Old Magazines: Gamefan, July 1995

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Another fantastic issue of Gamefan.  July 1995.  This one featured Nintendo’s ill-fated Virtual Boy on the cover.  This issue is also significant because it’s the first gaming magazine that featured Sony’s Playstation prominently.  The first one I’d ever seen, at least.  I’d barely heard anything on the Playstation before this issue, but there’s a HUGE write-up in this issue of the 1995 E3, at which Playstation was unveiled.

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To give you an idea of the point in time that we’re in, here are the Top 10 games of the moment (they’re all 16-bit games aside from one 3DO game and two—count ‘em, TWO—Jaguar games).  To the right are the top 10 most anticipated games.  Note that the Nintendo 64 was still being referred to as the Ultra 64 (LOVED that name, and really wish Nintendo would’ve kept it), and that Chrono Trigger wasn’t even out for the SNES yet.

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The review section.  This is earlier in Gamefan’s life, before they had a whole slew of reviewers.  The 16 bit game reviews this month are pretty piss poor, though that Batman and Robin game is significant in that it’s the final 16 bit game I ever bought (more on that later).

Apparently, the Saturn had just launched, because the second page of reviews is of the Saturn’s launch titles.  Never owned a Saturn so I can’t really comment on whether these reviews are accurate, though I did play Panzer Dragoon in Toys-backwards R-US a few times and really enjoyed it.  But it always bugged me that the game was called Panzer Dragoon, with two o’s, instead of the traditional spelling of dragon with one o.

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Page one of the E3 coverage.  Steven Spielberg and Michael Jackson in the house.

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First four pages of Playstation e3 coverage. The sheer breadth of awesome-looking Playstation games that were shown in this feature was incredibly impressive at the time.  All of these games pictured looked light years more advanced than anything that the Super NES or Genesis had.  Just an astronomical leap forward in terms of technology.

The original Twisted Metal is shown on page 3…still one of my favorite games ever.  ESPN Extreme is also shown—the first game I ever bought for my Playstation.  That was a really fun game.

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The final page of Playstation games, coupled with the first page of Jaguar games.  Pretty weak showing for the Jaguar.  Defender 2000 looks like the only intriguing game, but you had to buy the Jaguar CD add-on to play it.

And Christ Almighty, that Fight for Life game in the corner look like the worst fighting game ever.  Just did a search and found out that Fight for Life was the final game released for Jaguar.  Kind of interesting.

Here’s a youtube video I found of the gameplay.  Yep.  It was pretty bad.

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Nothing too spectacular on the second and third pages of the Jaguar coverage.  The VR headset is kind of cool, but it was never released.  No clue why Atari focused so much on releasing add-ons for the Jaguar core system (Jaguar CD, Jaguar VR) instead of focusing on games.  Apparently, only two working Jaguar VR prototypes are known to exist, and one just sold on ebay earlier this year for almost $15,000.

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The 3DO recap from e3.  Pretty weak sauce on 3DO’s part as well, though much better than the Jaguar’s showing.  I always thought that Captain Quazar game looked super cool, but never got a chance to play it.

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The two-page review of Batman and Robin.  As mentioned previously, this game was the final 16 bit game I ever bought, so it holds a special place in my heart.  This also may very well be the most-difficult game I’ve ever played.  This game was INSANELY hard, one of the few games I owned that I couldn’t beat no matter how many hours I devoted to playing it.

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The feature on the Virtual boy.  The VB lasted for all of a month before it just disappeared.  The Amiga CD practically had a longer shelf life than the Virtual Boy.

It’s kind of neat to re-read this article, and Nintendo does deserve props for at least trying something different.  I played a few of the VB games at a Sears one time and thought it was somewhat cool, but never had any desire to own one.

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Slam n Jam B-ball.  LOVED this game in the arcades.  Instead of having a license with the NBA, this game featured a whole league of made-up players and teams.  Off the top of my head, this is one of the last sports games I can remember that was successful without having a license with a pro sports league.

I played this thing constantly in the arcade.  The view was from behind the backboard, which was actually a pretty neat perspective, and the graphics were phenomenal for its time.

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Other Stuff.  Always my favorite feature in Gamefan.  It was full of various rumors and innuendo about upcoming games and systems, and even if %90 of the stuff reported on was most likely completely fabricated by the Gamefan editors, I still loved reading the rumors (the internet really hadn’t caught on just yet, so this was my only real pipeline into the video game gossip scene).

I don’t know what ever happened to that Robotech game featured on the right side of the page, but that looks incredibly cool.  Too bad it never saw the light of day.

This edition of Other Stuff covers a lot of rumors about the upcoming Ultra 64, including the somewhat interesting tidbit that the Super Nintendo version of Goldeneye has been canceled to focus on porting it to the Ultra 64 (that would’ve been nothing short of devastating if Goldeneye had come out for the Super Nintendo and not the 64).

Also of note is a top-secret, yet-to-be-announced game named EA Basketball Legends, in which you can play as players from previous eras (Dr. J, Larry Bird, etc), AND the game includes a feature that allows you to create your own dunks.  The obvious question is WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THIS GAME?!?!  You can play as old school players AND create your own dunks?  Sounds like a dream game.

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Yes, it’s this contest/scam yet again, which has been featured in this issue and this one, too.  You’ll notice that the next-gen systems aren’t yet featured in the contest this time, so the grand prize is significantly less appealing (winning a Jaguar, Sega CD, and 32x just doesn’t have the same WOW factor as winning a Playstation, Saturn, and a Nintendo 64).  It would suck to actually win this contest at this moment in time and get stuck with all of these old, shitty systems, when you could have won all the next-gen hardware had you won the contest only a few months later.

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A random ad of a company offering import games from Japan.  It’s crazy that import Super Nintendo games sold for upwards of $130 and import anime VHS tapes (in the upper right corner) were going for almost $200 (!).

All in all, this one’s a pretty good issue of Gamefan.

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