Sega may not be a household name now, but it was in the 1980s and 1990s. This includes the Sega Saturn, Sony’s answer to the PlayStation 1. Its performance was hindered by a mix of bad marketing decisions and a lack of consistency.
The Sega Saturn’s tale isn’t over, though, since the fandom, albeit small, is still quite active. Today, the only way to play Sega Saturn games is to use emulators. Sega Saturn emulators, on the other hand, have been notoriously difficult to develop due to the console’s notoriously poor emulation ability.
Gamers may play games on the Sega Saturn thanks to its 32-bit architecture, which was introduced in Japan on November 22, 1994, and in the United States on May 11, 1995. The selling price was $399.99. It had two Hitachi SH-2 CPUs running at 28.6 MHz, as well as the VDP1 and VDP2 graphics processors. Game storage and sound have been removed from the ST-V (Sega Titan Video) arcade board (where it is stored on ROM cartridges instead of CD-ROM discs).
Historically, the Sega Saturn has been one of the most difficult platforms to replicate, leading to a dearth of excellent alternatives. However, open-source emulators like Mednafen and Yabause are on the rise.
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Best Sega Saturn Emulators In 2021
In the emulation world, if you’ve been around for a while, you’ve probably heard about RetroArch before. It can emulate more than 80 obsolete systems, including the Sega Saturn.
RetroArch’s greatest strength is that it’s easy to use. If you’re not tech-savvy, you can download the programme, load up your Saturn ROM, and you’ll be good to go. A slick PS4-like UI makes you feel like you’re using a real console.
Aside from that, RetroArch is entirely configurable, with a slew of options that you may tweak if you want to customise your gaming experience. So genuine is the emulation experience that you can even add TV-like borders.
This emulator also supports Twitch and YouTube streaming. It also supports Netplay, allowing you to play online Sega Saturn games.
Mednafen, like RetroArch, is a jack-of-all-trades who can do it all. A number of consoles and operating systems, including Sega Saturn, maybe emulated with this emulator. Yet even though it is one of the best Sega Saturn emulation programmes, Mednafen has the unfortunate reputation of being extremely difficult to use.
As a result, the emulator runs from a command prompt instead of a clickable interface that is easy to use. Mednaffe is a front-end version of Mednafen that is more user-friendly with its comprehensive user interface and colours.
Besides being a media player, Mednaffe is also a Sega Saturn gaming server that runs on Windows and Linux. Mednaffe allows you to enter cheats for usage in your games. You may utilise shortcuts to access them or manually execute them if you want.
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With SSF, you can run your Sega Saturn CDs. What to do with your old Sega Saturn CDs if you’ve saved them?
Without owning the original CDs, SSF lets you run ROMs so that you may play your favourite Sega Saturn games again. All regions (including NTSC-U and NTSC-J) are supported as well as an emulated speed lever to speed up your gaming.
Because it runs without a BIOS file, it is an improvement over other emulators that rely on them to replicate their particular consoles’ systems.
An Android version of the emulator was published after the PC version was launched. When playing more graphically demanding games, the Android version is quite reliable.
As one of the most widely used Sega Saturn emulators, Yabause is renowned for providing the smoothest emulation experience of all. Starting with the video emulator, Yabause relies on OpenGL, coupled with DirectX or default SDL audio. It’s also possible to create shortcuts on the emulator so that you may play games at your leisure.
Originally built for Linux, the emulator can now run on Windows, Mac OSX, and even Android devices thanks to modifications. You should be aware that the list of compatible Sega Saturn games on Yabause is rather restricted, with certain titles completely inaccessible to the user. While this may be true, we nevertheless advocate using it if the game you wish to play is completely compatible with Yabause.
If you’re searching for a retro-appearing emulator, don’t be misled by Satourne’s dated UI. This emulator is jam-packed with features and functions. Additionally, this emulator is user-friendly, with menus and controls that are easy to use, so you’ll be able to find your way about with little to no trouble.
OpenGL and DSound plug-ins are also used by Satourne for enhanced visuals and sounds.
However, despite its similarity to Satourne, Saturnin functions totally differently: It was created by a French programmer by the name of Runik. Saturnin is a little emulator that just has four key buttons: Start/Stop/Pause/Next. Installation of a particular DLL file is required to add additional inputs for Saturnin.
There is a language option to modify the language of Saturnin.
It’s a strong emulator that can mimic a number of ancient systems, including the Sega Saturn, like RetroArch and Mednafen. When it comes to speedrunning, BizHawk is the best choice. This emulator features sophisticated key mapping and a slow-motion tool that allows you to adjust your gameplay on the fly.
Also included is the ability to save your game at any time throughout your gaming. In fact, using the emulator’s macros, you may automate your gameplay activities and save time.
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8. Yaba Sanshiro (Previously UoYabause)
It is an unofficial harbour of Yabause. Uses OpenGL ES 3.X on the Android platform. However, owing to compatibility concerns with OpenGL ES 2.0, it may not operate on older Android devices. As long as you have the proper hardware, you can play Sega Saturn games on your phone using this app.
Even though Yaba Sanshiro is compatible with iOS devices, installing it might be a bit of a challenge. The reason for this is that the method includes connecting to iTunes and tinkering with your computer’s CD-ROM. But even if it does operate flawlessly on your smartphone, there are still drawbacks to be considered.
So, for example, not all Sega Saturn games are compatible with Yaba Sanshiro, and not every compatible game works completely with the game either. It’s still worth considering Yaba Sanshiro, given the limited selection of Sega Saturn emulators available for smartphones nowadays.