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The 1994 console market was crazy

SmokedMeat

Gamer™
Virtual Boy owner, checking in! Although it didn't come out until 1995 so I'm not sure why OP mentioned it.

I had Red Alarm and Wario, those games were both amazing and made the Virtual Boy worth owning. But... out of the 14 games that released in the US, these were the only two good ones so I was a little spoiled.

I rented one from Blockbuster Video, along with Red Alarm and Mario. Interesting for sure, but man… I don’t know why they didn’t make the graphical output green instead of red.
 

_Ex_

Member
I was 15 in 1994 and an avid USA gamer. From what I remember that year...

These were legit popular:
SEGA Genesis
SEGA CD
SNES

These were already old, dead, buried nobody cared in 1994:
NES
Master System
Game Boy
Game Gear
Atari Jaguar
Lynx

These were too hard to find (rare in USA) and/or too expensive so not relevant:
Turbo Duo (Turbografx+CD)
Philips CDi
Panasonic 3DO
Amiga CD32
Neo Geo/CD (literally never knew anyone back then who owned this)

This did release in 1994:
32X
-but quickly faded into irrelevance

Nobody was looking forward to this in 1994:
Jaguar CD
Panasonic M2

As for upcoming stuff that people truly cared about in 1994:
Saturn (this did release in '94 in Japan)
PS1 (this did release in '94 in Japan)
Virtual Boy (what a huge disappointment)
"Ultra 64"

I don’t know why they didn’t make the graphical output green instead of red.

Because red LEDs were cheaper.
 
Last edited:

MrA

Member
I was 15 in 1994 and an avid USA gamer. From what I remember that year...

These were legit popular:
SEGA Genesis
SEGA CD
SNES

These were already old, dead, buried nobody cared in 1994:
NES
Master System
Game Boy
Game Gear
Atari Jaguar
Lynx

These were too hard to find (rare in USA) and/or too expensive so not relevant:
Turbo Duo (Turbografx+CD)
Philips CDi
Panasonic 3DO
Amiga CD32
Neo Geo/CD (literally never knew anyone back then who owned this)

This did release in 1994:
32X
-but quickly faded into irrelevance

Nobody was looking forward to this in 1994:
Jaguar CD
Panasonic M2

As for upcoming stuff that people truly cared about in 1994:
Saturn (this did release in '94 in Japan)
PS1 (this did release in '94 in Japan)
Virtual Boy (what a huge disappointment)
"Ultra 64"



Because red LEDs were cheaper.
Another revisionist has appeared,
 

Aesius

Member
In 1994 I kept playing Sega Genesis, drooled over the Sega CD I couldn't get, entered this contest and hoped for the best

Holy shit, I remember this contest. Winning that as a kid would have been incredible. Did anyone ever actually win it? I would love to see follow-up on this. This was in gaming magazines for years IIRC and they would update the hardware as tech progressed.
 

ShirAhava

Plays with kids toys, in the adult gaming world
Holy shit, I remember this contest. Winning that as a kid would have been incredible. Did anyone ever actually win it? I would love to see follow-up on this. This was in gaming magazines for years IIRC and they would update the hardware as tech progressed.

If I remember correctly it ended up being kind of a scam/rigged this video breaks it down

 

NeoIkaruGAF

Gold Member
I couldn’t even get all the SNES games I wanted at the time. The thought of another console didn’t really cross my mind, especially because as a Nintendo guy I wasn’t interested in other platforms’ offerings. I used to read gaming mags, and they were honest enough back then to acknowledge most games for the CD32, Jag, 3DO etc were average to shit, even if the hype could get quite hot before release. Most devs didn’t really know what to do with CD back then, so it was mostly FMV games or simple games with prerecorded video.

So there, I was pretty happy with my SNES and Game Boy, occasionally going back to my NES games. It took the PlayStation to make me move on to something new and exciting.
 

Mossybrew

Member
I bought the Jaguar because I didn't have a PC at the time and really wanted to play Doom, the only other console option was the inferior 32X version that released about the same time. Of course it ended up being a shitty console with only a handful of decent games but I sure did have a great time playing Doom at least.
 

German Hops

Gold Member
The goat console with of course a subjective view was the SNES. So why would consoles only get good after that? Or do you mean 3 multiple consoles together at the se time?
To be more specific, I'll have to say the time between 1991 and 1995 was awful for gaming. Think about it this way, while PlayStation start at the end of that time we had this four to five year period where everything in gaming seems to be coming unglued.

