TL;DR: 1994 proved to be one of the best years for gaming. Period.
walking down memory lane…
Time sure does fly-by when you’re having fun!
I was going through my collection of magazines when I came across the November 1994 issue of DieHard Gamefan, which was one of the last true gaming magazines. Coming in at just under 200 pages it was one of the few issues Gamefan published that broke the 100+ page barrier.
With a dazzling lime green picturing Diddy and DK riding on the back of tempered rhino on the cover, this particular issue was chockfull of reviews, articles, and previews of what would be the last great batch of 16-bit games. This issue was a milestone since it marked the decline of one era and heralded the start of the 32-bit revolution under Gamefan’s newest segment: The 32-Bit Zone! This is one of my favorites and looking through the content, you can see why.
Samurai Shodown. It was a near-perfect translation of the arcade version which I use to pump quarters into. Everything, from the zooming to the blood splatters, was close to pixel perfect.
The Men Behind The Monkey
Donkey Kong Country proved to players around the world that there was still life left in the SNES. Players who were throwing down big chunks of money on early 32-bit systems, like the Jaguar and 3DO, were shaking their heads in disbelief when they realized they could experience next-gen graphics on their aging console. The editors at Gamefan were known to be pretty stingy with their reviews, so it’s a bit surprising to see so many games with such lofty scores. This was a testament that developers were becoming more competent in creating quality games during the final stage of the 16-bit era.
The Start of the Next-Gen Wars
You know you’re on to something good when a magazine devotes an entire six pages to it! I was an early adopter of the 32-bit scene, having already purchased a 3DO and a Jaguar several months before DKC was released. Admittedly, the only game I had in my 3DO library that had graphics as good as DKC was Madden, and to an extent, Crash ‘n Burn. But DKC was on another level.
Samurai Shodown and Off-World Interceptor for the fledgling 3DO were two of the highly anticipated games previewed. I purchased both games after they were released and was pleasantly surprised with both games. Admittedly, between the two, I had more fun with Samurai Shodown. It was a near-perfect translation of the arcade version which I use to pump quarters into. Everything, from the zooming to the blood splatters, was close to pixel perfect.
Off-World Interceptor was good but the way the terrain would rotate made me feel sick to my stomach. I could only play a few levels before suffering from motion sickness, which is a shame because I enjoyed the premise of the game.
A few hours later, I was in the car heading off to Electronic Boutique to plunk down my PS1 pre-order of $100, which was one of the best investments I’ve ever made in my gaming life.
I loved me some role-playing games back in the day, so reading about Guardian Wars for the first time had me all giddy inside! I eventually purchased a copy but was somewhat disappointed with the clunky interface. The graphics, as you can see were outstanding for its time, but the gameplay felt like it was moving in slow motion. Still, a great RPG to try out if you can find a copy and definitely worth keeping if you happen to have one.
Gamefan also had a section in their magazine devoted to the gaming scene in Japan, aptly called Japan Now! The arrival of the PlayStation was a big deal as you can imagine. When I first saw these screenshots of Ridge Racer and Toshinden, I thought it couldn’t get any better. A few hours later, I was in the car heading off to Electronic Boutique to plunk down my PS1 pre-order of $100, which was one of the best investments I’ve ever made in my gaming life.
1994 was definitely a great time to be a gamer!