SEGA Pluto Prototype Revealed
Have you ever thought to yourself, “what if?” “What if Duke Nukem Forever wasn’t a disappointment?” or “what if The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion wasn’t so damn long?” Now you can get the answer to your most tantalizing video game question ever: “What if SEGA came out with another platform?”
Since the dawn of gaming, consoles have come and gone and came back again but some…only a few have never seen public eyes. Whether it was a bad idea, too crazy of an idea or in this case a dream deferred, despite having much promise.
In a land far, far away also known as the Product Development department, SEGA had a really great idea at the time. “Why not create the SEGA Pluto?” Combining the powers of SEGA Saturn with the SEGA Netlink attachment built-in, the console would be revolutionary. In case you forgot, the SEGA Netlink was an accessory for the Saturn that would enable online play for the console; take a moment… revolutionary. Well, somewhat revolutionary since this was technically already utilized in Japan but only five games utilized the service domestically. Still, the very idea of a console with built-in online play was unheard of in the 90’s and would only fully be realized with the release of the SEGA Dreamcast back in 1998.
However, the SEGA Pluto was sadly just an internal prototype, tossed away in the Land of Forgotten Dreams for no official reason. However, looking back SEGA was plagued with sluggish sales no thanks to the Saturn in the United States. Blame America.
On a happier note, two prototype units were made, with one ending up in the hands of a former SEGA employee who goes by the handle Super Magic and was so thoughtful to share.
The hardware, said to be 14 years old is reportedly in working condition, but region-locked. “The front features two controller ports, and on top you have a flip-top drive bay, a card slot, a Power button, and the always handy Reset button.” Super Magic points out, “note the logo still says Saturn, so I am guessing the Pluto codename was simply that and they were thinking of branding it with the Saturn name.” The left and right sides feature beautiful and exotic vents, while the back is standard Saturn, save for the Netlink ports. Note the bottom has the “PLUTO-02” sticker. SEGA’s Netlink modem was compatible with a handful of SEGA Saturn games, including Virtual-On, Sega Rally, Saturn Bomberman and a special version of Daytona USA.
The other prototype ended up in the hands of Destructoid member kidvid666 who brought the console at a flea market in Stockton five to six years ago for $1. As seen in the video, at the bottom of this post kidvid666 explains his console does not have a label and has problems keeping the disc disc closed. However, the console does work and plays games.