Sega-CD, CDi, 3DO, Jaguar were all coming out and were okay at best and junk at worst. This is also the time of weird handhelds Atari Lynx, Sega Game Gear and NEC's Turbo Express, which will interesting were battery hogs that ended up being heavy and weird as opposed to the simpler crusty-old GameBoy.

This was the time when video arcades were really struggling. In 1987 you see Street Fighter and other copy-cat 2D which is cool, but as fighter rise the rest of arcades games are nose diving. By 1993 we start seeing Virtua Fighter and Tekken start to appear, but as those rise even higher the rest of the games in the arcade are empty.

I think so much was happening in 1991 to 1995 that just seemed terrible for gaming. Moreover, the real introduction of 3D was painful, people were used to a look, feel and gameplay set in 2D that was just not going to work in early 3D. It was not until 1997 that most companies had 3D under their belts well enough to produce solid games that looked good and felt good in 3D.

But yeah, the fifth generation is where consoles began to truly shine and has arguably the best year of gaming during that era - 1998 - but it was also a time of great innovation and the foundation of many modern franchises. Sure, 90% of the games coming out at the time were mediocre (see also: Sturgeon's Law) but it's hard to look at some of these line-ups and say the era was a pit.

PS1 -

  • Metal Gear Solid
  • Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
  • Final Fantasy VII-IX
  • Final Fantasy Tactics
  • Vagrant Story
  • Resident Evil 2
  • Gran Turismo
  • Valkyrie Profile
  • PaRappa the Rapper
  • Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2
  • ...and about 20 or so other RPGs. (Xenogears, Suikoden II, Vandal Hearts, Wild Arms, Chrono Cross... okay, I'll stop.)
N64 -

  • Super Mario 64
  • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
  • The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask
  • GoldenEye 007
  • WWE Wrestlemania 2000
  • Mario Kart 64
  • Banjo-Kazooie
  • Perfect Dark
  • Star Wars: Rogue Squadron
  • Super Smash Bros.
  • Waverace
  • Ogre Battle 64
Saturn -

  • Nights
  • Panzer Dragoon Saga
  • Burning Rangers
  • Virtua Fighter 2
  • Dragon Force
  • Tomb Raider
  • Grandia
  • Battle Garegga
  • Radiant Silvergun
  • Guardian Heroes
  • Wachenroder
  • The list goes on and on...
 
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Dynasty8

Member
To be more specific, I'll have to say the time between 1991 and 1995 was awful for gaming. Think about it this way, while PlayStation start at the end of that time we had this four to five year period where everything in gaming seems to be coming unglued.

Sega-CD, CDi, 3DO, Jaguar were all coming out and were okay at best and junk at worst. This is also the time of weird handhelds Atari Lynx, Sega Game Gear and NEC's Turbo Express, which will interesting were battery hogs that ended up being heavy and weird as opposed to the simpler crusty-old GameBoy.

This was the time when video arcades were really struggling. In 1987 you see Street Fighter and other copy-cat 2D which is cool, but as fighter rise the rest of arcades games are nose diving. By 1993 we start seeing Virtua Fighter and Tekken start to appear, but as those rise even higher the rest of the games in the arcade are empty.

I think so much was happening in 1991 to 1995 that just seemed terrible for gaming. Moreover, the real introduction of 3D was painful, people were used to a look, feel and gameplay set in 2D that was just not going to work in early 3D. It was not until 1997 that most companies had 3D under their belts well enough to produce solid games that looked good and felt good in 3D.

But yeah, the fifth generation is where consoles began to truly shine and has arguably the best year of gaming during that era - 1998 - but it was also a time of great innovation and the foundation of many modern franchises. Sure, 90% of the games coming out at the time were mediocre (see also: Sturgeon's Law) but it's hard to look at some of these line-ups and say the era was a pit.

PS1 -

  • Metal Gear Solid
  • Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
  • Final Fantasy VII-IX
  • Final Fantasy Tactics
  • Vagrant Story
  • Resident Evil 2
  • Gran Turismo
  • Valkyrie Profile
  • PaRappa the Rapper
  • Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2
  • ...and about 20 or so other RPGs. (Xenogears, Suikoden II, Vandal Hearts, Wild Arms, Chrono Cross... okay, I'll stop.)
N64 -

  • Super Mario 64
  • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
  • The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask
  • GoldenEye 007
  • WWE Wrestlemania 2000
  • Mario Kart 64
  • Banjo-Kazooie
  • Perfect Dark
  • Star Wars: Rogue Squadron
  • Super Smash Bros.
  • Waverace
  • Ogre Battle 64
Saturn -

  • Nights
  • Panzer Dragoon Saga
  • Burning Rangers
  • Virtua Fighter 2
  • Dragon Force
  • Tomb Raider
  • Grandia
  • Battle Garegga
  • Radiant Silvergun
  • Guardian Heroes
  • Wachenroder
  • The list goes on and on...

