Posted on June 19, 2013
People did it on Twitter, and a few other websites did it as well, so I might as well jump on the bandwagon! Here are some of my favourite E3 memories!
The first E3 brings back a few memories, mainly related to issues of Nintendo Power that were quite memorable for one reason or another. As expected, Nintendo had a pretty strong presence, and used the event to unveil their “VR32” project… ah yes, the Virtual Boy. Sony might have stolen some of the spotlight from Sega and Nintendo by showing plenty of now-classic PlayStation games, but the house Miyamoto built had “virtual reality” in their corner. Games could finally be played in “full 3D”.
This was the way of the future!
Of course, Nintendo Power magazine went all out with their coverage of the Virtual Boy. I got this particular issue in the mail the same day we went to see friends at their cottage by the lake. I didn’t know these people at all, and I had no interest in being social that day. Once we got to their place, I opened the plastic bag the NP was in, ripped out the 3D glasses and read in the car.
The Virtual Boy was truly shaping up to be a great little system, and the VR-like headset really made it seem like it was the beginning of “the future”. Even though the graphics would only be in shades of red and black, I couldn’t wait to give it a shot for myself. The 3D images in that magazine were incredibly fun to look at, so the thought of playing Mario or Zelda games in such a way got me all pumped to try it out.
It was going to be on my Christmas list, that much was certain!
Eventually, I ran out of articles to read, so I moseyed into the cottage to join my parents. It’s a good thing I did, because my dad and the guy (I still have no idea who it was) were about to head out for a boat ride on the lake. It had a motor and went pretty fast, and I ended up having a great time!
As we zoomed across the lake, I could see a split in the trees in the distance. As I looked at the trees in both the foreground and the background, it dawned on me; at that very moment, I thought to myself “this WHOLE WORLD is in 3D!!” My mind was blown. I mean, I already knew this, but I was 11, and the realization hit me like a ton of bricks.
It was then that I realized there wasn’t anything all that special about a red and black video game in 3D. After that unexpected little boat ride, I didn’t want a Virtual Boy so bad after that. I finally got to play it for myself a little while before Christmas that year, and though the 3D effects were cool enough, I wanted one even less afterwards.
The Virtual Boy will definitely go down as an ambitious console that took a big gamble and failed. Still, it paved the way for the 3DS many years later, which is a fantastic little device!
Donkey Kong Land was actually featured in the issue the month before, since it had been announced (if I remember correctly) at SpaceWorld in May. While it wasn’t quite E3, SpaceWorld (also known as Shoshinkai) was actually hosted by Nintendo themselves. Simply put, they’d use E3 to show off their new stuff later on, but it was at Shoshinkai that they would unveil it all.
They showed a lot of Nintendo 64 footage that year, and though that was bound to garner lots of coverage from Nintendo Power, it was the surprise announcement of DKL for Game Boy that had people curious.
How could an 8-bit system like the Game Boy handle the awesome rendering seen in Donkey Kong Country? It seemed nearly impossible, and the cover story for the July ’95 issue reflected that sense of disbelief.
I used to bring in copies of the magazine for reading period at school. Bringing English reading material to a French school was somewhat frowned upon, but I never got into trouble for it. In any case, whenever I was done reading an issue, I’d let my friend Jan read it.
A year or so down the road, Jan and I were talking about games one day. He brings up the Donkey Kong games, and asked whether or not I had ever played Donkey Kong Land: When Pigs Fly for Game Boy. I didn’t correct him, but I knew exactly where it was that he’d picked that up from!
I haven’t spoken to Jan in quite some time, but I wonder if he still thinks the full title of DKL ends in “When Pigs Fly”. I always get a chuckle when I think of that!
This post definitely got a bit longer than I expected, so I’ll probably make a couple more E3 posts. For now, I’ll leave you not with footage from E3 ’95, but SpaceWorld ’95! Giddyup!