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E3: The good stuff

For over a decade the annual Electronic Entertainment Expo (aka E3) has been the highlight of the gaming calendar. But - with many of the big players deserting the show - the doors have closed on this incredible circus of sensory stimulation. E3 as we know it might be "evolving" but it's not going to be the same mind-blowing spectacle.

To celebrate the relatively short - but always raucously enjoyable - lifespan of the show, we look back and remember why, for one week every year, gaming was directly in the spotlight of the world's media and E3 was one of the most exciting places to be on the entire planet.

Read on and discover all the good stuff from each of E3's 12 shows...

It all begins

Almost 40,000 people attended the very first E3 at the LA Convention Center. The show's big news came from Sega, which announced the surprise early launch of its Saturn console - it made its way into some shops during the show. Sega boasted that it would have dozens of games ready for the system by Christmas.

This news was all the more juicy thanks to Nintendo revealing that it was delaying the release of its Ultra 64 (later to become Nintendo 64) until April '96, effectively giving its rival almost a year head start. Nintendo big cheese Howard Lincoln told GamesMaster magazine that the reason for the delay was "Nintendo's never-ending quest for better games".

To cushion the blow, Nintendo unveiled a strong line-up of SNES titles, which included Doom, Killer Instinct and Donkey Kong Country 2. It also stated that the European launch of Ultra 64 would be almost simultaneous with the US debut. As it turned out, the console eventually launched in the US in September '96 and didn't show up in Europe until six months later. Oh well, better luck this time.



Above: The graphics from Virtual Boy's Galactic Pinball. Interested in searing red semi-3D pinball? No? Nobody was then, either

The house of Mario was also busy pushing its ill-fated Virtual Boy system, calling it a "unique gameplay experience" (sounds familiar) and committing to spending $25 million to promote it. Nintendo claimed that over 100 third-party developers were working on games for it. Atari (the old one, that is) was also getting into the exciting world of futuristic virtual realities by showing off its own VR headset for the Jaguar console.

With the launch of PlayStation just months away, Sony turned up to the show with a confident swagger ready to get people pumped about its little grey box. It announced that the console would launch for the Saturn-busting price of $299 ($100 less than its Sega rival) and that by Christmas there would be 50 titles available for the machine.

To show off its new console, Sony rolled out games such as Ridge Racer, Tekken, Wipeout and Warhawk. Attendees weren't unanimously convinced, however, that Sony would be able to cut the mustard against Sega and Nintendo. PlayStation's world domination followed soon after.

One strangely familiar game at the show was Ratchet & Bolt for Sega Genesis 32X, which boasted "the biggest videogame boss in known history" (apparently it was over 30 screens tall) and featured over 33 weapons. The game was eventually canned, which is a shame because it sounded pretty good...

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