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Alan Williamson

Contributor

The anticipation is the best part. Clutching a game box, and trying not to get carsick as you flicked through the manual on the car ride home. For someone used to the cardboard characters of the Saturn, N64 and Playstation, Unreal wasn't just a graphical upgrade: it was a revelation, a game that looked impossibly beautiful even without a graphics card. Even today, with a judiciously installed HD texture pack, it's still a sight to behold.

I remember a lot from Christmas 1996, the year when I got my Sega Saturn: my mum button-mashing her way to victory in Virtua Fighter 2, my granddad driving safely within the speed limit in Sega Rally. Then there was NiGHTS Into Dreams, Sonic Team's answer to Super Mario 64 and Crash Bandicoot. And what an answer it was: flying through children's dreams as an androgynous purple jester, it was Sega at its most creative - and, perhaps, its most commercially suicidal.