Retro News February 1992

Retro News: February 1992 – Legal Eagles, Sparrows & The Game Girl?!

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Welcome to something new, for 2022. Being just one person (with a full-time job and family!), I am never going to be able to post up to date news here at PugHoofGaming. So, with that in mind, I’m going to be posting old news. Every month you can expect a look at the gaming news from 30 years ago, 25 years ago AND 20 years ago, taken from the pages of gaming magazines gone by. It’s amazing the stuff that gets reported that’s either not true or true but never ended up happening, and it’s fun to see what we were getting so excited about all that time ago – This week, I’m taking a look at February of 1992 to delve into the 30 year old new and rumours that we all salivated over, or rubbed our chins in disbelief!

First up, we’re looking at Issue 2 of Total! Magazine, an unofficial Nintendo magazine from here in the UK that I was very much enamoured with when I was a youngster. The magazine itself has some very late reviews of The Legend of Zelda (78%), its sequel, The Adventure of Link (82%) , plus the sublime Duck Tales (60%). But what of the “new” stuff?

Well, first up in the “utter bull plop” category, is a story about the Game Girl, a slightly more feminine version of the classic Game Boy (i.e., it’s pink). Sure, the story pegs it up as a rumour, and the Game Boy would get a pink version in the form of a Japan-exclusive Pocket variant; but the story is just an excuse to trot out some already outdated sexism – Featuring “hilarious” fake game titles like Terminator 3: Pillow Fight, and “My Little Pony Wars”. Still, 30 years later, some things never change.

On the same page is also reports of a colour Game Boy to be released “this Summer” in Japan, which is also backwards compatible with standard Game Boy games. You can also chalk this one out as a lie in the form of a “rumour”, again, even if this does actually happen by the end of the decade in the form of the eventual Game Boy Color.

Finally, there comes news that Philips signs a deal with Nintendo to licence out the Japanese company’s characters such as Mario, Zelda, Link and Donkey Kong, for games on the upcoming Philips CD-I console, the first time the characters will appear in a CD-based video game. What could possibly go wrong?

A lot, as it happens.

Meanwhile over in Issue 17 of the marvellously multiformat Mean Machines, which gives a whopping 94% to the superb Desert Strike and a pretty impressive 82% for Xenon 2: Megablast, both on the Mega Drive. For the NES, a tippedy-top 88% goes to the classic Chip & Dale: Rescue Rangers, whilst LJN’s Terminator 2: Judgement Day licence gets a deservedly average 72%.

This issue’s news pages bring word from the Winter CES show, revealing the incredible 16-megabit SNES port of the arcade smash: Street Fighter II. Even in its unfinished form, “the graphics and playability are both absolutely superb!”.

On the SEGA side of the fence, Galoob and Codemasters spread the word that the Mega Drive version of the Game Genie cheating accessory is coming in the Summer of 1992. SEGA themselves have given the device their official Seal of Quality, a far cry from Nintendo (who took Galoob to court in the US over the whole thing and failed).

Moving onto Mean Machines’ sister magazine, C&VG dedicates its cover to Terminator 2: Judgement Day, previewing the Mega Drive version of the original Terminator, whilst also giving the NES and Game Boy versions of Terminator 2: Judgement Day a generous 84% and 90% respectively. Meanwhile, Star Wars on the NES gets a high score of 91%.

As for News, the team report on the Virtuality range of Virtual Reality amusements coming to an arcade near you, detailing games such as Evorex, Cyber Quest and the classic multiplayer Dactyl Nightmare, which pits four players against each other, picking each other off while a hungry Pterodactyl is hunting you all down for itself.

1992 is undoubtedly the year of Virtual Reality, at least in its infancy. Those Virtuality headsets were a regular fixture in any media entry relating to the tech, even if the world wasn’t quite ready for this exciting development.

If that’s not enough excitement, there’s also a story relating to the launch of GamesMaster, a brand new Channel 4 series that aired on January 7th and will feature awesome games, big-name celebs and more. Thirty years later, the series is beloved by those who watched it at the time, and the series received a recent three-episode reboot which was surprisingly quite good!

Across the pond, we have a look at Electronic Gaming Monthly’s February issue, where they gave Sonic The Hedgehog’s Game Gear port its coveted Game of the Month award and a 9/10 score, a glowing 9 out of 10 review for the SNES port of Super Smash TV, and a wet fart of a 3 out of 10 review of Darkwing Duck for the Turbografx 16.

But as for news, the Quartermann’s monthly Gaming Gossip column reports that not only has the Atari Jaguar been given the new codename of “Sparrow”, but it also uses floppy discs. Delving into this story further, I found out that Quartermann had got their wires crossed, as while the Atari Sparrow was in development – However, it has nothing to do with the “64-bit” Jaguar console, but instead was the name given to both an upgrade board for Atari’s STe line of computers, but also a brand new computer called the FX-1 (see for more info).

Another exciting rumour from the Quartermann is the existence of a 16-bit update of the classic Donkey Kong, with improved graphics and new levels – And due for release in 1992 as well! An interesting rumour indeed, was this possibly referring to 1994’s Donkey Kong Country?

Finally, there’s also mention of a “Super Game Module” from SEGA that will allow the Genesis/Mega Drive to do “even more incredible things”. This clearly sounds like the 32x add-on, and I can’t help but smirk when anyone mentions that device and the word “incredible” in the same sentence.

On the subject of SEGA, let’s look at issue 2 of SEGA Force, which gave Pitfighter an unfathomable 90% in their review of the Mega Drive version, an act punishable by death in this day and age. Alien Storm on the Mega Drive gets 80%, while Golden Axe II gets 84%. Yes, in this dimension, Pit Fighter is a better game than Golden Axe II.

After that bombshell, the news pages announce the exciting partnership of SEGA and electronics giant, JVC, who are joining forces to bring out the Wondermega – A combo containing both a SEGA Mega Drive and Mega-CD in one sexy unit. To this day, it’s still a thing of beauty that remains highly desirable. Like me.

Meanwhile, in an unusually Nintendo-like move, SEGA of America are bringing out the lawyers to stop publishers Accolade, owners of the Ballistic publishing label (who reverse-engineered the SEGA Genesis’ copy protection and released unlicensed games such as Test Drive II: The Duel, Turrican and Onslaught).

As history goes, this legal entanglement would prove to be a landmark case in US law. Whilst SEGA won the initial case, being granted an injunction against Accolade, banning them from publishing any further unlicensed games and recalling all existing software; a later appeal found that Accolade’s reverse-engineering was protected under fair use and therefore legal.

That’s it for this month’s look at what was new, 30 years ago. Come back next week for a look at the thrilling headlines of 1997!

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