The Sega Saturn: Frequently Asked Questions

 This F.A.Q has largely been written by our community members who are credited in the appropriate sections below.

If you would like to contribute anything to this F.A.Q please drop us an email: CLICK HERE

 IF YOU ARE NEW TO SEGA SATURN WE ADVISE YOU READ OUR QUICK BEGINNERS GUIDE FIRST
BY CLICKING HERE

Segata Sanshiro

INDEX

(Click on Questions to Jump to Answers)

GENERAL QUESTIONS

Why should I get a Sega Saturn?

How should I format and submit games reviews for the site?

What can I play on my Sega Saturn?

Can I play SegaCD / MegaCD games on my Saturn?

Can I play games from different regions on my Saturn?

What is the Saturn’s ‘Cartridge Slot’ used for?

What is the ‘Communication Connector’ for?

Can I reset my Saturn using the controller (soft-reset)?

SOFTWARE QUESTIONS


How many PAL games were available for Sega Saturn?
What were the Sega Saturn’s launch titles in each region?

Is there a guide to how much I should pay for my games?

Which games were PAL 50Hz optimised?

HARDWARE QUESTIONS

Why doesn’t my Sega Saturn keep my saved games?

Why do I keep having to set the clock when I use my Saturn?

How do I change my internal clock battery?

Why wont my Saturn read any discs properly?

Why wont my Saturn recognise any cartridge expansions?

Where and How do I Install a VideoCD (VCD) Card in my Sega Saturn?

How do I get the best possible picture quality from my Saturn?

How can I modify my Saturn to play backups of my game discs?

What about disc-swapping / swap trick?

What is all this 50/60Hz and Region stuff?

Will controllers from other regions work on my Saturn?

Is there any way to get digital audio for an AV amplifier from the Saturn?

Can I emulate the Saturn on my PC?

 

WHY SHOULD I GET A SEGA SATURN?

Written by <sonix>

1. Arcade in your house

Saturn has a large amount of great arcade games like Sega Rally or Virtua Fighter so it’s a perfect system for those who like quick and addicting titles that will make you feel like you own an arcade machine!

2. A home for Shoot-em-ups and 2-D games

Saturn is considered as a perfect console for any respectable SHMUP lover, Saturn’s shmup library includes such games like Radiant Silvergrun, Soukyugurentai, Galactic Attack aka Layer Section, Battle Garegga, Dodonpachi, Panzer Dragoon and much more. Unfortunately, vast majority of shmup’s were released in Japan only.
Saturn was an underrated system due to the worse 3D capability than PSX though games like Burning Rangers or Panzer Dragoon Saga proved that SS was close or even equally powerful. But no one doubts that it out shined PSX in terms of 2D graphics. Most of 2D titles are great in both graphics and gameplay and such ones like X-Men Children of Atom (released on both systems) clearly showed that Saturn was more powerful 2D system.

3. Play imports without modding

You can run imports without a mod-chip, just buy an Action Replay or ST-Key cartridge and you will be able to play almost every import on your Saturn. Although you can face problems like slower gameplay or graphical glitches unless you get a 50/60 Hz selector mod.
Yet, you should be able to play imports since many great games were released only in Japan and can’t miss them.

4. Internal memory and quick saves

Saturn has an internal memory so you can save your games without using a memory backup cart (though the capacity of internal memory is pretty small). Saving time is non-existent, you won’t even find a “Save” option in most tiles since they use auto-save. Forget about ‘Cheking-Overwriting (are you sure?)-Checking Memory Card’ like it was on PSX/PS2.

5. Low failure rate

Among all CD/DVD based systems Saturn is the most durable. My Saturn is more than 10 years old and I NEVER had ANY problems with it. And that’s what most Saturn owners will tell you.

6. Emulation? Nah

You could ask what’s the purpose in buying the system when there’s an emulator, especially if it’s a quite old console. But when it comes to Saturn forget about flawless emulation. Ok, the SSF does his job pretty well but forget about it unless you own a really (and I mean REALLY) good PC. Besides, even the best emulation won’t give you the same feeling. Better stay with original systems- it’s basically more fun!

