1992 Summer Consumer Electronics Show, May 28 through 31, 1992, Chicago, Illinois
Coming to you live and direct, Game Zero brings you CES '92...
WHAT IS CES?
The Consumer Electronics Show, held this May in Chicago, Illinois, is a tradeshow bringing up to date information on the newest electronic products. Such names as Nintendo, Sega, Turbo Technologies, Capcom, Acclaim, Konami and many others showcase their new software at CES.
As flashy as this sounds, what does it mean to the average gamer? Plenty! The games displayed at CES are the games that will be coming to you, the consumer, in the following year. With over one-half million square feet of exhibits, 15,000 different products, and over 47 billion dollars worth of goods, CES is where it's at.
FIRST PARTY MANUFACTURES
TURBO TECHNOLOGIES, INC.
By far the most cooperative exhibitor, Turbo Technologies, Inc. (TTI), previewed over 50 new titles at the show, as well as the new Turbo Duo. The Duo, a Super CD-ROM system that is compatible with all current Turbografx-16 software (both CD-ROM and cartridge), includes a 2MB upgrade as well as PC-computer compatibility. The increased memory allows for improved graphics and less disk access time. The Duo will be packaged with over $250 worth of software, including Ys Book I&II, Bonk's Adventure, Bonk's Revenge, Dungeon Explorer, and the new Super CD game, Gate of Thunder. The suggested retail price is $299.
TTI's high point was their Super CD display. With awesome role playing games such as Loom and Dragonslayer, and incredible new shooters such as Rayxanber III, this system shows a lot of promise. While the Duo comes ready to play this new generation of Turbografx games, Turbografx-16 CD-ROM owners will not be left behind. An upgraded system card will allow owners of the older unit to play the new Super CD games.
Also displayed were Bonk three and four. Bonks Thunder Shooting (Bonk 3) places you in the future as a cyborg Bonk, flying and blasting your way to the prime evil, King Drool. With a variety of tricks up your sunglasses, and a magic lightning bolt on your head, a whole new dimension of game play is opened up. Bonk 4, Bonk's Quest, is a role-playing addition to the Bonk series. With the Turbografx-16 programmer's experience, and the new Duo unit, TTI will hopefully be able to withstand market pressures from big guns Sega and Nintendo.
SEGA OF AMERICA
'Wow!' was the first word tht came to mind as we entered Sega's booth. Flashing lights and CD sound danced around the room. However, it soon became apparent that beyond the lights and color, there weren't as many new products as at first may have been expected.
Sega's big announcement was their CD-ROM unit, which will be available by November. Sega's CD system shows special promise - Sega is currently working with Columbia pictures to produce games with full motion video footage taken directly from upcoming popular films. They are also working closely with Sony Imagesoft, who will be publishing a number of multi-media games for the Sega CD-ROM. Although Sega's unit is not capable of broadcast quality full-screen full-motion video, it is capable of the full 30 frames per second in a much smaller window. Sega representatives also promise that their CD ROM games will be more interactive than their competitors, offering more action and less choice making. Sega's CD-ROM will also be packaged with several CD's, including Sherlock Holmes - Consulting Detective, a collection of Genesis arcade hits on CD, a CD music album, and a CD+graphics sample disc. The unit will sell for around $300.
Three hot titles will be released to coincide with the release of the Genesis CD-ROM - Batman Returns, with Full Motion Video footage from the film, Cool World, and Night Trap.
Sega's largest software unveiling was the cartridge-based Sonic the Hedgehog 2. The spirit of the original Sonic remains intact, but new, more exciting levels and enhanced graphics have been added. As Sonic, you and your new-found two tailed friend must travel through time to find Dr. Robotnik and destroy his "Death Egg".
Other Sega cartridge releases include Tazmania, Splatterhouse II, Chakan - The Forever Man, Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, Tailspin, and the 16-Meg Streets of Rage II!
