Comparing the legacy of the Sega Saturn to that of the Nintendo Wii U

A few years ago I purchased a Sega Saturn game console. Sega Saturn was the follow-up to the highly successful Sega Genesis. Sega Genesis was the very first game console that my parents bought for me that was my own. I got it for my 12th birthday which is why I often go by the username Sega gamer12 online.

I’m like the Sega CD which I had a blast playing and collecting for, I never enjoyed collecting for the Sega Saturn. One of the problems was the games were too rare thus making them expensive. I also got tired of going out of my way to track down that so-called hidden Gem to discover that it wasn’t comparable to its Playstation One counterpart. But the lack of sales and the Mystique surrounding the games has propelled the console to become a highly overrated much sought-after collector’s item.

When I first learned about the Wii U, I was not impressed. I made fun of the system like most people did partially because I didn’t care that much for the original Wii. I purchase the machine and started buying the Marquee titles because I felt if the sales were going to remain low and the games were going to be consistently high quality then there was a chance that it would retain its collector value. My first assumption was if it remains rare it will be much like the Sega Saturn gaining in value especially among the games that are higher quality but lower quantity in units sold.

It’s only 2018. The Wii U has already been replaced by the Nintendo switch. We’re not even 3 years into the life of the Nintendo switch and the Wii U is already largely forgotten by the greater Gaming Community. The Sega Saturn was one of numerous failed Hardware machines the Sega released in the late 1990s. I distinctly remember going to pawn shops looking for current Sega games for the then new Sega Dreamcast and being told that there was no value to the Sega brand my Pawnbrokers.

Now that I look back on it I don’t believe that the Wii U hurt Nintendo’s image nearly as bad as a Sega Saturn hurt Sega’s image. One key difference is Nintendo stuck with the Wii U, albeit rather stubbornly, clear to the end. Whereas Sega abandoned the Sega Saturn even before its successor, the Sega Dreamcast was released to the market.

Similar to how gamers to this day discuss the 16-bit console Wars that took place between the Super NES and the Sega Genesis all those years ago. I believe gamers will be looking at what went wrong with the Wii U and what could Nintendo have done differently if anything. Unlike the Nintendo GameCube which was up against a vastly more popular and super hyped machine, the PS2, the Wii U was released at the tail end of the Xbox 360 and PS3 life cycles. It wasn’t facing monstrous competition from tremendously more successful machines as the GameCube was yet it couldn’t even Garner the same number of sales as a GameCube, barely surpassing the Sega Dreamcast.

As I look back on why I made my decision to buy a Wii U. I contemplate what enjoyment I did get from it and I realize that despite the lackluster sales I did enjoy a fair number of games on machine. Including a good number of which have already been ported over to the Nintendo switch. As I look back on the Sega Saturn mostly what I see are a handful of incomplete, rushed, inferior ports or even exclusives that do not do the game console legitimate Justice. I barely see a handful of hidden gems that justify its existence. However I do not see that with the Wii U. I see a library that is riddled with garbage ports missing large amounts of content from its counterparts on other competing consoles. Subsidized buy extremely well polished Nintendo first and second party games surrounded by a handful of comparable third-party exclusives designed to take advantage of the machine’s capabilities and targeted directly to the core audience.

The biggest difference between the Sega Saturn and the Nintendo Wii U is that Nintendo has had 20 years on top of Sega Saturn to learn Their audience and discover how to cater a software library that appeals to that audience. Sega Saturn was barely sega’s 3rd or 4th console depending on what you count regardless it was only sega’s third console generation each completely different from the prior. Sega had not yet figured out what Their audience was or what would appeal to them. I would argue that they’re still trying to discover that truth to this day.

For several reasons I believe that the Nintendo Wii U will be fairly but possibly unjustly compared to the Sega Saturn for years to come. Although I personally consider it more akin to the Nintendo 64 in terms of what Nintendo was trying to do as well as what they actually achieved. But I still believe that the Wii U was a vastly superior and tremendously more enjoyable game console to own and collect for and play games on then the Sega Saturn.

