1993 Winter Consumer Electronics Show, January 7 through 10, 1993, Las Vegas, Nevada
Once again, coming to you live and direct, Game Zero brings you CES '93...
WHAT IS CES?
Held annually in Las Vegas, Nevada, the Winter Consumer Electronics Show (WCES) is one of the largest electronics tradeshows worldwide. Hundreds of exhibitors display the products that they will be releasing in the next year, as well as the finest cutting edge technology.
Game designers are no exception at WCES. Sega, Nintendo, Turbo Technologies, and scores of third party licensees attended the show in full force. A multi-billion dollar extravaganza, WCES is the place to see what's new, what's hot, and what's never been seen before...
FIRST PARTY MANUFACTURES
SEGA OF AMERICA
Blazing with activity, Sega hit hard with their CD display. Sega plans to release several new games in the coming months in support of their new system. Among these include Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective-Volume II and a new CD version of Ecco the Dolphin. Sherlock Holmes, Volume II includes three entirely new mysteries as well as all new full motion video footage. Sherlock Holmes, Volume II will be available this May. The CD version of Ecco will include 25 levels and should be available this fall.
Sega also introduced another new type of disc for use with the Sega CD. Called "Virtual VCR", these CD's will use current full motion video technology and a new compression technique in order to fit more data on the disc. The new discs will allow up to a full hour of full motion video. The first discs will include music videos by Prince, U2, and Peter Gabriel. A short series of Time Life documentaries will also be introduced. Sega's new "Virtual VCR" CDs will retail for around $30 and will be available later this spring.
Not to be forgotten, Genesis owners will also see several new titles from Sega this year, including Cyborg Justice and Outrun 2019. In Cyborg Justice, players build their own mech warrior for the ultimate fight to the finish. Featuring 216 possible mech combinations, Cyborg Justice will be available this March. Fast and fancy, the futuristic racing title Outrun 2019 will be available later in March.
Game Gear owners will see two new Sega titles this year. Vampire, Master of Darkness will be available this June, and The Land of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse will be available in May.
Sega also announced that they will be releasing several new peripherals this year as well. A new type of interactive controller called the Activator and a set of color VR goggles will be available later this year.
TURBO TECHNOLOGIES, INC.
Gearing up for the nationwide release of the TurboDuo, TTI is set to release a flood of new titles for the Duo/Super CD format. The next installment in the Bonk series, Bonk III, Bonk's Big Adventure, is set for release this spring. Bonk III includes all new wild and wacky action scenes, as well as a special mode that allows two gamers to play simultaneously. The sequel to Dungeon Explorer, Dungeon Explorer II will be available this summer in the Super CD format. Picking up literally where the original left off, Dungeon Explorer II will also be a five player game with a variety of characters to pick from.
Already popular in Japan, the Super CD title Snatcher is also being scheduled for release. In this violent and gruesome role playing game, an insidious robot creature is on the loose. A master of deception, the robot steals the skin of its previous victims in order to move on to the next. And naturally, only you are bold--and clever--enough to stop it.
While the majority of new games from TTI are Super CD titles, several cartridge games will also be released. A chip version of Bonk III will be released this spring in addition to a new shooter entitled Magical Chase.
The Intelligent Link CD ROM adapter cable will be available later this year. The Intelligent Link cable turns the Duo into a SCSI-compatible CD ROM drive for your MacIntosh, IBM PC compatible, or your Amiga personal computer. The Duo is able to read all High Sierra and ISO 9660 format CD ROM discs.
NINTENDO OF AMERICA
Clearly the highlight of the Nintendo booth, Starfox and the Super Nintendo Super FX chip brought new meaning to the word "wow". Starfox, the first game to utilize the new Super FX technology, pits you as Fox McCloud, leader of a group of interstellar mercenaries. You must lead your team of fearless space warriors against evil galactic foes in this fast-paced filled polygon- virtual reality-style shooter. Much like Sega's coin-op Virtua Racing, Starfox allows players to switch perspectives of their ship during play.
The Super FX chip is sure to add a whole new level of play to the SNES. Using RISC based technology, the FX chip is designed to speed up highly specialized math functions and aid in the pre-processing of data. Its primary function is to help produce texture-mapped polygons, light source shading, and real time 3D polygon animation. It also allows for the scaling and rotation of sprites (versus the scaling and rotation of backgrounds already built into the SNES) and a speed increase in sprite manipulation. What does this mean? Traditionally, when an object is going to be shown from different angles or views, programmers have to design each view and create a separate sprite for each angle--using tremendous memory. With the FX chip, programmers need only design a single three dimensional polygon. The SNES stores the polygon as an actual three dimensional shape then calculates the view the player will see, allowing for a tremendous savings in memory and more realistic graphics. The other functions of the Super FX chip allow the polygons to look more like "real" objects and allow them to be manipulated faster.
