1994 Summer CES

1994 Summer Consumer Electronics Show, June 23 through 25, 1994, Chicago, Illinois

The 1994 Summer Consumer Electronic Show in Chicago was not as big or extravagant as last years show, and several companies (i.e. Sega and Electronic Arts) were absent, but companies still laid out their wares for the buyers and media, but not (ironically) for the consumers this year. One of the largest areas of the shows was the electronic gaming pavilion, with Nintendo having the largest display. Atari and 3DO also had large exhibits of their new titles for the Christmas season, as did a slew of 3rd party companies. There were also separate pavilions for Virtual Reality and for new CD-ROM technology. But probably the biggest news at the show was the announcement that this CES was to be the last in Chicago. On the first day of the show, the Electronic Industries Association (the group that runs the CES) announced that the show will be replaced by the CES-Interactive which will take place in Philadelphia in May. But enough of this, let's get to the major video game news from the big companies...

(Author's Note-Before we get started, I'd like to thank Sean Pettibone, Chris Johnston, and Andy Saito for their help in putting this article together. - Ben)

The 3DO company had several new multiplayers on display by companies such as Sanyo, Goldstar, and AT&T along with their software for the fall and winter months. Some of the highlights were Way of the Warrior by Universal Interactive, Road Rash: Blood of the Couriers by Electronic Arts, Burning Soldiers by Panasonic Software, FIFA Soccer by Electronic Arts, Samurai Shodown by Crystal Dynamics, Pataank by PF Magic, GEX by Crystal Dynamics, Super Street Fighter II Turbo by Capcom, Power Slide by Elite, Tetsujin by Panasonic Software, Demolition Man by Virgin, Return Fire by Silent Software, AD&D Slayer by Electronic Arts, Virtuoso by Elite, and REAL Pinball by Panasonic Software.
Atari's booth was filled with new software that they and their licensee's hope to get out for the Christmas rush. Notable highlights include Doom by ID software, the long awaited Alien vs. Predator by Atari, Flashback by U.S. Gold, Battle Zone 2000 by Atari, Dragon's Lair by Ready Soft, Kasumi Ninja by Atari, Ultra Vortex by Beyond Games, Syndicate by Ocean, Rise of the Robots by Accolade, and Theme Park by Ocean. Atari also showed off their $250 CD-ROM with a non-playable demo of digitized clips from hit movies such as Star Wars and Back to the Future III.
Obviously, Acclaim's centerpiece was their multiple conversions of the arcade hit Mortal Kombat II. Also spotlighted in their booth was The Simpson's: Virtual Bart for Super Nintendo and Genesis, WWF Raw on the two 16-bitters, Aliens Trilogy on 3DO, True Lies for multiple systems, Stargate on virtually everything, and Maximum Carnage for the Super Nintendo and Genesis.
Super Street Fighter II for the SNES was showcased on Capcom's video wall, and the lines were huge to play this 32-Meg fighter. Previewed in the booth were Mega Man X2 for Super Nintendo, Mega Man: the Wily Wars for the Genesis, Punisher for the Genesis, Mega Man V for the Game Boy, Marvel's X-Men for the Super Nintendo, and Demon's Crest for the Super Nintendo.
JVC's big titles included Super Return of the Jedi for the Super Nintendo, Indiana Jones: His Greatest Adventures for the Super Nintendo, Rebel Assault for the Sega CD, Rise of the Robots for the Sega systems, and Samurai Shodown and Fatal Fury Special both for the Sega CD.
Konami once again had the usual licensees with Tiny Toon Adventures for multiple systems, Contra Hard Corps for the Genesis, Animaniacs for the 16-bit systems, Lethal Enforcers II: Gunfighters for the Sega systems, and Snatcher for the Sega CD.
Nintendo's booth was decked out with a jungle theme as they showed their masterpiece, the 3-D adventure Donkey Kong Country (which was done completely on Silicon Graphics Machines). Nintendo other titles included Super Punch Out! for the Super Nintendo, a new RPG Illusion of Gaia (which was developed by Enix) for the Super Nintendo, Wario's Woods for the SNES and NES, and Uniracers for the SNES. Nintendo also was showing their new 64-bit system (now called Ultra 64) to select persons at a private invitation-only event.
Sega wasn't on the show floor but they had a small press room where they showed off a slew of titles. Leading the way on the Genesis was Dynamite Headdy, Sonic and Knuckles, Ratchet and Bolt, Taz in Escape from Mars, Ecco 2: The Tides of Time, and Jurassic Park: Rampage Edition. Also expected in the next 6 months is the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers for all three systems, Baby Boom for all three systems; some good looking TruVideo CD titles including Eternal Champions, Shodow of Atlantis, Surgical Strike, Midnight Raiders, and Wirehead. Star Wars Arcade and Metal Head for the 32X were being demoed, along with a cinepak with an Ecco the Dolphin short for the 32X CD.
Sunsoft was showing off a lot of sequels and unique ideas with their offering of Daze Before Christmas for the Super Nintendo and Genesis, Aero the Acrobat 2 for both 16-bit systems, and from the same vein as Aero comes Zero the Kamikaze Squirrel for Super Nintendo and Genesis. Also on display were Myst for Sega CD, Porky Pig's Haunted Holiday for Super Nintendo and Genesis, Justice League for Super Nintendo and Genesis, and Scooby Doo for both 16-bit systems.
THQ was trying to repair their shoddy reputation at the show with such licenses as SeaQuest DSV for the 16-bit systems and Game Boy, Akira for virtually every home system, The Ren & Stimpy Show: Time Warp for Super Nintendo, B.A..SS. Masters Classic for Super Nintendo, and The Mask for Super Nintendo. THQ was also showing off the Catapult Modem which allows players to get closer together.
The Jungle Book for the NES, Super Nintendo, Game Boy, and Genesis was being shown by Virgin. Along with The Lion King (which was showing by private screening only) for the Super Nintendo and Genesis, Heat of the Alien: Out of this World II for Sega CD, Dune for Sega CD, Dune II: The Battle for Arakis for Genesis, and Demolition Man for the Super Nintendo.

Now, you're probably saying to yourself, "So what? If I wanted a list of what each company was showing, I'd read EGM. What games were that best and worst?". Well, to answer what was hopefully your question, we first present the games that got us waiting in line to try. Basically it's the...

THE HITS: The Top 50 of the SCES


And as for new accessories, besides the bumper crop of new controllers, there were only a few notable gadgets to make gamers lives more easier, and to help them get more into their games. Some of the best were:

Now that you've seen the tops of the show, let's head on down to the dark basement for...

THE PITS: The Slop 10 of the CES


All in all, it was a good (albeit smaller) show, and just in case you are wondering what in store for the Winter Consumer Electronic Show in Las Vegas this January, well here some predictions.

So until we head for the desert early next year, have fun and bang the rocks together.


Originally appeared Vol 2, Iss 5 (11-12/94), recovered to website Nov, 1 2015.
(ed note, due to a publishing error the "Top 50" only has 49 entries in it.)

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