E-Day

Updated Release: GamePro Issue 80 (March 1996)

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Hard to believe they were still calling it the "Ultra 64" that late into 1996, I thought they had already officially named it the Nintendo 64 by then.

 

On that note, I can't honestly say I recall a console being more heavily pushed than the U64 / N64 was. I mean, the Dreamcast... I knew a few fans. PS2? It was met with high expectations, and it delivered, but it was following in the footsteps of the PS1. Xbox, at the time was a complete unknown. Gamecube seemed to be the start of Nintendo going off on a slightly strange direction. After that generation though, things were established, it was clear that gaming was gonna be pretty awesome all around.

 

The Ultra 64 though? Man, that thing was MARKETED between 1994 until 1996. A friend of mine back then went to the trouble of importing the Japanese release so he could have it a few months early! Seems silly now, but that summer of 1996 was pretty eye opening, to be able to play Mario 64 before any of my other friends, that... was... awesome. Plus, Killer Instinct and Cruisin' USA were noted to be running on Ultra 64 hardware in the arcades, on the machine's attract screens. Those two games in particular made quite the impression on me as a kid.

 

Maybe it's just me, but this system was a BIG deal before it came out. It was cool after it came out, but... I dunno. Kinda didn't live up to all the hype, but then again, what does?

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2 hours ago, te72 said:

The Ultra 64 though? Man, that thing was MARKETED between 1994 until 1996.

You have different memories than me.  I would say that bar none, the PS2 was the most hyped system ever.  The Dreamcast never had a chance to be treated seriously because even though the PS2 was over a year away, it was already being hyped as being able to render the CG in the also hyped-at-the-time Star Wars Episode 1 in real time.  Something impossible for even ILM's roomfuls of computers to do.  Of course, it was all lies.  The only thing the PS2 delivered right out of the gate was an affordable DVD player.  The games themselves weren't much better looking than Dreamcast games, though you're right, eventually the PS2 did have an impressive catalog of titles.

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I have to agree with kitsunebi77, was the ultra 64 hyped? Yes, i didnt even want a psx, i, remember thinking that all the games has to be available for the 64 after release !plus mario!...then owning a 64 was terrible for me i was drooling for a psx and all those games and then the PS2s info showed up and i couldn't believe it was a game console plus dvd player and capable of run 20+ million of polygons( i thought "holy cow the games should look like toy story") everyone talked about it and then all my friends and i officially shifted from a nintendo console to a Sony console. Almost all the ppls wanted a psx for the games but everyone wanted a ps2 without even being launched 

Edited by Melki

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Memories can be a funny thing I suppose. While I seem to remember my siblings and I getting the N64 for Christmas in 1999 (Was that the year Donkey Kong 64 came out? That was the bundle we got.), it wasn't a "gotta have it NOW" sorta system for me. I just seem to remember being excited by all the arcade cross-promotion and hype going on surrounding the system.

 

That said... I did go to Target at 4am (perhaps earlier?) on October 26, 2000. I waited in line (man, that was cold!) in order to get a PS2 of my own on launch day. I even skipped the first couple hours of school that day, waiting for the store to open. I think in 12 years of public schooling, I only missed maybe 5 days total, skipping school just wasn't something I did. So... yeah, perhaps the PS2 was even more of a big deal. :)

 

Funny you mention Toy Story Melki, as that's what came to my mind when watching the first trailer I saw of Kingdom Hearts 3. "Wow, they've finally done it, the goal of making a game that looks as good as Toy Story did."

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On 12/10/2019 at 3:41 AM, kitsunebi77 said:

I would say that bar none, the PS2 was the most hyped system ever.

I agree with you on this. I've never in all my life seen a console so hyped up as the PS2, either before or since. But the weird thing is, my recollection of it isn't so much Sony laying on the hype (they did, don't get me wrong, but that's something they've done with every console), but rather every single gaming publication of the day taking that hype and blowing it absurdly out of proportion.

The Dreamcast is such a weird situation, because for a brief window it was the be-all, end-all of consoles. Every magazine of the day devoted numerous covers between May and September of 1999 to the system, its starting lineup of games, and Sega themselves...and by December it was like every single writer, editor, hobbyist, reviewer, and game shop employee in the industry collectively stopped caring. All anybody anywhere was talking about was how much of a monster the PS2 was going to be, and why the Dreamcast was irrelevant, despite being a monstrous success for Sega at the start.

