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Next Generation Uncovered
Next Generation #2 - Gaming on the Information Superhighway
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on March 27, 2014   |   Episode 2 (Show Archive)  

While Next Generation didn't have the lifespan of Electronic Gaming Monthly and Nintendo Power, the magazine did spend seven years influencing what we now consider modern-day games journalism. Over the next 85 episodes, we'll do our best to review every Next Generation cover and put the issue into proper context. Join us every Thursday for Next Generation Uncovered!

Sometimes looking back at the mid-1990s can be a little depressing. It's not just the flannel shirts, backward jeans and rollerblades, but also the way people referred to technology. We're two decades into the Internet Age and pretty much everybody knows the basic terminology. But this wasn't the case back in the 1990s, when computer-related words were used interchangeably and nobody seemed to care. Just ask Sandra Bullock, who comes across as a little unsure about what she's talking about in The Net.

You might think that an up-and-coming video game magazine might buck the trend and treat this as the serious world-changing invention that it is. Judging from this February 1995 issue, that's not what Next Generation did. Instead of bumbling through tech speak like Ms. Bullock, this magazine chose to dumb it down with cutesy nicknames. I'll let the eye-rolling use of "Internet Superhighway" slide, but the use of "Infobahn" is over the line. I think we can letup on the hyperbole, fellas; your 28.8k modem isn't fooling anybody into thinking it's the "Infobahn."

Moving past the technological baby speak, Next Generation's artwork is ... awful. It's one of those ideas that probably looked really cool in the mockup drawing, but the finished design is simultaneously cheesy and horrifying. Instead of hair, this young white dude has tons of wires connected to his head. We can see that these wires are linked to some sort of motherboard. This is completely impractical, as you would never be able to leave and there are far too many wires that could get yanked out or go bad.

But there's one other problem that makes this design even more baffling. The cover story is all about online gaming, yet there's nothing about this picture that suggests he's able to get online. I see a bunch of cords connected to a motherboard, but none of them resemble a telephone or Ethernet cord. Perhaps he's connected to a computer that is in turn logged into the internet, but isn't that a lot of work? Why not just plug the internet into the back of your head, like in The Matrix?

If this is the next generation, then you can count me out!

Next Week: The PlayStation is here, but does it live up to the hype? This will be one of the questions we answer next Tuesday when we review Next Generation #3.



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