In addition, Sega plans to drop the price of the Genesis to $99 - good news for gamers. Unfortunently, the $99 package does not include any software and only one controller. Genesis units that include Sonic will remain at $129.99.
Sega also announced a number of Game Gear titles. Sonic the Hedgehog 2 will be available on the Game Gear by Christmas, along with Ayrton Senna's Super Monaco Grand Prix II, Tazmania, and Shinobi II.
In the far future, Sega representatives also mentioned a new machine that will replace the Genesis in another year or two. Similar to the Turbo Duo, this side-by-side CD-ROM/cartridge unit is being co-developed by Sega and JVC. Representatives state that it will be based on the WonderMega that is currently available in Japan. There are no further details as of yet.
NINTENDO OF AMERICA
Definently big. Real big. Covering over 70,000 square feet, Nintendo had the largest booth at the show. Several hundred titles were displayed. Among the more notable softs were Turtles IV -Turtles in Time, Pilot Wings II, Space Football, Super Mario Cart, Battleclash (Super Scope), Sim Earth, and the legendary Street Fighter II for the SNES; Terminator II and Little Mermaid for the Game Boy; as well as Terminator II, Megaman IV, and many others for the 8-bit control deck.
Street Fighter II is as close a translation as may ever be found on a home system. The SNES translation is virtually identical to the coin-op. The only bad thing about Streetfighter II at the show was trying to get close enough to play it!
And there's more good news - Nintendo has decided to drop the price of the Super Nintendo Entertainment System to under $100! The "Control Set" will not be packaged with Super Mario World, however. The current set including Super Mario World and an extra controller will still be priced at $149.95.
Nintendo, unfortunently, kept all CD-ROM information behind closed doors at the show. They were unwilling to tell us anything new about it.
We were, however, able to talk to Phillips. Nintendo and Phillips have been working together to develop the SNES CD-ROM unit.
Phillips' own CD-ROM Interactive (CD-I) unit is dazzling. While the games themselves weren't too exciting, the technology is incredible. Phillips CD-I is capable of producing full-screen, broadcast quality full motion video at 30 frames per second and at about 40 lines of resolution - slightly better than VHS. In fact, their unit was so impressive, that we needed to ask a representative to verify that the James Bond clip they were running was actually the CD. Phillips plans to have the complete compression chip ready to go by October. This compression chip allows for up to 72 minutes of broadcast quality full screen full motion video, and over 19 hours of speech. The Phillips CD-I unit can also generate over 16 million colors. Phillips hopes to have CD-I discs available to the public at Blockbuster Video by winter.
To what extent Nintendo will use this technology is unknown, but we have high hopes. The Super Nintendo CD-ROM XA deck is scheduled for release in January.
THIRD PARTY LISCENCEES
Third party liscencees were abundant at CES. Acclaim is moments away from releasing a large collection of new titles; most of these titles will be cross-released on the Game Boy, NES, and SNES, as well as the Genesis. These titles include Alien , Predator II, Terminator II, Terminator II - The Arcade Version, X-Men, Double Dragon III, Ferrari Grand Prix Challenge, NBA All Star Challenge, Trog and WWF Wrestlemania Challenge.
Terminator II - The Arcade Version will have the option for use with the SNES Super Scope and the Sega Menacer.
Sports fans will be interested in NBA All Star Challenge. Players can choose from 27 of the NBA's star players including Patrick Ewing, Karl Malone, and Charles Barkley. This title is realistic to the point of sneaker squeaks and your reflection on the court floor. Several other sports games are on their way as well, such as Roger Clemens' MVP Baseball, George Foreman's KO Boxing, and Super High Impact football.
A bundle of Simpson's games are also on their way, including Krusty's Fun House. As TV personality Krusty the Clown, you must lure the ever-multiplying rats that have taken over your Fun House through a variety of maze-like puzzles to a series of hideous traps, operated by none other than Bart himself. The whole Simpson's gang appears to help operate the rat traps. A total of 7 new Simpson's titles will be available by this fall.
