Electronic Gaming Monthly used to be my bible. Every month, I'd flip through the pages, and dream of the future. Quartermann was EGM's rumormonger, and I hung on his every word.
Rumours have been part of video games forever, and it's no different in 2015 than it was in 1993. The difference between then and now, however, is we know what did and didn't come true!
Pastebin user CoryGibson scrolled through old copies of EGM to collect Quartermann's predictions from 1990 through 1996, and I've collected my favourites. This was the era of SNES, Genesis, and endless rumours about what would become PlayStation, Nintendo 64, and Saturn.
Having worked closely with former EGM editors in the past, my understanding is that Quartermann was a mixture of legitimate scuttlebutt about the games industry, wishful thinking about what could happen (sometimes, it would actually come true), and complete bullshit.
All that in mind, here are some of the delicious rumours from the pages of EGM:
The Status Of The Super NES CD-ROM (March 1993)
...As you'll read in this ish, the Super NES CD-ROM is far from vaporware! The "ultimate peripheral of '93" is well into the final stages of design and according to the ultra-secret paperwork smuggled out by some hard-working rebels, you too can feast your eyes on the latest marvel of Nintendo. A formal developer's conference will gather soon and the Q-Mann will be there...SNK's CD add-on is rumoured to be looking iffy...Q-Sound, the incredible new stereo sound generator, is rumoured to be finally making its way into game carts...Watch for Street Fighter 2 characters to start appearing on just about anything man-made. From an upcoming pinball machine to Fruit of the Loom underwear, the World Warriors are coming (hey Capcom, send these guys to the WWF - you'll make a fortune hawking Blanka brand deodorant)...
Donkey Kong's Headed To CD-ROM (June 1993)
...EGM subscribers, those exclusive elite lucky enough to get the one and only newsletter produced by yours truly, got a bundle of inside info last month on new softs set to hit the market soon! Since then, the Quarter-Fiend has gone undercover to dig up the development of other titles soon to see reality...That Donkey Kong follow-up the Q-Mann told you about so many moons ago has been placed on the Phillips CD-I and Super Famicom CD platforms and should be finished sometime next year...
Sega Saturn Will Have Backwards Compatibility (October 1993)
Contrary to what the Brits have to say, Sega's upcoming Saturn system WILL be downwardly compatible with the Genesis and clock in at around 400 bucks and feature some cool enhancements ranging from on-screen colour calibration to a "code card," which will be used as part of Sega's expanding plans to conquer cable TV
Reconsidering That Michael Jackson Sequel (January 1994)
With all the recent press he's been getting, Sega seems to be having second thoughts about developing an update to their Moonwalker game. I guess having Michael rescue small children really wouldn't be appropriate.
Get Ready For Mario 5! (February 1994)
...Speaking of other software releases tied to new mega-systems, the Q has learned that the might 'N has already busted open the design team of the Mario adventures and plotting has already started for the fifth entry in the series. The new Mario 5 is expected to debut as the pack-in for the Project Reality machine in '95, and, according to a source deep within Nintendo, it will take advantage of PR's rendering and modelling capabilities to create Mario worlds unlike anything that has ever been seen before…
Nobody Can Program For Nintendo's Next Console (March 1994)
...First word of warning on the Nintendo/SGI partnership - the game developers are dying! Sure the SGI (even the stripped down Nintendo version will eventually sell) can produce some killer graphics, but there's only a handful of graphics gurus capable of pushing the machines to the limit. Why not hire them, you ask? Because they all work for SGI! Seriously, SGI and other independent outfits are trying to bring game developers up to speed, but the complexity of the development systems are leaving most people scrambling to get something on the screen by the time the hardware hits next year…
32X Vs. Sega Saturn (September 1994)
...While the 32X and Sega Saturn both utilise the same Hitachi chips, the Q-Mann has learned that the hardware engines are different enough to cause serious software incompatibility problems between the two systems. The Q has heard rumours that Sega knows about this and with their commitment to have all of their systems downwardly compatible, the king of the 16-Bit hill is being forced to either restructure their Saturn to include a whole separate internal 32X engine, or to create another 32X 'add on' adaptor which will plug into the Saturn. The Q has also heard rumours that you WON'T be paying for this extra enhancement! How's that? More to come...Excuse me, but how can that new convention be the biggest in the world? They haven't even gotten their first one off the ground - unless you're counting the number of times they have moved the show...
