Mario, found hiding inside SEGA Saturn game, is detained without fight

The console wars have ended. After years of searching, Mario has been found and detained.

Via Twitter user Yoshino comes the bizarre discovery of an image of Mario hidden within the files of the SEGA Saturn game Astal. Yoshino writes: “It is discovered that an image that seems to be Mario was hidden in 0xFE90 of APT.BIN on the disk.” This isn’t the first time weird images have been hidden within old SEGA games, in fact the Sonic Twitter account recently referenced a hidden image from Sonic CD, referred to as “Spooky Sonic”, in a piece of Halloween art.

Check out the full image after the break!


7 responses to “Mario, found hiding inside SEGA Saturn game, is detained without fight

  1. Astal suffered from the same problem as Legions. Artists using sprites on Genesis didn’t really zoom them. Then Saturn hit and they could zoom sprites. Suddenly everything could be made big and small on the fly!

    I’m not surprised they playtested around with random things like Mario. Probably was used as an in-game joke at some point that the devs had to bury. Which means there’s probably a prototype somewhere where Astal takes on Mario.

    Only problem was gamers didn’t like how it looked. Thank heavens Sonic Team was in such disarray… it saved Sonic from a similar fate, though Chaotix came really close.

    • What are you talking about? Everyone has a right to their personal taste, but a great many find that Astal is a beautiful looking game. I find that Astal plays and looks great.

    • Unfortunately, the sales didn’t match that view. Zooming sprite platformers appeared pixelated, whereas the lack of it ensured that games tended to adapt sprites to match the fixed resolution and depth – thus avoiding much of the grainy pixel view that happens when they are enlarged.

      Astal was not followed with any sequels. Even Shinobi Legions, which was more praised, saw no sequels on Saturn. The graphics just didn’t win over more than a core audience.

      Everyone has a right to personal taste, but sales speak for themselves. Astal also suffered from a broad range of poly-based 3D games that didn’t have these draw issues – even with limited textures.

    • ShinobiWan1 says:

      Looking back, the 2D games aged a lot better than their 3D contemporaries. Everyone was enamored with 3D at the time, it was the next big thing. And sales doesn’t make or break a game for me. The Saturn didn’t do well at all in the Us, but it still has some of my favourite games.

    • OriginalName says:

      I don’t really see why you’re making it a point to call out sprite-scaling as a major factor in how Astal and Shinobi Legions performed in the market. It’s common knowledge that 3D games were generally far more popular at the time, but what is your basis for saying that it was the sprite-scaling that sealed the deal in holding back their sales. The more obvious explanation that they were poorly-marketed 2D games on a failing console paints a complete picture. It’s like saying there would have been more Neo Geo consoles sold if Samurai Shodown II didn’t use sprite-scaling.

      Yes, 3D games were outselling most 2D games at the time, that is common knowledge, but why the fixation on sprite scaling? There’s so little data to go off of when it comes to the market’s response to such a specific feature. If Rayman (#21 highest-selling game on PlayStation) had used sprite scaling as an occasional effect, I highly doubt its sales would have fallen off the face of the Earth. But even if I’m wrong, there’s no data to back this up either way.

      On that note, while sales are a useful tool they do not tell the entire story. You could have used the Dreamcast’s sales to infer that the console gaming audience did not and would not have an interest in online gaming, for instance, but obviously the future of the industry would have proven that sales-based assumption wrong. Tons of great games slip through the cracks and tons of bad ones find their way to the tops of the sales charts. Reception is just part of the recipe for sales; timing, trends, and marketing make just as much impact.

    • Jacindar says:

      Interesting insight and perspective, love to here more.

  2. OriginalName says:

    Not to be that guy, but this was discovered quite a while ago.

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