I don't know why this is, I don't know if Sony just dumped so many millions of dollars from their advertising coffers that they effectively saturated Sega's growing brush fire, and it didn't help that Sega had a couple of major stumbles not long after the Dreamcast came out, but ordinary people hyped the PS2 in ways I've not seen ordinary people go apeshit for video game stuff. Even non-gamers were thrilled about its release, despite stand-alone DVD players being much cheaper than a PS2 here in the US. But that hype was inescapable unless you lived in the middle of nowhere.

*huggles*
Areala

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32 minutes ago, Areala said:

I agree with you on this. I've never in all my life seen a console so hyped up as the PS2, either before or since. But the weird thing is, my recollection of it isn't so much Sony laying on the hype (they did, don't get me wrong, but that's something they've done with every console), but rather every single gaming publication of the day taking that hype and blowing it absurdly out of proportion.

I agree with this.  It wasn't just Sony's hype, it was the fact that literally everyone on Earth seemed to accept every single rumor or exaggeration about the PS2's capabilities as fact and took it from there, spreading the hype more effectively than Sony could have ever done alone.

I will disagree, however, with the point you made suggesting that the DVD player wasn't such a strong part of its initial success.  DVD player prices dropped drastically after the release of the PS2, but before its release, most players cost at least $200,  and a decent one (such as a Sony) was $250 or so.  Considering that DVD players had not yet reached market saturation at that point, a whole lot of people were purchasing the PS2 as their first-ever DVD Player, and for just an extra $50 they got a state-of-the-art (or so everyone and their mother was saying) game system as well.  Bargain.

Or to look at it another way, they bought a $300 system (standard) and got a 100% free DVD player in the process.  Again, bargain.

Edit: I got paranoid that perhaps I was remembering incorrectly, but no, it seems I was OK.  This is a Comp USA flyer from around the same time.  The PS2 launched in the USA on October 26, 2000.  You can see in the ad that NFL Gameday 2001 for the PlayStation is advertised, which was released on October 30, 2000.  And the Toshiba standalone DVD player on the same page is $250.

Untitled-1.jpg

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I remember buying SSX and Tekken Tag Tournament the week prior to PS2 release. Do you have any idea what it's like to be a teenager with a new video game... that is impossible to play??? Agony! Haha 😛

 

Funny enough, the PS2 got me more into movies, the DVD thing was a neat feature for me. First DVD I rented at the Blockbuster I ended up working for the following year? X-Men.

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51 minutes ago, te72 said:

I remember buying SSX and Tekken Tag Tournament the week prior to PS2 release. Do you have any idea what it's like to be a teenager with a new video game... that is impossible to play??? Agony! Haha 😛

I actually owned the Final Fantasy Anthology for PS1 before I owned a PS1. I can relate. :)

*huggles*
Areala

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1 hour ago, Areala said:

I actually owned the Final Fantasy Anthology for PS1 before I owned a PS1. I can relate. :)

*huggles*
Areala

What aspect of it for you that made you buy that one? I was thinking of Final Fantasy Chronicles, which had Chrono Trigger and FF6 on it. Having never had an SNES, that one was appealing...

 

Anthology was the one with FF1 and FF2, right? Japanese FF2, or American FF2 (FF4)?

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2 hours ago, te72 said:

What aspect of it for you that made you buy that one? I was thinking of Final Fantasy Chronicles, which had Chrono Trigger and FF6 on it. Having never had an SNES, that one was appealing...

 

Anthology was the one with FF1 and FF2, right? Japanese FF2, or American FF2 (FF4)?

No, you're thinking of Final Fantasy Origins.  Final Fantasy Anthology  was FF V (for the first time ever in English) and FF VI.

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19 hours ago, te72 said:

What aspect of it for you that made you buy that one? I was thinking of Final Fantasy Chronicles, which had Chrono Trigger and FF6 on it. Having never had an SNES, that one was appealing...

Final Fantasy VI is among my favorite games of all time, so the idea of having a new version with an updated translation and some gorgeous animated cutscenes was quite appealing. Getting an authorized English translation of Final Fantasy V was just a bonus. :)

*huggles*
Areala

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18 hours ago, kitsunebi77 said:

No, you're thinking of Final Fantasy Origins.  Final Fantasy Anthology  was FF V (for the first time ever in English) and FF VI.

 

1 hour ago, Areala said:

Final Fantasy VI is among my favorite games of all time, so the idea of having a new version with an updated translation and some gorgeous animated cutscenes was quite appealing. Getting an authorized English translation of Final Fantasy V was just a bonus. :)

*huggles*
Areala

That's right, I forgot Origins was a thing! Well, not the games contained, but that V and VI were on a collection as well. Wait... now I had to check what Chronicles contained. It was Chrono Trigger and FFIV.

