the beginning of the 32-bit wars here in the USA. Between Sega and new comer Sony. Sega came in to that battle looking like a champ riding off its 16-bit successes with its Genesis against Nintendo, it quickly got on the back of Sony and tried to the same tatics they did to try to bury Nintendo only it backfired.

It didn’t help that Sega was already tarnishing its name among its fans from its tatics of dropping support from previous consoles. It killed Genesis off too quickly, which killed its peripherals Sega CD and 32X. I don’t know about you but this lack of console committment Sega demonstrated, made me not trust Sega for the future run. I jumped on the Sony camp in 32-bit era.

Worst consoles ever are those that didn’t sell past a million, Atari Jaguar, Philips CD-i, NeoGeo-CD.

Sega

On February 1, 2008 at 6:06 pm

‘I jumped on the Sony camp in 32-bit era.’

Well done mate, thats nothing to brag about. It was people like yourself that made it ill fated. I bought a saturn the other week after my original died after a water leak in my house, Let me tell you know. The saturn is a clone of model 2 tech. Have you herd the sound and seen the 2d graphics that come from a model 2 board…………

Not to mention when the correct developers got a hold of the saturn it did actually out perform the playstation. ‘Duke Nukem’ ‘Exhumed’ Just to name a few……..

I love virtua fighter 2 on it and any 2d fighter/shooter

You should all feel very regretful.

Shane A.

On May 1, 2008 at 8:09 pm

Sega Saturn was one of the greatest underdog consoles ever. Unlimited potential but very unused it’s a shame third party software dwindled. Saturn had the most /best 5 star games compared to playstation. Quality over quanity. The Saturn was a very elegant but underated system, I love it.

Round Cat

On September 17, 2010 at 7:09 pm

Actually, the CDi was originally never intended to be a “gaming console”. It was originally intended to be a media station for the living room for all sorts of multimedia tasks. However, Phillips never really had a clear direction for the CDi technology, until they realized that the only thing that actually sold on their CDi was the games. hence from then on they started marketing it as a game system and even released a version resembling more of a game console.

I agree with you though that the Saturn is an underated console, and the dreamcast is possibly the greatest system of all time.

Travis Berman

On October 15, 2011 at 6:05 am

Okk first off i own a saturn and although the dreamcast is my fav system of all time i love my saturn it is a special machine and unique there are tons a amazeing games for it usa and import and as for thee ps3 i really don’t careI loved ps1 and 2 but ps3 for me was to expensive and its not a bad system its intense in many ways just not my cup of tea. I love all game really everthing sega is my fav company they are just amazeing and underrated in every way the dreamcast killed the ps2 and others i think in every way i mean all the games are in hd vga which looks drop dead amazeing,It was the first system ever to have huge online gameplay and the vmu card are fantastic i could go on and on funny thing is 90% of ps2 game or xbox have no hd support yet my dreamcast has everything,it even has motion controlls for fighters,tennis and fishing,and the most amazeing games ever, i love wii and xbox also,as for atari jaguar im tired of everyone downing it. the sysem was very unique and had some fantastic games it ust did not get the right support and anyone who just folloes the masses and does not give these systems a go is loseing out and the 3do rocks to i loved it and so many game theres really no games that look the way the ones on these systems do and i don’t fell anyone who is a true gamer, would insult all these systems!not just a collector with a bunch of games they never touch and only own as an investment. (i hate those types by the way)a games reason for liveing is to be played i collect and play! anyways im ranting but all in all i love all the system named and everyone who loves game should try them all out. ps. hurry up sega i want a new system and sonic adventure 3 please thanks and illbleed 2!

Shiro

On November 13, 2013 at 10:59 pm

Sega Saturn is not the worst system, it’s probably the better cause it’s the last traditionnal video game system. Game quality before quantity, game interest before graphics effects.

Dr Jackal and Mr Highed

On November 14, 2013 at 7:12 am

I quite liked the Saturn, and the Dreamcast. For me, the reason Sega will probably never be able to release another console (although I’d like to see it happen eventually, as unlikely as it may be) is not because of the Saturn but because of the Sega CD and 32X. To be so desperate to increase the Genesis lifespan that they would release two aesthetically awful, technologically unimpressive add-ons for it made the company a laughing stock. The Sega CD at least had some sort of novelty aspect to it because of FMV, but the actual video quality was dreadful and the games were mostly either crap “press the button to keep the movie going” games, or half-decent games that didn’t justify the format and would have worked as well on the regular Genesis. The 32X was even more ridiculous because there were barely any games for it, and it came out less than a year before the Saturn. Sega was going to release a standalone version of the 32X called the Neptune but it was such a disaster that they canned it. Then the Saturn comes out and their decent-looking Sonic game, the newest instalment in Sega’s flagship franchise, goes under and Saturn owners are instead left only with a version of Sonic 3D that doesn’t seem particularly different from the Genesis version, a compilation of some of the Genesis Sonics with a weird 3D hub world (though I remember really enjoying watching the commercials that were on the disk, most of which were quirky Japanese ads, and laughing because the word ‘Flicky’ looked like ‘Fᴜcky’ because of the poor text resolution), and that stupid Sonic R racing game. There were still some really good games on the system like Clockwork Knight, Die Hard Arcade, Daytona USA, NiGHTS into Dreams, and it was the first system I ever played Resident Evil on, which was also the first survival horror game I ever played and I was terrified at the time because I’d seen nothing like it. So I still have fond memories of the Saturn, but Sega never recovered from Sonic Xtreme’s cancellation, which was made worse by Sega’s previous Sega CD and 32X brainfarts. The Dreamcast was a good system with a lot of great games but it didn’t matter by that point, the damage was already irreversible.

For that reason, I say the 32X is the worst console ever made because it brought down an empire. Objectively speaking there have been much, much worse consoles like the Atari Jaguar and 5200, the Philips CDi, the Gizmondo, the Game.Com, the Virtual Boy, and a few others. But Atari was already failing to keep up the pace with its competitors, Philips had seen their original concept die due to Nintendo and Sony pulling out, the Gizmondo turned out to be some sort of money laundering front and was never taken seriously, the Game.Com was a Tiger console so was never going to be anything special, and the Virtual Boy didn’t really hurt Nintendo as it was basically a side-project anyway. Sega was in a position of strength and flushed it away with the 32X, Sega CD and the disappointment of Sega CD not having a new Sonic game and not being enough of an advancement or having a strong enough line-up to compete with the faithfully continued franchises on the N64 or the cutting-edge teen-tapping new IPs on the Playstation. Sega’s decision to try and force the Genesis to stay relevant only resulted in the entire company becoming obsolete in the console market long before it ever should have been. Sega should still have been making great consoles and I believe it would have been if not for the 32X, which makes it the worst console ever made.