1996 - 2000 definitely was the pinnacle for me. So much greatness. Even some awesome SNES game releases too during that time. Mario RPG came out in 96.

What an amazing time.
 

Ron Mexico

Member
I was 14 at the time so the nostalgia of having my summers free along with just a lot of great stuff from that time gives me the nostalgia itch.

I can't remember them playing all that differently (and I had these on both consoles for reasons I can't remember), but I vastly preferred NHL '94, NBA Jam and whatever other sports titles on the Genesis and just about everything else on the SNES.

Ah, and Tony LaRussa Baseball. I'm sure in hindsight the game is about as terrible as his management tactics in 2022 but I remember having notebooks full of details on NHL and LaRussa for sure. That was also back when sports games were at their peak for me.

Then Donkey Kong Country and the like on SNES. Felt like the best of both worlds for that time frame.
 

Kruza

Member
Various friends and family members had the Sega Genesis system or Super Nintendo, or both. I was mainly an arcade guy with only a Genesis at home.

I had one friend who took a plunge for the 3DO system. I remember Madden and Road Rash games being awesome on that system and became very jealous!

I loved playing Virtua Racing on the 32X! Virtua Fighter 2 was also fantastic for the 32X! But I didn't play the 32X version of VF2 often as I was primarily an arcade player those days and spent endless number of quarters playing here instead!

And I have to unfortunately say I could also remember regularly going to a Toys R Us, Babbages or Best Buy store hoping a Turbografx 16 or Neo Geo system was hooked up to a playable Blazing Lasers or Art of Fighting game at a kiosk so I could drool over the two systems that I eventually never got. I would be (un)lucky enough to have this happen for like one out of every ten trips to either of these stores, heh.
 

BodhiHogie

Neo Member
At that time I had MD / SNES / Amiga 1200

I was 20 and had a job and no bills it was a great time.
I was 20 as well and without much responsibility and a college loan, was able to buy and have the time to play most of what I was interested in.
Discussion of consoles from this era always makes me cringe a little though - I traded my snes cib collection for a Panasonic 3DO and Super Wing Commander. Jesus.
 

Aesius

Member


When this was all you needed 😄
It's funny to read EGM's reviews now. You'd have 3-4 review for each game and each reviewer got like 50 words total. So the reviews were all incredibly basic. "The gameplay is really good, but the graphics are a little dated. However, the sound design is top-notch with great sound effects and a memorable soundtrack. Overall, it's a big improvement over the original and well worth a purchase over a rental."

Looking back, that's about all that needed to be said to determine if a game was good or not!
 

DGrayson

Mod Team and Bat Team
Staff Member
To be more specific, I'll have to say the time between 1991 and 1995 was awful for gaming. Think about it this way, while PlayStation start at the end of that time we had this four to five year period where everything in gaming seems to be coming unglued.

Sega-CD, CDi, 3DO, Jaguar were all coming out and were okay at best and junk at worst. This is also the time of weird handhelds Atari Lynx, Sega Game Gear and NEC's Turbo Express, which will interesting were battery hogs that ended up being heavy and weird as opposed to the simpler crusty-old GameBoy.

This was the time when video arcades were really struggling. In 1987 you see Street Fighter and other copy-cat 2D which is cool, but as fighter rise the rest of arcades games are nose diving. By 1993 we start seeing Virtua Fighter and Tekken start to appear, but as those rise even higher the rest of the games in the arcade are empty.

I think so much was happening in 1991 to 1995 that just seemed terrible for gaming. Moreover, the real introduction of 3D was painful, people were used to a look, feel and gameplay set in 2D that was just not going to work in early 3D. It was not until 1997 that most companies had 3D under their belts well enough to produce solid games that looked good and felt good in 3D.

But yeah, the fifth generation is where consoles began to truly shine and has arguably the best year of gaming during that era - 1998 - but it was also a time of great innovation and the foundation of many modern franchises. Sure, 90% of the games coming out at the time were mediocre (see also: Sturgeon's Law) but it's hard to look at some of these line-ups and say the era was a pit.

