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About Sega Saturn Controller
Sega Saturn Controller: (Sega model) 1997-09. HSS-0101. The Sega Saturn Control Panel, later known simply as the Controller in North America, is the primary user input method for the Sega Saturn. It is an evolution of the six-button control pad for the Sega Mega Drive and was initially seen in 1994 alongside the Saturn console.
What is Sega Saturn?
The Sega Saturn is an overlooked console in the world of retro gaming these days. Having lost out to the Sony PlayStation and Nintendo 64 in sales and game releases, fans only know precisely what non-Saturn gamers are missing out on! Having joined the Sega Saturn fan club in 2016, there were many things I never really knew about the console.
For example, it has a built-in memory! The downside to finally diving into the world of Saturn is the cost of getting kits and parts. It’s not hard to get a decent Saturn controller from a home manufacturer, but it can be a bit prohibitive, depending on the model. But thanks to a new collaboration announced in 2018 between Sega and Retro-Bit, getting a new Saturn controller is no longer a financial risk! Better yet, it offers the same quality as Sega itself.
What is in the Box
The boxes that Retro-Bit made for their new Saturn controllers are an excellent approximation to the original Sega boxes! The Saturn controller takes center stage and shows a beautiful shine through its glossy finish. To the controller’s left, we see the original Sega Saturn logo in all its ’90s glory!
The logo also has a glossy finish, standing against the white/cream-striped background. This design also matches the Sega Saturn games, so it looks great! Below the controller, we can see what color the output of our controller is; I chose the slate gray scheme, which is model after the 1997 Japanese exclusive Cool Pad.
Below we also see that the controller is design for use with the Sega Saturn console. If you opt for the USB variant, you will know it is compatible with PC, Mac, and Steam. A brightly colored laminated patch on the top right of the box says “controller” or “controller with USB” for USB versions.
In the lower right part of the box, we see the official Sega quality seal that will surely delight any Sega fan. We see the Retro-Bit logo below the seal, the only clue on the packaging that these controllers are a third-party product, not Sega’s statement that the Sega Saturn has returned from the dead.
Moving to the edges of the box, we can see how the Sega Saturn logo takes center stage. In the right corners, we see the frustrated patch again on the front of the box that says “controller.” The top of the case has the same design as the Saturn logo and an aluminum patch.
However, the top of the box also features a shelf hook that maintains the same alternating white/off-white pattern throughout the product. Along the bottom, we are greet only by the alternating pattern.
Turning our attention to the back, we again see the Sega Saturn logo and the “Controller” foiled patch. Below, we are greet with an introduction to the driver and one of the updates it received over the originals. Below we can see the bullet points describing that this controller is officially license by Sega and offers “Original Grade Quality” – a claim I will test extensively!
The following bullet points again to the compatibility of the controller model you have chosen, standard connector or USB. An interesting thing to note in the USB Controller Compatibility section, the French language section has an entry about the Retro-Bit Super Retro-Cade console, which is not found in the other languages. The last point also states that these controllers have a 10ft cable instead of the 6ft cable on the original Saturn controllers.
The last notable things on the back are some close-ups of the left shoulder and controller face buttons, the UPC, and the Sega and Retro-Bit logos. When you open the controller for the first time, you are greet by the plastic case that holds the controller in place during shipping.
This plastic also has a dimple that allows the cable to be safely route to the bottom of the plastic box without severe bending or pinching. Except for the controller and case. Other items are not include, such as B. an instruction manual or a warranty card.
Aesthetics and Build Quality
The slate gray retro Saturn Bit Controller perfectly recites the classic Japanese Cool Pad! All the aesthetic touches are excellent with pink shoulder and launch buttons, dark gray D-pad, light gray X/Y/Z buttons, and green/yellow/blue A/B/C buttons.
The light gray controller cable only found on more lightweight color controllers is also used here with a light gray connector. The transparent smoky gray of the controller is also very authentic! The plastic used on the controller’s sides, top, and back have a rougher texture than the smooth center where the buttons are.
Right in the middle of the controller, we can see the Sega logo (or, if you have one of the black controllers, the Saturn logo) sitting on an excellent indented plastic section. The Sega logo is also found on the connector for the controllers of the original console model. Apologies to the USB owners; you will only receive the USB logo.