7. Relatively Little Crap, lots of quality titles…

There were only about 250 titles released in Europe and USA (and many more in Japan) and there very few games you could call a crap. The good games to bad games ratio is higher than on many other consoles.

8. Great exclusives

The most basic thing that will make you buy a system are the games you won’t find anywhere else. Here’s a short list of the best Saturn exclusives:

-Panzer Dragoon series (3 titles including Panzer Dragoon Saga, one of the best, if not the best and unfortunately one of the most expensive Saturn games)
-Sega Rally
-Virtua Fighter 2
-Radiant Silvergun
-Dragon Force
-Nights Into Dreams
-Shining Force III, Shining Wisdom and Shining the Holy Ark
-Soukyugurentai
-Guardian Heroes
-Sega Worldwide Soccer
-Exhumed
-Deep Fear

To name but a few…

9. CD player

Saturn is also a great CD player, with some nice interface and interesting options like, for example, pitch adjusting. You can also use your games as audio CDs and listen to your favorite game tunes.

HOW SHOULD I FORMAT AND SUBMIT GAME REVIEWS FOR THE SITE?

Game reviews can be submitted in one of three ways:

1. The easiest way is to use our submission form (CURRENTLY DOWN BUT BACK SOON!)

2. You can post them in the ‘User Reviews’ section on our Community Forum.

3. You can email them directly to us by clicking HERE

Reviews should be submitted in plain text, there is no word limit.

You can also include an “IN BRIEF…” section (as seen on our other reviews in the top right of the page) or this can simply be written by a site staff member.

The “IN BRIEF…” information should include a small breakdown on: Gameplay, Graphics, Sound, Longevity, Originality and an Overall summing up of the game, again please see an existing review as an example.

We will normally NOT require box scans, but 2-4 differing screen shots of the game you are reviewing are always appreciated if you’re able as this saves us serious amounts of time.
Screenshots can be in any format (as non-lossy as possible so .PNG .TIFF or uncompressed .JPG preffered) and should be sent in their original capture size, these can be obtained through a digital camera shot of the screen, a direct shot through a video capture card or a screenshot taken through an emulator (usually the best way).

Either attach your screens to your email or upload them to an image hosting site (PhotoBucket, ImageShack etc.) and give us the link to the images.
If emailed we will always acknowledge receipt of your reviews, reviews are always processed and uploaded as soon as possible but we usually have a small backlog so don’t panic if you submit a review and it’s not up for a week or so. If you have any more questions on this matter please post in the appropriate section of our FORUM.

 WHAT CAN I PLAY ON MY SATURN?

Out of the box:
Standard ISO9660 formatted Sega Saturn Game CD-ROMS (Modification required to play non-original discs)
Standard Music CDs
CD-G & CD-EG

With extra help:
Kodak Compatibe PhotoCD – With additional PhotoCD software disc.
VCD / VideoCD – With Sega Saturn Video CD expansion card. (see: Installing a VCD Expansion Card)

CAN I PLAY SEGACD / MEGACD GAMES ON MY SATURN?

No, unfortunately the Saturn is not compatible with any CD-ROM games from other systems.

CAN I PLAY GAMES FROM DIFFERENT REGIONS ON MY SATURN?

Written by: Chizzles

Sega Saturn games and consoles are actually region locked.

This means that a modification is required to run games from one region on another region’s console, or alternatively an import loader cartridge such as the “St-Key” or “Action Replay” can be used, however if you’re going to the trouble of performing the 60/50Hz switch you might as well do the region mod while you’re in there.

Where can I find instructions for these modifications?

Full instructions can be found HERE

What about importing a Saturn from the region I want to play games from?

This is also an alternative to modding, albeit an expensive one.

>>!!!! However you MUST check the voltage of the console before plugging it in !!!!<<

Sega Saturn consoles from Japan, America and other areas, use a voltage of 100 to 120 Volts.
Most of Europe uses 230 to 240 Volts.

Plugging an imported console into the wrong voltage will most likely IRREPARABLY DAMAGE YOUR CONSOLE .

If you import a console from a country that uses a higher voltage than you, you MUST purchase a “Step-Down transformer” (They are readily available from eBay and many electronic stores) which converts your mains voltage to the same voltage of the console.

