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    E3 1996

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    The 1996 Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) took place at the Los Angeles Convention Center in Los Angeles California on May 16-18.

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    E3 1996 brought 500 developers and publishers together with over 1700 products on display.  While the inaugural E3 was all about PlayStation versus Saturn, the second annual show had a focus on Nintendo's latest console, N64, and it's ridiculous looking trident-shaped controller.  Super Mario 64 was the star of the show, as it wowed everyone and inspired an entire generation of 3D console gaming.  Along side the revolutionary new title from Shigeru Miyamoto were games like Pilotwings 64, Wave Race 64, and Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire.  The SNES was still trucking along rather nicely with new must-have games like Donkey Kong Country 3, Ken Griffey Jr.'s Winning Run, Kirby Super Star, and Super Mario RPG.  Nintendo also had its new handheld, Game Boy Pocket, on display, but the N64 was obviously the most important thing going on in West Hall.

    Sega was still pushing the Saturn despite getting hammered by Sony in the previous year's holiday season.  They had several gems on display including NiGHTS and Panzer Dragoon II, but it was painfully obvious that the Saturn was a failure after only a year on the market.  Sega introduced a new peripheral for the Saturn, called the Netlink, which would allow users to access the Internet through the console.  In many ways, Sega was ahead of its time, which they would prove again with the Dreamcast's 56k modem just a few years later.

    Sony came into E3 1996 riding a wave of excitement following the immensely successful first eight months of the PlayStation in North America.  They shocked the world at their pre-show press conference by dropping the price of the console to $199, further driving the nail into Saturn's coffin and undercutting the soon-to-be released N64.  WIthin 24 hours, both Sega and Nintendo announced new price points of $199.99 also.  And if the price drop wasn't reason enough for someone to jump on the Sony bandwagon, they were touting blockbuster titles such as Crash Bandicoot, Tobal No. 1, Jet Moto, and sequels to Ridge Racer, Tekken, Wipeout, and Destruction Derby.

    Within a year of existance, E3 was already the most important event in the industry.  It would move across the country in 1997.

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