The SEGA Saturn was originally designed to be the fastest 2D console on the market, and it still holds this title proudly, but after Sony announced the fully 3D capable Playstation SEGA decided to hastily add 3D capability to the Saturn. The resulting hardware ultimately became the Saturn's downfall. Dual CPUs and the multiple audio and video co-processors brought the Saturn's total processor count to 8. This unorthodox architecture made the Saturn notoriously difficult to program for and discouraged third party developers who decided it would be easier to program games for the Sony Playstation and Nintendo 64 instead. Although the Saturn has more on board RAM and more processing power then the Playstation no game programmers were ever able to fully utilize the Saturn's hardware. The only game ever designed to take full advantage of the Saturn's hardware was Shenmue which unfortunately was never released for the system and was eventually moved to the SEGA Dreamcast. However working demos of Shenmue showed impressively detailed fully 3D environments and animation but because the game was never completed and no new games are being developed for the system the true graphical capabilities of the SEGA Saturn may never be known.
Sega planned to bring out a new console that would have the "most advanced 2D graphics ever" but after seeing the specs for the new Sony Playstation, they had to have a serious re-think. The new Sega console, called SEGA Saturn, was given more chips that meant it could compete with the Playstation, but it was highly difficult to devlop for.
The console didn't sell very well at all, especially in America. Multiple software delays and a lack of games from 3rd party publishers meant not many bought it. The console was only a real sucess in Japan.
The Saturn could do much better jobs of 2D games than any other console, but the 3D games would often looks worse than Playstation.
However the Saturn has become a collector's prized possesion in recent years with a big market available.
Key games for the Saturn include Nights, SEGA Rally, Street Fighter Alpha 2, Radiant Silvergun, Virtua Fighter 2 and Panzer Dragoon Saga.
SEGA originally designed the Saturn for 2D games and were like "Oh shit" when they saw the playstation. The saturn's controller was very similar to the PSX's, (Playstation) except it had 6 buttons in the normal position and 2 shoulder buttons, as the PSX had the SNES 4 button layout with 4 shoulder pads. The saturn's controller was a 6 button SEGA megadrive (SEGA Genesis) controller with shoulder buttons.
The controller was evolutionary of the Megadrive's offering, just like the console was meant to be. The saturn could do a better job of 2D then the PSX and 64, but 3D wasn't as good. With the help of an expansion the saturn could even run some 2D fighters better then the SEGA Dreamcast could. Still, games like Daytona USA are Playstation quality.
The console sold less then 10 million units world wide, mainly due to alot of the good games weren't realeased outside of Japan, and it wasn't as 3D efficent as it's opponents.
The console had decent sales in Japan, less the the PSX's but the Saturn sold more games: The saturn was more liked by people dedicated to gaming.
Also it had a battery for save files, there was a memory card but it was expensive.
Some of the Most popular Saturn games are: NiGHTS into Dreams, Panzer Dragoon series, Dragon force, Guardian heroes, Daytona USA, SEGA rally championship, Virtua Fighter, Fighting Vipers, Fighters Megamix, Radiant Silvergun and more...