For running a console in a country that uses a lower voltage than you, you must purchase a “Step-Up Transformer”.

WHAT IS THE SATURN’S CARTRIDGE SLOT USED FOR?

The Sega Saturn’s Cartridge Slot A variety of expansions including Memory Carts, RAM Upgrades, ROM Carts, Cheat Carts, Region Unlock Carts, Development and Backup systems etc. Some of the more common carts are detailed below by <metalsonic> :

Backup Memory Cart
The Backup Memory Cart was essentially a memory card. I believe it was created because the internal memory for the Saturn wasn’t enough for many saves and the battery that kept your saves died quickly so all your saves would be erased. This cart was very useful as it kept your saves nice and safe.

1MB RAM
The 1MB RAM was for games released in Japan as some games required the extra RAM to play. An example is Metal Slug. NOTE: CANNOT BE USED ON A NTSC/PAL CONSOLE. A NTSC-J console is needed or a Pro Action Replay (more on this below) should be used as a substitute.

4MB RAM
It’s the same as above except compatible with more games. An example is X-Men VS Street Fighter.

Netlink
A 28.8K modem for your Saturn that was similar with the Xband for Sega Genesis and SNES (SFC). It used the Planetweb browser so you could browse the web. The Netlink can still connect to the web and play games online to this day as long as you have a Dial-up connection (Incompatible with AOL). Note: you can find fellow NetLink players at: The NetLink League

Action Replay 4Mb Plus
The ultimate cart for any Saturn gamer. The Pro Action Replay allowed you to play imports, was a 1MB and 4MB RAM cart, and could save your games (technically). By technically, I mean that the PAR could not support direct saving and loading. You could transfer your saves from the internal memory to the PAR and vice-versa. The next best thing would be either region-modding your Saturn or getting a Japanese console. The cart is not without faults though as some versions of the PAR have problems with some games. Also KoF 95, Ultraman, and In The Hunt would not play as they need a special cart so no PAR could play these games. More can be seen on our ‘Cartridge Slot Expansions’ page.

Additional…
Two Saturn Titles (Utraman and King of Fighters ’95) utilised ROM Carts, these read only carts contained additional game assets such as textures/sprites, they are not interchangeable and can only be used with their respective games.

WHAT IS THE SEGA SATURN’S COMMUNICATION CONNECTOR FOR?

The ‘communication connector’ is located on the rear, right hand side of your Saturn next to the A/V port, it is a high speed serial port.

Sega Saturn Communication Connector / Serial Port

This has the possibility of being used for a number of things, however only a small number of consumer devices actually utilised the port, these were:

Floppy Disk Drive – A peripheral released only in Japan, it was used to store save games, internet downloads, and files created on a few software programs such as the Dezaemon2 game maker and Game Basic programmer.

Printer –  Again released only in Japan, this was a Canon BubbleJet printer bundles with an interface for the serial port and word processing software.

System Link Cable – The System Link Cable, as the name would suggest, used the serial port on the Saturn to link two consoles together in order to enable two-player gaming using two separate systems and TV sets.

Sega Saturn System Link Cable

Using this method of head to head play requires the use of two Sega Saturn Consoles, two Television Sets and Two copies of whichever game you wish to play.

The following games are System Link compatible:

Daytona USA: Circuit Edition  (Japan)
Doom (Japan and PAL Versions)
Geobockers (Japan)
Gun Griffon II (Japan)
Hexen (All region versions via cheat menu)
Hyper Reverthion (Japan)
Steeldom (Japan)

CAN I RESET MY SATURN FROM THE CONTROL PAD?

Fortunately yes, you can! Hold down the A, B and C buttons then press the Start button, the game you’re currently playing will reset to the title screen.
Press the same buttons again to reboot your system back to the CD Player Menu.

WHAT WERE THE SEGA SATURN’S LAUNCH TITLES IN EACH REGION?

This list is a heated topic but it’s believed the following were available at launch:

Japanese launch November 22nd 1994 – Virtua Fighter, Myst, TAMA, Mahjong Goku Tenjiku and Wan Chai Connection.

USA Launch May 1995 – Virtua Fighter, Panzer Dragoon, Clockwork Knight, Bug! and Daytona USA.

