While sequels kept coming aplenty, the PlayStation finally launched in Australia to great success, Nintendo’s biggest flop came and went, racing got seriously stylish (and pointy!), and a legless new platforming star was born…
British developers Psygnosis were bought out by Sony in 1993, and set to work on what was to become one of the PAL territories’ launch PlayStation games – and one of its absolute best – in WipEout. A futuristic anti-gravity racing game set on, well futuristic tracks flying futuristic craft, it looked like nothing else, thanks to the engagement of very hip artsy types The Designer’s Republic. It also sounded wild, being one of the first games to draft serious names in electronic music such as Chemical Brothers, Orbital and Leftfield, the sort of music/game fusion that is now commonplace.
You win some, you lose some, and Nintendo lost big after spending four years developing their tabletop console the Virtual Boy. Looking somewhat akin to a cross between a robot and an outdoor barbecue, it touted stereoscopic 3D graphics as its main draw – in glorious, erm, black and red. It launched in Japan in July, the US in August – PAL territories never saw it officially – and was renowned for inducing headaches in many of the handful of people who bought it. Only 22 games were ever officially released, before manufacture was ceased within mere months of its launch.
It was the year that a French platforming star was born in the limbless Rayman. He was the creation of Ubisoft game designer Michel Ansel who, as well as overseeing several more Rayman games in ensuing decades, also directed 2003’s classic Beyond Good & Evil. While not the first platforming hero that usually comes to mind, the Rayman series has seen 45 games over various formats, and his world was also what spawned the Rabbids. Looking much like demented rabbits, these bonkers characters first appeared in minigame-fest Rayman Raving Rabbids, and subsequently went into a successful spinoff world of their very own. BWAH!