In addition, Acclaim has another interesting title slated for release this fall - The Incredible Crash Dummies. Based on the public service announcements, NES players can buckle-up to preform crack-up automobile stunts.
Accolade will also have several new games coming out this winter, including the arcade hit Centipede and the shooter Starhawk for the Game Boy; Universal Solider, Test Drive II - The Duel, and Warpspeed for the SNES; and Universal Solider for the NES. Release of any new titles for Sega systems has been temporarily postponed due to a court ordered injuction placed by Sega.
StarHawk, for the Game Boy, is a deep-space shooter filled with a variety of gruesome enemies. With scenes incorporating five levels of parallax scrolling, this game should have excellent graphics the Game Boy.
Warpspeed, for the SNES, is a full-screen player's perspective space combat simulator. Using extensive Mode 7 effects, fighters must earn their rank through seven different senarios.
Universal Solider, based on the soon to be released Jean-Claude Van Damme movie, pits you as a post-mortem solider brought back to life by a top-secret organization to be made part of the ultimate army of the future. With your super-human strength, shurkins, laser whip, power lines, and megablast super cannon, you must challenge eleven dangerous levels to combat the demented army sargeant who murdered you, Andrew Scott - now also a Universal Solider.
VIRGIN ENTERPRISES, LTD.
Virgin Games was proud to announce the signing of a liscencing agreement with Disney to produce the first video game rendition of The Jungle Book. Still in development, The Jungle Book game will appear in various forms on Nintendo and Sega systems.
Virgin will be releasing several new titles this fall. Two new sports titles will be released on the Genesis - Muhammed Ali Heavyweight Boxing and World Trophy Soccer. World Trophy Soccer will allow players not only to fully control their team during play, but even control their team off the field by altering the uniform colors and skill level. As Virgin puts it, "The only thing the gamers can't control are the ruthless players on the other team." Virgin Games is also releasing a new action title for the Genesis this fall, Cyber Cop.
Virgin also plans to release several familiar titles on the Game Gear. These titles include Terminator, Super Off Road, and Double Dragon.
Virgin's 8-bit NES line up includes Prince of Persia, the ever-popular Ceasars Palace, and a new art program, Color a Dinosaur. Intended for younger children, Color a Dinosaur contains many different dinosaur outlines to fill in. Four sixteen-color color palettes and twenty four patterns provide a variety of creative tools for young and budding artists.
On the Game Boy, Virgin is releasing a new version of Jeep Jamboree. This rough and bump race game allows players to link up their Game Boys and race with a friend.
Two more sports games will be released on the Super Nintendo. Super Slapshot and Super Slam Dunk are scheduled for release by this fall. Super Slam Dunk stars Magic Johnson in a five-on-five basketball game.
Virgin is also developing one of the first titles that will be released on the upcoming SNES CD-ROM unit. Co-developed by Trilobyte, The 7th Guest incorporates 3D graphics, full motion video, live speech, and a soundtrack composed by the creator of the Wing Commander II soundtrack, The Fat Man. During the 36 minutes of full motion video, you will discover the mystery of Henry Stauf, deranged toymaker. After a series of children died after buying his toys, people became very concerned. Soon, Stauf himself met an untimely death. Six guests were mysteriously summoned to his estate. Trapped inside his eerie mansion, it is up to you to complete Stauf's puzzle and learn the secret of the seventh guest. The game is rooted in a true 3-D environment. The player has complete freedom to wander the mansion's 22 rooms, and the scenery scrolls from the player's perspective. The 7th Guest also utilizes full frame animation and Morph renderings, such as were used in Terminator II and Star Trek VI.
Taito is making its contribution to the gaming world with Hit the Ice for the NES, SNES, and Game Boy; Panic Restaurant and Little Samson for the NES; Super Soccer Champ for the SNES; and Beach Volley and Knight Quest for the Game Boy. Hit the Ice is no-rules tournament style hockey. Full of fights, brawls, and everything else you expect from a good hockey match, this title should be available very soon.
