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A Brief History of Gaming
The First E3: This Is How GamePro Covered E3 in 1995!
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on June 09, 2014   |   Episode 31 (Show Archive)  


As everybody travels to sunny southern California, Defunct Games wants to take you on a completely different journey. Let us guide you on a trip back to the very first Electronic Entertainment Expo, held in Los Angeles in 1995. Experience the grandeur of E3 through the eyes of old school magazines, including GamePro, Electronic Gaming Monthly, Die Hard Game Fan, Next Generation and Nintendo Power. It's a week of generational differences as Defunct Games takes you back to the very first E3.

The Electronic Entertainment Expo was the biggest event of the year and GamePro couldn't wait to take credit for the massive convention. Even before the press conferences kicked off and 50,000 people piled into the Los Angeles Convention Center, the long-running magazine was busy making sure everybody knew what E3 stood for.

"The Electronic Entertainment Expo is the happenin' video game extravaganza of '95 ... so naturally it's sponsored by GamePro's publisher, Infotainment World." The article, written by Andromeda and Undercover Lover (no joke), continued: "Anybody who's anybody in electronic gaming will be in Los Angeles during the show's run from May 11 - 13, which means more games, peripherals, and systems will soon be on their way to you."

Beyond spending eight solid pages listing games that might be on the show floor, GamePro also made a number of obvious predictions. "The Sony PlayStation and Sega Saturn will certainly turn heads," notes the writer. We are assured there will be "plenty of buzz about 3DO's M2 Accelerator and the Jaguar CD." And what about gamers afraid to upgrade? "If you're a diehard 16-bit gamer, however, no problemo -- '95 will be a great year for good SNES and Genesis games."

GamePro also included a map of the show floor! (I'm not sure why.)

I'm not sure I would go as far as to say 1995 was a great year for the Genesis, but most of these other predictions were sound. The rest of the space was filled with tiny pictures and even smaller blurbs about upcoming games. "Kemco also has the "ball" to put out a Virtua Boy cart," we're told. "Baseball, that is." It's eight pages of corny jokes. But
don't worry, this is just the preview; we're reminded that GamePro will "separate the hype from the heavy hitters" in a later issue.

One month later, GamePro delivered this tease on their July 1995 cover: "Electronic Entertainment Expo Highlights!" It was finally time to rip open the magazine and bask in page after page of E3 surprises and expert analysis. It's time for pictures, system specs and previews of the hottest games. But not so fast; this issue spent all its time covering the ECTS (European Computer Trade Show). GamePro promotes the event as "Europe's Electronic Entertainment Showcase," which is somewhat close to Electronic Entertainment Expo.

With the exception of a quick news blurb about the Sega Saturn's surprise launch and Ultra 64's delay, not much was said about
the Electronic Entertainment Expo in this July 1995 issue of GamePro. Instead the magazine devotes too many pages to Judge Dredd and a nauseating piece called, "Hooray for Hollywood! Acclaim Studios." Despite what the cover suggests, there are no E3 highlights to be found in this issue.

GamePro did eventually get around to separating "the hype from the heavy hitters." The magazine promised "Hot Games and Systems from E3," and, in August 1995, they finally delivered. In a spread that spanned fifteen colorful pages, GamePro covered the Electronic Entertainment Expo for the first time.

Fans of the magazine already recognized the format, as it closely resembled their Consumer Electronic Show coverage. From PlayStation details to the Jaguar's VR helmet, GamePro's lengthy write-up was exhaustive and managed to capture the highlights (and lowlights) of the event. It even managed to dip into PC news, something competing magazines would often ignore.

Did GamePro separate the hype from the heavy hitters as promised? Judge for yourself in these actual E3 write-ups ...


"The Jaguar, which lays claim to the title "first 64-bit video game system" can now add the "least-expensive 64-bit system" to its trophy shelf. Atari announced a new $159 price tag for the Jag, and it also promised that the Jaguar game library would be up to 100 titles by year's end. Atari also showed the Jaguar VR headset, which is based on the Virtuality virtual reality game system."


"WipeOut wowed 'em at E3. In this slick futuristic racing game, you'll pilot sleek antigravity vehicles that will whip around ten wild tracks. WipeOut's game designers love Ridge Racer, so they tried to do their favorite auto racer one better. The animation here will pop at 30 frames per second. That's pretty fast, and the driving perspective in the E3 demo was so awesome, it was almost startling."


"The 3DO booth featured 54 game stations, but everybody wanted to know about the 64-bit M2 upgrade that 3DO announced prior to the show. Panasonic only announced "support" for the technology. Goldstar anted up some cool-looking mock-ups of an M2 and a 3DO portable. LG also announced ten of its own software titles slated for '95. The M2 beats all the next-generation hardware on paper, but whether or not it shows in '95 is still anybody's guess."


"The worm warrior returns! Earthworm Jim 2 will be a 24-meg, one-player sequel. The evil Psycrow's wicked plans will dump Jim into a load of perilous challenges from bombing runs over hostile alien fortifications to storming the fearsome innards of an energy-sucking planet. This time he'll wield five new guns and a few snotty items, such as the Snott Swing and the Snott Parachute."
Game Informer (October 2010)
Despite promising a more aggressive approach, GamePro's E3 coverage was mostly toothless. Most of the coverage was indistinguishable from their usual previews, and rarely did the editors give their own opinions. For their first E3, GamePro played it straight down the middle.

Even more disappointing, GamePro decided not to run many pictures of the event. While other magazines took snapshots of the large booths and impressive displays, "The #1 Video Game Magazine" opted for screenshots and other stills supplied by PR. The result is a boring design that fails to convey the excitement and grandeur of the Electronic Entertainment Expo.

Despite hyping the convention for three straight months, GamePro's E3 coverage was surprisingly simple. It got the job done and not much more, which is has always been a great way to summarize GamePro magazine.



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