Frustrated with retro gaming prices....especially regarding the Sega Saturn

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AlexHiro4
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Frustrated with retro gaming prices....especially regarding the Sega Saturn

Postby AlexHiro4 » Thu Jul 27, 2017 1:21 pm

As I've mentioned several times before, I'm a retro gamer who has a deep love and appreciation for original consoles over emulation. Thankfully, I have a good sized library for most of my consoles (due to growing up with them), but even on those consoles there are some games that I don't own that are insanely expensive. Titles like Dracula X and any SNES title with the word "Megaman" in the title typically go for top dollar. Games like this I don't own, but I would love to play. There's always the options of reproduction copies or flash carts....but that might take away some of the authenticity for me. Not to mention, I've recently started hearing people say that flash carts can ruin a console over time.

Also, there are consoles that I didn't grow up with, bought in adulthood, and only have a few titles for. The Sega Saturn is a prime example of this. I purchased it in 2008, WELL past its prime, and I literally have 4 games for it...one of which is Magical School Lunar which I'm unable to play without understanding Japanese. The good Saturn titles, namely RPGs, are REALLY REALLY pricey in their English North American formats. The Japanese equivalents to those titles are significantly cheaper, but once again...I don't know Japanese. As I've mentioned on another post, there's a developer named "Professor Abrasive" who had been working hard to exploit the VCD port on the back of the Saturn in order to make way for playing emulated games on the original system hardware. There MAY also be a possibility of dumping translation patches onto the system while reading an original disc. I'm not 100% sure about that one yet. However, this project, called the Satiator, still hasn't been completed and released to the public.

There's not much more to this post than just ranting. It always kills me how much certain collectible things can go for well after they were sold for reasonable prices in retail stores. Online sellers know that adult nerds in a lot of cases make good money, and that they will eat this stuff up for whatever price is slapped on it. Unfortunately, I'm a nerd that only makes a modest salary. Lol.

Anyway, rant over, have a great day guys!
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Re: Frustrated with retro gaming prices....especially regarding the Sega Saturn

Postby Zero » Fri Jul 28, 2017 1:02 am

I've never really played any videogames via emulation, so I don't know much about it. Although, over the years, I've heard people say the Saturn is hard or sometimes impossible to emulate... so perhaps that, combined with the fact that the system didn't sell well and thus many games had low print runs, is why most of the good games for it are pricey. Just my guess based off what I've heard.

I mean, hey, If you just want to experience a game, you could always simply buy it off ebay, finish it, and then resell it on ebay. I have several friends who cant' afford to buy and keep all their retro games, so they do it that way to be able to at least play the game. I do the same thing sometimes if I end up not liking something as much as I thought I would, though I almost always try to keep what I like since I tend to get the urge to replay my favorites over time.

I actually paid roughly $700.00 for a near mint, complete Panzer Dragoon Saga. But I will never part with it as I'm quite fond of the Sega Saturn and PDS is basically its crown jewel for collectors. I love that game. The sad thing is, I originally bought the game at retail price back in the day at a Roses in the podunk town my mom lived in at the time, but it was lost in a small box during a move along with a couple other games :(
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AlexHiro4
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Re: Frustrated with retro gaming prices....especially regarding the Sega Saturn

Postby AlexHiro4 » Fri Jul 28, 2017 3:02 pm

First of all, mad props for owning your own copy of Panzer Dragoon Saga.

Secondly, buying games one at a time and reselling them on Ebay does sound like a good idea for most people, but I'm also a collector. I pride myself in owning my games themselves, not just the game systems. Not to mention, I feel like it would be too much trouble to go through to turn around and resell a game after I've beaten it. Different stroke for different folks though.

I really look forward to the Satiator being completed though. I know I won't be able to own a legit copy of a lot of games, but at least I'll be able to play them on the original hardware.
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Re: Frustrated with retro gaming prices....especially regarding the Sega Saturn

Postby Zero » Fri Jul 28, 2017 3:13 pm

AlexHiro4 wrote:
Secondly, buying games one at a time and reselling them on Ebay does sound like a good idea for most people, but I'm also a collector. I pride myself in owning my games themselves, not just the game systems. Not to mention, I feel like it would be too much trouble to go through to turn around and resell a game after I've beaten it. Different stroke for different folks though.