Prepare For The Super Genesis (October 1994)
The Q-Mann has it from good sources that Sega is hard at work on the SUPER Genesis. Rumour has it that it will be modelled after the existing Genesis 2, but under the hood it will have the 32X hard-ware built-in! Look for more info on this product next month...Sega has successfully taken us to Saturn, Jupiter (cart-only Saturn), Mars (32X), and now they have their sights set on Venus! Word has it that Venus will be a 16-Bit portable Genesis that will look sort of like the Game Gear and will work very much like the current Mega Jet presently available in Japan. The 0 hears the price tag should clock in around $US150 and be available in 1995…
Nobody Wants The Virtual Boy (January 1995)
In other rumours dawning from the Land of the Rising Sun, Virtua Bomb, er, I mean Virtua Boy, that new techno-cheap, two-coloured unit that doubles as a headrest left the Quartermann looking for his Intellivision. The unit will ring in at around $US200 next April with three titles, including the original Mario Brothers title, Space Pinball and Telero-Boxer, a boxing game. No major licensees have signed on to make games for the portable and they don't have any plans to. Yours truly hears the word on the street in Tokyo is that the Virtua Boy will blow up real good when it comes to market…
Nintendo Wants Luke Skywalker And FMV (March 1995)
...In other Ultra 64 news, the Q hears that LucasArts, in conjunction with Nintendo and Sculptured Software, is working on an Ultra 64 Star Wars game that takes place 20 years after the originally trilogy's timeline. The play mechanics are rumoured to be a combination of Rebel Assault and TIE Fighter. Yours truly has also discovered that they're trying to get Mark Hamill to play an older Luke Skywalker and use compressed full-motion video in the game
Street Fighter Is About To Get Super Violent (March 1995)
Also look for Capcom to launch onto the next-generation platforms with Street Fighter II, complete with blood and guts.
PlayStation 2 Will Play Movie Video CDs (April 1995)
...As Sony readies for the launch of the PlayStation, their tech-heads are slaving over the specs of a new version of the PlayStation tentatively called the PlayStation 2. This new machine (which is profiled in this issue of EGM) comes com-plete with expanded memory and a new feature that will provide users the option to play movie video CDs. The system is scheduled to be released two years after the U.S. PlayStation hits ground zero....
Final Fantasy VIII Could Have Nintendo Characters (May 1995)
... The Q hears that Final Fantasy 7 may already be prepped for an Ultra launch this fall. Also on tap for the big U is another RPG starring Mario, Luigi and the Princess. Or could they be one in the same? The Mann will keep you posted with the details, but rumour has it that the deal has been inked and the game is being finished up as we speak
Sony's Going To Buy Nintendo Over Toshinden 2 (December 1995)
The best Internet rumour of the month: Sony buying Nintendo for the rights to add Mario to Toshinden 2.
Street Fighter III Will Ditch Sprites For Polygons (February 1996)
Yours truly has once again received info from some insider sources who report that Capcom is hard at work on Street Fighter III. The Q-Mann has learned that the game is being developed on Ultra hardware and will feature textured polygon fighters from the previous games as well as new characters from other Capcom games... Look for new versions of Street Fighter to appear on the PS and Saturn later this year . Capcom is also looking at introducing Mega Man to the Sony system. although a design team has yet to be assigned to the project…
PlayStation 2 Rumours? How About...PlayStation 3! (April 1996)
With more and more rumours swirling around the development of the PlayStation 2, Sony has released an official statement stating that talk of such a device is pure speculation. In a prepared statement, the company outlined that "Sony isn't going to make the mistake of other console manufacturers and promise the release of a new, improved version of the PlayStation. PlayStation 2 is only a rumour and not a fact." Unfortunately, Sony forgot to rip the concept of a PlayStation sequel from its developer unveiling in England last year, where a timeline was published that showed a PS2 intro coming next year while even mentioning a PlayStation 3! With their official word, however, the shirts at Sony have apparently put development of their next super system on hold…
Capcom And Sony Are Fighting (July 1996)
During the P,spectacle the Q-Mann, overheard that Sony is also having some problems with Capcom. Seems the maker of Street Fighter is threatening to finish out its product line arid quit PlayStation development entirely unless they're given more latitude in the creation of a Mega Man sequel for the Sony hardware. If this rumour holds true, sources within Capcom suggest Resident Evil 2 may come out for the Saturn or the Nintendo 64...At the show, Capcom officials met with Nintendo to discuss a Mega Man game currently in the planning stages for the N64. Fans of the cartoon and the games won't have to wait too long to play a 3-D version of Mega Man; the game is scheduled to come out next Christmas...
Honestly, I could read these for hours. What's truly funny is realising some of the things that actually happened -- or happened in different ways than Quartermann predicted or theorised.
There was a 3D version of Mega Man (Mega Man Legends), but it came to several platforms.
PlayStation 2 did play "movie video CDs," but they were called DVDs.
Square Enix made a Final Fantasy RPG with Nintendo characters called Super Mario RPG.
Thanks for the memories, Quartermann, even if you were making most of this up.