Video games

NextGen #9 – September 1995

I’m working on catching up in NextGen magazine to where we are in the Nintendo Power Retrospectives, but we’ve got a bit of a ways to go.

The cover for this issue focuses on the US release of the PlayStation, with a still of Destruction Derby being focused.

Industry Interview: Our industry interview for this issue is stepping away from the platform manufacturers to software publishers, with Bing Gordon of EA. The focus here is what horse they’re backing – which currently appears to be the Playstation. They’re not exclusive to Sony, as they have confidence that Sega and Nintendo are going to be around for a while… though considering how things pan out with the Dreamcast later on, they’re not going to have a significant presence on Sega’s platforms going forward.

He also talks about EA’s investment in the 3DO platform, basically saying thanks to Matsushita’s adoption of the platform, it helped get their foot in the door in Japan.

News: As covered in (ahem) the cover, the PS1 has launched in the US, and we have notes on the first year of planned releases. 3DO is sure that they are still in the game, with the new M2 chips ready to come out in new consoles soon. Spoiler: They don’t come out soon. The consoles don’t come out at all.

Speaking of which, in Japan, Sony has a reduced cost PS1 they’re putting out with no S-Video support! Further, Namco has signed an exclusive deal with Sony in Europe. Meanwhile, at the Tokyo Toy Expo, Bandai showed off their Pippin hardware, barely gets any of the planned software for the platform.

Meanwhile, Escom has bought out Commodore but is separating the Amiga into a separate subsidiary, though they’re still planning to keep the line alive because of their use in video production. We’ll see how long that lasts.

Joyriding: Domark has an online enabled combat flight-sim called “Confirmed Kill”.

Arcadia: More western developers are using digitized actors in arcade games, and I’m gonna say that a lot of them age very badly.

Virtual Reality: Virtual Reality is the wave of the future – 25 years in the future. IN any case, the article gets into how VR came to be, before getting to the very basics in head-mounted displays, as of 1995, works.

Saturn After Launch: The Saturn is out, and the question now is – “What about the after-launch support?” The answer is “It’s complicated, because of how the console works, and how the console handles 3D objects.” In short, rather than having the GPU do it, the two CPUs do it, and the GPU the 3D render and flattens it.

Nobody writes games like this (and nobody writes 3D engines like this – though admittedly not many people are writing 3D engines at this time), so optimizing ports for the Saturn is a nightmare – and this is also why it took so long to make a decent Saturn Emulator.

Alphas (Previews): Psygnosis has Demolition Derby, which has damage modeling on the cars. We also have WarHawk – a sci-fi combat flight sim. Crystal Dynamics also has a port of Total Eclipse for the Saturn titled Solar Eclipse. Probably the most notable game this issue is Twisted Metal – which the screen shots show as being played almost entirely in the first person. Finally, Origin has “The Darkening” featuring the then relatively unknown (outside the UK) actor Clive Owen.

We also have a preview of Super Mario World 2, along with an overview of upcoming 32-bit sports games, wrapping with Virtua Cop for the Saturn.

Finals (Reviews): One main PlayStation game this issue with CyberSled. The Saturn has platformers Astal and Bug! as their big showcases. They also review the first 5 Virtual Boy games and the best of which (Mario Tennis, Teleroboxer, and Mario Smash) get 3 stars.

On the PC, Star Trek: The Next Generation – The Final Unity gets a decent review. The Mac is getting the first Police Quest Game with Daryl F. Gates’ name attached to it. I’ll point you towards the really good article from Vice Games on why Sierra Online decided to partner with the human personification of ACAB.

On the 16-bit consoles we have Chrono Trigger. Also, at the Arcades we have Elevator Action II and Tekken 2, both getting great reviews.

Letters: We have a request for explanations of some of the technical jargon, with a promise for an article in a future issue. Also, aside from the usual rabid fanboyism which appears to be a fixture of video game magazine letter columns in the mid-90s, we have a valid insight on the importance of rental on system adoption at this time.

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