Where I Read

NextGen #33 (September 1997)

Four issues away from getting caught up with Nintendo Power.

Cover: Shiny has a new game, Messiah, with a brand new engine.

Industry Interview: We have a new interview with Doug Lowenstein, with an update on the IDSA (which will become the ESA), their lobbying efforts, and their new anti-piracy efforts. It is also apparently clear that video games have become – as of September 1997 – Joe Lieberman’s pet issue. We also get a few comments here about how the Atlanta E3 went.

News: The M2 platform is no more. Macs are still getting a few game, and Sony is putting out the Dual Analog controller (no “Shock” yet). Also, at the Atlanta E3, Sega has been building up Project Black Belt (which will become the Dreamcast).

How to do a Design Document: We have an article on how to prepare a design document for your game idea. This goes through every stage of the process, from pre-design work to the actual design document and what it needs. I’d be interested to know how well this guidance has aged.

Alphas (Previews): We start off with the cover preview of Messiah. It’s interesting that they lead the article off with the core of the MDK team leaving Shiny, and this spurring Dave Perry to have Shiny develop another new engine for the game. Also, as a brief aside note, a caption for a screen grab for a character model mentions that other engines have problems with curved jointed areas “like the buttocks” which feels like it explains something about Lara Croft’s in-game character design from this era.

We also have a preview of Prey – the first one which, again, doesn’t come out until 2006 – another 9 years later. There’s also a preview of Daikatana focusing on the game’s story and level environments. Also, Ken Levine and his studio, Reality Bytes, is working on a fantasy action game.

Probably the biggest preview here, in terms of long-term implications, is Everquest. The description has a real “this game is innovating so much we don’t have the vocabulary to describe it yet vibe. I’ll note that Ultima Online wasn’t out yet when they wrote this preview, and Everquest won’t come out for another 2 years.

For other titles, we have Monster Rancher from Tecmo, with some discussion of the game’s monster generation method. There’s also a developer profile of Beam Software, which has now been renamed to Melbourne House after being bought by Infogrames, and will eventually be shut down in 2010.

The Way Games Ought To Be: We have a discussion of the potential of force feedback (and because this is sold on regular newsstands, there will be no discussion of the ways the Rez Trance Vibrator will be used).

Finals (Reviews): Just one game for the N64 this issue, with Multi-Racing Championship, which is very well received.

The PlayStation has two games – racing game Thunder Truck Rally, and party action game Poy Poy. thunder Truck gets a middling review, while Poy Poy is compared favorably with Bomberman – especially when it comes to multiplayer (which I’d say is high praise, as Bomberman is probably one of the best four-player multiplayer console games).

The Saturn has the biggest selection of titles. We have Action RPG Shining The Holy Arc, RPG FPS Quo Vadis 2, and the early Sega Ages selections, just to get started.

On the PC, we have Blood, Carmageddon, Imperium Galactica, and the third Realms of Arcania game. However, the stand out title here is Dungeon Keeper, a worthy follow-up from Peter Molyneux to Magic Carpet, in terms of a 3D RTS.

Finally, in Arcades, Sega still has some solid fighting games with Last Bronx. Also, Sega, make a new Last Bronx you coward!

Letters: (Jerry Seinfeld) So, what’s the deal with Trip Hawkins? (/Seinfeld) He started EA, that’s it.

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