Console Wars: The Bit Wars II: A New Enemy
The year was 1995 and the only 32-bit console to actually release was the Virtual Boy as the Amiga CD32 doesn’t exist in this timeline of the article. Well, it does, but for context, it was a bad system, and I’ll be talking about it in just a bit. The Genesis and SNES fought a hellacious war against each other, and now they were riding off into the sunset after duking it out for a generation of consoles, and 1995 actually saw the birth of a gaming event that everyone is familiar with, E3!
The Electronics Entertainment Expo made its debut to the gaming world on May 11th, 1995, a near 25 years ago, and really, that’s it. There’s not a lot to say about E3 in its humble beginnings besides that was the day that it had started, people thought it would be unsuccessful, and obviously it wasn’t, but there were two very notable moments that happened that fateful day in 1995. Since it was every company’s first time going to E3 it was basically like any modern-day E3, talk about future plans, games, and maybe even announce a console or a sub-product that’ll coexist with the main thing.
Well, Sega came to the stage and for lack of a better term, they crapped the bed hard as they said on that day, the Sega Saturn had released in North America, that same day. Now the Virtual Boy was easily Nintendo’s biggest WTF moment since they made a system that looked like a gun turret you’d use in the Millennium Falcon, Sega announced that the Saturn had released that same day, not only shocked people, but made retailers and people go “what the absolute hell were you thinking?” So besides the fact that the Sega 32X was a blunder and then some, then they released the Sega Nomad when the Saturn was on its way almost a year later AND the Genesis was irrelevant at this time, Sega decided to sawed-off shotgun blast their entire foot off by releasing the Saturn on the same day as E3 in North America. And I should’ve mentioned, the system was released in Japan in late November of 1994, which confuses me as to why they would make such a horrible decision like this that could potentially destroy their credibility, which ironically in modern times, is something they severely lack. Not only that, this system didn’t have a Sonic game. Yep, the blue Hedgehog didn’t make a single appearance on the system besides Sonic 3D Blast, which its graphics and gameplay were rough and wasn’t received so well, and Sonic R which is a “Sonic racing game” that somehow was released to the system and was the second-worst Sonic game right behind Sonic 06. At the time
This is the part where I have to go off the rails on the article and also break the fourth wall if it even exists in articles or publications in general, but when a game that was released in 1997, is just as bad as a game that was easily the worst game of the 2000s, it shows that Sega has had this weird cycle of good games and releasing literal crap for us to endure since 1997, it all stems from the Saturn, and while I don’t want to keep going on this tangent for long since I think reviewing Sonic the Hedgehog and Sega on its own article would be a better idea, it just makes me wonder why Sega would make such a horrible decision to release a system so early when the planned release date was in November of 1995 as well as a ridiculous price tag of 400 dollars.
Sega Saturn? More like Sega Uranus, because this system- and excuse my French, was a shit show.
And unfortunately, Sony was up next and one quote pretty much defined the entirety of the Fifth Generation: “$299”
Now before we talk about the Hiroshima bomb that Sony decided to drop, I should actually acknowledge that by this point, Atari had pretty much given up on the console market and would drop out in 1996 as the Atari Jaguar had pretty much been obliterated from the console market and they were basically the laughingstock of consoles, and that ended up making Nintendo the new and permanent Big Red Machine we all know and love, granted their red coat figuratively smelled of cat pee thanks to the Atari Jaguar. Commodore released the Amiga CD32 and basically committed company suicide as the console was discontinued the same day Commodore went defunct. The same company that released the Commodore 64, was gone within a decade. What a fall from grace. And since I have next to zero knowledge of both consoles, Game Sack and MetalJesusRocks made videos on the consoles separately.
Here’s Game Sack’s video on the Amiga CD32:
And here’s MJR’s video on the Atari Jaguar:
I didn’t include the AVGN’s review on the consoles since his videos are more character and skit based than an actual review. Sorry AVGN fans, I explained this in the Virtual Boy article I did on New Year’s Day.
