Sega Saturn
Image: Damien McFerran / Time Extension

Update [Thu 11th Jan, 2024 16:15 GMT]: TZMWXdiyer has posted a video showing a 'mini' Saturn in action – but it looks like the modder intends to create a handheld system rather than a micro-console.

That's perhaps even more exciting, if we're honest...

Original Story [Wed 10th Jan, 2024 10:00 GMT]: Sega's made some pretty positive steps in the world of micro consoles, releasing two versions of its Mega Drive / Genesis system in miniaturized form.

It recently asked fans which classic Sega console they wanted to see get the same treatment next, and the 32-bit Saturn came out on top – but then, Sega President and COO Yukio Sagano gave the bad news that people would have to wait a little longer for such a device.

A Saturn Mini is certainly something we'd welcome, but Sagano's point about the hardware being quite hard to emulate at a mass-market cost does hold weight; Saturn's internal architecture means it's quite a tricky one to get running reliably on cheap, off the shelf 'system on a chip' options companies like Sega and Nintendo have been using in their micro consoles.

However, it looks like a fan-made Saturn Mini might be on the cards. As prolific hardware modder @TZMWXdiyer explains, someone has fused the SAROO optical disc emulator to an original Saturn motherboard – an experiment which paves the way for a much smaller and compact variant of the console (albeit one that uses original components).

It remains to be seen if this project will result in a sleeker, smaller Saturn, but it certainly bodes well for those of us who are waiting for such a device to appear. If you'd rather take a less 'DIY' route to this dream, then it's worth noting that Hyperkin's Retron FPGA project may offer a Saturn Mini in the near future.