Ah, NiGHTS into Dreams… the closest thing the Sega Saturn had to a killer app. And what a killer app it was! Released in July 1996 in Japan, it topped Saturn sales charts across the world with its colorful graphics, showing that, with skillful programming, the Saturn could compete with or even beat the Playstation’s visuals. The soundtrack was beautiful, unique gameplay seen nowhere else at the time, and a super-smooth new controller made it a marvel to play – or so I’ve heard. I’ve never actually played the original game, yet. I didn’t really get into the Sega Saturn until about a month ago when I bought one cheap on eBay. Then it was a Pal Saturn, headaches ensued, and I ended up buying a Japanese Model One Saturn, which was completed with the help of a con.
But anyway, NiGHTS was a hit, topping charts across the world and even landing on several “best games of all time” lists from people like IGN and CVG. With success, of course, came MERCHANDISING, WHERE THE REAL MONEY FROM THE GAME IS MADE! Actually, NiGHTS had a fairly strong marketing push. In Japan, we got storybooks, soundtracks, and even a line of plushies released to UFO Catcher machines. The U.S got a comic book from Archie Comics (famous for their Sonic the Hedgehog Comics), an LCD game from Tiger Electronics, and other miscellaneous trinkets. In December 1996, a Christmas-themed demo of the game called Christmas NiGHTS was released, coming free with things such as Sega Saturn bundles or with magazines.