The Top 3 Must Have Sega Saturn Accessories

As you know, the category of “retro video game accessories” is a very mixed bag. Remember the Power Glove? It was a prestigious NES accessory that children couldn’t afford and parents wouldn’t buy.

The advertisements essentially boasted that it would bring our games to life by mystical forces (while telling us nothing about how it works or what it does). Ironically, the Power Glove is just as baffling and mysterious in real life as the ads promised.

Few of us ever learned how it was supposed to work. And none of us ever got it to work properly.

Fortunately, not all game accessories are completely useless. Some are entirely essential, like controllers.

Today, we’re here to talk about the most important Sega Saturn accessories (besides controllers). These are the Saturn Backup Memory, extended RAM cartridges, and the GameShark.

Read this guide to discover what they are and why you need them!

Saturn Backup Memory

The Saturn Backup Memory or Backup RAM Cartridge is a removable storage drive used to save Sega Saturn Accessoriesyour gameplay progress and other game data. In other words, it’s the same type of “memory card” device that many disk-based game systems use.

At the time, however, this technology was still pretty new, predating the Sony PlayStation. Until this point, game data from disc-based games was usually stored in the game console’s internal storage drive.

As such, the Saturn Backup RAM Cartridge isn’t universally compatible like you’d expect. Many Saturn titles can only save data onto the console because they don’t recognize external storage devices.

Still, for games that are compatible, you can use the “Copy” feature to move save files from the console to your Backup Cartridge and vice versa. That way, you can have unlimited storage space for compatible games. This is especially important for games that are too long to complete without saving, like Shining Force III.

The storage capacity of the official Saturn Backup Memory cartridge is about half a megabyte, which is 16 times larger than the Saturn’s internal storage drive. Additionally, there are several compatible third-party memory cartridges of various storage capacities.

Extended RAM Cartridges

Sega Saturn’s Extended RAM cartridges extend the system’s working memory by 1 or 4 MB. Technically, they only exist to correct a fatal flaw inherent in the system itself.Sega Saturn Accessories - 4mb Ram Cartridge

In most respects, particularly the CPUs and video processors, the Saturn’s technology was very ahead of its time. Sadly, the working memory was extremely limited, too limited to allow the system to perform at its full potential.

So, by boosting the RAM with external RAM extensions, the system can work the way it was meant to. For this reason, some of the best Sega Saturn games require an extended RAM cartridge in order to function. This includes X-Men vs Street Fighter, Metal Slug, and Street Fighter Alpha 3.

Some compatible games don’t require the extended RAM, but still benefit from its memory-boosting power. Both Marvel Super Heroes and Pocket Fighter, for example, down scaled the character animations and other graphical elements in order to run on the console. But with the extended RAM cartridge, the Saturn runs the “full” version of the game with these graphical enhancements restored.

Sega’s official 1MB/4MB extended RAM cartridges were only released as standalone accessories in Japan. However, each US-released game that required extended RAM was sold as a bundle that included a compatible cartridge. Also, there are plenty of third-party extended RAM cartridges you can buy.

GameShark (Action Replay)

GameShark, known as Action Replay outside the US, is a game-hacking cheat device for theSega Saturn Accessories - GameShark - Cheat Code Enabler Saturn console. Users input 12-digit codes to alter various game functions.

Usually, this allows cheats like infinite ammo/lives, faster enemies, and walking through walls. You can easily find GameShark codes for your favorite games on various video game cheat sites.

Additionally, the GameShark can disable region locking, so you can play import games. It also works as a memory card for storing codes and game saves. You can even connect it to a computer to back up this data on your hard drive or download additional codes.


Action Replay Plus

Now, here’s the best part. You no longer have to track down and purchase all of these accessories separately. All 3 (technically 4, including both variations of extended RAM carts) are now combined into the Action Replay Plus cartridge.

Sega Saturn Accessories - Action Replay PlusIt functions as a memory card with 4MB of storage space. That’s 8 times the storage space featured on the official Saturn Backup Memory cartridge.

It also works as either a 1MB or a 4MB RAM extension as needed by any compatible game. You can also use it as a GameShark for game hacking. And it bypasses region locking so you can play import titles.

Although, not all versions of the cartridge feature the communication port for computer connectivity. This is only included in early models, which are harder to find/more expensive than subsequent versions. Thus, some retro gamers have found a way to add the omitted port by modifying the cartridge.

Still, regardless of the comms port, this is the ultimate Sega Saturn accessory, the one you need above all others.

Sega Saturn Accessories - St Key SaturnST Key

Here’s one last honorable mention: the Sega Saturn ST Key. It also bypasses the Saturn’s region lock, so you can play imports.

But, since it doesn’t offer any RAM extension, it isn’t compatible with games that require extended RAM. Thus, the Action Replay Plus is clearly the better option.

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Wednesday, 22 May 2024