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Convention Coverage: GenCon 1999
Dates:Thursday, August 5th through Sunday, August 8th
Location: Midwest Express Center, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Event Management: Wizards of the Coast
Required System:Your feet and a willingness to have some fun.
Author:Michael Ahlf      Date: August 5th 1999
Page: 2
Game Overview:

Day One:Wow, this was really a time of big things. I met up with the folks from Talk City, who do chat forums as well as an online forum chat-based RPG, and who are handling some live chats with various celebrity persons who are here at Gen Con. Once everything was set, I went out onto the exhibitor's floor and began to meet up with the game developers (and there were a LOT of them). I talked to representatives from Interplay, Microsoft, Activision, Gathering of Developers, Hasbro, Sierra, Sony, Strategy First, Westwood, and more, so expect a lot of news as well as interview information in the wrapup. I also got to see a few of the upcoming games -- Activision's Star Trek lineup looks EXTREMELY well made, with Interplay's not far behind, and Sierra seems to be doing a good job with their Babylon 5 game as well. Talon Soft's upcoming line looks good (Jagged Alliance 2 should be quite fun), but the REAL beauty is the roleplaying games of Strategy First, which run well on a P120 still (now that's TIGHT program code). The card game environment is going strong, with demos of the new Tomb Raider game present as well as various tournaments as always, and the ever-present people playing in the hallways.

Games I saw and talked about today:

  • Rune, based off the Unreal engine, by Gathering of Developers.

  • Activision's three Star Trek games: Star Trek Armada, which is a Trek RTS using 3D models on a somewhat 2D fight sequence (sort of like a pizza box -- limited 3D maneuvers happen), Star Trek: The Hidden Evil (a sequel to Star Trek: Insurrection, the movie), and Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force, a Trek FPS based off the Quake3 engine (and which somehow shows off even more of the capabilities of the engine than Q3Test does right now).

  • Strategy First's "Clans", a wonderful-looking RPG with plenty of puzzles and storyline to keep a player going.

  • The Razer BoomSlang: while not a game, this is potentially a SERIOUS gamer's tool: the first mouse to feature 1000 or even 2000 DPI resolution, leading to MUCH finer control of the mouse not only for games but also for CAD applications, model construction, and all computer tasks which want fine detail. Even the demo units they had which were only at 800 were something to behold after a short adjustment time. It'll be released as a 5-button USB mouse (4 buttons and an equally-enhanced scroll wheel).

    Must-see/do events for Friday are:

  • Anime Pavilion -- the goodness continues. This is still a great place to be if you need to kill time, relax, or just feel like it. It's still great despite being over in the Hilton this year and not actually in the center itself, and the room they have is nice and spacious to pack in those extra people (of which there are still plenty).

  • CheapAss Games -- these guys sell nifty board, card, and other games such as the ever-popular Kill Doctor Lucky and Before I Kill You, Mr. Bond... refreshing to see something of good quality that passes on content, not the weight of the packaging.

  • Celebrity signings -- for a nominal fee you can get an autographed picture. More celebrities will come (sorry but part of the fun is seeing who's next on your own, I won't tell you.)

  • FASA's booth -- try out the games. It's fun.

  • Various game developers: if I tried to list them all it'd take too long. The demonstrations by big names like Activision and MicroProse, as well as littler ones like Talon Soft and CaveDog, are great. The demos of the card games are equally great.


  • Where I'll be:

  • 7-10:00 AM: Arriving and getting ready once more.


  • 10-1:00 AM: On the Exhibitor's floor, doing more interviews and getting more information. This has the potential to take all 8 hours of open exhibit hall time.


  • After: Most likely in the Anime Room, for a while. I'm hoping to catch the photo developers and scan in some photos for everbody to enjoy tomorrow.




  • Back to the day zero information. | Onward to Day Two! -->

    Gencon '99


    Added:  Sunday, August 15, 1999
    Reviewer:  Michael Ahlf

    Page: 2/10

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