ECTS, Britain’s answer to E3, hit London between the 7th and 9th of September. But did it give faithful Nintendo owners any of the games they deserve?
Olympia, in Kensington, the annual home of the ECTS computer games trade show, Is not the Georgia Dome. Instead of five floors, It has two. Instead of being seven minutes long, irs two minutes. (Although, invariably, that’s cut down If people walk straight rather than weaving a line in front of you like they’re auditioning for Fame.) More significantly, though, while E3 gave a tantalising glimpse of what Nintendo are up to, ECTS gave a tantalising glimpse of what they’re not.
Banjo-kazooie? Nope. Conker’s Quest? No. Diddy Kong Racing? Oooooh, no. Starfox? Yep. Shadows of the Empire? Mrnm. Pilotwirigs? Tsch. Super Mario? Yessss. GoldenEye 007 was, thankfully, present, but in all honesty it was left to third-party publishers — mainly Konami and Acclaim — to try to salvage something NM-like from a distinctly PlayStation and PCdominated show.
Still, however small Nintendo’s stand was, they can at least seek solace in the fad that Sega were ten times worse off, and hidden away in an adjacent hotel. The once fierce battle between Nintendo and Sega seems to have been won, in Europe and America at least, by Nintendo. Sony are now definitely the ones to worry about, (Their stand, unsurprisingly, was mightily impressive).
But the good news for any NM patriot is that there’s likely to be six or seven new. top-quality games out for the machine come Christmas. Nintendo themselves have signed up the rights to publish Top Gear Rally, Lamborghini 64 and Bornberman 64 over here, and there’s also going to be the phenomenally good GoidenEye 007 (which is being optimised for its PAL release so it’ll be — shock — even better) and the almost-certain Mario Kart-beater Diddy Kong Racing. Add to that Blast Corps and (sigh) Lylat Wars and 1998 could see a far closer race between Nintendo and Sony.
Both, Acclaim and Konami, though, were showing games that hadn’t been playable at E3. Acclaim had NFL QuarterBack ‘98, Forsaken and multi-player Extreme G, while Konami let loose Nagano Winter Olympics and beat-’em up G.A.S.P!!, as well as a rolling video demo of NBA In the Zone ‘98. Other third party companies showing off N64 games were T•HQ with grapple-fest WCW vs. NWO, Ocean with Wetrix, DMA with Silicon Valley and GT with San Francisco Rush, Quake 64 and Duke Nukem 64. (Creations were there as well bit they were being a bit mysterious.) Still, the PlayStation started off slowly, and look where it is now…