Unlike many people had speculated, the games using the Super FX chip will not carry the incredible $100-$200 tag supposed. Starfox will retail for around $59--easily within the price range of other 16-bit games. Starfox and other Super FX games will be available beginning in March.
Nintendo will also be releasing two new games for the NES. Yoshi's Cookie, a new puzzle game, will be available in April. Kirby's Adventure should hit the shelves soon after in May.
Three new GameBoy games are also slated for release by the "Big N". Yoshi's Cookie and a new 4 player tennis ga,me, Top Rank Tennis, should be seen beginning in April. Link's Awakening, a new addition to the Zelda series will appear in June. A 4 meg cart, this title boasts the largest GameBoy adventure yet.
THIRD PARTY LISCENCEES
A new addition to the list of Sega licensees, Konami will be producing an entirely original action adventure game for the Genesis. In Rocketknight Adventures, players star as a wacky blue character who is desperate to rescue his hearts love, Princess Sherry, from the horrible Emperor Deuligus Devotindos. Rocketknight will appear sometime this summer.
Konami will also be release three new unique Tiny Toons titles for the Genesis, SNES, and Nintendo 8-bit in the up-coming months. They will also be releasing another new action title, Zen-, The Intergalactic Ninja, across several different formats. As Zen, players must fight evil pollution lords trying to destroy the Earth and restore it to normal. Zen, The Intergalactic Ninja will be available on the NES and GameBoy this spring.
Mega Man will finally be moving to 16-bit this winter in Super Mega Man for the SNES. Several new Disney games will also be released including GoofTroop for the SNES (later this fall) and Tailspin for the GameBoy (February). Mighty Final Fight, featuring Cody, Haggar, and Guy will be available for the NES this summer.
Namco will have several games for the destruction-minded making their way to the shelves this summer. Splatterhouse III, for the Genesis, features 7 levels and 65 terrifying and gory rooms. Battle Cars for the SNES is a new 2-player split screen racing game where players must crush and loot their opponents for cold hard cash. Metal Marines, a new action war simulator, will also be available for the SNES.
Featuring a variety of stone age antics, Humans will be available for the Genesis and SNES this spring. Game Gear versions of the hit television shows Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune will also be appearing in the months ahead.
A strong Sega licensee, EA will be bringing several new games to the Genesis. The sequel to Desert Strike, Jungle Strike will be available later this year. Players must pilot their Super Comanche Heli through 9 fierce levels in this highly-detailed 16 Meg beast.
Haunting, Starring Polterguy gives Genesis gamers a little different twist to traditional storylines. As Polterguy, players must use their ghostly powers to scare away a very wicked family from their mansion.
EA will also be releasing new titles for the SNES. In B.O.B., players control a robot character with almost human actions and expressions. Players must guide B.O.B. through 45 cute--but dangerous--action/maze levels.
Accolade is prepared to take video gamers by the tail with Bubsy Bobcat: Claws Encounters of the Furred Kind. As Bubsy, players must save the yarnballs of the Earth from the Queens of Rayon, Poly and Ester. Using plenty of fluid cartoon style animation and true digitized voice, Bubsy sparkles with a personality all his own. Bubsy Bobcat will be available for the SNES and Genesis this April.
In the more distant future, Accolade was proud to announce that both Brett Hull, hockey great, and Pele, world-known soccer star, have agreed to help design and endorse new video game versions of their respective sports. Design should begin soon.
Nintendo wasn't the only one to announce an in-cartridge upgrade chip for the SNES. Seta introduced their own accelerator chip. Unlike the Super FX chip, which is highly specialized, Seta's upgrade chip functions more like an accelerator card, boosting the SNES speed up to 8 Mhz. This allows for faster processing and the addition of more high-speed sprites without slow down. For example, F1 ROC has 8 computer controlled opponents per track. F1 ROC II, which utilizes Seta'a new chip, has up to 26 other opponent vehicles per track. F1 ROC II will be released sometime in August or September.
