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Best SEGA Saturn emulators for PC

Well here we continue testing and collecting emulators to create a list that allows you to choose the best SEGA Saturn emulators for PC . The list of emulators is not very extensive, but it can be said that the vast majority of the catalog of games is playable although many of them are of Japanese origin since it is where SEGA Saturn was most successful.

A little history of SEGA Saturn.

SEGA Saturn was the console designed to be the successor to SEGA Mega Drive but it is true that its success was not all that could be expected. It was first launched in Japan at the end of 1994 and mid-1995 towards its modest appearance in the USA.

The console was released in a hurry, as SEGA’s strategy was to try to get ahead of its competitor Playstation, which Saturn was not able to shade. With the appearance of Nintendo 64 Saturn it sank further and was displaced from the market.

In spite of the fact that the failed commercial strategy and that the catalog is not very extensive, I think it is worth trying some games in its catalog that are today great classics.

Best SEGA Saturn emulators for PC.

As the list is not very long, we currently have two large emulators that are still active with their development and are: SSF and Yabause. There are other emulators but we will only name them since they are not as developed as the previous ones and are abandoned projects.

SSF Saturn SEGA emulator with great compatibility.

SSF was one of the first emulators available for SEGA Saturn and is currently continuing the development by its author who is a Japanese (little else I could find out). The official SSF page is completely in Japanese (the emulator menus come in English) so I will give a series of indications about this SEGA Saturn emulator .

The first thing to keep in mind is that depending on the version chosen we can have more or less compatibility with the games. The latest version in theory has better compatibility, but there were cases in which the latest version did not start the game and with an earlier version did. For my tests I always use the latest version of SSF and version 0.10 R1.

During my tests I also found a bug in version 0.12 R4, which means that minimizing SSF gives a Direct3D error (at least on my PC).

Another important issue is that in the latest versions two executables are incorporated: ssf.exe and ssfa.exe. The difference is that ssf.exe is for 32-bit systems and ssfa.exe is designed for 64-bit operating systems.

The recommended requirements to play fluently in SSF are quite demanding, since at least it requires a dual-core processor and a DirectX9.0c compatible graphics card .

Finally, it is totally free and for me it is the best option in terms of SEGA Saturn emulators for PC .

Latest version: 0.12 R4
Date of latest version: June 26, 2013
Official page: http://www7a.biglobe.ne.jp/~phantasy/ssf/files/index.html

Yabause the open source SEGA Saturn emulator.

Yabause is an open source emulator and totally free. It is currently quite evolved and is a good alternative to SSF. But I have found a series of weaknesses against SSF :

  • Less fluidity in the videos and during the game in some video games.
  • Reduced compatibility list.
  • Reduced emulation options compared to those offered by SSF.

On the other hand Yabause has its strengths and surpasses SSF in the following aspects :

  • It allows to open ISO files directly.
  • Less use of RAM (55MB versus 150MB of SSF).
  • It is open source.
  • It is cross platform (Linux, Mac, Windows, PSP, Wii, Dreamcast).

Latest Version: 0.9.13
Date of latest version: December 15, 2013
Official page: http://yabause.org

In short, if I had to choose one, my first option would be SSF and then Yabause.

The two abandoned emulators of SEGA Saturn: Satourne and Saturnin.

I name them to show you the alternatives, but in reality today I don’t see them use since they have become outdated, especially Saturnin since Satourne still emulates the odd game decently.

Saturning:

Latest Version: 0.40
Date of latest version: December 26, 2005
Official page: http://saturnin.consollection.com

Satourne:

Latest version: 2.0 beta3
Date of last version: 30 / March / 2008
Official page: http://www.satourne.consollection.com

The SEGA Saturn BIOS

An important issue is that emulators can use a BIOS file that differs depending on the region, I know 4 BIOS: eu, jp, jp v1.01 and us. That is to say the version of Europe, that of Japan (which has two versions) and that of the United States.

These BIOS files are not necessary in the case of SSF or Yabause since the program itself emulates the BIOS, but there are cases in which they recommend using it because in some games it achieves an improvement in emulation and increases the compatibility list . I recommend using the BIOS if the game you are testing does not work for you.

For copyright reasons I cannot link to the BIOS download, but if you search on Google I am sure you will find them.

The CD images of Sega Saturn.

Another important issue is that SEGA Saturn games are not ROMS but are CD image files in ISO format , so you will need a CD / DVD emulator such as Daemon Tools, Power Iso or Alcohol 120%.

In some cases, you can bring a file with a cue extension and an audio track in wav or mp3 format in addition to the ISO file. Cue files can be viewed with a text editor and only serve to locate resources and in many cases are not necessary. These cue files are important when we have an audio track in wav or mp3 format, since this resource will be located as an audio track in the cue file.

I hope you liked the compilation with the best SEGA Saturn emulators for PC that we have available and soon I will recommend some games.

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