Winter '95 Consumer Electronics Show

Viva CES! It's showtime for the electronics industry as its bigwigs get together to unveil the latest stereos, TVs, and games! The coming '95 Platform Wars between the Sony PlayStation, the Sega Saturn, and the Nintendo Ultra-64 (not to mention the Jaguar and 3DO) means it's about time for the games makers and publishers to tell us what they've been up to! Even though the major studios appear to be holding back their biggest game announcements for the massive Los Angeles E3 Conference this May, an abundance of news kept us satiated. The star of the show was undoubtedly the enormously anticipated Sony PlayStation - A bit ironic considering Sony itself was not even present! The hottest buzz of all surrounded the PS fighting game Toshinden: A 3-D, polygonal fighter matching, or perhaps surpassing, the wonder of Sega's Virtua Fighter. Toshinden and the stellar-looking racing game Ridge Racer are both planned launch titles for the PS-X when it goes on sale in America. Speaking of the launch, we've been told to expect more than 25 games in the launch window, and a price between $300 and $400!

Sega put on an impressive display all their own. President Tom Kalinske opted to hold a full-blown press conference to declare, at long last, that the Sega Saturn is indeed coming to U.S. shores! Pricing is not yet final (we expect something in the $300-$500 range), but the release date is rumored to land at around September of this year. The North American version of Saturn will be jet-black in contrast to the silvery finish of the Japanese model. As for spectacle, the area dedicated to Sega's new machine, gloriously displayed with a gigantic tv, attracted plenty of crowds. Equally popular were the four-player Daytona USA variant and a sit-down Virtua Fighter 2 arcade cab. In news that did not invite as many cheers, Sega is doubling down on their strategy to support the 32X and Genesis libraries on top of the Saturn. Expect 11 32X titles and 20 Genesis carts early this year. Mr. Kalinske also confirmed that work on the Genesis-32X hybrid "Neptune" is in development and will be releasing this fall at a $150 price point. As far as games go, Sega had more softs than any other studio. A killer 32X MK II was shown off, as was an ultra-gory Eternal Champions CD, and Chaotix, a Sonic spin-off starring Knuckles.

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Home of Nintendo Returns                   Enter the Virtual Realm!                            The Sega Place

Nintendo's featured system this time was the Virtual Boy. That's right, no Ultra 64 in sight. This weird machine, advertised as a portable device, is essentially a bargain virtual reality headset mounted on a tripod. The games presented were fair and did give off a pseudo-3-D feeling, but alas, that red-and-black monochrome display is a deal-killer in our humble opinion. Some folks were already reporting headaches. Nintendo spoke very little about the Ultra 64 at CES, but that did nothing to curtail tons of rumors humming in the background. The uproarious duo, Killer instinct and Cruis'n USA, are on the way, as is an exclusive Acclaim cart named Turok, Dinosaur Hunter. The next-gen console seems to be scheduled for late autumn, but when we asked the spokesman on the floor, the conversation was quickly geared back to the 16-Bit market. "Wait for E3." Some new SNES games included the long-awaited Star Fox 2 powered with a beefy FX2 chip, Square's Secret of Evermore featuring SGI-rendered graphics, and a quirky role-player called Earthbound. News also broke that Rare has signed on with Nintendo to produce games based on the James Bond license. First up is an SNES translation of the Goldeneye film.

Last we come to Atari and 3DO. With Saturn and PlayStation on the horizon, the future is uncertain for these units. Atari's "Do the Math" campaign may ring a bit hollow when its games are inevitably compared to Ridge Racer or Virtua Fighter. Their solution is the Jaguar CD, an add-on attachment for the base Jaguar. It will sit atop the Jag and supposedly boost the potential for its games. It comes in at $149.99. Jag CD will be getting a port of PPM-favorite Primal Rage as well as the impressive-looking Battlemorph. Atari's answer to VF and Toshinden is Fight for Life, a polygonal fighter based in the underworld where the ultimate prize is your soul's return. Ports of Theme Park and Syndicate also on the way. 3DO, meanwhile, was busy lauding its profitable Christmas season off in the PC-area of the show floor. Their coming attractions were all about ports, ports, ports. A doom-like shooter called "PO'ed" was the definitive highlight in our book.

For more info on select titles, check out the PPM Preview Corner!


[Article from the March 1995 Issue of PPM]


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