Long ago, before the Electronics Entertainment Expo (E3) began in 1995, there was "Summer CES" (Consumer Electronics Show). If you're not familiar with either of these events, picture huge conference halls filled with giant booths for upcoming games and games hardware, lots of video screens, people dressed up in the costumes of game characters, and hordes of people lining up to get their hands on the future of gaming. With E3 2014 starting tomorrow, I thought it would be fun to reflect on the past of gaming's biggest week.
These days, E3 has a lock on being the centerpiece of the gaming news calendar, but gaming used to have to share the attention with the rest of the consumer electronics industry. CES dates back to 1967, but gaming obviously came a bit later to the show. It became such a large fixture of the event that it eventually needed to get its own dedicated show; even so, it still retains a smaller gaming presence today.
But what I find most interesting is how much the coverage of these events has changed over the years. In the pre-internet era, there were no live-stream events, no live-blogging, no week-long deluge of posts and stories exploding across the web. Rather, gamers needed to wait two months to get the August issues of magazines to hear what had been announced (the shows have almost always been in June). With the realtime, nearly 24/7 coverage that gaming sites like IGN and Kotaku run these days for E3, it's hard to imagine such a lengthy gap to get such big news.
I dug out some old copies of Nintendo Power from my archive to share just how far we've come. The shows may not have changed all that much, but we certainly get more than a four or six-page magazine spread's worth of coverage for a week-long firehose of information. It's remarkable to see how each game or announcement gets a sentence (two, if it's lucky) in these old features. Today, nearly each game shown at these conference gets at least one preview or feature of its own (the bigger games get endless amounts of coverage). It was a simpler time, and gamers were forced to scour these precious pages for glimpses of what was to come for their favorite hobby.
Make sure to click on each image for a larger view--there are some real gems hidden here. Or, click the button below to see all my E3 coverage!
NINTENDO POWER, VOLUME 39: AUGUST 1992
NINTENDO POWER, VOLUME 63: AUGUST 1994