MARCH 1992: 1992 must have been the year they decided to stop paying the cover artists!
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 ninth episode we decided to look at EGM issue 32, March 1992.
Rumor #1 - CD-i Games on your Super NES CD?
"We've got a bumper crop of very special gossip from the floor of the Winter Consumer Electronic Show, where the rumor mill was in overdrive and yours truly was putting in overtime ... The big news at the show was the first disclosure of information pertaining to the Nintendo CD-ROM system. Not only will the new super drive function as a separate co-processor that speeds up the action on the Big N's 16-Bitter, it will also be upgradable to be compatible with the
Call me a skeptic, but I just don't think that the prospect of playing the CD-i version of Mad Dog McCree was going to sway anybody into buying a Super NES CD-ROM!"
Philips CD-i unit! What packs an even greater punch, however, is the fact that Nintendo plans to get their mega peripheral into your home for under 200 bucks! Although some rumors indicate a delivery schedule that will land the system on store shelves prior to Christmas of this year, the Q-Minator sez "Don't count on it!"
Oh fun, we get to start with what could be the greatest piece of vaporware ever conceived for the console video game industry. I'm talking about none other than Nintendo's Super NES CD-ROM, the little system that was announced just after Sega debuted their Sega CD. At the time that this magazine was published every magazine was trying to one-up the competition, and just like today, that meant that there were all kinds of rumors presented as facts. As you can imagine our friend Quartermann was there to fuel the fire with his own brand of gossip, which today sounds a lot more like one guy just making stuff up.
So here we are presented with yet another baseless Super NES CD-ROM rumor. The Q-Mann suggests that Nintendo's CD-ROM would be compatible with Philip's failed CD-i console, a system that featured both Mario and Zelda games. While this is the type of news fans of the CD-i like to hear, it really doesn't make a whole lot of sense from the Nintendo stand point. While the die-hard CD-i fans may disagree with me, ultimately the system just didn't have enough high quality software to make this kind of announcement exciting. Quartermann seems to feel that this is a big deal, but would Nintendo fans really want to play Pinball or Escape from Cyber City? I think not.
Since the Super NES CD-ROM never got out of the development stage none of these rumors really matter. It's not a rumor that Nintendo's attachment would add another co-processor, but suggesting that it would play CD-i games is a bit much. And the $200 price point? Well, like I said, there's no point even talking about it since Nintendo never actually went through with releasing the CD-based system (and has still yet to release a system that plays CD-ROMs, not that I am complaining).
Rumor #2 - Sonic the Pack-In?
"Thrusting into other CD gaming news, the Q-Mann has heard rumors from sources within Sega that the upcoming release of their Mega CD will be accompanied with Sonic the Hedgehog 2
Don't cry Sonic, maybe one day Sega will get your franchise back on the right track!
as a pack-in! Sonic will also make sequel appearance in both a cartridge based game as well as an arcade game on Sega's System 32 that invites multiple players to assume the role of different colored Sonics! Way cool!"
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 a pack-in for the Sega CD?? I have two words for you: HELL NO!! This rumor is easy to debunk, since Sonic the Hedgehog 2 was released a full year before Sonic CD. And besides, Sonic CD is not Sonic 2 ... it's a whole lot better than Sonic 2 could ever have been (even with the terrible American soundtrack). It would have been a good idea for Sega to pack in a Sonic game, especially with the high price point of the Sega CD. But alas they decided to pack-in a shooter that was a port of a Genesis game (Sol-Feace), a full-motion video game that nobody cared about (Sherlock Holmes), and a whole bunch of music samplers (featuring Dramarama, Saigon Kick, Chubb Rock, Fleetwood Mac, and Mr. Big). Sega could have packaged Sonic 2 with the Sega CD, but instead decided to feature a CD featuring such Genesis classics as Golden Axe, Columns, and Streets of Rage. With all of the space left over it's a shame they didn't get around to including Sega's most popular franchise. Who knows, it might have helped sales.
Can you imagine how many units Sega would have solid if hey had included Sonic CD with their Sega CD? But alas it just wasn't meant to be. But don't feel too bad, Sega loyalists, at least they didn't suggest that they were going to allow you to play CD-i games on the console.
Rumor #3 - Stupid Name/Super System?
Stupid picture on the box, too!
"In other Sega CD developments, the Genesis/CD-ROM hybrid now being created by the technical wizards at JVC has been given a working title: the Wonder Mega. Stupid name for a super system."
Super system, eh? It's funny how the EGM of then is all about hyping the Sega CD while the EGM of today is all about tearing it down. But that's what time will do to you, I guess. The reality is pretty simple, when JVC released their Genesis/Sega CD combo it was indeed called the WonderMega. They also called the unit the Xeye. Either way, both names are really lame, the kind of lame that might keep you from actually buying it. I doubt that was reason the unit failed, but it certainly didn't help any. By the way, when was the last time you heard somebody call JVC "technical wizards"??
Not everything that comes out of Quartermann's mouth is total B.S. From time to time EGM's gossip guru gets something right. Too bad it wasn't about something more important (or more interesting).
Rumor #4 - Don't Ever Say Q-Man-Fu Again!
"Q-Man-Fu sees Batman 2 as an adventure RPG on the Nintendo and Super NES."
Who knew Batman was such a horn dog??
The sequel to the 8-Bit NES Batman was Sunsoft's Batman: Revenge of the Joker, a game that featured graphics that rivaled early 16-Bit games. But Revenge of the Joker wasn't an adventure game in any sense of the word, it was instead an action game much like the original Batman. Only this time it was based on the comic books and not Tim Burton's movie. After Revenge of the Joker, Batman returned in a little game called Batman Returns (not to be confused with Superman Returns). Like the other Batman games, it would be hard to consider this game an adventure/RPG. And for what it's worth, the Super NES Batman games weren't adventure games either. I honestly have no idea what the Quartermann is talking about here.
