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Old School Magazines React to the First E3!
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on June 14, 2014   |   Episode 46 (Show Archive)  

   

Good news everybody: We all survived another E3. Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft all announced new projects and the consumers seem excited about the next two years of gaming. But instead of looking towards the future for LittleBigPlanets and Master Chief Collections, we're going to take you back in time to the very first Electronic Entertainment Expo. For five days straight, Defunct Games chronicled what old school magazines thought of the first E3. Now is your chance to relive the memories by reading all five episodes of The First E3. See what Nintendo Power, Electronic Gaming Monthly, Die Hard Game Fan, Next Generation and GamePro thought of this annual event back in 1995.
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." [READ MORE]

Just because 1995 was the first year of the Electronic Entertainment Expo, that doesn't mean game journalists went in completely cold. By this point, the hard-working staff at Die Hard Game Fan were already seasoned veterans of the convention circuit, thanks in large part to many years covering both Winter and Summer Consumer Electronics Shows. This may have been the first E3, but everybody knew what was expected of them.

While some magazines focused on games, Die Hard Game Fan was completely taken in by the glitz and glamor of E3. Long before mentioning Sega's surprise Saturn launch or the Nintendo 64 delay, this enthusiastic rag gushed over seeing Steven Spielberg, Michael Jackson and Seal, "who sang (dramatically I might add) at the Nintendo gathering at the Biltmore." I'm sure the pairing of Nintendo and Seal made more sense two decades ago. [READ MORE]

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With only a few issues to their name, Next Generation magazine went into the first Electronic Entertainment Expo as the new kid on the block. But despite their inexperience, Neil West and his crew had already made a name for themselves with hard-hitting interviews and a focus on the big players in the industry. While other magazines were content publishing 25 pages of wall-to-wall pictures, Next Generation chose to spend their time challenging the status quo and asking real questions. This was a magazine with something to prove.

At first glance, you might not even realize that E3 had taken place. The July 1995 cover makes no mention of the industry event, instead choosing to focus on the 3DO and the impending 32-bit war. The cover also teases an exclusive interview with Atari's Sam Tramiel, as well as "the world's first test drive" of Daytona USA on Sega Saturn. E3 is nowhere to be seen. [READ MORE]

It's the very first Electronic Entertainment Expo and the excitement is palpable. The industry is finally being taken seriously, Sega shocked everybody with a surprise launch and Nintendo delayed the Ultra 64. With so many stories to cover, it's hard to know where to start. Unfortunately for Electronic Gaming Monthly, the long-running periodical began its E3 coverage with this baffling paragraph:

"Let's break tradition here and start with a disclaimer: The games featured on the following pages are not the best games as rated by the Review Crew. These pages are a compilation of the favorites from the show as determined by the EGM editors who attended. As of yet, there are no official endorsements by the Review Crew praising these games as the best. Got that?" [READ MORE]

Game #5
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. [READ MORE]
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