Sierra Games is all geared up for the new and upcoming Sega Genesis CD-ROM. Sierra plans to have a few titles released this fall, as well as Rise of the Dragon, Adventures of Willy Beamish, and King's Quest V ready for a Christmas release. Sierra is also looking well into the future, with titles such as Mixed-Up Mother Goose, Police Quest III, Space Quest IV, Stellar 7 and Leisure Suit Larry slated for release in 1993.
Kings Quest V is a richly animated role-playing game. As King Graham, you must set out to find the missing royal family of Daventry - and their castle! You must rescue your missing family from the evil clutches of the wicked sorcerer Mordack.
Leisure Suit Larry is the graphic adventure of a bad pick up artist. Translated from the PC-version, this very adult-oriented game should provide plenty of laughs for those with a warped sense of humor.
Koei is making its entrance into the 16-bit market with Romance of the Three Kingdoms II and Gemfire, for play on both the SNES and Genesis. Previously released on the NES 8-bit, these epic role playing games should be available by September. Koei is also releasing Uncharted Waters for the Genesis, another historical role-playing adventure, and two new titles for the SNES, Aerobiz and Inindo. While these titles aren't set, Koei plans to have things together by Christmas.
Konami is at it again with the best of the best being prepared for release. Konami plans to release another Tiny Toons Adventure, Babs' Big Break, for the Gameboy, as well as Top Gun, Bucky O'Hare, Zen, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - Back from the Sewers, Bill Elliot's Nascar Fast Tracks, and Gradius - Interstellar Assault.
Turtle IV- Turtles in Time, GODS, Axelay, Cybernator, and Batman Returns are planned for release on the SNES. GODS is a side-scrolling action game with incredible graphics and very realistic sound effects.
Camerica, originators of the Game Genie, is introducing the Aladdin system, a graphics enhancer for use with the 8-bit Nintendo console. The Aladdin will also have a save option built in. Camerica plans to release 8 enhanced graphic titles for play on Aladdin when it is released, including BE-52, Stunt Kids, and Metal Man. They also plan to release one game per month for it beginning in 1993.
Camerica announced a midsummer release of the Sega Genesis Game Genie. The new Game Genie will allow up to five codes to be entered simultaneously, and will have a switch so the effects can be turned on and off during play.
Camerica also announced the release of a Game Boy Game Genie. Codes for over 100 games have already been developed.
Creators of the Miracle Piano leaning system, Software Toolworks has several new games arriving.
Chessmaster, as the name implies, is a computerized chess game for play on the Sega Genesis.
Wing Commander, Terminator, Baseball, and Road Warrior are slated for release by winter on the SNES. Wing Commander places you as a 27th century starship pilot. You must battle alien invaders within a player's perspective, 3D environment.
Miner 2049er, Speedball II, and Xenon II are to be released on the Game Boy. Players must travel through time in Xenon II to defeat Montax and prevent worldwide disaster.
Terminator, Baseball, and Road Warrior will also be released on the Genesis. Road Warrior is an off-road race game.
A major Atari Lynx publisher, Telegames has several titles up and coming. Krazy Ace Miniature Golf, QIX, Double Dragon, Ultimate Chess Challenge, and Super Off Road will be released in the months ahead.
While only the track art was finished on Super Off Road, it appears to be pixel for pixel from the coin-op. From the looks of it, the Lynx has another excellent arcade translation on the way.
Broderbund has gone global; the same people who brought you Sim City have a new title on the way - Sim Earth. For play on the SNES, Sim Earth lets you begin with a new or already exisiting planet and manipulate everything from the terrain of the land to the gases in the atmosphere. Players can guide their planet through evolution, life, civilization, the industrial revolution, and all the way to the present and beyond!