I can definitely understand that.
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Re: Frustrated with retro gaming prices....especially regarding the Sega Saturn

Postby Shinto-Cetra » Fri Jul 28, 2017 4:25 pm

AlexHiro4: I probably should have asked this in that MSL! topic you posted and I commented on, but why is it such a big issue that (assuming it is even possible) for the Saturn Satinator to apply the patch to the Japanese disc simultaneously? You say you are a collector, I am somewhat too. Why not just (assuming MSL! is translated -so many "if"s-) take the jewel case wherever you go when you play MSL along with the Saturn Satinator (whenever it comes out)? The Satinator bypasses the CD-ROM drive (unless one manually switches back to the CD-ROM, he tweeted something about that responding to a question), so just patch the file to the Satinator, put the CD-ROM in the slot, and play the game from the Satinator's file? It probably won't spin, but would it really be that big of a deal? I'm not sure if I understand your issues.
Zero: $700?! Holy dragon diamonds, when did you buy it? I got mine in early 2013 for $300 (+$50 shipping), granted it was complete but some minor wear. I later had to get disc 1 resurfaced but that was only $5. It's a good game, but not worth either price, mainly due to how short it is.

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Re: Frustrated with retro gaming prices....especially regarding the Sega Saturn

Postby AlexHiro4 » Fri Jul 28, 2017 5:22 pm

Shinto-Cetra wrote:AlexHiro4: I probably should have asked this in that MSL! topic you posted and I commented on, but why is it such a big issue that (assuming it is even possible) for the Saturn Satinator to apply the patch to the Japanese disc simultaneously? You say you are a collector, I am somewhat too. Why not just (assuming MSL! is translated -so many "if"s-) take the jewel case wherever you go when you play MSL along with the Saturn Satinator (whenever it comes out)? The Satinator bypasses the CD-ROM drive (unless one manually switches back to the CD-ROM, he tweeted something about that responding to a question), so just patch the file to the Satinator, put the CD-ROM in the slot, and play the game from the Satinator's file? It probably won't spin, but would it really be that big of a deal? I'm not sure if I understand your issues.


If that's my only option, I'd certainly rater do that than not play the game at all. It's not a massive deal, it's just that I feel like owning the disc is a bit of a waste if I'm not actually using it, that's all. Not to mention, I heard about some accessory for the SNES that can actually dump translation patches to Super Famicom carts (with a slight mod, you can play SFC carts on your SNES), and then the system will actually read the cart itself with the modified translation included. With that being said, I thought it would be cool if the Satiator could do something similar so I could feel like my MSL disc was "doing something".
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Re: Frustrated with retro gaming prices....especially regarding the Sega Saturn

Postby AkagisWhiteComet » Sun Aug 06, 2017 4:32 am

I still have my second Sega Saturn console I bought. I had to buy a second one as the one I originally bought when the console released in the US killed over in the later 90s. The three big games I kept were Dragon Force, Albert Odyssey, and Magic Knight Rayearth - all Working Designs games and all seemingly worth a good chunk of money now. I've been tempted but I plan to hold onto them for some time. Rayearth I actually bought from Working Designs as I couldn't find it anywhere in '98 when it FINALLY released after considerable delay and IIRC it was still over $70 then; it was actually the very first game I had ever bought direct from a publisher. Dragon Force and Albert Odyssey I bought new at $20 each when they hit bargain bins. A long time back I got rid of a lot of my run-of-the mill games - the common Sega Saturn games that you pay little for - and have VERY SLOWLY added cheap games I come across. Looking back I should have never got rid of anything.

One thing you'll probably realize is that the more niche' Saturn titles were made in very low qualities. It's not purposely done but rather a sign of the times. You can Google this as it's well known and even some of the older members here can tell you about it as the issue directly affected Working Designs, but Sega of America's policies during the Saturn era were largely what did it in. SOA's President of the time, Bernie Stolar, was previously President of Sony when the PS1 came out. When he went to SOA, he was largely influenced by the "3D" era that the PS1 was bringing with it's more prominent launch and early titles. He didn't think 2D games of any sort, and especially RPGs (supposedly he had a hatred for RPGs), would be able to compete. Thus 1st party titles were largely 3D (Daytona USA, Virtua Fighter, Sega Rally, etc, etc) and 3rd party publishers who produced more 3D-ish games were pushed (sports titles, etc).

Unfortunately this really hit the Saturn hard, as any game that was dual released on Saturn and PS1 (mostly sports games) usually had favorable runs on the PS1. Meanwhile the PS1 continues with whatever it can throw out there, then 1997 and Final Fantasy 7 happens, and then by that point the PS1 just runs away with any JRPG it can bring over, which is why so many classic 32 bit JRPG titles went to PS1. It's really no wonder Sega immediately focused efforts on Dreamcast.

That's the really short version of it all.

Meanwhile the Saturn continued to do VERY well in Japan and continued having published titles well into Y2K. I also dab in imports (I own way more imports than US titles). A lot of very interesting games came to the Saturn in Japan. Most every visual novel shovel-wared itself down to the Saturn and the console also has some incredible 2D shooters and puzzle games.

