E3 Day One

E3 – Day One

Holy crap.

E3 is madness. This show is one of the craziest things I’ve seen in my last four years of con-itude. I’m feeling really quite overwhelmed and unsure of how to describe it all.

Outside the Staples convention centre in downtown Los Angeles.

Arriving first thing in the morning, the crowd of media who were let in early was impressive all on its own. By 11 am when the doors opened to the rest of us – pandemonium. Three massive convention floor show areas are bristling with lights, demos and massive displays showing off what the industry has to offer. Almost every single booth area is the equivalent of the Marvel or DC booths at San Diego Comic Con, but they’re electrified with playable units, massive screens showing game trailers and an international mix of industry people and guests. It’s clear here that the video game industry has the budget and clout to propel the entertainment industry to new heights. Craziness.

A USB drink cooler. A giant Pac Man statue. An armored statue from FF12 in front of Square’s area.

I wandered the whole thing at first sort of lost in the sea of people, just moving with the general wave of the crowd from each display to the other, occasionally snapping photos. Eventually fighting the zombie crowd mentality, I broke off and started actually trying to find particular elements. What began as a maze started to slowly make sense as I got my bearings.

The general buzz on the show floor is that while Sony’s PS3 units are impressive graphically, there isn’t a lot grabbing people game play wise. Every game they have looks like a graphically supped up sequel to something we’ve already seen before. Sports games, platform games, first person shooters – you name it. All of them look good, but HD textures and effects don’t seem to be knocking people on their asses like it used to. The Nintendo Wii however, has got people’s imagination stoked something fierce. The playable units are hidden within the fortress of a booth Nintendo’s erected and only those currently willing to brave a 2-3 hour line seem to be getting their hands on them at this point. I’m going to try and sprint over to the Nintendo booth first thing tomorrow morning to see if I can get a crack at it.

Jimbo tries out the new Sonic Rivals game coming for the Playstation 3.

Lunch at the convention centre was expensive, but at least there was a decent amount of food involved. 3 stuffed tacos and a pop ran me an even $9.00.

The World of Warcraft expansion is looking quite slick and I had a chance to give that a spin for a bit. It’ll be interesting to see how the final product comes together when the expansion is finally released.

World of Warcraft – The Burning Crusade is looking sharp.

I played some Disgaea 2 and was thoroughly impressed with their approach of slightly supping up the graphics while keeping identical game play to the original one that I liked so much. Good stuff.

Singstar is a new Karaoke Revolution style game coming out for Playstation that uses the original music videos in the background as you sing for points. It looks really well put together and stoked my karaoke-laden brain.

Zub kicks some ass singing A-Ha’s ‘Take On Me’ on a new game called Singstar.

I ran into one of my students who works at a video game store in Toronto. Given that there are tens of thousands of people at the show it was a nice surprise to find her and quickly touch base. Her bag was filling up with swag to take back to the other students back at Seneca, so they should be pretty pleased.

While speeding through the Ubi Soft area I got swept up in the line forming to get a free comic done by the Penny Arcade boys. I figured I’d grab the book as a “support the fellow web comic guys” kind of thing and was thoroughly surprised when Tycho recognized me. We chatted briefly about web comic stuff and promised to hook up again at San Diego. I’ve met him a couple times but never got the idea he remembered who I was, so the whole thing made me feel really good.

Stopping by the Capcom booth I was greeted by the licensing team and other Capcom staff that I met last year at San Diego. I wasn’t sure if they’d be as receptive without my boss there, but my fears were unfounded and they were super nice.

The Capcom merchandise display… check out the Udon comics right there on the lower left!

I’m not sure what the plan is this evening. I may end up at an industry party or touching base with some friends in the industry. Everything’s still up in the air at this point.

Now that I have a general idea where everything is it’ll be easier to zero in on stuff tomorrow and target certain games or systems I really want to try out as well as looking for contacts at certain companies. The war has just begun.

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