PS1 -

  • Metal Gear Solid
  • Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
  • Final Fantasy VII-IX
  • Final Fantasy Tactics
  • Vagrant Story
  • Resident Evil 2
  • Gran Turismo
  • Valkyrie Profile
  • PaRappa the Rapper
  • Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2
  • ...and about 20 or so other RPGs. (Xenogears, Suikoden II, Vandal Hearts, Wild Arms, Chrono Cross... okay, I'll stop.)
N64 -

  • Super Mario 64
  • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
  • The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask
  • GoldenEye 007
  • WWE Wrestlemania 2000
  • Mario Kart 64
  • Banjo-Kazooie
  • Perfect Dark
  • Star Wars: Rogue Squadron
  • Super Smash Bros.
  • Waverace
  • Ogre Battle 64
Saturn -

  • Nights
  • Panzer Dragoon Saga
  • Burning Rangers
  • Virtua Fighter 2
  • Dragon Force
  • Tomb Raider
  • Grandia
  • Battle Garegga
  • Radiant Silvergun
  • Guardian Heroes
  • Wachenroder
  • The list goes on and on...


I think you are being slightly specific. In 1994 we all read about other consoles like 3do or whatever but mostly no one I knew had that. But genesis and snes were in their prime and these were 2 of the greatest consoles of all time so even if you preferred the next gen from an objective view this was one of the best times for console gaming.
 

MP!

Member

Edit:
Actually it was an exciting time for game but not for the reason's listed
 
Last edited:

SirTerry-T

Member
In the UK you really only has the big boys, SEGA and Nintendo, all that other crap no one cared about, I am sure they where there somewhere but not in the major game retailers that's for sure.

Still remember getting the Megadrive 2 as a birthday present with Ecco the Dolphin of all things. Solid game.
I dunno fella, I was 22 back in '94 and earning....Rumbelows, Dixon's, were places I had to avoid come pay day!
Any bit of tech remotely game related would get my wallet sweating. Don't get me started on when I discovered good old Telegames in an advert in the back of C&VG. :)
 
I love Atari but the Jaguar was a let down imo. I remember my friend all excited at getting the console , going round to his place to unpack it and play some games.

Those games were Cybermorph and Club Drive, his heart sank as I sat in silence. He cheered up later on thanks to Alien vs Predator and Tempest 2000.
 
I was just a kid, so don't remember much.

I played whatever my older bros would bought. One thing I remember really liking back then were those VHS tapes that sometimes came with the videogame magazines, full of trailers, commercials and fun stuff, like this DK Country making of:



Also in spanish:

The VHS tape that appears at the start of the video is the exact one we had back then. Wonder if it's still around our parents house.
 
And during all that mess, you had the 32X, Saturn, PS1, Virtual Boy, Jaguar CD, Panasonic M2 and "Ultra 64" on the horizon, making the decision to invest on a "next gen" console even harder.
Nah, that was pretty easy... ALL the buzz was behind the PS3 and its amazing* 3d capabilities!

Seriously tho, the PSX started with a few good games that proved it was better than the Saturn at 3D and it had third party support. Then giant generation defining games came one after the other, there really was no other choice (unless your parents bought you an N64).

*cough cough
 

Romulus

Member
It was incredible. The rate at which technology was improving was insane. 3D was coming around and it was just an exciting time. I was 14 and remember it well. I had stacks of gaming mags that I would read over and over. I lived in the middle of nowhere with my parents and had the upstairs with my brother. It was gaming heaven.
 
32X, Jaguar, 3D0 and Amiga CD 32 hardcore gamers pretty much knew they were stopgap consoles. You'd have some fun with them but they were never a mainline console.

hardcore = you had/have more money than other people, never understood this line of thinking.

Saying that, as a 7 year old at the time I plenty enjoyed our Amiga playing Sim City :messenger_beaming:
 

cheststrongwell

my cake, fuck off
Diehard Gamefan was my jam back in the day. Still have a ton of these old mags in a box somewhere.

I bought so many garbage games because of Gamefan. It's still my favorite magazine ever. Still waiting on the baseball cap I was supposed to get due to them going out of business when I still had many months of subscription left. Crazy cunts.
 

Rawker

Member
To be more specific, I'll have to say the time between 1991 and 1995 was awful for gaming. Think about it this way, while PlayStation start at the end of that time we had this four to five year period where everything in gaming seems to be coming unglued.

Sega-CD, CDi, 3DO, Jaguar were all coming out and were okay at best and junk at worst. This is also the time of weird handhelds Atari Lynx, Sega Game Gear and NEC's Turbo Express, which will interesting were battery hogs that ended up being heavy and weird as opposed to the simpler crusty-old GameBoy.

This was the time when video arcades were really struggling. In 1987 you see Street Fighter and other copy-cat 2D which is cool, but as fighter rise the rest of arcades games are nose diving. By 1993 we start seeing Virtua Fighter and Tekken start to appear, but as those rise even higher the rest of the games in the arcade are empty.

