Today was an intense information day for the Game Zero team. In-depth meetings with Alias software, Nintendo, Sega, Atari and 3DO started the day off.
One of the first meetings of the day was with Alias Software. These are the people behind the eye stunning graphics development kit used in games like Donkey Kong Country. There were several unknowns in this booth. All of the talk revolved around the Nintendo Ultra 64. Alias, the powerhouse behind Killer Instinct, and leader in Ultra 64 technology was really showing off. However, they were not showing off an Ultra 64--instead they were flashing Silicon Graphics Onyx systems. Although we were very impressed with what they were showing, whether this can be done on a home game machine is yet to be seen. They hyped real time raytracing, modeling, and entire 3-D environments. Their key focus was that they were not bitmapped graphics, but rather vector based. Alias had no information on the release of the Ultra 64.
After the news from Alias, we decided that it was time to find Nintendo's plans. Hot at the show this year was not the Ultra 64--but rather a red-black 3-D system named "Virtual Boy." This system is based on a 32 bit RISC processor--and had a very detailed screen. The true feeling of depth that this system provided was unbelievable. An absolute first in the gaming market, this system's potential is amazing. However, this is not the wonderful virtual reality system some may think. The screen is a monochrome red palette, and can be very straining on your eyes. Although the resolution is very high, all color depths are achieved using half-tones. Nintendo has some tough marketing ahead on this one. Nintendo also started to talk about their Ultra 64 system. They believe that this system will absolutely kick the doors off of any other system coming to the market. In reality, only time will tell. With no official announcement, and Sega / Atari / 3DO / and the PSX all running strong, Nintendo will have a battle in front of them. The Ultra-64 is expected to be officially unveiled later this spring at E3.
All of the talk about new systems almost made you forget that the SNES is still Nintendo's strongest system, and will be for some time. After the incredible success of Donkey Kong Country, Nintendo said that the adventures of Donkey and Ditti Kong will continue. They are not sure of a release date yet, but a sequel is already underway. Also announced at the show was Star Fox 2, a fast paced more advanced sequel to the original. Star Fox 2 uses a second generation FX 2 chip, offering faster speed, and more polygon support. This made for a fast playing game. Your ship now has the ability to morph into a land walker in certain stages. The game play was as was clean, and Nintendo expects this title to be a hit as well. Also for the SNES, Nintendo was showing FX Fighter, a polygon based fighting game similar to Sega's Virtua Fighter. Finally, Nintendo officially retired 8-bit NES at the show, although games will be around for some time yet.
On other news fronts, a longer meeting with Sega followed. Sega was very proud to have a working Saturn running Virtua Fighter at the show. This translation was perfect. The machine was very impressive. Sega is gearing up for production of this unit, which raised a big question--What about the new 32X? Sega's responded that their marketing focuses will be changing to accommodate a multi-system platform set. They will still be marketing the Genesis to the younger crowd, moving the 32X to the teen market, and leaving the expensive Saturn for the adult market. Some new news with the 32X included 32X CD games. These games were able to take advantage of the 32X's advanced palette, although this was about it. Sega had a general plethora of new Genesis and 32X games, although there was no one single game that they were trying to push as a market crusher. The fully detailed Virtua Fighter 2 was extremely impressive, and is sure to be the new arcade icon for Sega. There are already rumors of a complete translation of this title for the Saturn system.
3DO Inc. had a very impressive showing at CES this year. With high end titles like Wing Commander 3, the 3DO will be hot in '95. 3DO had no news of their supposed 64-bit upgrade at the show. Some other impressive titles included Novastorm, and The People's Game Show. The 3DO had the most visually stunning graphics of all gaming machines available right now. 3DO hopes their early entry into the market will help them against the releases from Sega and Nintendo.
Atari Corp., and their Jaguar systems were heavy into the CD-ROM market this year. They were showing everything from nearly perfect full screen video, to hot new action games. Atari plans for their CD system to be priced under $200, and be fully upgradable. With a cartridge slot on top, Atari has plans for the future. Although the Lynx system is still considered supported by Atari, only 4 games were being shown for next year.
Game Zero expects to hear more after the show news from our contacts soon, so stay tuned, to find out the hottest news -- Only from Game Zero!!