Space World '99 Wrap-up

TOKYO – We wrap-up the Space World show that took place over the weekend with details from all around the floor.

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TOKYO - When you go to Japanese game shows, you can't avoid huge crowds because, unlike shows such as E3 or ECTS, most Japanese shows are open to the public. People come to the shows to see the latest games and to buy merchandise, and they want to have some fun. But sometimes people can't enjoy the shows because of the huge crowds, loud noises, and poorly organized officials and management. We've seen quarrels and brawls at some game shows. The incident at Konami's event that we reported on over the weekend is a perfect example.

But you won't see incidents like this at Nintendo Space World. Although there always is a massive crowd, the officials are well trained, and the crowd is well organized. When you play a game in a booth, the people at the show booth will teach you the control scheme of the game quickly and precisely. The average playing time is short, but you can sit and enjoy the game with a 37-inch monitor. Some booths even offer you headphones so you can hear the sounds in the game while you play.

Some of the game developers watch players from behind so they can see how players will react to their games. We met Takashi Tezuka and Kazutoshi Iida producers from Nintendo, who were observing players. And Nintendo was taking surveys to find out how players felt about its games. You never see surveys like that at a Tokyo game show.

At this Space World, we saw lots of good games. In fact we had a hard time deciding the best game of the show. Because of the limited texture cache of the N64, some of the games didn't look good, but their gameplay was either fun or interesting.

You can already hear praise for the titles like Zelda (N64, GB) or Perfect Dark, but you should definitely also check out games like Kirby 64 or Super Mario RPG 2. They bring back old-school gameplay with a little twist. Mother 3 now has its own odd style and conventional-RPG feel at same time. It will be an interesting RPG. Custom Robo was just simple and fun. We hope this game will make it to the US because it's just too great! On the other hand, you won't see 64DD outside Japan. Too bad because some of the titles seem very interesting - Talent Studio was especially fun to play and watch. And Kyojin no Doshin was a blast to play. Let's hope that Marigul can fit everything into a cartridge and release it in the US.

It's too bad that just about all the good games were from Nintendo, Rare, or Marigul. Outside of Treasure's Bangioh or Sammy's Viewpoint 2064, we didn't see any really good third-party titles.

It's also unfortunate Nintendo delayed Pokemon Gold/Silver once again in Japan. Although show goers had a chance to play the game for 15 minutes, many kids (and some adults like me) were disappointed by the announcement. Hopefully Nintendo will stick to an exact date (November 21) this time. At the show there were 288 monitors for the game, but often players still had to wait an hour to play.

Lastly I'd like to mention Smash Brothers. I'll have to say once again that the Smash Brothers tournament was the most crowded one at the show. This game has been one of the most underrated games in history. Nobody thought it would be this big. Actually the game didn't even achieve a "recommendation" on Nintendo's own game evaluation system, Mario Club. This game reminded Japanese players that four-player games are a distinctive feature of the N64 and convinced them that multiplayer is a lot of fun!

Nintendo's Masahiro Sakurai attended all three days, checking out the tournament, interviewing the winners, and updating the web page daily. Mr. Sakurai said in our interview with him that a love of video games and a love of creating them is important. He's the type of person who has that kind of love. You can say that love made Smash Brothers so big.

We enjoyed Space World very much – the N64 and the Game Boy still have plenty of life left. People are already talking about a next-generation system and its games, but maybe we shouldn't look so far ahead. There are many good games to come for existing consoles, but let's just hope they can adhere to their release dates.

We'll have coverage on Japan's AM Show and Tokyo Game Show in a few short weeks, where lots of new games will be shown. Make sure you stay tuned.

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