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EGM March '93 - The Super NES CD is Real
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on August 22, 2007   |   Episode 13 (Show Archive)  

   

MARCH 1993: This issue reminds us that there was a time when Star Fox was actually a cool franchise!
The look, logo, staff, and consoles may have changed, but there's one thing that has remained the same since the very first issue of Electronic Gaming Monthly nearly 17 years ago. And that is Quartermann, the man you call on when you want rumors, gossip, and speculation. Although his write up has gone under a number of different titles, a rumor section has appeared in every one of EGM's almost 200 issues. But what if I were to tell you that this rumor monger's facts were spotty, at best? What if I were to tell you that the rumors, while juicy, are often incorrect? Well ... that's precisely what I'm about to tell you, and to prove it we're prepared to look at his rumors one magazine at a time.

Here's what you need to know: In each episode we are going to take a different issue of Electronic Gaming Monthly and go through every single rumor the Q-Mann talked brought up. I'm going to write them up EXACTLY as they are in the magazine, and then explain the truth ... knowing what we know all these years later. We're not here to pull any punches, we're just curious to see how well the magazine holds up over the years. In our fifth episode we decided to look at EGM issue 44, March 1993.

Rumor #1 - No Genesis 2 For You!
"Straight from the Uncle's mouth - don't look for the Genesis 2 or Sega CD 2 to appear in the U.S. The head honchos at gamedom's big blue concede that the Q-Mann was right about the sequels, but only Japan will be graced with the game systems ..."
Reality: Usually I do what I can to not get the rumors straight from the Uncle's mouth, because, dude, that's pretty weird. But I guess I don't have a choice when

The Genesis 2 isn't the most attractive console on the planet, but at least it made it to the United States!
it comes to this first rumor, which suggests that the announced Genesis 2 and Sega CD 2 are not coming to the United States. In case you don't remember the early 1990s, the Genesis 2 was a remodeled version of the original Sega Genesis unit. The console was smaller, more compact and lacked the signature headphone jack (and volume controls). Like the Genesis 2, the Sega CD 2 was a smaller version of the CD-ROM unit. Instead of having a disc tray, the Sega CD 2 was a top-loading unit. What's more, the Sega CD 2 sat next to the Genesis 2 and not under the unit.

The good news is that Quartermann was right that the Genesis 2 and Sega CD 2 existed, Sega was definitely going to release those remodeled consoles in Japan. But Japan wasn't the only place getting those 16-bit systems, the U.S. also played host to them in 1993. Try to hold in your amazement, the Q-Mann actually gets the first rumor of the episode (magazine) wrong. And while we're at it, not only did the Genesis 2 hit the market, but at one point the Genesis 3 actually came out ... but by that time nobody cared.

Rumor #2 - Can a Jaguar Kill a 3DO?
"... While we're talking hardware, this dog of war heard from not one, not two, but three (count 'em) three program heads who all insisted that Atari's new Jaguar can out-shoot the new 3DO wonder machine! More

Despite the Jaguar's specs, there's no way you can look at Checkered Flag and think that Atari's system is more powerful than the 3DO!
technical ability can be found, according to those in the know, in the Flare-inspired shell that is now going through final prep in Texas than any other machine in existence! What's the catch? As previously reported by the great Q, the knuckleheads at Atari decided to leave the RAM out of the console to save some pennies and, in the process, left the hulking hardware singing high soprano! Bet you use one-ply, don't you Sam ..."
Reality: Believe it or not, the Atari Jaguar actually had better hardware ... on paper. With its faster CPU speed and better graphics processor, the Jaguar should have run circles around the 3DO. But as we look back at the games offered on these two consoles you would be hard pressed to find a Jaguar game that looked better than the best games on the 3DO. Heck, it's not even about the best games on the system ... most of the just plain average games on the 3DO looked better than what Atari could come up with. A lot of the reason for this is because Atari was trying to be more ambitious. Most of the early Jaguar games featured polygonal games at a time when you couldn't add detailed textures. So what we get instead are large blocky characters that are able to fly around a 3D world. On the flipside, the 3DO games didn't try to bite off more than they could chew, they knew what the system could do and they stuck with it.

So I guess that Quartermann is technically right about this rumor, but then again, is this a rumor at all? We're not talking about something that might happen; we're talking about system specs ... that seems pretty cut and dry if you ask me. I refuse to call this a rumor; this is more of a statement than anything.

Rumor #3 - Pioneer's Meaning of L.I.F.E.
"... Pioneer's new Mikey, er, L.I.F.E. system was a real surprise! The laserdisc games were wicked awesome and the Sega/Turbo compatibility pulls some nice kick. Still pricey, but quite good ..."

