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Enterprising SEGA fan builds portable Saturn console

With the modern prevalence of smartphones, tablets and other such pocketable devices, handheld gaming systems have fallen a bit by the technological wayside. While once it was commonplace to see a kid out and about with a GameBoy Advance, or a commuter on the bus playing Brain Training on a comically bulky OG clamshell DS, you’re far more likely these days to see them boring their eyes into whatever the hell the latest entry in the Candy Crush series is. Series. Really. Because its compelling, intellectual gameplay and ever-evolving meta scene simply demanded multiple revisits.

Point is, now that we’re all effectively carrying small PCs around with us in our jackets – or in our purses if you’re of the contradictory gender; sorry ladies, fashion companies have you by the scruff – there seems to be little market for traditional on-the-go gaming. Or so many thought, until that notion was blown out of the water in the past couple of years courtesy of the fellows at Nintendo.

Ah, R.O.B. So cute, so marketable, and yet so devious. The perfect cover.

By masquerading the Switch as a home system, and then sneakily putting out a cheaper one some months later that’s handheld only, the Big N has managed to Trojan Horse its way back into a demographic that most analysts believed had been sucked dry. It wasn’t the first stunt of theirs like this; ROB and the NES being marketed as ‘interactive toys’ to an audience sick of the term ‘video game’ springs to mind. Cunning little buggers, aren’t they?

In the wake of the Switch’s staggering success, things have ironically come full circle as several imitators have sought to produce Joy-Con-esque attachments for phones. Looks like the analog stick is on the other dock now, eh, Samsung? Of course, it hasn’t just been limited to mobile gaming; fans of retro paraphernalia have been working to bring some of our favourite aged home systems to the palms of our sweaty, carpal-tunneled hands.

Your eyes don’t deceive you. That’s a real, operational, portable Phillips CDi. Christ on a bike.

That’s where today’s story comes in. YouTuber TZMWX has put together a fully-functioning, encased SEGA Saturn emulator, and it’s a thing of beauty. Have a watch of the video where he pulls back the proverbial curtain on the contraption below:

Ooh, it’s like 2005 all over again. Well, if the mid-90s happened in 2005.

Set to some suitably funky music, we get a look inside the intricacies of the device over the course of the 5 minute showcase. It’s rocking a full motherboard littered with Saturn components, and all the little bells and whistles required to make it actually run. It appears to be held together via a combination of soldering and electrical tape, and is housed inside sleek, white casing that would certainly look the part if it ever hits the (unlicensed) market.

The creator goes on to show off some software running on it; upon booting, you’re presented with a large list of emulatable Saturn titles to choose from, including classics Panzer Dragoon and Street Fighter Alpha 2, the latter of which we get to see in motion. It’s… pretty wild. The handheld even lets you make use of the Saturn’s proprietary music player, so if you want to hear crunchy MP3s through its tinny lil’ speakers, go nuts.

Are you excited by the prospect of this project? Will you be keeping an eye on the ‘Saturn Switch’, as it were? Let us know below!

Via, YouTube.

Bobby Mills

Motor-mouthed Brit with a decades long - well, two decades, at least - passion for gaming. Writer, filmmaker, avid lover of birthdays. Still remembers the glory days of ONM. May it rest in peace.
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