Some of my personal favorite Saturn titles. I'll talk about the three RPGs I still own;

- Dragon Force - You probably realize by now this is a must have title. It's a very engaging strategy game. Basically you take control of one of eight monarchs (You can't select them all initially), then on an overhead map in real-time move generals and armies and engage other armies. It has a small learning curve with a very gradual engagement curve once you start taking over territory and having to intricately manage castles and forts. It's really great and could REALLY use some sort of modern upgraded version.

- Albert Odyssey - I didn't appreciate this game as much as I did when I first bought it but some years later I did a play-through and enjoyed it. In terms of traditional 2D, turned-based JRPG it's a pretty good Saturn title. Toshiyuki Kubooka who did the character designs for the LUNAR series also did the character designs for Albert Odyssey. Is it worth what it goes for? At $100-$200+ going rate I'd buy Dragon Force over it.

- Magic Knight Rayearth - I was a BIG fan of Rayearth in the mid to later 90s even before the series officially released in the US so I had to buy this game. It shows it's age quite strongly as this was actually a very early 3rd party title published by Kodansha and by the time Working Designs did release it the game was three years old. The best way to describe the game is it plays like an older Zelda game (think Link to the Past) but without the same polish and an EXCEPTIONALLY HUGE missed opportunity. While there are three main characters you only control one at a time and she's the only one that attacks and takes damage. Whomever you're not controlling just lingers behind like a doll of sorts. I was very disappointed here as I felt maybe allowing an extra player to jump in (i.e., Secret of Mana on the SNES) would have been crazy cool. It's a very easy game to beat as towards the end Hououji Fuu gets a homing bow-and-arrow and you can just play as her and breeze through. It's nowhere near worth the $300-$400 it sells for gameplay wise. I believe that something around 5,000 units were pressed which attributes to it's rarity.

Some of my other favorites besides the super obvious Saturn favorites like Nights and Panzer Dragon are;

- WipEout - This of course was originally a PS1 title and continued Sony franchise but it was ported to the Saturn. It's a good port but not as good as on the PS1. Still though in terms of most other driving game titles other than the 1st party releases this is one of the better racing games on the Saturn.

- Daytona USA CCE - Much better than the original Daytona USA arcade port. CCE has more features and runs much smoother with less noticeable draw. A lot of the early 1st party launch titles were very much rushed and this version of Daytona is incredibly polished for the Saturn.

- Battle Stations - This is a VERY underrated ship death match game by Electronic Arts. Basically think of the board game Battleship, played out one-on-one between two players, with a variety of military ships with various strengths and weaknesses. However instead of stationary pegged ships you're literally driving each ship around and aiming guns at the same time. When you get the controls down and understand the dynamics it's crazy fun. Another game that really could use some sort of modern equivalent.

- Tempest 2000 - This is a great shooter/puzzle game with a great soundtrack. It's ported to Saturn but it retains most of the gameplay from it's Jaguar-based original.

- Command & Conquer - It's a port of the PC game but it's a good port. This is the original C&C that bases largely off of Westwood's previous title Dune 2 on the Sega Genesis.

- Tokiemki Memorial (import) - I know you said you can't read Japanese but this is probably one of the Saturn's most important games. Tokimeki Memorial was a dating sim franchise that was released by Konami in '94 on the PC Engine. When it got a Saturn port, it also received fully-voiced characters which the PC Engine lacked. Literally every single line of dialogue spoken by someone who isn't the silent protagonist has a dialogue line. The other great thing about the game is it encourages you to date more than one girl, but if you do so the game becomes very difficult later on as you have to juggle schedules. If you mess up or miss a date, the girl in question tells the other girls which lowers all your stats across the board (the "bomb feature" as it's called). Late in the game it can get pretty crazy. This game was made before Metal Gear Solid saw release on the PS1 and is often considered the game that saved Konami and pushed them to release more of their great later titles of the 90s and early Y2K. Another great tidbit about it is that Hideo Kojima was actually one of the producers for the game, and in a later Tokimeki Memorial title there is a homage to MGS.

Those are really my more enjoyable titles. I do hate I didn't get to enjoy more of the physical releases during the time such as Burning Rangers and the later Panzer Dragon games. I was mostly focused on PS1 though and just bought Saturn titles when they either caught my fancy or were in bargain bin. Around 2001/02 I realized that Japan got many more titles than the US did and began to start importing Saturn titles.

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Re: Frustrated with retro gaming prices....especially regarding the Sega Saturn

Postby Kizyr » Fri Aug 11, 2017 4:04 am

Hm, well, I have a lot of love for the Saturn in spite of the paltry support it got in the US. I have a Model 1 US Saturn (literally bought it the month it came out in 1995 -- which is also why I never have or never will buy a system at launch ever again) that still works perfectly fine, and a Japanese Saturn (bought for only $50, which I needed to transfer over saves between the Shining Force 3 games).

Also I have... 28 games if you count the Lunar ones. Most of them are pretty good. Some are... not worth seeking out. There aren't any that were crazy-rare collector items that cost me >$100 when I bought them, though several of them would go for that much now. (Although that may change when one day I finally break down and buy Panzer Dragoon Saga.)