 

So, let's talk what else was being hyped in 1996... FF7. I'm excited for the remake to the point that I finally have a current gen console, simply to play FF7R. Anyone else looking forward to it?

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4 hours ago, te72 said:

So, let's talk what else was being hyped in 1996... FF7. I'm excited for the remake to the point that I finally have a current gen console, simply to play FF7R. Anyone else looking forward to it?

I attempted to play the original FF7 twice, and both times I got bored and stopped playing after the game left Midgar.  I hear the new game adds quite a bit to the Midgar portion of the game (seems I wasn't the only one who thought it was the best part), so that's intriguing.  However, I haven't owned a console since the PS2, and don't plan on that ever changing, so my chances of ever playing it are zero.  That's OK, though - the only Final Fantasy games I've ever played to completion are 1 and 4 (well, and Mystic Quest lol), so it's not like I'm their biggest fan.

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17 hours ago, kitsunebi77 said:

I attempted to play the original FF7 twice, and both times I got bored and stopped playing after the game left Midgar.  I hear the new game adds quite a bit to the Midgar portion of the game (seems I wasn't the only one who thought it was the best part), so that's intriguing.  However, I haven't owned a console since the PS2, and don't plan on that ever changing, so my chances of ever playing it are zero.  That's OK, though - the only Final Fantasy games I've ever played to completion are 1 and 4 (well, and Mystic Quest lol), so it's not like I'm their biggest fan.

I'll agree that the Midgar part was the best part, it was one of the first cohesive "worlds" in a game that actually felt like a place to me. The reveal of the world map though, accompanied by the main theme of the game when you first see that the world is much larger than just Midgar... that part was so memorable to me.

 

Given the similarities between modern consoles and PC architecture, I could see a PC release someday, so there's that hope for ya...

 

Also, my first FF was Mystic Quest. I got stuck at one point later in the game where you use the sword on a tree, basically as a key to continue. I had forgotten that you could do that, but in my defense, I was about 10 at the time. 😛

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9 minutes ago, te72 said:

Also, my first FF was Mystic Quest. I got stuck at one point later in the game where you use the sword on a tree, basically as a key to continue. I had forgotten that you could do that, but in my defense, I was about 10 at the time. 😛

I started with FF on the NES, but I actually think Mystic Quest is way more enjoyable than people give it credit for.  Sure, it's easy, but most JRPGs are.  Anyone who thinks otherwise is confusing "necessary grinding" for "challenging."  What I liked best about Mystic Quest was there are no random encounters.  It was the first JRPG I ever played with this mechanic, and I've preferred it ever since.  In my opinion, having no random encounters encourages exploration.  When there's a random battle every few steps, I just want to kill the foozle and exit the dungeon as quickly as possible.  But when the battles are limited, I want to seek them all out, searching every corner for encounters and treasure.  It's a shame more JRPGs don't use this mechanic.  I recall Grandia being a well done compromise in this regard, with the random enemies all visible and mobile.  Thus, if you wished, you could try to avoid them (though they will make a beeline towards you if you pass near enough to them).

Bottom line - when there are unavoidable random battles, I want to fight as few of them as possible.  When fighting battles is something I do by choice, I want to fight more of them.  Odd?  Perhaps, but that's the way it is.

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10 minutes ago, kitsunebi77 said:

Bottom line - when there are unavoidable random battles, I want to fight as few of them as possible.  When fighting battles is something I do by choice, I want to fight more of them.  Odd?  Perhaps, but that's the way it is.

Not at all odd to me. I prefer when an RPG respects your time. Suikoden has always been a series that was good about this, there are random encounters, but, if you're of a sufficient level of experience that you won't really benefit from the battle, you can simply run away, and back to the exploring. There are also Champion Runes that can be equipped that eliminate the encounter entirely unless they are going to be a challenge. As a result, you fight a few battles, end up leveled up enough, and from there you can pretty much breeze through the rest of the area. No grinding truly necessary, which is nice.

 

I had fun with Mystic Quest, enough so that I replayed it as an adult to see if it was actually a decent game, or if it was just nostalgia. Happy to say, I still had fun with it.

 

Another RPG that I rather enjoyed the mechanics of? Valkyria Chronicles. Mix an RTS with a shooter with an RPG, and you kinda get the gist of it. The artwork is beautiful as well.

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