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April 26, 2002- Thanks to one of our correspondents, Joseph, we have some details of what it was like at E3 this year. So sit back and enjoy the story:

E3 Day 1

First of all, I want to apologize for anything I missed…there was just so much stinkin stuff at E3.

I arrived at E3 not knowing what to expect. As far as I know, it was like a dream come true. I came in from the parking lot so I didn’t see the initial hoopla that was around the main entrance. As I went around to pick up my badge, I saw how much of an event this was. There was an army tank in front of the center, people giving out flyers, demo CD’s, t-shirts, there were even people giving away boxed games of online games for free. And this was just the lobby/entrance area.

One word: Big. Everything was big. From the giant 3 story screen you see as you pass the security entrance (which, by the way showed the preview for the second Lord of the Rings movie), to the big lines waiting for that special free thing given away by a certain booth. Everything was given away; from stickers to free Platinum Game Boy Advances (granted you had to wait 2+ hours in a line and sit in a large roulette table with a %5-10 chance of getting a GBA). The event was so huge that the 2 main halls were filled with video game stuff. Obviously the biggest booths were the Nintendo, Playstation, and X-Box (biggest to smallest order)

As far as the convention goes…it was a gamer’s heaven. Every booth had its own set of screens that either had previews of their game or facilities that allowed passer-bys to play the game itself.

I absolutely had to test out the new Robotech title just because it’s way past due for a Robotech themed game. I tested out the GBA version as well as the PS2 version and it looks like TDK Interactive has a winner on their hands, IMO.

I’ve seen and played many games, from the new Kingdom Hearts, to the eagerly anticipated FFXI online (well, the Japanese beta version at least). Games like Metroid Prime, the new Zelda, and Mario Party and Sunshine clearly look like they can give X-Box and PS2 a run for their money. PS2 has titles like Sly Cooper, Ratchet and Clank, Wild Arms 3, XIII, GTA: Vice City (as well as GTA and Kingdom Hearts) while X-Box has strong competitors like Dynasty Warriors 3, Gun Metal, Baldur’s Gate, Bloodrayne, X-Men: Next Dimension.

One thing that seems to be catching on is the use of cel-shading in games. Wild Arms, XIII, the new Zelda, and Robotech seem to be leading the way for the new look of cel-shaded titles.

Not only were there incredible games being offered and masses of free stuff given away (my free CounterStrike: Condition Zero T-Shirt is my personal fave), but there were celebrities a-plenty roaming around. THQ brought WWE superstars Rob Van Dam and Stacey Kiebler for signing sessions to promote their wrestling titles. Tony Hawk, Dave Mat Hoffman, Jerry “The King” Lawler, Carmen Electra, Rowdy Roddy Piper and others were also there for signings for various companies. But a lot of the celebrities weren’t so formal. Word was around that Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor, and Mr. T were roaming around. I personally saw Gary “sometimes-I-get-mistaken-for-a-child” Coleman, and ran into Sinbad in one of the hallways.

Another trend that seems to be on the rise is the MMOG (Massive Multiplayer Online Game). Of course titles like Everquest and Diablo are popular, but new hot titles like Star Wars: Galaxies and the new Everquest expansion have incredible promise (Sony Online Entertainment selectively sent out secret passes in the show daily publication to limit the access to their booth…only a few, including me, were lucky to get in). Customization abounds in great amounts from the vastness of classes available to the massive amounts of weapon combinations (you can even mass produce and sell your customized weapon to other characters in the Star Wars game).

I have to give mention to this title just for the sheer hilarity of the premise. It’s Tecmo’s new Dead or Alive title: DOA: Beach Volleyball. Not something that the masses will consider a game worth playing on the basis of gameplay alone. I will say that there is a lot of bounciness all around. Customizable options allow players to buy sunglasses (lol) and different types of bathing suits to alter the look of your character. Funny, yes. Serious, no.

Titles that I plan to look forward to are: Robotech for GBA and PS2, Kingdom Hearts for PS2, FFXI online (but wondering about the interface), and Age of Mythology for PC. Mario Party, Metroid Prime, and new Zelda game may push me to buy a GameCube. X-Box for the most part looks like they’re pouring their money into games that don’t show promise, though it looks like they’re starting to progress…a little.

Interesting statistic to ponder for all those X-Box lovers out there: International sales for X-Box in Japan are horrible. Sega’s Dreamcast and Sony’s Psone have outsold the X-Box.

--Joseph

 

 

 

 

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