Where I Read

NextGen #38 (February 1998)

It’s time to get ahead of the game (so to speak) with NextGen Magazine.

Cover: Are you a real hardcore gamer? (ugh)

Industry Interview: We have an interview with Chris & Tim Stamper of Rare. We get questions about their relationship with Nintendo and a few questions about their design philosophy. I will note that Conker’s Quest has yet to become Conker’s Bad Fur Day.

News: We have notes on Space World 1997. The N64 DD has been postponed to June, and NextGen doubts it will ever come out (and they are correct). Instead, Nintendo’s big focus here is Pokemon, with Hiroshi Yamaguchi giving a speech declaring that consoles are dying (which by extension would include the N64 itself), and handhelds – along with Pokemon – are the future.

Meanwhile, Sega’s new console has been re-code-named Katana and is aiming for a $199 price point. Elsewhere, the Microprose/GT Interactive merger fell apart, and GameTek has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy (who will make Jeopardy & Wheel of Fortune games now).

Retroview: We get the story of how Night Trap came to be, and how congressional hearings turned it into a hit.

Toolbox: This time they’re reviewing a program to help edit force-feedback reactions.

Are You A Hardcore Gamer?: NextGen has a Cosmopolitan Magazine style questionnaire you can fill out to determine if you are a hardcore gamer – I’m kinda surprised this isn’t still going around on Social Media.

Here are my results:

General Obsession: 30, Challenge: 3. Endurance 4. Closet: 4. Concerned: 1. Social Life: 0. NextGen: 2. Just Sad: 1. Total: 46 (Casual)

The article is accompanied by various people in the industry giving stories of their Hardcore Gamerdom – and with it is John Botti’s kinda racist Internet Tough-Guy lite horseshit about driving into the LA Riots to film reference footage for a game.

Game Design Roundtable: We had one for execs, now it’s time for designers – Dave Perry of Shiny, Brett Sperry of Westwood, Peter Molyneux of Lionhead, Johnny Smith of Core Design, David Jones of DMA Design, and Elite Creator David Braben (so very UK focused). The focus of the conversation is on innovation and imitation in game design.

Alphas (Previews): Acclaim has Shadow Man – another of their comic book characters they got when they bought Valiant. There’s also previews of Metal Gear Solid, which NextGen is very impressed with. For the N64, coming out of Space World is 1080 Snowboarding – a Nintendo first-party extreme sports game. In the arcade, Namco is publishing Square’s Eirgeiz fighting game. GT Interactive is also working on a 3D Lode Runner game.

The Way Games Ought To Be: In response to a letter about toxic design environments, Neil West gives some pointers on design philosophy from Shigeru Miyamoto, which feels slightly like missing the point. The problems are with decisions by management and the publishers, not decisions by the designers – nobody wants to make a bad game, but if management and the publishers doesn’t allow for time to do the things that West suggests, then the quality of the game will suffer. Or, to put it another way, crunch is bad.

Finals (Reviews): Only one N64 review this issue – FIFA Road to the World Cup 64, which gets a strong review. On the PlayStation, we have a bunch of really strong titles – Alundra, Colony Wars, Monster Rancher, and Time Crisis are the stand-out titles. They’re not all winners – we have Mortal Kombat Mythologies (which I’ve covered on Nintendo Power Retrospectives) and Star Wars: Masters of Teras Kasi.

On the Saturn, we have our first console port of Quake. Sega Touring Car and Steep Slope Sliders, along with Worldwide Soccer ’98 are the other standout titles.

On the PC, there’s G. Police, Fallout, Dark Reigh, and Myth. Oh, and there’s immature dunking on the Mac version of Riven as being “not a real game”. God forbid these people stay in the game industry long enough to discover What Remains of Edith Finch.

Letters: We get letters continuing the discussion over whether Barret’s depiction in Final Fantasy VII (or at least his English localization) is racist.

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