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Next Generation Uncovered
Next Generation #5 - Ultra 64: The Story So Far
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on April 17, 2014   |   Episode 5 (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!

For a console intended to make the 1995 holiday season, not much was known about the Nintendo 64 (then known as the Ultra 64). Although it had been announced nearly two years before this issue hit newsstands, Nintendo's 64 bitter was shrouded in secrecy. With only two announced games and no sense of how revolutionary the controller would be, Next Generation was forced to be creative when coming up with their May 1995 cover.

Even without a Mario or Zelda game announced, it would have been a safe bet to run one of Nintendo's familiar faces on the cover. That's the kind of thing other magazines would do, usually accompanied by a dozen pages of speculation and predictions. But Next Generation went a decidedly different direction. Instead of selling us on the next generation of Super Mario Bros., this cover hints at future beyond our wildest dreams.

If you're wondering what this spaceship has to do with the Ultra 64, it's an illustration generated on the type of Silicon Graphics Indy workstation that was being used to construct Nintendo's next-generation games. Sadly, this gorgeous artwork is not indicative of what would eventually come out on Nintendo's 64-bit system.

As deceptive as this image is, I appreciate that Next Generation went a different direction with this Nintendo cover. Nobody would have faulted the magazine for throwing Mario on the cover and calling it a day. This artwork may not have anything to do with real video games, but it is pretty and gets the point across that Nintendo has a next generation console on the way. But it was too good to be true. It's always too good to be true.

Next Week: Get ready for graphics that are to die for! Join us again next Tuesday for an episode all about the wonderful world of PC gaming. Don't worry, it doesn't get bogged down into tech talk; it's mostly about the great graphics.

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