Back from impressions

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I just got back from E3. This was my first year attending, although I've
been to the LA Conv Center for other shows. E3 dwarfs them. The badge
pickups are outside because they use the normal badging areas for more
exhibits. There are so many people, it's often hard to move (and the huge,
non-grid-layout of the booths doesn't help).

So it's crowded, and hard to get a chance to play everything, but seeing
everything isn't too difficult. Here's my overall impression:

For the big three:
Next-gen system interest was actually a bit muted overall. That's mostly
because there was a ton of current-gen stuff that absolutely rocks. The PS3
had a big line to see it, and seemed to impress the most. But the Xbox 360
stuff didn't look like a really big jump, and all but one of the titles I
saw (the one being Kameo) were choppy besides. I heard a lot of comments
about how these games could be done, or almost be done, on the Xbox 1.
Nintendo, naturally, showed next to nothing on the Revolution, but there
didn't seem to be a lot of disappointment about that. People just wanted to
see Zelda (4 hour line).
The exception to all of this was the press. The gaming press wanted nothing
to do with current-gen stuff, they wanted next-gen details (and you can see
that reflected on the internet, etc). I guess they presume that's what
their audience wants. It didn't seem that way to me. It looked like there
is a lot of life left in the current systems. I think the Xbox 360 has an
uphill battle to convince people otherwise.

In Nintendo's booth, the Gamecube area was not all that busy. The Zelda
area was separate, and without that, the rest of the floor was a bit empty
(comparitively--still very few unoccupied machines). Geist and Fire Emblem
got some attention, and Mario DDR had a crowd (ugh). Battalion Wars didn't
look like it was making a good impression. Odama had people watching.

Speaking of Zelda, it was impressive. It looked so smooth and complete, and
we had a good laugh about that compared to the choppy next-gen stuff around
the show. These games are due out at the same time, after all. In the
"Zelda Forest" and "Zelda Dungeon", there were 4 playable demos of different
levels (I'm sure you can see them on any game site now). My favorite was
the horseback fighting, but I also had a good time with the new Gale
Boomerang. Its new multiple target lock-on works better than Wind Waker's
did, especially during the boss fight.

The DS section was hugely popular. I was surprised at the sheer number of
DS units that people brought with them. Nintendo had a DS Download kiosk in
their booth, and anyone with a DS could download demos of games, as well as
the Zelda trailer and Zelda picture gallery, through the wireless
connection. That sounds cool, and was cool--when it worked. There were
just too many DS units for the connections to work very well. I got the
trailer and the gallery, but never managed to get a demo to download. I
fooled around with Pictochat for a little while in the Zelda line, and even
that functioned poorly.
The GBA area was small, and the new Micro was only a little kiosk. There
was more GBA stuff in other booths than there was in Nintendo's. They're
obviously shifting away from it for the most part, and pushing the DS
instead (three pillars, my ass).

In Sony's area, the biggest draw was the PS3 (2 hr line), but on the floor,
there was a lot of excitement about PS2 stuff. The biggest hit was the new
Socom game, by far. Shadow of Colossus had crowds in two areas, and I was
glad to see it, because it would be a shame for a game as awesome as it is
turning out to be to get overlooked like Ico did. Burnout Revenge had an
audience, even though it looks exactly the same as Burnout 3. Dragon Quest
VIII kiosks were unmanned, surprisingly, at Sony and Square Enix's booths,
but Kingdom Hearts 2 had people lined up. Soul Calibur 3 was popular, of
I didn't see much PSP love, though, and very few units on the floor, even in
the long lines. Sony was hyping it big-time, though, with constant PSP ads
running on huge screens lining the back of their huge booth.

Microsoft's area was the best-designed, and you could sit down to play the
demos. There were extra screens so the public could watch you play without
looking over your shoulder. Very nice. Conker was playable, and not just
the same old demo that's been around. Multiplayer was there (didn't try it)
and a level 1 demo as well. I didn't spot any one game hogging the
attention, actually, although there was a lot of activity around Halo 2 (of
all things--it's out, people!) and Half-Life 2 as well.
The Xbox 360 area got attention, of course, but not enough to make a line.
That's probably due to there being nothing you could play, not that I saw
(the playable stuff I saw was in other booths...weird). We got in to watch
employees play Xbox 360 games while a "booth babe" narrated without waiting
at all. Kameo was by far the most impressive, it being the only one that
didn't stutter. It was also the only one that didn't make you wonder
whether it could be run on the Xbox, ironic considering its origins.

Third-party titles were out in force, and getting a lot of attention around
the halls. For myself, I'm mostly excited about the new Spider-Man and Hulk
games, and I'm not alone. They were big hits and look great.
Starcraft: Ghost was crowding them in. I thought it looked changed for the
worse, because from what I saw, it's really heavily focused on shooting now,
with a lot less stealth.
Okami looks intriguing. People were having a hard time figuring out what to
do with it, though. Same with Killer 7--people wanted to check it out, but
after fumbling around, handed it off pretty quickly once they realized they
had no idea what to do.
The new Prince of Persia impressed a bit, and after the last one, I had
intended to ignore it.
Square Enix was a popular area due to their "theater" of Final Fantasy
VII-related movies. You had to get a ticket to see them. I didn't bother.
Namco had a big crowd most of the time. That was because of the raised
stage of half-naked women, egging on the crowd with microphones and throwing
out free stuff. They even out-did Tecmo, who practically admitted with
their "our babes are better than yours" signs that they could care less
about games. Tecmo should just go into the softcore porn business.

....that's enough for now. Whew...

Leon Dexter
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More about back impressions
  1. Archived from groups: (More info?)

    "Leon Dexter" <> wrote in message
    >I just got back from E3. This was my first year attending, although I've
    > been to the LA Conv Center for other shows. E3 dwarfs them. The badge
    > pickups are outside because they use the normal badging areas for more
    > exhibits. There are so many people, it's often hard to move (and the
    > huge,
    > non-grid-layout of the booths doesn't help).

    Thanks for that well written post. JLC
  2. Archived from groups: (More info?)

    diito... great write up! thank you!
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