The first Sega Saturn devkits were super long

Cal Jeffrey

Posts: 3,039   +817
Staff member
Vintage tech: The Sega Saturn launched in November of 1994. As with almost all gaming consoles, game makers were given access to developer kits (devkits). One of the first devkits for the Saturn was called the Address Checker, and it was enormous compared to commercial units.

A Japanese collector of vintage video game hardware and anime paraphernalia tweeted a couple of pictures showing off his Sega Saturn Address Checker. The devkit was used to ensure games did not break any of Sega's memory usage rules.

The collector, who goes by Ranma on Twitter, says the unit is worth about one million yen ($9,650). Ranma did not share too much information about the devkit or where he got it. He claims to be a former Sega Saturn developer, so it might be one he held on to for all these years.

The most notable feature of the Address Checker is its length—it is about three-feet long. To give it some perspective, here is a Sega Saturn sitting inside an Address Checker chassis (below). Later versions of the devkit were not much bigger than a standard Sega Saturn.

If you are interested in the more technical details, the Operation Manual is posted online.

Found is a TechSpot feature where we share clever, funny or otherwise interesting stuff from around the web.

Image credit: SSAC by Ranma, Comparison by NFG

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QuantumPhysics

Posts: 5,033   +5,643
I remember the first time I saw a Saturn in Toys R Us.

I didn't understand it...mostly because the disc start GUI was so poorly designed.

I think back to how the anticipation and the launch of Playstation blew Sega out of the water. Saturn and Dreamcast.
 

AMDGeForceRX3090

Posts: 41   +47
I remember the first time I saw a Saturn in Toys R Us.

I didn't understand it...mostly because the disc start GUI was so poorly designed.

I think back to how the anticipation and the launch of Playstation blew Sega out of the water. Saturn and Dreamcast.

Wat? The system GUI is incredibly simple. There's a 9x9 grid of buttons, the shapes give away what they are but more than that there's a subtitle saying what each one is when you move over it. A ***** could navigate it no problem. Also you'd only go on that screen if you turned on the machine without a disk in or did the soft reset with the controller to go back to the menu. Otherwise turning on the machine would just cause the game to boot same as the Playstation.
 

QuantumPhysics

Posts: 5,033   +5,643
Wat? The system GUI is incredibly simple. There's a 9x9 grid of buttons, the shapes give away what they are but more than that there's a subtitle saying what each one is when you move over it. A ***** could navigate it no problem. Also you'd only go on that screen if you turned on the machine without a disk in or did the soft reset with the controller to go back to the menu. Otherwise turning on the machine would just cause the game to boot same as the Playstation.


Yeah: so simple the system failed.
 

lostinlodos

Posts: 187   +46
For the uninvolved: the Saturn failed for one simple reason; it was difficult to properly program for, at the time.
Like the related dual and multi-core computing systems at the time actual ability of programmers to program to the full power of the system was lacking.
I still have mine. And it still works well. Running a semi-custom Risc target BSD.

The Saturn was at the time known for terrible everything due to poor quality 3rd party programmer’s work.
However it also is known today for some of the best looking games of that era and today.
Sega was just way too far ahead of the rest of the computing industry.

More specific to the article, the Dev kits weren’t anything all that special. They were just custom firmware kits with some diagnostic tools, but otherwise normal systems. The value is the rarity.
This one simply had the expanded power supply installed in the case and used a standard d-type computer cable. Later versions used the same consumer brick power supply.