Saturn firsts

It‘s the 25th anniversary of the Sega Saturn’s launch in the US, today. I have a small mental list of “game things” that happened first on the Saturn, as far as I can tell. Not hardware stuff like netplay or similar - I'm talking about genre or theme firsts that one might not expect!

**First full-3D RTS: Pup Breeder.**

I haven't been able to find any evidence to the contrary, so Pup Breeder, a pretty obscure Saturn game with terrible cover art, may be the first fully 3D real-time strategy game ever made.

As RTS games go, it's rather simple – you can tell your pups a direction to go in (to search for treasure or seek out enemies), you can equip them with (or make them use) items, and you can have them call out for help from nearby units. You can also just leave them to their own devices and see what happens (not the best idea).

Pup Breeder was developed and published by Sai-Mate, a bizarrely ambitious company that released two Saturn games (one of which, Elan Doree, first came out on the Saturn's sister-arcade board, the ST-V. It was an early “all directional” flying 3D fighting game), before renaming themselves and just making hentai visual novels from then on.

But anyway, Pup Breeder is a fully 3D RTS, in 1996, on a home console (and one that "can't do 3D well" at that, not that this game disproves that theory). It has a world minimap and everything. In my research and discussions with others, people pointed either to Total Annihilation (1997), or Warhammer: Shadow of the Horned Rat (1995) as the first 3D RTS, but neither of those are actually full 3D. They either have 3D units, or a 3D map, but not both. Pup Breeder had both a 3D map and units.

This is extra fun since Herzog Zwei on the genesis is in the conversation as the first RTS. If this all adds up, it would mean the first true 2D RTS, and the first true 3D RTS would both be on Sega consoles, not on PC. How curious would that be? Feel free to prove me wrong!

**First black protagonist in an FPS**

I was playing Congo The Movie: The Lost City of Zinj on the Saturn - which is an unusual game all by itself, as a Saturn-exclusive licensed game FPS. Someone told me it also had randomly generated levels, but I can't find any evidence that's true.

Anyway, it starts out like this:

Another researcher is out in the forest of the Congo when disaster strikes. I will admit - years of 90s movies (including Congo itself) had me prepared for this guy to get immediately killed, and for the hero to show up. But no - at the end of the cutscene, turns out the man you see on camera, that's you. I am preeeeeetty sure this makes him the first black FPS protagonist?? This was 1996. Frankly there haven't been that many SINCE 1996 either.

**First 3D fighter on home consoles**
Boring, but I guess this is technically probably true? Virtua Fighter came out in 1994, and Tekken didn't hit PSX til 1995. Were there even any serious attempts (on home consoles) prior to Virtua Fighter? Maybe on PC?

Well that's the three I've got. Help me think of more things!

This is extremely boring as well but would Virtua Cop be the first 3D Light Gun game on console too? Not sure if it can take other categories home in that regard too: 3D Shooter/Rail Shooter/etc.

Edit: Scratch that on 3D Rail Shooter since Panzer Dragoon beats it by a few months. Still Saturn!

First 3D light gun game on console sounds right!

Panzer Dragoon as first 3D rail shooter on console... I feel like maybe there's one on the 3DO? I was feeling like there'd be a light gun game on there too, but those were probably all FMV/laserdisc oriented.

While trying to look this up I decided maybe the Jaguar has the first open world mech sim on a console, in Iron Soldier :o

First episodic video game for a console: Shining Force 3. Unless someone can thing of something earlier. Obviously PC had episodic games through shareware. But this feels like a first for consoles, and like, the interlocking narrative stuff might be a first.

**First video game based on an self published comic book:** Scud the Disposable Assassin. I know, I know. TMNT, but that feels like it was more based upon the cartoon. And Spawn from Image was hardly self published.

I feel like Delisoba Deluxe is some kind of first as you got it by being on a gameshow but I don't know how to categorize it.

@exodus#1452 Starfox predates Panzer Dragoon. Also Starblade was on 3DO but was 3D FMV with maybe some small 3D elements for enemies.

Oh, of course. My nintendo mental block strikes again. I was thinking of games like Silpheed, but discounted it because of the FMV backgrounds, they just had 3D ships and enemies.

First episodic game would probably be R-Type 1 and 2 on PCE


@robinhoodie#1453 First episodic video game for a console

Nah, there were tons of episodic adventure games in the microcomputer era, and also on the Famicom Disk System. It’s not even a first for JRPGs since Cosmic Fantasy 4 was divided in two parts (as an example). None of them are as ambitious as what SF3 attempted but it can’t be claimed to be a first.

@exodus Wait... What was the first video game to have a black protagonist outside of sports games? Michael Jackson in Moonwalker? I am not sure there are many games with a black protagonist before (or after) Congo, period.

Was the Saturn version of **Daytona USA** the first video game in which one could control a 3D horse? I think so!

The music in Pup Breeder is just about what I'd expect it to be, which is pleasant and very early-3D-CD-based-console-game-y sounding. I could listen to more of that.

I think the Saturn was the first one to receive the first Bomberman to have network play with Saturn Bomberman, yeah? Though I suppose you could likely do that if you had an XBAND adapter on a Mega Drive/SNES. Could get around that by saying "Officially Supported" network play.

@chazumaru#1459 Not to mention the SwordQuest games, although I think you could go even a little earlier than that.

@chazumaru Ah, we actually got into this on twitter for a while… turns out the first black non-sports playable character goes back quite far, but I've completely lost the twitter conversation!

Uh, there's Balrog, and forgotten worlds is before MJ too, but I feel like there was something further back, as well. I can't remember!!!!!!!!!!

So Saturn Bomberman as first 10 player home game? Obviously there was Hi-Ten Bomberman, but that was not something you could buy.

Okay how about first time you could unlock content in a game via a save from another game? I am thinking of how you unlock **Death Tank Zwei** by booting **Duke Nukem 3D** with a **Quake** save on your harddrive. You have to get to the internal save generation of consoles for that to happen.

I assume Phantasm was the first console game released on eight CD-ROM. It might also be the only one? Unless you count Konami’s “append discs” shenanigans for Bemani games and Tokimemo.

Saturn might also be a pioneer in console plastic model kit construction ASMR videos? Not a thing I expected to become a thing. Great kit, that being said.

Wow, I really did not realize there were 8 discs to phantasm. I can't imagine who thought that was gonna be a good idea! A four hour FMV game across eight discs, ported from a game that was already relatively obscure, by sierra standards. Though reading up on it, I guess Phantasmagoria was a decent success sales-wise in the US, so maybe they were banking on that. but two years later in 1997 I reckon people were pretty burned out on FMV games.

Stuff like this really shows you how technology has evolved. This game cost over $4.5 million to make and they built a $1.5m studio to create it!? You could make most of this with an iphone, some random actors, and after effects for $200 now (aside from actor fees).

It was the first to Tomb Raider, a game that started out as Project Pyramid on the 32X

As for 3d fighter on home console

I thought about mentioning ballz, but it's clearly not 3D :P

@exodus#1486 pretty sure it uses Z axis, tie to find a dev and find out I guess.

Looking around I found this article from 1994, good read

Pretty good indeed! Doesn't mention the z-axis though.