Sunday 24 December 2017

Dare to Dream: A Saturn Plug 'n Play?

I wasn't planning to contribute much to this blog, given the dearth of recent news about the Sega Saturn... but somehow, I managed to turn up something relevant. Retro-Bit claims that it will launch a series of devices based on Sega consoles, including the Sega Genesis, Sega Dreamcast, and (wait for it...) the Sega Saturn.

The announcement, unfortunately, comes with no small measure of confusion. Retro-Bit describes these upcoming products as "accessories," making you think that they're just going to crank out some compatible controllers and call it a day. Yet later in the press release, the company claims that these accessories "feature the same great quality as their original Sega counterparts like the original console port, but also with modern upgrades such as a USB® port for PC compatibility and Bluetooth® wireless technology." That sounds a little closer to the plug 'n play devices we've been getting from companies like Radica, AtGames, and more recently, Nintendo.

Adding to the confusion is the fact that the Sega Saturn has been stubbornly resistant to emulation thanks to its peculiar hardware design. Could Retro-Bit really deliver on a Saturn plug 'n play when Saturn emulation has never advanced beyond "barely adequate?" Furthermore, the massive size of Saturn games relative to the cartridge ROMs in past plug 'n plays prompts questions about what would be included in this device, and what could realistically fit. The Super NES Classic has 512MB of storage... that would be just enough room for, uh, one sixth of Panzer Dragoon Saga.

You can find more information about Retro-Bit's upcoming plug 'n play consoles (what little there currently is...) by clicking this link. The systems will be shown off at the Consumer Electronics Show held early next month, and believe me when I say that I will be watching this reveal very, very carefully.


NebachadnezzaR said...

It makes me really happy to see another post from you, one of our longest lasting contributors after both me and Simon had stepped back from keeping the Yard up to date. Welcome back :)

About the topic at hand, I imagine it really is just controllers and the pc usb and bluetooth bit just means they'll be wireless and work on a pc as well.

Saturn emulation has advanced by leaps and strides during the last year thanks to a new mednafen core that came out of nowhere and boasts outstanding compatibility, but it's also very cpu intensive so a system on a chip solution like the nes/snes mini is impossible

fatherkrishna said...

The fact that there are new peripherals on the horizon, plus the possibility of 'plug and play' Saturn games, has me as excited as when a glut of Saturn games turned up on Xbox Live and the PlayStation Network. I am also stoked to see a new article from the man that kept this blog alive whilst the rest of us were MIA, the mighty ArugulaZ!