While it would be cool to have a Batman adventure game, the idea that the Quartermann talks about just never happened. Who knows, maybe one day we'll see a game like that ... but I can guarantee that it won't be on the NES or Super NES.
Rumor #5 - Just What Is the Super Game Boy?
"Riding high on the first info of a color Game Boy from Nintendo last year, Quartermann has discovered that the machine is now reaching the final stages of development, with certain suits gaining access to preliminary discussions with the Big N during the recent CES in Vegas. The unit, which is rumored to be maintaining the same basic size and structure of the original Game Boy, is being called (are you ready for some originally???) the Super Game Boy! The device is rumored to be set for a late '92 release and could come in under the $100 magic mark at toy stores near you! An unconfirmed report in to Quartermann also has the powerful portable using a dot matrix screen similar to the one employed in
Play it Loud?? If you play it too loud your neighbors are going to complain and then how embarrassed are you going to be when they discover you playing a Game Boy game on your TV??
the Game Boy and having full compatibility with your original black and white and grey carts. The Q-Mann throws Nintendo a big yawn for that, but the concept of a new color portable gets me tranked, especially when you consider the long list of developers who will produce for it ..."
While we've had a number of rumors up to this point, this color Game Boy rumor is easily the best part of this issue. It's so good that Electronic Gaming Monthly decided to advertise this news on the very front of their magazine! Yet when you look at the rumor it's almost comical. It's not that the Q-Mann is wrong, the Super Game Boy was real and Nintendo did eventually release a color Game Boy ... but his information could not have been any more mixed up.
For starters, the Super Game Boy that he talks about is not a new portable. The Super Game Boy isn't this top secret color Game Boy that everybody had hoped for. Instead the Super Game Boy was a cartridge that allowed you to play your original Game Boy games on the TV. The color Game Boy he keeps talking about (or, Game Boy Color) was actually a system Nintendo released ... six years after he wrote this article. The Super Game Boy didn't feature a dot matrix screen, it wasn't the same size as the original Game Boy, and it didn't change anything. It was just a device that let you play your portable games on your TV, for whatever reason.
And what's worse, Quartermann didn't even get the release date right. He says it will be the second half of 1992 ... yet the device didn't ship until two years later in 1994. However, there is one thing the Q-Mann managed to get right: the price. He say it would be under $100, and guess what, it was. Unfortunately everything else that EGM's master gossip said was wrong. And by the way, what the heck does "tranked" mean? Is that a typo on his part, or am I just out of the loop when it comes to lingo?
Quartermann proves that he can find real information ... he's just not very good at putting it all together. The Super NES was not a brand new portable; it was a way to play your portable games on the TV. Of all the stupid rumors that the Quartermann got wrong, this is definitely the funniest. Looking back on it now it's almost sad that EGM felt that this was big enough news to feature on the front of their magazine. Must have been a slow news month.
Rumor #6 - Acclaim is on the Cutting Edge?
Say what you will about Alien 3, but there's no denying how cool these aliens are!
"Acclaim has devoured Arena software in an attempt to keep their expanding empire on the cutting edge! Look for Alien 3 to turn up on other formats outside of the Genesis as well as in other more exciting places."
This may be the only time we ever see "Acclaim" and "on the cutting edge" used in the same sentence. Acclaim's library of games included nothing more than a lot of games based on movies and arcade ports ... nothing cutting edge about that. This rumor goes a long way to prove my point, we're sitting here talking about a game based on David Fincher's Alien 3. What, you didn't know that the guy who directed Fight Club and Panic Room was the guy who made the only Alien sequel without guns? Where have you been? Anyway ... this is another rumor that the Quartermann gets right. But really, It doesn't take a psychic to guess that Acclaim was going to port Alien 3 to the Super NES, they are one of those companies that releases their games on every platform under the sun. I thought these were supposed to be rumors, not givens.
Hey look everybody, the Quartermann got another rumor right. Of course, it was only a matter of time before Acclaim ported Alien 3 to other systems. That's like predicting that Electronic Arts is going to release another Madden game next year.
Rumor #7 - A New Street Fighter II?
"Look for Street Fighter 2, the ultimate 16-Meg fighting game for the Super NES, to turn up again in arcades with a new name! Tournament Street Fighter 2 will include all new
It's not video games that present unrealistic body types ... it's anime that is the problem!!
moves as well as some unique characters to go at one-on-one. Quartermann doesn't know yet if Capcom will include some of these enhancements in their 16-Bit SNES version, but I wouldn't be surprised!"
Oh my goodness, is the Quartermann going to get two right in a row?? It certainly looks that way. Really the only problem with the Q's rumor is the name of the game. 1992 brought Capcom's update to Street Fighter II, Street Fighter II: Champion Edition. The game updated the characters, added new moves, and balanced things out a bit. It didn't really add new characters, like the Quartermann suggests, they simply made the four bosses (Balrog, Vega, Sagat and M. Bison) playable. I'm not really sure how "unique" any of those fighters are, but who am I to argue? What's that? Oh right, that's the whole purpose of this show. Anyway, it looks like Quartermann got it right, good for him. But wait ... this is the March 1992 issue of EGM and this game came out in Japan in April of 1992. Hmm, perhaps that wasn't a real crazy guess after all.
Once again the Quartermann gets something right ... but again, it's not like he predicted something that would happen months later, he talked about a game that was released one month after this magazine's date. But a hit is a hit, and beyond the fact that the Q-Mann failed to get the name right this should be considered another "rumor" that turned out to be true. If only he could have gotten the rest of the rumors right, then he might have something.