Sega's April Fool treat still going strong, 13 years on

I'm probably one of about... well, two people who switched on their Sega Saturn this morning to catch this once-a-year treat.

Christmas NiGHTS, Sega's 1996 Christmas giveaway to Saturn owners, included calender-activated features on the run-up to December 25. But it wasn't limited to Christmas - on April 1, there was a sinister surprise in store. And it still works today...

Above: I wasn't really up at 5am playing Christmas NiGHTS today, honest

You head to NiGHTS' palace to dualize with him as usual... only he's not there. In his place is Reala - NiGHTS' nightmarish sibling. Reala flies around with exactly the same moveset as NiGHTS, but while the gameplay may be the same, the feeling is not.

Above: Yup, that's right folks. This used to count as 'graphics' in 1996

Above: Fun fact: Reala was the only character to speak in the original NiGHTS into Dreams, saying: "There is no NiGHTS". That's very true today

This is such an easy thing to put in your game and I'm amazed calender-specific functions aren't used more. As it is, it's just one of the many ways this game keeps giving, year after year.

Above: Still going strong, some 15 years old. Anyone else still play Saturn?

01 Apr, 2010

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  • cptnoremac - September 17, 2014 10:08 a.m.

    He does NOT say "There is no NiGHTS." It's a made up language that translates to "Come on, NiGHTS."
  • TKTOWA - April 3, 2010 3:22 a.m.

    Saturn needs more attention. It's my all-time favourite console ever. I play/beat Guardian Heroes atleast once a week. I have a 50+ collection of games in the original cases. I even spent two nights researching to change my PSP gameboot to the Saturn opening!
  • philipshaw - April 2, 2010 9:29 a.m.

    That's pretty cool, not many games these days mess with the clock. MGS3 is the last game I remember doing that
  • AuthorityFigure - April 2, 2010 1:48 a.m.

    Surely Animal Crossing does things like this. But I wouldn't know 'cause I don't play it...
  • KidKobun - April 2, 2010 12:35 a.m.

    @Cyberninja The Simpson's Hit & Run does this. You can change the date on your console to see the different Main Menu themes.
  • Cyberninja - April 1, 2010 9:11 p.m.

    do any other games have stuff like this
  • garnsr - April 1, 2010 7:20 p.m.

    I always enjoyed flying around the clock made of plants that showed the actual time. And if the battery in the system dies you lose all of your saves, if you didn't have a cart to save them to. That was a big irritation after years of not hooking the Saturn up, then trying to pop into a few games, and having to start all over again.
  • legory - April 1, 2010 5:54 p.m.

    The DS still somewhat uses calendar based functions.
  • Ded - April 1, 2010 5:26 p.m.

    Sega always loved their little hidden secrets. I still have Reala saved on my Saturn.. I think, I've not played it for years... bet the internal memory has died :/
  • ventanger - April 1, 2010 5:20 p.m.

    Seems like Calender specific events have been relegated to MMO's only.
  • Ensoul - April 1, 2010 4:21 p.m.

    "This is such an easy thing to put in your game and I'm amazed calender-specific functions aren't used more." I couldn't agree more.
  • meteoracle - April 1, 2010 2:48 p.m.

    Been thinking about breaking out the Saturn again after listening to numerous TalkRadar podcasts, and the continuing mention of Justin's love for Sonic. Playing the Sonic games again was a good enough reason, I guess this is just one more to go rooting around for it tonight.
  • wrapdump - April 1, 2010 1:11 p.m.

    Nights and Phantasy Star Online. I've never been so happy. NOT SAD.
  • ensabahnur - April 1, 2010 12:49 p.m.

    Wow, nice treat, i vaguely remember this.
  • OverClockedAD - April 1, 2010 12:25 p.m.

    Hell no, you ain't close to being the only one of two who turned on their Saturns today. I did. Bunch of people over at the NiGHTS forusm did. Reala Day is still going strong! Just don't let Reala catch you from behind...
  • melch - April 1, 2010 11:15 a.m.

    Phantasy star online on the dreamcast did this kind of stuff, was a really nice touch to log in on halloween and find the sky full of pumpkins :)

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