City Connection's Zebra Engine powering Saturn Tribute games

I thought this was rather interesting. I was already impressed by the accuracy of the emulation in the Saturn Tribute pack released last week, despite the latency issues. With the exception of some off-audio at the end of the Cotton 2 title screen the game played and sounded near-perfect.

So what is the Zebra Engine? It’s basically the name City Connection gave to an in-house solution that emulates the Saturn’s source code and hardware, primarily developed by Nozomu Akiyama who worked at Jaleco on the Saturn and Arcade versions of Game Tengoku CruisinMix special.

Its first appearance seems to have been in the Switch/PS4 version of that very game, but it seems like it might have been used to power Baroque’s Switch port as well because Saturn specialist Naoki Shimasaku worked on both that and the Saturn Tribute games.

Anyway, Switch homebrew enthusiasts and hackers have managed to find a way to inject any game into the Zebra Engine and the results are apparently really encouraging:

I’m sure more thorough testing is underway but I find it interesting that of the games in that video, only Daytona USA is marked down for lag issues.


This is super exciting and I’ll be trying it with my favourite T&E SOFT golf games this weekend.

Nice - how did it go?

Not quite managed to get enough free time. Will do it soon though.

So much salty entitlement in that Twitter thread.

Reports are that input delay varies by game, and for most it’s low.

Of course, ironic this is not the case for the games they shipped. :thinking:

Older consoles had the controller ports pretty much directly tied into the CPU data bus. Due to the way the hardware was set up on the saturn, there was inherently more latency to begin with, And depending on the game code, this could be even worse. Anecdotally, a lot of saturn games had 5-7 frames of input lag on real hardware. Anything added on top of that is obviously making an already sluggish experience worse. I’m not sure anyone has ever done any proper rigid testing to prove any of this conclusively.


So I got this working quite easily. My own dumbness meant I didn’t think it was working when in fact it was.

Obviously I’m playing golf games. There’s no problems, and no lag. No need to resort to overclock.

Stopping the shot meter would be a nightmare with lag. I played 18 holes at Waialae CC and got a respectable score.

Impressive emulator performance on Switch!

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Tweet with a video of my best birdie