European Launch 8th July 1995 (Saturnday) – Virtua Fighter, Clockwork Knight, Daytona USA and International Victory Goal.

HOW MANY PAL GAMES WERE AVAILABLE FOR SEGA SATURN?

240, not including demo discs, unlicensed and home-brew releases.

IS THERE A GUIDE TO HOW MUCH I CAN PAY FOR MY GAMES?

Due to the need for constant time consuming updating our PAL Buyers Guide is no longer available, however please feel free to ask over at our forums before committing to a purchase!

WHICH SEGA SATURN GAMES WERE PAL 50Hz OPTIMISED?

Again a point of much debate, however the following PAL titles are optimised for play on PAL 50Hz consoles and may not run correctly on hardware from other regions:

Actua Golf
Actua Soccer: Club Edition
Baku Baku
Batte Arena Toshinden URA
Daytona USA: CCE
Deep Fear
Die Hard Arcade
Duke Nukem 3D
Earthworm Jim 2
Fighting Vipers
Formula Karts: Special Edition
Golden Axe: The Duel
Grid Run
Guardian Heroes
Impact Racing
International Victory Goal
Last Bronx
Lemmings 3D
Nascar ’98
NBA Action (not NBA Action ’98)
NHL Powerplay ’96
Panzer Dragoon
Panzer Dragoon II Zwei
Quake
Rampage World Tour
Rayman
Revolution X
Robo Pit
Sega Rally Championship
Sega Worldwide Soccer ’97
Sega Worldwide Soccer ’98
Sim City 2000
Street Racer
The House of the Dead
The Mansion of Hidden Souls
The Story of Thor 2
Three Dirty Dwarves
Tomb Raider
Trash It
True Pinball
Virtua Cop
Virtua Cop 2
Virtua Fighter
Virtua Fighter 2
Virtua Fighter Kids
Virtua Fighter Remix
Virtual On
World League Soccer ’98
Worms

*Note: this lists game I have confirmed to be PAL 50Hz Optimised, there may be additional titles we have not yet confirmed.

WHY DOESN’T MY SATURN KEEP MY SAVE GAMES?

Written by metalsonic

If you have to constantly select the language and date every time you turn on the Saturn, that means the internal battery that keeps track of this information is dead, this battery also keeps your internal save games stored.

On the back of the Saturn, there is a small panel that you can remove and you can clearly see a battery that looks like a large watch battery, replace the dead battery with an identical or compatible replacement.

SCROLL ON TWO QUESTIONS FOR DETAILED INSTRUCTIONS ON REPLACING THE BATTERY

The bad thing is your previous saves are gone forever!

If you own a backup cart but your Saturn isn’t detecting it then just take it out and put it in again until it works.
The cart slot isn’t very reliable and it takes a while for the slot to detect a cart, so just keep trying and fidget with it a little until your cart works.
Once the cart is working then I suggest you leave it be and do not mess with it.
Failure to keep saves on cartridges can relate to a dead battery inside some cartridges which can usually be changed, but is unfortunately also an un-repairable symptom of old, faulty or damaged cartridges.

WHY DO I KEEP HAVING TO SET THE CLOCK WHEN I USE MY SATURN?

More than likely your internal backup battery is dead, you need to replace it with a CR2032 / DL2032 button cell or equivalent (the same batteries used in Dreamcast VMUs). See the question below for help replacing this cell:

HOW DO I CHANGE MY INTERNAL CLOCK BATTERY?

The internal clock battery is located behind the door to the left on the back of your Saturn console:

Sega Saturn Battery Door

fig. 1.0 Open this door.

Sega Saturn Battery Door Open with VCD Card

fig. 1.1 If a VCD card is fitted (as above) pull the small silver handle on it’s rear to remove.

Sega Saturn Battery Door Open with Battery Viewable

fig. 1.2 Once the VCD card is removed (if there was one installed) you will now clearly see the battery in it’s holder as circled above.

To remove the battery (if indeed there is one installed) use your index finger to push the edge of the battery inward towards the Saturn as far as you can then lift upwards, NEVER use a metal implement to do this!