Let’s compare software libraries. The Sega Saturn was primarily home to a ton of arcade ports and PC ports with a small sprinkling of original titles created exclusive for it. They were under 300 games released for the system even fewer than the Nintendo 64 and it’s extremely limited Library. Some of the Heavy Hitters include virtual racing Virtua Fighter, Sonic 3D Blast, Virtua cop, Panzer Dragoon, bug!, Clockwork Knight, nights into dreams, burning Rangers, mr. Bones, mystara, and a few racing and sports titles. The vast majority of the rest of the software Library had potential but fell short one way or another.

Nintendo Wii U on the other hand is home to one of the best Super Smash Brothers video games. Also one of the best Super Mario Kart video games, Super Mario 3D World, Donkey Kong Country tropical Freeze, the wonderful 1:01, and 3 Legend of Zelda games including 2 HD remakes among other iconic software titles. Between the two systems Nintendo’s first party games definitely outshines sega’s first party offerings. the clear winner is Nintendo Wii U.

The Sega Saturn had one tremendous flaw it was designed with the Sega Genesis 32x and Sega CD Hardware built in yet it was not compatible with software from those three machines. Because of the complex nature of the system’s internal architecture it was difficult for third-party developers to create games for. Also due to the low Hardware units sold it was unprofitable for developers to invest in the machine.

Now the Nintendo Wii U did have the side effect if you will which was a benefit of being 100% backwards compatible with the extremely successful Nintendo Wii. Including the Nintendo Wii virtual console as well as its own virtual console and eShop.

Once again the winner is the Nintendo Wii U.

Auxiliary features on the Sega Saturn include a keyboard and mouse support as well as online capabilities and light gun accessories among others. The Wii U was fully compatible with all of the accessories that were usable on the Wii as well as it’s very own Gamepad tablet-style controller. It also had improved motion controls improved internet capabilities and above all HD graphics something the Wii probably should have had from the start. The Sega Saturn was designed to be a next-generation Home console on par with what sega’s competitors were doing. this was not the case for the Wii U it was released at the same specs that it’s very own predecessor should have been released with. In other words the Wii U was a full Hardware generation behind the times. this gives the advantage to the Sega Saturn.

In terms of controllers the Wii U’s default controls are superior in every way to the Sega Saturn default controls. Even purchasing the optional upgraded controllers for the Sega Saturn was not comparable even the default controls on the Wii U let alone its Superior optional controllers. Both machines utilize a CD-ROM based optical disc for storing games. Saturn used the CD-ROM and Nintendo Wii U use a variation of the Blu-ray Drive. this gives the advantage once again to the Wii U which was using more current technology in terms of or technology was the time compare to the Sega Saturn. giving the edge again to the Nintendo Wii U.

at the time of its released the Sega Saturn was using a limited form of internal storage that was not upgradeable without purchasing proprietary storage devices. The Wii U was fully upgradeable using off-the-shelf industry-standard storage capabilities including SD cards and USB hard drives. It came with sufficient internal storage for game save State purposes this was not the case with the Sega Saturn which required constant memory management in order to play games. Giving the final advantage to the Nintendo Wii U.

it’s no secret that the machine that was released 20 years later would be Superior in every way. what kind of surprising is the fact that even though it was technically a mid generation release the Nintendo Wii U still did more in terms of overall customer satisfaction then the Sega Saturn did at the time of its release. at the end of the day this self-proclaimed Sega fanboy would still pick the Nintendo Wii U over the Sega Saturn.

Published by

Stephanie Bri

A transgender writer who also does podcasts and videos. If you like my writing please consider helping me survive. You can support me directly by giving money to my paypal: If you prefer CashApp my handle is @Stephaniebri22. Also feel free to donate to my Patreon. I know it's largely podcast-centric but every little bit helps. Find it by going to, Thank you.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s