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A Brief History of Gaming
The First E3: This Is How Nintendo Power Covered E3 in 1995!
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on June 13, 2014   |   Episode 35 (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.

All week long we've been looking at magazines like Electronic Gaming Monthly, GamePro, Next Generation and Die Hard Game Fan. Not only were these magazines known for their opinionated reviews, but also the fact that they covered the entire industry. Nintendo Power, on the other hand, wasn't concerned about the Saturn's surprise launch or Sega's plans to take over the industry; they just wanted to show up their newest games for the Super NES.

In some ways this was probably liberating, as covering three impending next generation consoles would have been a nightmare. But with no real news about the Ultra 64 (outside of it being delayed until the following year), you can't blame me for worrying that Nintendo Power's coverage would be about as thorough as a doctor working at Philip Morris. As it turns out, I was wrong. While the six page report was undeniably one-sided, it proved to be the most in-depth look at the first Electronic Entertainment Expo.

Even though we were half way through 1995, Nintendo Power managed to convince me that there was still plenty of life left in the Super NES. With headlines like "The Super NES Reigns Supreme" and "The Place to Be," Nintendo opted against the modest approach. They filled their pages with previews of the biggest 16-bit games of the year, including Killer Instinct, Donkey Kong Country 2, Mortal Kombat 3, Doom, Earthworm Jim 2, Chrono Trigger, Secret of Evermore, Castlevania: Dracula X, Ninja Gaiden trilogy and dozens more.


"Killer Instinct for the Super NES brings an amazingly sophisticated arcade game to the home platform and delivers a knockout. Most of the characters and moves have been retained in the Super NES KI. That is to be expected. But what blew minds at E3 was the quality of the graphics. If you thought Donkey Kong Country was awesome last year, you'll see that Rare learned a thing or two since then. For dramatic action, total challenge and beautifully rendered, ACM graphics, nothing beats Killer Instinct."


"Williams Entertainment showed off its own one-two punch for the Super NES. In any other year, Mortal Kombat 3 and Doom would be on the top of the heap. Even with KI and DKC 2 in the running, the two Williams titles should be huge. The Super NES MK3 rivals the arcade game for quality and, at least at E3, stood toe-to-toe with the Playstation game, although neither game was finished. With all the characters and moves, plus the awesome Kombat Kode feature and Animalities, the Super NES MK3 will rock."


"Virtual Boy took center stage in the Nintendo booth with big screen demos and hands-on units. Hudson Soft demonstrated two titles, Panic Bomberman VB and Vertical Force. Panic is a puzzle game along the lines of Bomblis, while Vertical Force adds 3-D depth to a vertically scrolling shooter. Kemco's Virtual League Baseball was shown in its Japanese form. Unfortunately, the demo didn't allow players to get a hit and most people walked away thinking they'd just experienced the ultimate strikeout pitcher."


"Mindscape officially joined the Dream Team at E3 with the announcement of Monster Dunk for Nintendo Ultra 64. The in-house development team at Mindscape has been gearing up with more Silicon Graphics Inc. workstations for this project. The concept of the game is basketball with monsters - a sort of haunted NBA Jam. Although no characters have been finalized at this point, Mindscape hopes the game will be multi-player."
While Nintendo Power largely focused on Nintendo products, they did manage to broach the subject of Sega and Sony with a weird interview with Dave Perry. The Shiny Entertainment head sat down with the magazine to discuss his thoughts on a whole host of subjects, including the Sega Saturn, Worms, time, space and the future. Like I said, the interview was weird.


"This (early launch) is hilarious. It reminds me of 3DO's launch. Actually, the people at 3DO were showing me the new stuff (M2) and I wanted to tell them to start all over. Maybe if Trip grew a beard and started a new company they could sell it, but not the way it is now."


"I really want to do more 16-bit games. It's incredible what you can do, and we're just beginning to learn what the real limits are. [Do the Super NES games match the new 32-bit games?] Absolutely. They can look even better. In one stage of Jim 2, he rides his pocket rocket through a fantastic 3-D stage. The effects are better than on Playstation."


"One of the projects we are working on now that will help with (upcoming games) is a new motion capture facility. This is a total 3-Dsystem [sic] that measures 500 points in space for creating animations with 120 frames per second real-time in a field of view the size of a movie theater."
Game Informer (October 2010)
And just when it looked like Dave Perry had hijacked Nintendo Power's E3 coverage and wouldn't give it back, the magazine regained control. Unfortunately, they chose to end an otherwise in-depth look at the first Electronic Entertainment Expo with a top 5 list that even a bad David Letterman impersonator would reject.

In a comedy bit titled Top 5 Predictions From E3, Nintendo Power tried out some new material with zingers like "Everyone at Atari will have to take mandatory math lessons." Get it? Because the Jaguar is 64-bit and their ad campaign is "Do the Math." Or better yet, "Sega will introduce a 64-bit system by bundling eight Master Systems together and calling the whole thing Titan." Zing!

To be fair, the long-running magazine did direct some of their jokes at the parent company. "Virtual Girl will debut next year with a color option. The case will be available in yellow, green or teal." Perhaps Nintendo Power should leave comedy to the professionals.

THE FIRST E3 RERUNS: Did you know that we've been running new episodes of The First E3 all week long? It's true; there are five episodes total. If you somehow missed the past episodes, then I recommend you stop everything you're doing and strap yourself in for fun. You can discover that GamePro took credit for the first annual E3. Learn which celebrities Die Hard Game Fan met while in Los Angeles. Go in-depth as Next Generation grills hardware developers for answers. Oh, and don't forget to see how Electronic Gaming Monthly decided to start off their E3 article. You won't believe it.



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