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By now, all the consoles were on the market, and with that it allowed game publishers to really focus on showing games.  About the only major talk of future hardware that was going on at the show was to do with the recently announced Pentium II processor, upcoming 3dfx cards, and how PC game developers would take advantage of the new gear.  1997 also marked a year where it was becoming quite apparent that Sony was the new king of the mountain, as things were looking very low key at Nintendo’s booth, and there was nothing but price cuts going on at Sega.




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E3 Chronicles: The First 10 Years - 1997


The Hardware:




While things had quieted down in console gaming by now, it was the complete opposite for the PC market.  The Pentium II processor had just been announced, and everyone and their mother seemed to have a new video card in the works, as they tried to topple the mighty 3dfx.


The Games:


3D Realms:


Duke Nukem Forever isn’t the only game from 3D Realms that has been said to be in production forever.  Even in 1995 3D Realms was talking about their new game Prey, and it was actually shown at E3 in 1997.  Of course, to this day it’s still an on again off again relationship with Prey, as the game just recently was announced as being on again with a new team handling it.




At E3 in 1997, there was the likes of the comic book-esque FPS, SiN (PC), and the new mech game, Heavy Gear (PC) from the cool cats at Activision.




There were a lot of sequels being shown by Capcom at this E3.  Darkstalkers 3 and Marvel Super Heroes were being shown for the PlayStation and Saturn, while a trio of Resident Evil games were also on display, with Resident Evil: Director’s Cut and Resident Evil 2 (both for PlayStation), as well as a PC version of the original Resident Evil.  Also, Capcom’s recent D&D arcade games were being shown as a compilation for the Saturn with Dungeons & Dragons Collection, which included both Towers of Doom and Shadows of Mysteria.




Hot on the heels of Tomb Raider’s success, Eidos kicked off E3 with some of the trademark debauchery that would become synonymous with the show during the late 90s.  Armed with loud music, and booth babes galore, the press got a look at Tomb Raider 2 and Death Trap Dungeon…unfortunately they had to look at Fighting Force and Ninja as well.  Thankfully, Eidos threw one of the best parties of the show in Atlanta that year helping to easy the pain.






As usual, there was a lot to look at in the Konami booth at E3 this year.  There were a pair of titles being shown with RPG elements to them with Suikoden II, and Vandal Hearts, as well as the Bruce Campbell voiced action / adventure, Broken Helix.  The two games that were the centerpiece of Konami’s line-up were Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, and Metal Gear Solid.  For most, news of a 2D Castlevania is almost 


always cause for celebration, but Metal Gear Solid was the true toast of the town.  Hiding?  Sneaking?  Not killing everything in site?  Stealth is king?  These factors had many at the show eager to see more of MGS.




While there were plenty of games to look at from Namco, the two that got the lion’s share of attention were Tekken 3, and Treasures of the Deep (both for the PlayStation).  While it’s not surprising that people would want to check out the latest installment in the Tekken series, Treasures of the Deep certainly raised some eyebrows.  The thought of diving around in the murky depths, all with a nice aesthetic, and solid control was downright titillating in 1997.




While not necessarily as eye popping as their Mario 64 display the year before, Nintendo still made a decent showing in 1997 with a trio of titles that most N64 owners would wind up buying eventually.  Gamers got a gander of GoldenEye, StarFox 64, and Banjo Kazooie, as people took demos of the games for a spin.  Probably the most high-profile games on display from Nintendo, though, were F-Zero 64 and Zelda 64, but these games were not yet in playable form, so gamers just had to be satisfied with video footage for the time being.




Things weren’t looking good for the Saturn at all by 1997, and this was reflected by the announcement by Sega that future Saturn games would have PC ports, causing some to wonder if the company would soon deep six their console, and just make PC games.  Deepening the troubles at Sega, a large number of the games being shown were related to old franchises, with a pair of Sonic games: Sonic Jam, a compilation of Sonic games from the Genesis, Sonic R, a Sonic the Hedgehog racing game, and Sega Ages, a compilation of classic Sega games.




By now, Sony was in full swing with the PlayStation games.  Their console had firmly established itself as the market leader, and there were still plenty of new games to show in 1997.  People got their first taste of the mech series, Armored Core, and when they weren’t locking horns with giant robots, they were getting their groove on with PaRappa the Rappa.  Sony also had some first and second party sequels on the floor in the form of Jet Moto 2, Crash Bandicoot 2, and Cool Boarders 2.  Another game of note that was shown by Sony at this particular E3 was the platformer, Blasto, complete with voice acting from the late, great Phil Hartman.


The highlight of the Sony booth in 1997, though, was what Squaresoft brought to the table.  While Bushido Blade looked like a dandy little fighting game, what everyone wanted to see was the first next gen Final Fantasy, the seventh in the series.  Between the quality of the game’s graphics, and the fact that it was spread across three CDs, for a lot of RPG fans FFVII’s September release couldn’t come fast enough.




Guess what was shown by Titus at E3 in 1997.  Superman.  What would go down as the worst N64 game of all time, and possibly the worst game of all time, period.


Best of the Rest:


Here’s a quick rundown of some of the other games that were shown at E3 in 1997: Postal (Running with Scissors – PC), Total Annihilation (Cavedog Entertainment – PC), Dungeon Keeper (Electronic Arts – PC), MDK (Shiny – PC, PSX), RayStorm (Working Designs – PSX), and G-Police (Psygnosis).


Back to E3 1996 // To E3 Hub  //  On to E3 1998


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