Together Retro Game Club: NiGHTS into Dreams


Presented by: Fastbilly1, Marurun, & Racketboy
New To Together Retro? Check out the introduction to the club

Instead of a standard opening for Together Retro, let me [Fastbilly1] give a little person history… I am going to be honest here, back when I got my first Saturn, way back in 96, I gave the NiGHTS demo several tries and thought it was an awful.  It was a platformer racing game that controlled horribly (as you can imagine I was playing it with the standard Model 2 Saturn pad).  Fast forward eight years and I end up buying the full version and a “broken” 3d controller on eBay.  When played with the joystick, NiGHTS instantly becomes one of the most well crafted games ever made.  Its intricacies and minute details were amazing and completely made me change my opinion on the game.  I was still rubbish at it mind you, but it did not matter.  So even if you are poor at the game at first, keep at it.  It is a beautiful title and a fantastic ride that I think you will get a lot of enjoyment out of, I know I do.

The reason I thought I should give a prescript like that is so that those who at first hate the game based on the unique control scheme, or if they are playing with a dpad, could be missing out on one amazing title.  Had I not given it another chance I would have completely written off the masterpiece as just another Saturn title.  It is necessary for the game and simply a shame that the 3D controller is so hard to obtain.


Warning if you are prone to motion sickness you might want to sit this title out.  Watch a video on youtube first and see how it will affect you.  I say this because when I got my copy with 3D pad, my girlfriend at the time ended up getting sick when she watched a stage.

About The Game

NiGHTS is a unique title in that it came out a little over a year after the Saturn launched in the US, has a concept that you would never think would sell outside Japan, shipped with a new controller with a joystick, and it is usually considered in the top twenty of games of all time.  Yet so many modern gamers only know about it because of the Wii sequel.  For about half of our readers NiGHTS is an old friend.  One from the days when we were waiting for an actual Sonic title for the Saturn.   NiGHTS is a game that, while it has aged very poorly graphically, the gameplay is timeless and will forever be.  A storybook plot about an evil wizard stealing away dreams to control Nightopia.

How To Play / Controls

The gameplay is two fold, child and Nights.  As the child you try to find the captured Nights while avoiding enemies and the dreaded clock.  As Nights you fly around the stages collecting enough chips so you can recover one of the childs Ideya.  Ideya, the colored spheres, represent hope, courage, wisdom, intelligence, and purity, and all but courage are taken from the children at the beginning of the stages.  As Nights you fly through rings, perform tricks, and overall just have a blast as you float around the world.  Each world is broken up into four stages, one for each Ideya except courage, and a boss fight.  There are six stages for each child and a final stage that both children share.

The game is relatively easy to play and Sonic fans may feel at home.  Starting off as the children might throw you off at the beginning, but here’s some controls. (Taken from this GameFAQs entry)

Claris and Elliot

  • The D-Pad or analog control controls their movement
  • The X Y Z buttons do nothing
  • The A B C buttons make them jump
  • The Left and Right Shifts adjust the camera angles


  • The D-Pad or analog controll controlls his movements.
  • The X Y Z buttons do nothing
  • The A B C buttons make Nights speed up
  • The Left and Right Shifts make Nights do acrobatics
  • Both shifts together are an air brake.

Game Maneuvers

  • Paralooping – Paralooping is when you fly a circle in any direction as NiGHTS, and everything caught in that circle goes in one of two places. If it’s good for you (stars, chips), it’s attracted to you. If it is bad for you (enemies), or does nothing for you (Nightopians), it gets teleported to another galaxy,elsewhere. And if it is an object in the landscape (rings, statues, Ideya captures), nothing happens.
  • Dashing – When you hold A, B, or C when NiGHTS, you go a lot faster. Instead of losing time when you hit enemies, they become a big ball of stuff sent rocketing toward something. You lose almost complete control of him. And if it runs out, you can do it for a very short time before he tires up.
  • Jump, Double Jump, Triple Jump – When you are one of the kids, hit A, B, or C to jump. Just before you land, hit a jump button to double jump, and do it again to triple jump. This is how you grab a lot of the items as Claris or Elliot, and how you get into some captures.
  • Grabbing – When you get close enough to an enemy, you grab them. Then you circle them, trying to get the proper angle. If the enemy is small enough to get paralooped, it will go bye-bye after one full rotation. If it’s a boss, you keep rotating until you dash. A few bosses are too heavy to rotate.
  • Stunting  (see this GameFAQs entry for more info)