Sega Saturn Battery Door Open with Battery Removed

fig. 1.3 Once the battery is in this position simply lift it out and replace with another CR2032 button cell or equivalent.

The new battery is fitted the same way around as the old one (see pictures above if there was no battery installed) by simply inserting into the holder (as in fig. 1.3) and pushing forward and down until it remains in place.

IMPORTANT NOTE:
YOU SHOULD ALWAYS AVOID ALLOWING YOUR FINGERS TO TOUCH THE BOTTOM END OF A NEW BUTTON CELL BATTERY

WHY WONT MY SATURN READ DISCS PROPERLY? Written by metalsonic

There are many reasons why your Saturn may not be reading discs properly, lets start with the discs themselves… Look at your disc and make sure it is clean and has no dust or residue, you can clean a dirty disc with a fine lint free cloth. If your disc is scratched there are many high street stores that have disc polishing facilities that remove scratches. Hold your discs up to a powerful light, if you can see many small pin-holes in the disc then the disc is damaged beyond repair and will more than likely have to be thrown away. Another reason for discs not being read is that the laser lens (shown below) is dirty;

Sega Saturn Laser Lens Cleaning

Take a lint-free cotton swab and lightly dip into some 90isopropyl alcohol, squeeze off excess liquid then lightly clean the surface of the lens.

DO NOT, EVER USE RUBBING ALCOHOL OR ANOY OTHER ALCOHOL BASED PRODUCTS TO CLEAN A LASER LENS!

Dry the lens off with the other end. You can also try using a good quality CD lens cleaner disc available from most audio and electronics stores.
Another, albeit rarer reason, is that the disc drive itself is not connected properly.

Sega Saturn Laser Lens Cleaning

Open the Saturn and look at the white, flat ‘ribbon’ cable to the right that runs from the motherboard to the laser assembly and make sure it seated properly.
Do the same for the power cable of the disc drive (both shown circled above).
Use a good quality CD lens cleaner in your Saturn & make sure your game discs are clean and in good condition.

If troubles continue the laser may be dying, the laser bias can be adjusted internally to allow the laser to read again, however this is a temporary fix. (more info to come)

If all this fails, the laser may be dead and require replacing, replacements are available, however the installation and correct calibration of a laser is well beyond the capabilities and available equipment of most hobbyists.

 WHY WON’T MY SATURN RECOGNISE ANY CARTRIDGES?

I always like to joke that the Sega Saturn’s cartridge slot was made from soft cheese and unicorn tears, sadly this isn’t far from the truth. Bizzarely for a system that has a mechanical optical drive the cartridge slot is probably the least robust part of your Saturn.

Like the cartridge slots on many other systems the cartridge connectors, which are metal prongs, become loose and can loose contact with the pads on the cartridges PCB.

There are a number of reasons for this happening:

  • Many systems were originally owned by children that in their excitement yanked carts out and hammered them in with little regard.
  • A great many people also unintentionally damaged their cartridge slots through the use of cheap third part memory expansion and cheat cartridges, whose PCBs were too wide and damaged the slot. Most GameShark, CD Plus and some of the early black Datel Action Replay cartridges are the usual suspects.
  • Age and use are of course a factor, an early system that’s been in constant use with multiple cartridges, even is handled carefully, will more than likely have a damaged slot (back to the cheese and unicorn tears)

Well what can be done? sadly not a great deal, your options are pretty limited and even more so by the skills required for some of them.

  • First clean your cartridge’s connectors with alcohol, use a fine abrasive paper to carefully rub off any corrosion then re-test. We don’t want to start on the serious stuff then realise dirty cartridge connectors were the problem.
  • Option 1 – if your cartridge starts working (makes a good connection) while held slanted towards the front or the back of the console simply wedging something into the slot to keep it there should do the trick, this has a couple of downsides, the first being it looks bloody horrible, the second being that you wont be able to readily swap carts about, indeed doing so will merely lumber you with the same problem eventually as you do more damage to the cartridge port.
  • Option 2 – Tin the connectors on your cartridge. I’ve seen a few folks do this, you’ll need to dismantle the cart and add a thin strip of solder to each strip on the edge connector. Not only is this time consuming, but you’re irreversibly altering your cartridges and again if you want to swap carts about you’re eventually going to balls up the cart slot again.
    However this method is probably ideal if you want to get a cart in there working and leave it there.
  • Option 3 – Repair. stripping your Saturn down to it’s bare motherboard can afford you the opportunity to perform basic repairs on the cartridge slot. This can either be as simple as crudely bending the metal pins to make better contact, or indeed using various methods to permanently position them more prominently, giving you a very tight but good cartridge fit.
  • Option 4 – Replacement. Where do you buy a new cartridge slot? sadly you don’t. It is as I used to say in the car parts business an ‘NFP Part’ (Not Fu**ing Possible).
    Your best chance for a replacement is a dead system with a good cartridge slot, but de-soldering and re-soldering this bad boy isn’t for the inexperienced solderer.

