The Real Sega Pluto

Discussion in 'Rare and Obscure Gaming' started by Super Magnetic, Apr 17, 2013.

  1. Super Magnetic

    Super Magnetic Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2011
    Messages:
    47
    Likes Received:
    6
    Location:
    Tokyo
    Hi everyone,

    After a good 14 years or so of sitting on this, I've decided it's time to share a little bit of Sega lore with those who would appreciate it most.

    First, a little background info -- I was introduced to this site by Monkfish (a great friend who recently passed away, RIP), who provided everyone with the Geist build, if memory serves. We worked together at Sega back in the day, and a bout of reminiscence over my old friend led me to remember this site, which leads us to today.

    I'm here to reveal a piece of unreleased Sega hardware -- the Pluto. And no, it's not that Nomad wannabe -- it's a Saturn with a Netlink built in. But enough words, on with the console porn:

    photo 1.JPG photo 2.JPG photo 3.JPG photo 4.JPG

    A 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...

    photo 5.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...
     
  2. fasman

    fasman Enthusiastic Member

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2011
    Messages:
    520
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    South Africa
    Amazing piece of kit, thank you for sharing it with us!!!
     
  3. f2bnp

    f2bnp Peppy Member

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2008
    Messages:
    338
    Likes Received:
    0
    Awesome! Thanks for sharing the pictures and story friend! :encouragement:
     
  4. la-li-lu-le-lo

    la-li-lu-le-lo ラリルレロ

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2006
    Messages:
    5,134
    Likes Received:
    14
    Location:
    US
    Amazing stuff! Awesome to see this kind of hardware. Why do you think it weighs so much, if it is indeed just a stock NTSC-U Saturn with a Netlink built in? Could you take a picture with the tray open? Also, have you tried opening up the unit?
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2013
  5. Bad_Ad84

    Bad_Ad84 Keyboard Error: Press F1 to Continue

    Joined:
    May 26, 2011
    Messages:
    6,147
    Likes Received:
    34
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    This is pretty amazing
     
  6. FoxZero

    FoxZero Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2007
    Messages:
    48
    Likes Received:
    0
    Truly an awesome piece of history. Thank you so very much for sharing this with the world.
     
  7. Super Magnetic

    Super Magnetic Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2011
    Messages:
    47
    Likes Received:
    6
    Location:
    Tokyo
    Thanks everyone.

    As for the weight, I exaggerated a bit -- it's about 2.8kg, whereas an Xbox 1 is 3.9 -- so it's not the heaviest console I've held. But it's hard to say why it's that heavy without opening it up, which I haven't done yet (I tend to break things when I do that).

    Here's your ever-invasive open-tray shot ;)

    photo.JPG
     
  8. smf

    smf mamedev

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2005
    Messages:
    1,064
    Likes Received:
    2
    I'm kinda intrigued why, if it's just a Saturn with built in netlink. The external netlink doesn't appear to be that big or heavy http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sega_NetLink

    Makes me wonder if there is more to it than that.
     
  9. chazumaru

    chazumaru Member

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2006
    Messages:
    12
    Likes Received:
    0
    Amazing! Thanks a lot for the pictures and information.

    I do not know if you are comfortable with sharing this information, so feel free to disregard, but did you work in the US or in Japan when you "inherited" this kit? I noticed that you now live in Tokyo. I am asking this because I am wondering whether this project was mostly handled in the US or in Japan (for the US market).

    Possibly, another reason for the weight of the console is the presence of a MPEG card (the slot is sealed so hard to tell from the pictures).
     
  10. Super Magnetic

    Super Magnetic Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2011
    Messages:
    47
    Likes Received:
    6
    Location:
    Tokyo
    chazumaru, I was based in the US at the time.
     
  11. Anthaemia.

    Anthaemia. WARNING: posts may contain VF3 reference

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2004
    Messages:
    1,382
    Likes Received:
    6
    Location:
    UK
    Incredible... (and RIP, Monkfish!)
     
  12. HEX1GON

    HEX1GON I do what I want Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 4, 2011
    Messages:
    8,365
    Likes Received:
    58
    Location:
    Australia
    Thanks for sharing, this is VERY interesting!
     
  13. camdman

    camdman Robust Member

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2011
    Messages:
    215
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Australia somewhere.....
    That looks awesome I suppose this was canned because of the Dreamcast or perhaps a very early dreamcast prototype.
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2013
  14. Shinebi

    Shinebi Intrepid Member

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2011
    Messages:
    699
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    Mt. 350e
    Wow, thanks for sharing!

    Also interested to see if there's a VCD-card inside behind that lid at the back (or just for battery change).
    - could be the VCD is already built-in? However, if there isn't a card present, please do try this to confirm.
    - could be able to play NTSC-U back-upped games? Please try this.

    EDIT:
    reminds me of this.
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2013
  15. Banjo

    Banjo <B>Site Supporter 2014</B>

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2012
    Messages:
    580
    Likes Received:
    3
    Nice one, thanks for sharing :)
     
  16. neomatrix

    neomatrix Intrepid Member

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2004
    Messages:
    627
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    NewYork
    Amazing dude that is history
    hey make video please
    you got black gold
     
  17. RetroJunkie

    RetroJunkie Blast Processed Since 199X

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2012
    Messages:
    1,601
    Likes Received:
    18
    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    Kudos to you and thank you for sharing. That sure looks sassy for a Saturn though.
    Hold it close, never let it go!

    Of course we'd all love for you to crack it open! :topsy_turvy:
    I'm surprised Druid hasn't turned up yet! :biggrin-new:

    Thanks again for sharing!
     
  18. Shinebi

    Shinebi Intrepid Member

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2011
    Messages:
    699
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    Mt. 350e
    A couple of more questions:
    - what's that round thingy in the bottom ventilation shaft in pic 4? Anything significant or just a blob of plastic?
    - I assuming the top cradle plug at the back IS the V-CD card... again, please check.
    - Could you please verify if the System Memory has 448 (or whatever it was) blocks? It could be different in this version, as it's not BIOS bound?
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2013
  19. Segafreak_NL

    Segafreak_NL v2.0 New and improved<BR><B>Site Supporter 2012</B

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2004
    Messages:
    2,843
    Likes Received:
    7
    Location:
    Planet Saturn
    Incredible! Major thanks for sharing these pictures :love_heart:
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2013
  20. Baseley09

    Baseley09 Resolute Member

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2004
    Messages:
    929
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Pompey UK yo!
    Just when you think you've seen it all. Excellent.
     

Share This Page