Another little attention to detail. I’m glad the retro part has remain intact on these new Sega Saturn controllers is the inclusion of all the original media player decals found on the originals. Interestingly, these media labels were only found on Model 2 controllers. Without the Retro-Bit logo on the back and RETRO BIT branding on the circuit board. These controllers would be indistinguishable from the originals!
In terms of build quality, Retro-Bit has created a bloody beast. I put the new Saturn drivers through unhealthy punishment to prove the “Original Grade Quality” claim. Twist the controllers around the wires, and check. Smash them into the ground, check. Throw them on the wall, and check them out. The rage monster lunges at her, ready. Jump on it, look! Each test resulted in a perfectly working controller prepared to move on to the next gaming session!
Now that we know the controller is up to par with gaming, not only in aesthetics but also in build quality, let’s take a look at what it’s like to play with the new retro-bit Saturn controller! If I could sum up the skill in one word, that would be great. Playing Mega Man X4 felt perfect.
Every sprint shot and jump happened precisely when I wanted it to. I never felt like any key would miss an input, and better yet, each one required the perfect amount of pressure to trigger to my liking! In fact, unlike my Model 1 controller. It felt nice to have my dash button correctly mapped to the side button for ease of use.
Playing Virtua Fighter 2 was an absolute joy, even with a very precise and responsive D-Pad. I’m bad at the game, but at least it has nothing to do with the controller! To further test the D-Pad, I compared it to one of my favorite games of all time: Command and Conquer. Unit selection and battlefield management proved to be relatively straightforward. The D-Pad was also perfect for enjoying a shooting game like Panzer Dragoon II!
To test the USB version of the Saturn controller. I tried it first with emulated versions of each of the previous test sets to see if there were any noticeable differences. Fortunately, everything worked just like on the real hardware!
Retro-Bit’s USB version of the Saturn controller supports both the Xinput and Direct Input standards. Giving you much flexibility in PC emulations and games. I was able to easily use the controller on a variety of different emulated platforms, such as 3DO and Sega Genesis. I’ve even used it to play more Mega Man games through the GameCube Dolphin emulator.
With the controller on Steam, I found an exciting mess. I didn’t get any input from the side buttons in direct input mode. A quick visit to controller settings in Steam was able to fix the issue. Unfortunately, for some reason, this remapping also caused the D-Pad to crash in Dead or Alive 6.
Holding down the home button to put the controller in input mode solved the problem that night. I’ve tried to reproduce the issue I was having that night several times since it happened with no success. So I’m not going to fault the driver but my computer or Steam.
Did I remark how awesome it is to play fighting games with a six-face-button controller? Dead or Alive 6 played like an absolute dream. Perfectly register combos in training and combat and even got stuck on some challenges when using my other PC controllers. I don’t think I’ll play a fighting game on another pad again.
I also found the controller to be ideal for many side scrollers and, for some reason, Devil May Cry 4. Not content to name it there for testing, I decided to try another experiment by placing the controller on an Xbox One using the Xbox app on Windows 10. Sure enough, it was adequately recognize in Xinput mode. So I play more Mega Man on my Xbox One with a Saturn controller.
I also decided to check the compatibility with the Super Retro chain listed on the French part of the box. It worked fine, but I usually changed the default control bindings to suit my preferences better.
I also decided to try the controller on PS4 and Switch to see what would happen, but unfortunately, neither system worked with it. However, if you’re determine to use your new Saturn USB controller on as many consoles as possible, it will work on PS3. Where I used it to play Tekken 2 and, you guessed it: Mega Man X4!
As far as complaints and complaints regarding the new Saturn retro bit drivers, I have none. I had a weird problem that never came back, and that was it. So I’d say it was a one-off accident more than anything. I also hope Retro-Bit may release more color variants of the controller over time.
Retro-Bit built an excellent replica of the Sega Saturn model 2 controllers and honestly couldn’t be happier playing with them! Gaming felt better with it than my Model 1 controller. And the 10-foot cable meant I could use it anywhere in my gaming setup.
The quality between the original model and the USB version was also identical. Making the Saturn retro-bit controller a top choice for PC fighting game fans who like 6-button controller layouts. . And best of all, these controllers are reasonably price and brand new, unlike genuine Sega Model 2 controllers.
They’re also built like tanks, so you know your investment is safe. If you’re looking for a new Sega Saturn controller or just a great controller for PC fighting games. Look no further than the Saturn retro-bit controller! Get some today!