When your Genesis add-on costs upwords of $600 you might as well just go and buy a real Genesis unit!
Reality: L.I.F.E.?? Hmm, what could L.I.F.E. be? Oh, I know ... the Quartermann is talking about the LaserActive, Pioneer's failed laserdisc system. Again, this is actually more of a statement than it is a rumor. The LaserActive had already been announced, gamers who went to the Consumer Electronic Show that year had a chance to play it, and we all knew about the expensive Genesis/TurboGrafx-16 adaptors that you could buy. None of this is new information, it's all old facts that the Q-Mann is repeating for some strange reason. So far the Quartermann has had a general lack of real rumors in this issue, is he losing his touch or just confused by the difference between a rumor and a statement? Either way, the Q-Minator is making my life easy by telling us a lot of information we already knew. Thanks Q, you're making my job even easier than it normally is.

Rumor #4 - Get on the Ball Sega!
"... What do you get when you invest millions of dollars into a multi-media studio to produce CD games, put the Sega-name on the door and then wait almost a year? Nothing!"

I'm sure Ground Zero Texas is not the kind of game the Q-Mann is hoping to see from Sega's multimedia studio!
Reality: Okay, this is getting ridiculous. This is nothing more than a statement, there's no actual rumor in this text. The dictionary defines rumor as "a story or statement in general circulation without confirmation or certainty as to facts." This is a statement, there are facts to back up this quote. It's been almost a year and Sega's expensive multimedia studio has yet to release anything substantial, that's a fact. No matter how you word it, this is a statement and nothing more, what's it's doing in the rumor section is beyond me.

But let's ignore the fact that the Q-Mann is confused by what a rumor consists of; I don't particularly care for his impatience regarding Sega's new studio. He expects greatness in "almost a year"? Give me a break, most games (even back then) too around a year to make, and that's not even taking into consideration that Sega was just starting to figure out how to make a new generation of large scale disc-based games. There was voice acting to record, video to assemble, special effects to add and a whole lot of coding that needed to go into making the games. It's not like it had been two or three years without any progress, the Q-Mann is complaining about it being close to a year. I would hate to go on long road trips with this guy. In his defense, Sega did eventually squander the multimedia studio they invested in. But that's neither here nor there, because in March of 1993 there was no way you could have known what was going to happen. Q-Mann, it's time you learn to be a little more patient.

Rumor #5 - Virtua Racing: Virtual Reality Edition?
"On the flip-side for Sega, their new Virtual VR virtual reality glasses (which make you look like a lawnmower man) are rumored to have a special 3-D version of Virtua Racing in the works."

Why would anybody want to strap a big huge Virtual Reality helmet to their head when it's such a nice day out?
Reality: Finally, the Quartermann gets done with his opinionated statements and gives us a real rumor. So the Q-Mann seems to think that not only is the Virtual Reality unit going to come out, but Sega would release a version of Virtua Racing for it. Not bloody likely. For one thing Sega's Virtual Reality unit, just like Atari's Virtual Reality unit, never saw a retail release. After a prototype was shown at the CES the VR was never heard from again. Perhaps Sega realized that creating a VR helmet was too expensive. Or maybe Sega played it and decided that Virtual Reality is crap, it's a concept that sounds cool on paper but isn't very interesting.

The second part of this rumor is a hoot, the Quartermann seems to think that the game best suited for the VR helmet is Virtua Racer, Sega's popular polygonal racer. Is it because the game's initials are VR? Or maybe it's because "Virtua" sounds almost like the word "Virtual" ... whatever the case, Virtua Racing wouldn't make any sense whatsoever. What makes Virtual Reality cool (or, well, not completely lame) is that you can look left and right and up and down at your choosing. But why would you ever need to do that in Virtua Racing, we're talking about a fast-paced racing game where it's important to see what's going on in front of you at all times. Needless to say, Quartermann's Virtua Racer rumors are all washed up.

Rumor #6 - If it Looks Like a Human ...
"The character generator that is Acclaim showed during their wing-ding looked cool. It's a program that traces the movements of human characters who are wearing a special outfit covered with sensors and then fills in the rest of the picture

If I never had to see another video explaining how motion capture works I could die a very happy man!
over time with computer muscle. As much as the technology wowed the Q-Minator, I laid eyes on a similar system later in the show that rendered the graphic pix instantly! Venom still looked awesome ..."
Reality: Again, this is not so much a rumor as it is a real way to develop character animations. I'm not really sure why Q-Minator (really? Q-Minator??) decided to feature this in the Gaming Gossip section, this certainly doesn't sound like gossip to me. This process is called motion capturing and it's still being used. In fact, every time you see a behind-the-scenes video about making games there's always that scene where they show you how they motion capture the characters. I laugh every time I see somebody post a video about motion capturing on YouTube, every time they explain it like it's some brand new invention that nobody has seen before. But the truth is we've all seen people do motion capturing hundreds of times already, it's probably the one thing everybody knows how to do without even thinking about it. Either way, it's kind of interesting to see the Q-Mann report on the birth of motion capturing, the way he explains it makes the whole process sound so innocent and exciting. But no matter how revolutionary motion capturing was, it's still not a rumor. This is a news item that should have been given a bigger spread (with pictures and quote). Why this is posted in the rumor section is anybody's guess.
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