Game Zero Magazine



More of tintagel's commentary on E3 '97

How did I end up doing this?? I guess I had too much fun at last year's E3 to miss this one! I packed up my camcorder, notepad, the ever-important galactic towel (do you know where your towel is?) and found my way from Phoenix ("But it's a DRY heat") to Atalnta (where you get in the shower to dry off).

Anyway... This show was big, really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it was. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the road to the chemist, but that's just peanuts compared to space. Listen... (apologies to Douglas Adams, who was nice enough to autograph posters of his new game Starship Titanic for a few of the folks at E3). I think I have covered the subject of the size of the show adequately.

Now for the statistics from IDSA, the folks who organize the show:

* Sixty-Five Percent of the 1500 or so new titles are entertainment titles. (I've always wondered, does "New Titles" mean "Same Game - New Name"??)

* Thirty-Seven Percent of the entertainment category will be Action/Adventure Games.

* Seventeen Percent will be Strategy and Puzzle games.

* Eleven Percent will be Sports.

* Fifty Percent of the exhibitors plan to release their games on a multi platform basis, with 70% of the titles on PC's and 30% on consoles.

* Internet Enabled games comprised 15-20% of the new PC games.

* Eighty Percent of companies consider 18 to 34-year old males to be their most important consumer group.

* Over 85% of those surveyed believe that the female market has huge potential. (If they could only understand how to market to females! -hehe...)

* There were more than 420 exhibitors including industry leading hardware and software developers.

This year was truly exciting, we got to see games like G-Police from Psygnosis, which were only a rumor last year; and new concept games like NetStorm from Activision. G-Police is a highly anticipated 3-D helicopter enforcement game with total freedom of movement set in a "Bladerunner" style backdrop. NetStorm is rather unique; it is a multiplayer internet game where you run a floating island. You'll just have to wait for the review on this one!

As usual, the biggest boothes were occupied by the giants: Nintendo, Sony, Sega and Microsoft. However, some of the most exciting stuff was to be found elsewhere. 3Dfx had their set-up in a meeting room, yet they were the dominant 3-D chipset on demonstration PC's. There were several other exciting 3-D chip makers, including NEC (PowerVR), 3Dlabs (Permedia) and some guys who didn't quite want to admit to having a deal with Oak Technologies with an impressive "We're better than 3Dfx" demo. Matrox are pushing the Millenium II and Mystique II which link up to their RainbowRunner video capture/TV output board. I'm not sure what their story is since the "new" boards still use a 64-bit chip. If last year's hype with ATI is anything to go by, the Matrox rep who was running a motorcycle race game may have unintentionally given it away when he said "That's right folks, it's all smoke and mirrors" as he turned on the smoke generator hidden behind a curtain. Hopefully I'm wrong about this.

Nearly every PC game we saw was being demo'ed on Pentium II machines with 32+ MB of RAM and a 3-D chip of some form. Since we figgure most of our readers (that means you) don't have those $bucks$ (and neither do we) we'll be playtesting a lot of games on suboptimal systems to let you know if you can still run the games. (Right now I am testing Psygnosis' WipeoutXL on a Cyrix P150+ with a 2X CD drive. I'll have the review finished soon, check the PC Games Review section often for updates!)

More to come here too... :)


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