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Retro Revolution: The First E3

Posted on Friday, April 27 @ 13:17:27 PST by KevinS

Over the course of E3, many different visions of the future have captivated gamers around the worldnew consoles, new game genres, hell for a while we even thought virtual reality headsets were going to be the new rage. And all of them were shown in the massive LA Convention Center in southern California. I was lucky enough to attend last year and see the spectacle first-hand, and from the horde of writers covering the event to the seizure-inducing neon pulses, I was unable to think about anything other than "it's so pretty" for three full days.

But while it was my first show, it was lightyears ahead of the original show in 1995. That was a pivotal year for the games industry, with Sony showing North American audiences their first glimpse of the original Playstation, Sega rushing forward with their release of the Saturn (much to the surprise of the journalists in the room), Nintendo showing both the great N64 console (then known as the Ultra 64) and the cheapo-Lasik device known as Virtual Boy, and Atari trying to showcase the Jag CD and promote their never-released Jaguar VR.

The footage I was able to find of the first E3 was amazing, a nostalgic nerd's dream: Nintendo's show was primarily on the SNES, showing titles like Donkey Kong Country 2, Killer Instinct, and the little gem known as Earthbound. There were still black and white Game Boy games being shown, namely ports of Killer Instinct and Street Fighter 2. 3DO was trying to build some excitement for their upgraded platform, with companies like PF Magic showing off games like Ballz: The Director's Cut, a poorly received fighting game that I somehow enjoyed.

Topping them all was Sega's booth, specifically the surprise launch of the Saturn (while still supporting the Genesis, Sega CDm and 32X) and highlights of the early big guns: Panzer Dragoon, Daytona USA, and the first two Virtua Fighter titles. The coolest thing in my mind was Sega's showing off the Neptune system… oh, haven't heard of it? It's just the two-in-one Genesis/32X system that never made it to shelves. It was one of the first in a line of prototypes to enter E3 but never to hit store shelves, along with the Phantom console, Star Fox 2 for SNES (also shown in 1995), and StarCraft: Ghost.

The 1995 show was, thankfully, a successful one. That one show cemented E3 as a press event unlike any other, bigger even than the Consumer Electronics Show and solidifying video games as a medium and not simply a hobby. And now, as I look forward to my second E3, I'm flashing back to my days of rifling through my magazines as a kid waiting for the new tidbits of awesome to look forward to until next year.

Do you have memories of E3?  What are you looking forward to most from this year's show? Leave us a comment below, and let's get pumped for 2012!
Related Games:   Killer Instinct
Tags:   Retro Revolution, E3

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