A Portable Sega Saturn Called the Sega Uranus

Modder TXMWX built a portable version of the Sega Saturn called the Sega Uranus.

More than any other company in the video games industry, Sega has straddled the line between hardware manufacturing and third party software development. These days, they only develop third party games for other systems. But they had a few consoles in the past. The most successful was the Genesis/Mega Drive, though the Dreamcast has achieved cult classic status over the past decade or so. The Sega Saturn, on the other hand, was an interesting console that never saw mainstream commercial success or a significant cult following. But that didn't stop modder TZMWX from building a portable version of the Sega Saturn called the Sega Uranus.

The Sega Saturn hit the market in 1994 and 1995 (depending on region) and was quite innovative. It utilized CD-ROMs instead of cartridges, just like the Sony PlayStation that released around the same time. It had an interesting dual-CPU, eight-processor hardware setup, but a poor game catalog and strong competition from Nintendo and Sony led to its failure. The Sega Saturn is an odd choice for modding, but every other console has already received this treatment. That makes TZMWX's work stand out.

TZMWX's Sega Uranus is a portable console that has a size, shape, and layout very similar to the Sega Game Gear — the Uranus is just a bit wider and has more buttons. The Sega Saturn utilized CDs, which would be tricky to implement in a portable console. For that reason, the Uranus uses an optical drive emulator (either the Phoebe or Fenrir model) to load games from an SD card.

The Sega Saturn's motherboard would have been much too large for this purpose, so TZMWX did a lot of trimming to cut the motherboard down to size. That was a massive undertaking and we don't want to do it a disservice, so be sure to check out TZMWX's guide/build log to see all the nitty gritty details.

After trimming the motherboard down to size, TZMWX proceeded to cram it, an LCD screen, new control boards, and a lithium battery into a custom 3D-printed shell. The buttons came from an actual Sega Saturn gamepad for an authentic feel. The finished console looks fantastic and lets the user play the full (though quite limited) catalog of Sega Saturn games anywhere!

Cameron Coward
Writer for Hackster News. Proud husband and dog dad. Maker and serial hobbyist. Check out my YouTube channel: Serial Hobbyism
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