Other Possible Causes…

As mentioned above, make sure your cartridges are clean, make sure none of the contacts have worn off completely (yes I have seen this!) Also make sure there’s no dirt of foreign objects in the cartridge port.

HOW AND WHERE DO I INSTALL A VCD CARD IN MY SATURN?

A VCD Card needs to be installed into the expansion slot on the rear of the Saturn, behind the hatch where the save game battery is installed.

sega_saturn_pal_vcd_card

fig. 4.0 Above: PAL Sega Saturn VCD Cartridge

sega_saturn_battery_cover

fig. 4.1 Above: This cover on the back left of the Saturn must be opened using the clip on the top (similar to any other clip-in battery hatch)

sega_saturn_inserting_vcd_card

fig. 4.2 Above: Insert the open end of the card into the gap below the label as shown, slide it in gently until it meets resistance, then with equal pressure on each side of the back push it with a little force all the way into the slot…

Once installed the VCD card will automatically run it’s own software on boot-up when it detects a compatible VideoCD has been inserted into the Saturn.

 

HOW DO I GET THE BEST POSSIBLE PICTURE QUALITY ON MY SATURN?

The Sega Saturn will always look it’s absolute best using an RGB SCART cable and a good quality CRT Television with an RGB SCART input.

For more details see our article: Getting the Best Picture from Your Sega Saturn

HOW CAN I PLAY BACKUPS TO AVOID WEAR AND TEAR ON MY ORIGINAL DISCS?

You will require a ‘mod-chip’, these are available from two main suppliers:

RacketBoy in the USA herehttp://www.racketboy.com/store/sega-saturn/sega-saturn-modchip.html NO LONGER IN STOCK

Long time friend of SS:UK Rob Webb -AKA- ConsoleGoods in the UK: (Note: Due to a PayPal policy on the sale of ModChips Rob has had to remove them from his website   ConsoleGoods.co.uk as he uses a PayPal checkout system) Please email rob: cs@consolegoods.co.uk with any queries concerning obtaining one of his chips.

There are pros and cons with both the aforementioned modchips and there is much information and debate on-line, I will simply state for the benefit of this FAQ that both are excellent chips which I (Mick) have used with great success.

WHAT ABOUT DISC-SWAPPING / SWAP TRICK?

The “Swap Trick” as it is known is a method of booting copied games by using an original game to get by the copy protection stage, then quickly swapping the disc for the copy thus to the system it has booted a legitimate disc.

This method requires a modification to the door sensor which will need to be secured into the closed position.

Disc-Swapping, if not done either very precisely or with a special cartridge or system-disc which pauses the disc motor and laser, can over time cause irreparable damage to your system.

For this reason we will not detail this method within this FAQ.

WHAT IS ALL THIS 50/60Hz AND REGION STUFF? Written by: Chizzles

What is the difference between 50Hz and 60Hz?
50Hz is the default refresh rate used by countries that use the PAL and SECAM TV standards.
This means that your TV re-draws the picture on the screen 50 times every second.

60Hz is the default refresh rate used by countries that use the NTSC standard
This means that your TV re-draws the picture on the screen 60 times every second.

What is all this PAL/SECAM/NTSC nonsense?
Well, simply put, when colour TV was first introduced, the manufacturers needed to come up with a way to make the colour TV signals compatible with old black and white TVs.