I'll run down the list and comment on a few that are pretty good.

For US games:
Albert Odyssey - Really fun classic JRPG, the first one I played for the Saturn. The story's a little generic, but the WD translation injected some levity into it, the spritework is good, and the music is beautiful (live instrumentation!), so it still holds up better than you'd expect.
Battle Arena Toshinden - Mediocre fighting game when everything was just going 3D.
Dragon Force I - Already mentioned, but one of the best games for the Saturn and an incredibly fun tactical-style RPG, with great surprises in store for the different replays as the different leaders.
Magic Knight Rayearth - Tail-end of the Saturn's lifespan, but still a really fun Action RPG, even though I was never into the anime.
Myst - I liked it, but it's just the port of the PC game.
Nights: Into Dreams - Oh boy, this was a lot more fun than I ever expected it to be, and even though the graphics seem a little dated the gameplay itself was really smooth and fun. Unfortunately they tried to copy it too much and ended up with the awful Dreamcast controller as a result (not commenting on the system, but the controller was awful).
Panzer Dragoon - I've always loved shooters since playing Galaga as a little kid, and everything about Panzer Dragoon was loads of fun. Beautiful background and world design, challenging gameplay, and quite beautiful music. It might seem a little dated by today's standards (it's a rail shooter) but I also think it still holds up.
Shining Wisdom - The first game I really played a lot for the Saturn (and the first WD title). A fun Action RPG, but doesn't really hold up to replays nor was it really memorable.
(Ok hang on... I know I used to have Clockwork Knight and Bug! somewhere here... Did I sell those and forget about them?)

For Japanese games:
Sakura Taisen 1 - Ah, yeah, I haven't played more than the first 1-2 hours of this and didn't get back around to it yet...
Sakura Taisen 2 - Same as above.
Shining Force 3: Episodes 1, 2, & 3 - And this is my favorite series outside of Lunar for the Saturn. I've talked about this a whole lot already, but I just enjoyed so much the immense world of the game, multiple perspectives, tactical RPG fights, even leveling up characters... This was just a great experience, and sad that episodes 2-3 were never localized for the US.
Snatcher - An update of the Sega CD game, a menu-driven RPG with some mild battle elements. I love cyberpunk and the original Snatcher was my first introduction to the genre, so this will always hold a special place for me.
Slayers Royal - An RPG based on the anime. If you loved the anime, don't get the game -- it's boring and lacks the charm of the anime.
Sentimental Graffiti - Weird dating sim that feels like it tries to pick up where Tokimeki Memorial left off. I only played a bit of it, but it lacks the characterization and charm that the Tokimeki Memorial series has. (Plus micromanaging things like your job and travel/lodging expenses is a little overkill.)
Tokimeki Memorial: Forever with You - I'm a big fan of the Tokimeki Memorial series also, and this is the second version of the game I have. The full voice (as already mentioned) is a great touch and I love the characterization they did here. ...although parts of it are a little uncomfortably antiquated given that it dates from the 1990s.
Tokimeki Memorial Shiori Special - ...why do I still have this? I can't stand Shiori. You spend all your time and ruin your life trying to impress her only for--
Dragon Force II - Very similar in style to Dragon Force I, but with new leaders and a new storyline. Though... to be honest a lot of the storyline seems derivative of the first, and only some gameplay elements are improved, so overall it doesn't feel like a huge advancement over the first game.
Panzer Dragoon II - Only played a bit of this... If I had the time to practice shooters again I'd have played more, as it looks at least as good as its predecessor.
Puyo Puyo 2 - My favorite puzzle game. I am a boss at Puyo Puyo. Just as WDRPGWD, he'll tell you about all the times I completely owned him in that*.
Policenauts - Another game that I wish had been localized! It's Hideo Kojima's follow-up to Snatcher -- not a sequel, but a completely different game set further in the future. It's also a menu-driven RPG, but with a much more original sci-fi/cyberpunk story (and random callbacks to Snatcher and Metal Gear Solid).
Magical School Lunar - Well, you already know what my thoughts are about this one. Even wrote a whole strategy guide.
Lunar Silver Star Story - And of course you already know this game.
Lunar Eternal Blue Complete - And this one too! The Saturn version however lacked the extra dungeons put in the PS1 version.

So if I had to pick some of the best titles, besides the Lunar series, those would be:
Shining Force 3: Episodes 1, 2, & 3
Policenauts
Tokimeki Memorial
Dragon Force I
Panzer Dragoon I
Nights Into Dreams

* "owned" in this sense meaning that we'll do a 100-round series and end at like 50/50. KF
Last edited by Alunissage on Tue Aug 15, 2017 1:10 am, edited 1 time in total.
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