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onlysublime

Sega Pluto?

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did you guys see this? pretty cool!

 

http://sega-addicts....ic.com/?p=37725

 

excerpts:

 

Sega-pluto-small.jpg

 

A former Sega console engineer has shown off a previously unheard of prototype console named the Sega Pluto. The machine, pictured above, is a Sega Saturn with a built in NetLink 28.8k dial-up modem module allowing for online play. It’s fully functional and is also a region locked, USA NTSC model.

 

The Sega Pluto is only one of two working prototypes. The pictured console is Sega Pluto No. 2 and the current whereabouts of Sega Pluto No. 1 are unknown.

 

The Sega Pluto has the following features:

  • Dial-up modem for online play
  • Two controller ports
  • Flip top drive bay
  • Cartridge slot
  • Power and reset buttons
  • Lots of vents
  • Very heavy

This is an absolutely amazing piece of Sega history. And to think that Sega may have released the very first online console (bar the NetLink adaptor) before the Dreamcast. It even suggests that Sega had plans for even more NetLink compatible games aside from the small handful that already exist.

 

Sega-Pluto-3-366x275.jpg

 

little more background info — as most of you know, Sega is a company with a history of turmoil. Employee turnover is a sad theme, and the Sonic Reaper (as we call him) strikes all too frequently. As such, the past gets forgotten quickly — treasures from the previous generation are quickly cast aside, as a new regime tries to make a name for themselves (or justify their existence). As such, some of said treasures get left on laid-off-peoples’ desks. And in a beautiful twist of fate, this beauty ended up finding its way to my desk, and then in a box with the rest of my stuff when I left Sega.

 

I was told that only two of these prototypes were made — and this is #2.

 

This thing is a beast, and definitely the heaviest console I’ve ever held in my hands. The front features two controller ports, and on top you have a flip-top drive bay, a cart slot, a Power button, and the venerable Reset button. Note that the logo still says Saturn, so I’m guessing the Pluto codename was simply that, and they were thinking of branding it with the Saturn name. (The logo is printed on production-style though, so I’m guessing they were fairly serious about this one.) The left and right sides feature beautiful-and-exotic vents, while the back is standard Saturn, save for the Netlink ports. The bottom has nothing of note except for the “PLUTO-02″ sticker (which is, of course, of note).

 

But does it work? I honestly never tried to fire it up until now. Yesterday I picked up a power cable from Akihabara (I’m based in Japan these days), and with a little trepidation, I pressed the POWER button…

 

Sega-Pluto-5-366x275.jpg

 

… and it lives! We’re dealing with a straight-up USA NTSC Saturn here (NTSC-4-V1.00a, for those keeping score), which is sadly region locked, so my copy of Policenauts doesn’t get any love. I don’t have any US titles on hand, so I’m unfortunately not able to test a disc booting. Can’t even imagine how I’d go about testing the Netlink part of this device (no landline here). I haven’t had the guts to open it up and see if there’s anything special inside, as I’m the kind of guy who tends to break wires and lose screws. I’m also not sure of the whereabouts of the Pluto-1 — I’m guessing someone from the pre-Dreamcast days has it, though.

 

Anyway, I just wanted to share a bit of rare Sega history with the few people in this world who might still care, and see if anyone else has any knowledge about this bad boy. I think it’s an interesting piece, and it hearkens back to a time when Sega was brave, and would try just about anything. Ah, how I miss that Sega…

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Well, with the whereabouts unknown for the only other existing prototype system, I would guess that the online portion would be rather boring!!! :grin:

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Looks as if it could play linked up with a typical Saturn. The Saturn's actual online component here in the US was limited to web browsing only. NetLink players had to dial each other directly to play. These days it's possible to play online with a modem simulator hooked to a typical PC.

Edited by shadow460

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It's interesting that this is a North American Saturn. I heard that Sega of America was working an a parallel project called the 32X-Z (known internally as Project Venus), which was a modem that you installed in the cartridge port of the 32X. It came complete with its own power source, too.

 

Theoretically even SegaCD games could make use of the 32-bit power of the 32X and the interactive online play of the Venus, simultaneously. One such project, Scottie Pippen's Slam City: America Online Edition was in the works, but never saw the light of day after SoA cancelled the project. After the demise of the Saturn and the release of the Dreamcast, Sega had considered reviving the Venus for the Brazilian market, but as an add-on for the Sega Master System rather than the Genesis/SegaCD/32X. It was going to come packaged with an online-enabled version of Street Fighter II for the SMS, which was still very popular in that country. Apparently they had even filmed a commercial for it with Robert Mammone reprising his role as Blanka. It involved him playing the game online across the globe with other 2nd tier cast members from the movie.

 

Not sure what happened after that, cause it never was released. Still it would be cool if any former Sega of Brazil employees had the footage of that commercial lying around somewhere and could tear themselves away from their SMSes long enough to post it on YouTube so the rest of us can see it.

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Someone is considering selling Pluto but that's all I know. I'd keep an eye on eBay and in the forum thread I posted above in the next few days.

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Wow. How many more failed atempts are around from Sega?

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Time for a blast from the past.  First, SEGA nerd Adam Koralik reviews one of the two known Sega Pluto prototypes....

 

 

Then Ben Heck goes ahead and attempts to fix it for the owner, similar to his work on the SNES Playstation!

 

 

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