A company called The 3DO Company released the… 3DO. Well, that’s unoriginal. Their console fully named: The Panasonic FZ-1 R.E.A.L. 3DO Interactive Multiplayer which is a console name so long, I’m surprised that it’s not a Star Wars character or the name of a ship, was released in October 1993 and was considered as the first fifth-gen console with a whopping asking price of 700 US dollars. This is the one time where I can say: that’s a bulge I don’t want. And I’ve got a girl who has B U L G E. But that? I’ll actually have to pass, because that price tag can’t compensate for the amount of lube and Vaseline I have, and if you will excuse me, I will be looking at a synth for $8,500. Now I’m actually not too familiar with the 3DO at all as that’s a system I didn’t know existed until a year or two ago, but luckily like the last article and paragraph, Game Sack has you and I covered as they do a full review of the 3DO over on their channel, so give it a watch to understand what this system was about:
Nintendo would release the N64 in late September of 1996. While the system was technically a powerful system, Nintendo kinda followed suit with Sega and shot themselves in the foot, but at least with a Nerf gun. They released the system using cartridges, making it the last console up until the Switch to use cartridges for the next 21 years. It also had a wacky controller that you could use in three different ways, hence why it was a three-prong controller. It was also the first controller to have an analog stick, as well as rumble, so Nintendo was ahead of the curve when it came to the modern-day controller. Also, the controller got memed as someone posted this picture somewhere on Twitter.
If you get the joke, you know my preferences.
Plus their lineup of games was absolutely immeasurable with the plethora of games that was just oozing out of the system, like Conker’s Bad Fur Day, GoldenEye 007, Super Mario 64, Super Smash Bros, Starfox 64, Banjo-Kazooie 1 and 2, NASCAR ’99, Majora’s Mask, Ocarina of Time, and a whole bunch of others, the N64 was an absolute powerhouse despite Nintendo’s decision with going to cartridges.
I thought I’d put a little fun fact about myself in this part before we finally talk about the PlayStation, but the N64 was actually the first console I had ever played at just 3 years old, with my first game being GoldenEye 007 of all games making it the first FPS game I’ve ever played, and I’ve pretty much played FPS games ever since. As well as this, apparently according to my brothers whenever we talk about the N64, they always tell me how they still can’t believe I actually beat the game at 3 years old, and while I still think it’s pretty BS that I could’ve beaten the game since I can’t even beat it today, granted I’m using emulators on phones (which is a horrible idea), I still decide to stick with the story that I did indeed beat the game since they always say that I did. Well, at least the main story and not the two extra missions that came with it.
Now Sony, as we all know, didn’t have too good of a relationship with Nintendo to make the original PlayStation possible as plans fell through and the relationship went kaput, and obviously, Sony wasn’t planning on letting their dreams of getting into the console market get away from them that easily. So, they decided to make their own, and call it PlayStation, under their own banner, which was quite the spit in the face of Nintendo, however, with the way how sales were for the PlayStation, it’s safe to say that Sony wanted to make sure that they become the top dogs of the console wars with the monolithic release of the PlayStation. Words really can’t fathom the success of the PlayStation as it had an absolutely endless amount of games rippling through it after its debut in September 1995 and not only that, but sales skyrocketed to the point that by the time of its discontinuation, it had sold over 100 million units, which absolutely dwarfs all of the combined sales of all the consoles I’ve mentioned in this article.
Now if we’re talking about by the numbers, the PlayStation obviously won by a landslide, but if we compared the N64 and the Sony PlayStation as to game quality, that would be hard to judge as well. And why haven’t I mentioned any of the other consoles in this conclusion? Let’s be honest, who did own the 3DO, the Jaguar with the CD add on that had the price tag of $250, the Saturn or the Amiga CD32? Really this was a battle between Nintendo and Sony as this was a bad break-up gone violent, and while Sony did win with the numbers, the amount of games that both systems unleashed is hard to actually choose a proper winner. This is the second time in a row that I’ll have to leave it to you guys as I’m not sure as to who won this one just from the powerful libraries of games both of these systems produced. Not only that, it was a really weird generation as everyone was in on the race of 3D graphics, and it was the new Wild West on who can do it better.
Sony came out of the gates, guns blazing, and they unleashed a Leviathan that was the PlayStation, but if there’s something that we all know about sequels, is that sometimes, the second verse, is better than the first.
To be continued…