Recommended Ports

Well this is where it gets sticky. The purist will claim that the original with the 3D pad is the only way to play the game. There is a PS2 port which looks stunningly beautiful (with an option for the original graphics) but is a Japanese only title. To not start any sort of crazy debate, play which ever you can find. The both support 16:9 Widescreen (a little known feature of the Saturn version).  The Saturn game can go for about $20, but may reach $50 with the 3D pad included.  The PS2 game might cost about $50.

There is also a sidestory (for lack of a better word), Christmas NiGHTS – which is why we have chosen to play this game during this season. When played in December, it activates a special Christmas mode (November and January also have “winter” mode)

  • NiGHTs Into Dreams – Saturn (Amazon / eBay)
  • Christmas NiGHTS – Saturn (Amazon / eBay)
  • NiGHTs Into Dreams – Playstation 2 (eBay)


Officially there is one sequel, NiGHTS Journey of Dreams on the Wii.   The Wii sequel is a heated debate but even though it did several things the fans did not want to happen to the series, but it gave us another NiGHTS title.

  • NiGHTS: Journey into Dreams – Wii (Amazon / eBay)

Emulation for NiGHTS into Dreams

Ahh we had to have a Saturn title in Together Retro didn’t we?  Ok here is the short of it.  Saturn emulation is tricky.  So tricky in fact that out of all the emulators out there, there are only a handful that run more than one game well.  All of the emulators require your processor to have SSE2 and they require fairly beefy specs.  NiGHTs emulates on the SSF emulator fairly well.  It has occasional sound glitches, but it is in no way a deal breaker.  Analog support for controllers is also supported, many use Xbox360 controllers due to have they are shaped like the Saturn 3d pad, but you can use whatever controller you can make windows recognize.  Sadly I do not know of a way to use the actual 3d pad on windows (the PC Joybox 3 in 1 that most us would use does not support the stick – but it does support the Dreamcast controller).  So I will leave this up to you.   Heck you could even use glovepie and use the wiimote like this guy.  If you need additional assitance setting up any emulator, please post your question in the Emulation section of the forum

Together Retro Discussion

Instead of posting in the comments section of the blog, we will be using the forum for all of our discussion in order to keep things more organized. So play NiGHTS and talk to us about your thoughts and play experiences in the forums. We want to know your tactics, your strategies, your successes and your failures


JM says:

How much difficulty would I have with the game if I got the Japanese PS2 version even though I can’t read Japanese?

skate323k137 says:

IIRC all the menus are in english, I didn’t have any problems with it.

PharmaceuticalCowboy says:

I and I am sure many others on this site have been waiting for this for a while now.

nick944 says:

A good tip is to pick up the japanese copy for the Saturn. If you have a method to boot it (action replay) you can pick it up for around $10 and it plays in english.

FatSean says:

I have a Saturn and the NiGHTS game bought new with the 3d controller.

Can you speak about the 16×9 video? Would it work with my setup? I don’t have a 16×9 TV so I can’t test…just curious.

racketboy says:

I guess I cant help but be curious why you want 16:9 on a 4:3 display. anyway, you can read more about it here…

I love Knights! Thanx For the Great Read, Merry Christmas.

binny says:

I am no fanboy, but NiGHTS is one of my favourite games. It is sadly over looked in the history of gaming. Releasing the 3D controler with the game made it expensive to buy. But it really is a master piece of a game, from a time when “Sonic Team” actually meant something.

This and “Guardian Heroes” are real gems on the Saturn, it is a shame more people just won’t ever see them.

It is unfortunate that most people will only know NiGHTS as a mediocre title for the Wii. When the original is something very special.

Killette says:

I love this game. You shouldn’t have any problems at all playing the game. I love how they still let you play the Christmas levels in the wii version

Khaled says:

I bought a used copy of the game for my saturn a few months ago, yet i haven’t played it yet, is it worth the $10 i spent on it? and should i play it?

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