Sega: ages of innovation

So Animal Crossing knows what time it is and has fireworks at New Years. New thing? No way. A full decade before that, Saturn was offering the same wonders. Sega Touring Car Championship had online-ranked time attack competitions on special race tracks which were only unlocked when the Saturn's clock reached a certain date. Enemy Zero featured Merry Christmas and Happy New Year's messages. And then there's Christmas NiGHTS, which took full advantage of the clock - so we're hoping the NiGHTS: Journey of Dreams on Wii does the same.

The Saturn game offered date-triggered environment graphics including snow in the winter and Christmas Trees in December, along with new character outfits and Easter Eggs such as Santa Claus flying through the sky on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. There were even some secret features too, like NiGHTS 's nemesis Reala taking over as lead character on April 1, purple snow if you set your clock a few hundred years in the future and falling hearts on Valentine's Day.These features were ace then - so why haven't we seen more games making use of internal clocks?

Above: A game that changed with the seasons - over ten years ago

Above: A game that changed with the seasons - over ten years ago

Justin Towell

Justin was a GamesRadar staffer for 10 years but is now a freelancer, musician and videographer. He's big on retro, Sega and racing games (especially retro Sega racing games) and currently also writes for Play Magazine,, PC Gamer and TopTenReviews, as well as running his own YouTube channel. Having learned to love all platforms equally after Sega left the hardware industry (sniff), his favourite games include Christmas NiGHTS into Dreams, Zelda BotW, Sea of Thieves, Sega Rally Championship and Treasure Island Dizzy.