Tuesday, 5 August 2008

The Sega Saturn IR Pads

Some months ago I was browsing ebay.fr, when I suddenly saw some Sega Saturn Joypads in their original box. Since I am a mad collector of Sega Saturn stuff, I had to get these. After a closer examination (the original picture made by the seller was probably from a webcam made pre 1990) I noticed that those pads are actually wireless infrared pads. I didn't know that there were such things available for the Saturn, since I never was interested in wireless stuff. My father once bought a wireless (radio controlled) mouse, which didn't work at all. We once had a wireless (radio controlled) keyboard for the PC, which didn't work too well either. Hell, we even had wireless LAN at home, which... you guessed it, didn't work too well either. So naturally I wasn't a fan of wireless things. That was until I experienced the Xbox 360 and PS3 wireless pads as well as the Nintendo Wiimote, which DO work quite well. I remember my mate, throwing a strike in WiiSports bowling, whilst taking a dump on the toilet. So, the new Bluetooth technology seemed to work really well, whereas the old radio controlled technique worked not so well... what should I think about the old infrared technology then?

There are two things, which make these pads so great:

When I tested these pads for the first time I really wasn't expecting anything. I even was expecting, that they don't work at all and have a lag or something like that. I was then even more amazed, when I noticed that they work nearly as well as the bluetooth pads on the nextgen consoles. They have a really large freedom of movement. I can even turn my back to the Saturn and play whilst aiming the pad at my wall! Also there is no noticable lag. Every command is executed as if I'd play with an ordinary pad. There is only one point in my room, where the pad does not work anymore, but that's a point, where I don't see the TV anymore either. So... totally amazing IR technology, which I haven't experienced like that before.

The other great thing about them is, that they have been slightly changed in design. At first I was like: "Oh noes, the Sega Saturn pad is the best possible Joypad ever made, how can they change its design?". When I was holding it for the first time I immediately felt it to be more comfortable. It's a tad thicker and especially heavier now, due to the batteries you have to insert at the back. That gives it an even better feeling than the original, very light weight pads. The little chambers, where you put the batteries, also stand out a bit, which gives you a much better grip. Also the shoulder buttons are a tad different now. They don't dangle losely around anymore, but fit thight and have a... "more comfortable" microswitch inside. It's hard to explain, but everything feels much more solid! The D-Pad feels a bit different as well, with much softer movement plus it has this weird stuff on it, which gives it more grip. But maybe that'll hurt after long gaming sessions. This I have yet to test.

So, when I post an extensive text like this one, only for some weird Sega Saturn joypads, I must be really amazed. I never thought, that you can improve the original Sega Saturn pad plus I feel a little bit nextgen due to the new freedom I have whilst playing Saturn. The pads have its price, though. For the set of two pads, a receiver and the original Box I had to pay around 45 EUR, which is quite much. They have also been released in Japan, so maybe you can get those a bit cheaper. I can only recommend them to anyone who is used to his Xbox360 or PS3 wireless pads by now.


NebachadnezzaR said...

"I am a mad collector of Sega Saturn stuff"

Really? I had no idea... :D LOL!

I'm actually as surprised as you are with these controllers. I could swear I have read somewhere that with these older wireless pads you had to point them directly at the receiver or they wouldn't work, but apparently you have almost as much freedom as with the modern 360 or PS3 pads.

Once again you enlighten us all, dear elend :)

Caleb said...


I know my older Sega CD / Sega Genesis wireless pads only work if you are facing the wireless tuner.

These look to have better tech in them.

DEITRIX said...

I couldn't stray to much with my old ones or I would loose connection. These would have been awesome back in the day.... -even tho I wouldn't of been able to afford them back then....

schnuth said...

Those are pretty sweet, and a lot nicer looking then my old trusty controller extension cables. :)

elend said...

Someone just told me, that there even were IR Pads / Joysticks available for the Atari VCS! Weird.

Like most of you I also thought IR pads don't work too well, but boy was I surprised. I am really happy now. :D

ArugulaZ said...

I'm stunned. Every infra-red controller prior to the Wavebird has been garbage. Leave it to the Saturn to beat the odds!

fatherkrishna said...

Holy guacamole! This is such an AWESOME post, I don't know where to start!

1.) I'm totally seeking a pair of these babies out!!!! Thanks to elend's outstanding post (no surprise there, they're all fucking outstanding..) I now WANT these controllers and will be scanning eBaying tonight to try and find them...

2.) If there were wireless controllers for the Saturn, why is there still no wireless controllers for the Dreamcast? I've just downloaded the original Dreamcast game of Soul Calibur on the 360 and being able to play it on wireless controllers is SO fucking cool!

3.)I need to move my Saturn into the functioning living room. We have two living rooms and the one at the front of the house is never used... That's the one that has the Saturn, Dreamcast and PS2 in. Either I need to sort the front living room out, or move the Saturn into the functioning living room...

4.)How many blog posts have these words in them???

"I remember my mate, throwing a strike in WiiSports bowling, whilst taking a dump on the toilet."

That phrase is worthy of a Father Krishna 'Seal Of Approval' in it's own right!!!!!

Fucking hell elend! I'm totally handing control of this site over to you. You own it, you control it, it's your baby! I'm just one of your team members!

Welcome my dear friends to elend's Saturn Junkyard...

*FK postrates himself in front of elend and hands him his Elvis wig and Judo suit...*

Alexander W said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alexander W said...

I have one of those wireless saturn control pads and it works amazingly well for 12 year old technology. I wouldn't sell it for under 50 euros though since they seem to be somewhat rare.

Caleb said...

There were wireless controllers for the Dreamcast.

Not first party ones.

But I have seen them.

They look like the Asci fighting controllers.

Plus wireless controllers for the PS2 work on the Dreamcast if you have adapters.

nick944 said...

I've heard the ones for the Dreamcast were extremely poor quality. I definately want wireless Saturn controllers though.

ArugulaZ said...

Easy solution there, Krishna. Buy a DC Connection, connect this wireless controller to its Saturn port, then plug the DC Connection into your Dreamcast. You've got instant wirelessness!

Anonymous said...

I have the white Japanese version of this wireless joypad and it is great!

Its a bit thicker and rests great in your hands.

You can even control the TV with the japanese version, however it only works on japanese TV:s.