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This Rare Sega Saturn PS2 Controller Is A Strange Video Game Collaboration

The story of the Sega Saturn is a sad one. Those with knowledge of the 90s console race will recall a time when Sega, Sony, and Nintendo were all bitter adversaries, waging a direct war on one another in terms of hardware power and exclusive games. But while Sega and Nintendo had been at each other's throats for generations at that point, it was Sony who arguably dealt the cruelest blow to the Saturn. Few have forgotten that infamous moment at E3 1995, when Sony prodded at the Saturn's inflated price tag of $399 by giving a one-word speech: "$299" — the reveal of the PlayStation's price. Sega never fully recovered from the jab, nor was it able to catch back up to the immense popularity of the PlayStation line. Thus, it exited the console market in 2001 with the Dreamcast.

All of that brutal history makes the official Fukkokuban Sega Saturn controller for the PlayStation 2 all the more of an oddity. Released in 2005 as a Japan-only collaboration between Sega and Sony (via Sega Retro), the controller has some unique and strange features when compared to regular Saturn and PS2 controllers. It's also exceedingly rare and pretty expensive these days, so rather than shelling out hundreds of dollars to see one in the flesh, you can take a cursory look at the controller's weird little details here.

Not quite Saturn, not quite PS2

The most striking thing about the Saturn PS2 controller at first glance isn't its functionality, but its branding. Smack in the middle of the gamepad lies Sega's signature logo, along with the PlayStation emblem and name directly beneath it. Seeing these two former rivals with their logos together on one product generates the same sort of surreal quality, like when you see the Nintendo PlayStation prototype. It just feels kind of wrong.

Even stranger is how the controller blends the original Saturn gamepad and the PlayStation DualShock 2's functionality without fully replicating either of them. The differences from the DualShock 2 appear clear enough, as the gamepad opts for the Saturn's six-button layout and lacks analog thumbsticks. However, it also deviates from the original Saturn design, replacing the oval-shaped Start button with DualShock-styled Select and Start buttons and adding subtle engravings of the corresponding PS2 inputs next to other buttons.

With the differences from stock DualShock 2 gamepads, some may wonder which games this controller was primarily intended for. Notably, a purple variant came bundled with Capcom's PS2 title "Vampire: Darkstalkers Collection" 一 a compilation of the series' early 2D fighting game titles (via Sega Retro). This collaboration makes sense, considering that the Saturn housed some of the earliest "Darkstalkers" ports to home consoles.

While the Fukkokuban Sega Saturn PS2 control pad has limited functionality, it's nonetheless a fascinating novelty in Sony's lineup of sixth-generation game hardware.