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Thread: The Real Sega Pluto

  1. #1
    New member Super Magnetic's Avatar

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    The Real Sega Pluto

    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:

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    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...

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    ... 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. #2
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    Amazing piece of kit, thank you for sharing it with us!!!
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    PS I really want to commission some one for some proper banners for the website, let me know if your interested.

  3. #3
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    Awesome! Thanks for sharing the pictures and story friend!

  4. #4
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    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 by la-li-lu-le-lo; 04-17-2013 at 06:13 AM.

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    This is pretty amazing
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  6. #6
    Truly an awesome piece of history. Thank you so very much for sharing this with the world.

  7. #7
    New member Super Magnetic's Avatar

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    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 ;)

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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Super Magnetic View Post
    This thing is a beast, and definitely the heaviest console I've ever held in my hands.
    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. #9
    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. #10
    New member Super Magnetic's Avatar

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    chazumaru, I was based in the US at the time.

  11. #11
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    Incredible... (and RIP, Monkfish!)

  12. #12
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    Thanks for sharing, this is VERY interesting!
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  13. #13
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    That looks awesome I suppose this was canned because of the Dreamcast or perhaps a very early dreamcast prototype.
    Last edited by camdman; 04-17-2013 at 07:02 AM.

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    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.
    Last edited by Shinebi; 04-17-2013 at 07:09 AM.

  15. #15
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    Nice one, thanks for sharing :-)

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    Amazing dude that is history
    hey make video please
    you got black gold

  17. #17
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    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!
    I'm surprised Druid hasn't turned up yet!

    Thanks again for sharing!

  18. #18
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    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 by Shinebi; 04-17-2013 at 08:20 AM. Reason: IT

  19. #19
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    Incredible! Major thanks for sharing these pictures
    Last edited by Segafreak_NL; 04-17-2013 at 08:16 AM.
    Good money paid for all Sega Saturn Demo's/Promos/Proto's and beta's. PM me!
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    Just when you think you've seen it all. Excellent.

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