A major Atari licensee, Telegames will be releasing several games for the Lynx this year. Among the more notable softs are Double Dragon, which will be released in April, and Desert Strike, which should appear in August.
Sunsoft will soon be releasing a SNES version of the Genesis hit Tazmania. Sunsoft also plans to release an entirely new action adventure game, Aero the Acrobat, for both the SNES and Genesis this fall. In Aero the Acrobat, Aero the circus bat must defeat evil industrialist Edgar Ektor.
Creators of Out of This World, U.S. Gold plans to release another similar game for the Genesis. Titled Flashback, players assume the role of Conrad Hart, agent in training for the Galaxis Bureau of Investigation. In his investigations Conrad accidently stumbled across a deadly secret--several world leaders and politicians are actually alien beings in disguise. Conrad has now been captured and imprisoned by the enemy beings. But to make matters worse, his memory has been erased. Players must not only find a way home, but find a way to reveal this terrifying secret. Flashback includes superior character animation, running at a full 24 frames per second, digitized from hand drawn animated cells. Flashback should be available this March.
Acclaim is set to answer the wishes of thousands of gamers with an across the board release of Mortal Kombat. Acclaim will be releasing this arcade smash this summer on both the Genesis and SNES, as well as the GameBoy and Game Gear. All versions will include all of the arcade characters, including Sonya, Sub Zero, and Johnny Cage in the ultimate battle.
Due to Nintendo's "no blood" policy and the extreme violence of the scenes, negotiations are still continuing as to whether or not the finishing moves will be preserved in the SNES version. On the flip side, while the Genesis version promises to be graphically exact, programmers have had problems with play control due to the limited number of buttons on the Genesis controller. Acclaim representatives stated that they may make the proposed one-player six-button controller a special option on the Genesis version.
Acclaim also plans to release a Sega CD version of Mortal Kombat later in the year, as well as a new game entitled Alien. Acclaim also stated that they plan to release software the SNES CD ROM as soon as it is available.
Bandai is gearing up to release a new Super Scope game for the SNES. In Bazooka Blitzkrieg, players must blast their way past cyborg guards and vaporize a malfunctioning mainframe.
Beyond the new games and hardware, several new peripherals were on display at the WCES. Expect to see many new controllers and add ons for all the systems in the year ahead.
Sega featured two new devices that will soon be available for Genesis users. The Activator is a new type of free-form controller for the Genesis. Players stand inside a three and a half foot ring. Projecting upward from the ring are eight infra-red beams. By moving hands and feet through the beams, the Activator can detect the players motions. The Activator is height sensitive, creating a Bi-level (high/low) ring with 16 motion sense points. The Activator will cost between $70 and $80 and will be packaged with a two in one cartridge containing a fight game and a music composition program. Sega will also be releasing a set of full color virtual reality goggles. Available this fall, the goggles will come with a pack in cartridge with four more to follow. The themes of the games will include shooting, flying, driving, and fantasy action.
Nuby, leading producer of GameBoy add-ons, has extended its line to include the Game Gear. A Game Gear magnifier and rechargeable battery pack will be available soon.
Camerica will be releasing the Aladdin, deck enhancer for the NES later this month. Camerica hopes to bring life back to the 8-bit market by using the Aladdin to produce inexpensive, high quality games. The Aladdin unit contains chips that are commonly used in NES cartridges. The unit plugs into the Nintendo, but has its own cartridge slot on the other side. Special Aladdin cartridges can then be purchased separately, like a regular game. The unit saves on cost because players don't need to "rebuy" all of the chips over again when they purchase a new game. The Aladdin base unit will retail for $39.99 and is packaged with Dizzy the Adventurer. Additional games will be priced anywhere from $15 to $20. Camerica plans to release 35 new games for the unit in the next year, including a special series of games designed for younger players.
Hudson Soft will be releasing a SNES five player adapter later this year. The adapter will expand controller port two to handle four controllers, allowing port one to handle another additional controller. The adapter will be packaged with the five player game Super Bomberman.
MORE TO COME...
This year should prove to be a turning point as new forms of video gaming technology hit the market and competition becomes fiercer than ever. Expect to see a less-than-gradual shift to CD ROM technology, as well as many other new innovations in the year ahead.
Naturally, this article is only a sampling of the best of WCES. In the months ahead, we will strive to bring you the most exciting information and the newest developments as they happen. Look further in this issue for some in depth coverage on other WCES activities, including 3DO and more. Remember, Game Zero is your top source for gaming information...!