This one came upon me almost as surprising as the console’s own release. The Sega Saturn came out in North American 20 years ago on this date.

The Saturn, for those of you who didn’t know or forgot with the passage of time, had a surprise early launch in the region. Sega of Japan decided to release the console, which had been scheduled for September of 1995, early to get an advantage over Sony’s PlayStation. During E3 of that year, Tom Kalinske shocked most of the attendees by revealing that consoles were already shipped to select retailers across the region.

Unfortunately, this pissed off many retailers who weren’t among those chosen. Even worse, almost all third-party publishers were caught by surprise. Their games were on track for a Fall release and the new console shipped with only 6 Sega-published titles available initially.

And what of the video game buying public? Many were hesitant to give Sega’s new machine a chance. Sega’s 32X add-on for the Sega Genesis had been released only 6 months prior and bombed terribly on the market. The Saturn was retailing for $399. Many decided to wait and see what the PlayStation had to offer before making a major purchase.

Naturally, the North American launch is considered a disaster,

Thunder Force V

Despite all of this, the Saturn’s worldwide library still holds a special place in many of our hearts. So many of the non-3D games hold up fairly well today and are just as fun to play. Today, this writer fired up his Saturn to play Thunder Force V. What Saturn games are you playing?