I think so much was happening in 1991 to 1995 that just seemed terrible for gaming. Moreover, the real introduction of 3D was painful, people were used to a look, feel and gameplay set in 2D that was just not going to work in early 3D. It was not until 1997 that most companies had 3D under their belts well enough to produce solid games that looked good and felt good in 3D.

But yeah, the fifth generation is where consoles began to truly shine and has arguably the best year of gaming during that era - 1998 - but it was also a time of great innovation and the foundation of many modern franchises. Sure, 90% of the games coming out at the time were mediocre (see also: Sturgeon's Law) but it's hard to look at some of these line-ups and say the era was a pit.

PS1 -

  • Metal Gear Solid
  • Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
  • Final Fantasy VII-IX
  • Final Fantasy Tactics
  • Vagrant Story
  • Resident Evil 2
  • Gran Turismo
  • Valkyrie Profile
  • PaRappa the Rapper
  • Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2
  • ...and about 20 or so other RPGs. (Xenogears, Suikoden II, Vandal Hearts, Wild Arms, Chrono Cross... okay, I'll stop.)
N64 -

  • Super Mario 64
  • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
  • The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask
  • GoldenEye 007
  • WWE Wrestlemania 2000
  • Mario Kart 64
  • Banjo-Kazooie
  • Perfect Dark
  • Star Wars: Rogue Squadron
  • Super Smash Bros.
  • Waverace
  • Ogre Battle 64
Saturn -

  • Nights
  • Panzer Dragoon Saga
  • Burning Rangers
  • Virtua Fighter 2
  • Dragon Force
  • Tomb Raider
  • Grandia
  • Battle Garegga
  • Radiant Silvergun
  • Guardian Heroes
  • Wachenroder
  • The list goes on and on...
Great list but I was in the arcades as they were dieing out because that's where the good games were. Playstation we played toshinden and n64 had ki gold, but the hardware at home wasn't quite on the same level. It was always an iteration behind, which was fine but my money was still going towards the better hardware by popping quarters.

Anyways on topic, the gaming isle in toys r us for me was like an hour long walk. 8 foot tall walls lined with game cases for every console you could imagine. It was glorious and so painful.
 

nush

Member
hardcore = you had/have more money than other people, never understood this line of thinking.

The meaning of hardcore changed over the years, it wasn't about how much money you had but what games you played, imported and mods you made to your console. It was being more involved than just being a consoomer dropping money on MTX and playinf 100's of hours on 1 or 2 games.
 

MrA

Member
There was the 486DX that I think came out a little later, early 90s if I recall. I remember playing a lot of Tie Fighter on that PC!
Totally possible Dx was like 92 with an. Upgraded version or to into 93 so a 66 or 100mhz would have been pretty hot stuff in 94
 

lachesis

Member
I think because the market itself wasn't mature enough, and had so much room for growth.
Indeed exciting time it was - in some ways, a terrifying naivete and optimism in hindsight.
 
The meaning of hardcore changed over the years, it wasn't about how much money you had but what games you played, imported and mods you made to your console. It was being more involved than just being a consoomer dropping money on MTX and playinf 100's of hours on 1 or 2 games.

True.
 

93xfan

Member
You had the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive and SNES as the main competitors. But you also had:

- The 8 bit NES and Master System consoles still kicking as they co-existed with the 16 bit systems in Europe.

- The 2 handhelds, Game Boy and Game Gear in full swing. I think the Lynx was dead at this point.

- Turbo Duo (Turbografx+CD).

- Sega/Mega CD.

- Philips CDi.

- Panasonic 3DO.

- Amiga CD32.

- Atari Jaguar.

- Neo Geo/CD.

And during all that mess, you had the 32X, Saturn, PS1, Virtual Boy, Jaguar CD, Panasonic M2 and "Ultra 64" on the horizon, making the decision to invest on a "next gen" console even harder.

I was lucky enough to not have enough money to buy anything new and just enjoy the late 16 bit games like Sonic 3 & Knuckles and Donkey Kong Country. And in 1995, when things started to settle a bit, i decided to wait for the N64.

How did you manage during that onslaught?
I was going to wait for a Nintendo 64. Was so disappointed by the delays though. Ended up renting a PlayStation from Blockbuster on my birthday and was blown away by Ridge Racer. Twisted Metal sounded so cool from the magazines too.

Then one magazine showed off the N64 controller and said the yellow buttons were mainly for camera movement in games. “Only two face buttons!” I thought.

I decided to go with PlayStation in the end. Was very happy with my purchase for most of that generation, except for a short period when Mario 64 come out. Playing that game at Toys “R” Us really made me regret not waiting for a Nintendo 64.
 
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