On occassion I take some time to answer some questions that many new retro gamers ask. This time I will address a popular question about Sega’s potential backwards compatability — will a Dreamcast play Sega Saturn games?
Unfortuantely, the answer is no. The Saturn and Dreamcast are actually very different machines in terms of their processors. This makes backwards compatability quite a challenge.
The Saturn had a very complex architecture which includes two main processors. This is the main reason why there aren’t any Saturn emulators that have high compatabilty and run smoothly on older PCs. For this same reason it would have been very expensive and difficult for Sega to implement backwards compatability into the Dreamcast.
It’s quite a shame as it would have given games that invested in the Saturn a newer machine to play their favorites on and it would have given the Dreamcast a much better chance of surviving against the PS2 (which does play PSOne games).
If Dreamcasts did play Saturn games, there would be no questions that the Dreamcast would be the ultimate system for retro gamers — as the combined library of the Saturn and Dreamcast features almost every major 2D fighter and shooter in addition to hundreds of other old school games and great emulator support.