They did this by encoding the colour signal into standard black and white television images using the several systems, and PAL, NTSC and SECAM ended up becoming the default standards. The encoded colour signal is simply ignored by Monochrome TV Sets, or indeed any colour TV Set that does not decode the colour signal type you are sending to it.

What relevance does this have to gaming, and more importantly, the Sega Saturn?
Well for a start, games consoles had to be tailored to suit each region’s chosen colour TV standard and refresh rate. Before the days of multi region TVs, UK consoles were traditionally locked to output PAL at 50Hz. The Sega Saturn itself outputs PAL when running at 50Hz, and NTSC when running at 60Hz. The Saturn does not actually output SECAM, instead, SECAM countries had to use an RGB cable.

What is this RGB?
RGB is a video format that is neither related to PAL, SECAM or NTSC. However as far as TVs are concerned it must run at standard TV resolutions and 50/60Hz.

RGB is always output by the Saturn whether it’s running in 50 or 60Hz mode, and is a direct analogy of the output of the console, offering the purist picture quality.

Now here’s a tricky bit…

A UK TV can support 60Hz without actually supporting NTSC!

There is a standard called PAL 60, which is the PAL colour system applied to the 60Hz’ standard resolution and refresh rate. However the Saturn does not output this.

If you have a TV that only accepts RGB and PAL 60 but not NTSC, you will need to use an RGB cable to achieve a colour picture from the Sega Saturn. It should be noted now that there are some TVs out there that do not have RGB inputs.
In this case you will either have to buy a new TV (recommended), or an NTSC to PAL 60 converter.

It also has to be said that although Japanese and European RGB 21-Pin connectors look the same, the pins inside the plug are wired a different way around so cannot be interchanged without use of an adapter or modification.

How does the difference between 50/60Hz effect games themselves?
This change of refresh rate between regions posed a problem for console game developers, who often use video refresh intervals for timing in games. This meant that when games were converted to 50Hz, they had to have their timing code altered to run at the correct speed.

Another problem created was that the default 50Hz TV standard has a higher vertical resolution than that of the 60Hz. This also meant that when games were converted to 50Hz they had to have their display resolution changed or otherwise would display black bars at the top and bottom of the image, with a distorted aspect ratio.

What is a 50/60Hz switch?
While many titles were optimised properly to compensate for the difference in speed, most were not optimised to compensate for the difference in resolution, and indeed some were not optimised at all in any way, shape or form.

This is why some people choose to fit a 50/60Hz selection switch to their Saturn, this enables the console to be switched to 60Hz mode, allowing unoptimized titles and imports to be played at the correct speed and aspect ratio.

An example is Panzer Dragoon SAGA, the UK version of the game was not optimised at all, so running the game in 60Hz produces exactly the same results as playing the American version. What about imports?
As stated before, in order to run imports at the correct speed without problems you will need a 60Hz switch. Where can I find instructions for these modifications?
Full instructions can be found HERE

How will this effect 50Hz optimised titles?
However running a ’50Hz optimised’ game at 60Hz more often than not, causes severe timing issues, and on titles that have been optimised to run in the correct aspect ratio, distorts the aspect ratio and often causes cropping.

WILL CONTROLLERS FROM OTHER REGIONS WORK ON MY SATURN?

Yes. The controller ports and circuitry are identical regardless of region and we have come across no examples of controllers that only work in one region. Of course if it is a special controller for a specific game then that game and the correct console for it’s region is required.

IS THERE ANY WAY TO GET DIGITAL AUDIO FOR AN AV AMPLIFIER FROM THE SATURN?

Yes. The Saturn already produces digital audio internally, it just lacks an output for it. The best way is to add a common S/PIDF digital audio output to the system. Details on this modification can be found on this webpage: GamesSX

CAN I EMULATE THE SEGA SATURN ON MY PC?

Sega Saturn emulation has come on leaps and bounds in recent years, SSF is the only Sega Saturn emulator currently worth looking at as it has a very high degree of compatibility, accuracy and features.

For remotely decent emulation using SSF you will ideally require at least a Dual-Core PC with 1GB RAM, although SSF will run on lower spec systems.

The latest build of the SSF emulator can be found at this page: http://www.geocities.jp/mj3kj8o5/ssf/index.html