Broderbund is also currently developing two more additions to the Sim series. These include Sim Ant, an ant colony simulation, and Sim Life, a genetic manipulation simulation that allows you to create totally new life forms. There is no word as of yet, however, on if or when these two new titles will appear on the SNES.
Kaneko will be releasing two new 8-Meg titles for the Genesis. Chester Cheetah, based on the Cheetos mascott, and Deadly Moves should hit the shelves by November.
Parker Bros. introduced a video version of the popular board game Clue for play on the SNES, and the timeless classic Monopoly for play on the Genesis and 8-bit NES. Clue will allow anywhere from 1 to 5 players and will include digitized voice.
Absolute unveiled Garry Kitchen's Super Battle Tank: War in the Gulf for the SNES and Genesis. Super Battle Tank should be available by November, along with David Crane's Amazing Tennis. R.C. Grand Prix will be released on the Game Gear.
Another title is also being cross-released on the Genesis and SNES. TOYS is based on the 20th Century Fox film. Airing near Christmas time, this major motion picture stars Robin Williams. In an interesting role-reversal, Fox has taken themes from the game and incorporated them into the movie's storyline. TOYS, the game, should also be available aroundChristmas.
Sunsoft reached a new high when they announced that they plan to develop and release at least 20 new games in 1992. Beauty and the Beast will be released on the Genesis, and at least five Looney Toons Adventures will be released for the Nintendo. Sunsoft also plans to expand their line of Superman and Batman games to the Genesis and SNES.
The games themselves aren't the only thing at CES. Several new peripherals made their debute there as well.
The Game Handler, the only controller that allows you to scratch your nose while you play your game, announced that they are presently developing a SNES adaptor for their NES controller. They also announced a RF remote adaptor for all Game Handler controllers. The one-handed controller showed off their NES and Sega models.
Nintendo displayed the SNES-Mouse controller. Similar to a PC-Mouse, the SNES-Mouse is packaged with Mario Paint, an art and animation program for the SNES. Mario Paint allows you to "paint" pictures on your SNES, design animations, and even compose a musical score to accompany your animation.
Nintendo also released a Hands-Free controller for use by the physically disabled. This controller requires only motor control of the jaw and moderate lung capacity. By using a "sip-and-puff" tube, the A, B, Select, and Start buttons are controlled. A foam chin cup replaces the joystick. It works with all 8-bit NES games, except those for use with the light gun. It is packaged seperately, or with a NES control deck and Super Mario Brothers 3.
For use with the SNES, Capcom presented the Street Fighter II Competition controller. Designed to be just like the arcade, this controller helps to give you the feeling of being there.
Games 2000 released the Super Chair, a full body controller compatible with NES and Genesis. Similar in many ways to joyboards, the Super Chair is a low to the ground device that the player sits on and uses his body weight to tip in the direction he wants the controller to move. Fire buttons are built into the handgrips on either side.
Sega displayed a new light gun for use with the Genesis. Oddly similar to Nintendo's Super Scope, the Sega Menacer is lean, mean, and gray & red. It is packaged with 6 games, including a Toe Jam and Earl shooting range.
Triax Controls, Inc., released the Turbo Touch 360 game controller. Compatible with Sega Genesis, 8-bit Nintendo, and Super Nintendo, the Turbo Touch 360 uses touch sensors instead of an actual joypad. Since there is no need to press down, Triax states that the Turbo Touch will relieve sore thumbs and increase play control. The controller also has built in autofire buttons.
WRAPPING IT ALL UP
As you can see, CES is a virtual electronic cornucopia. While this article is rather lengthy, it doesn't even brush the surface of everything that was there. In the months ahead, we hope to give you a more in-depth view of the many products mentioned here as the producers gear up for release. In addition, CES gave us an opportunity to speak personally with many of the companies. This will hopefully give us an edge in getting the information to you even sooner.
In the months ahead, look out for many new 8-bit titles, a flood of 16-bit titles, and more and more on the new and exciting world of CD-ROM...