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E3 2005 Report

Hey folks, Valkor here. It was a long 5 hour trek, I had to endure cramped seating, stale food, unruly passengers, and Flight attendants who don’t give a shit, but would I do it all again just to attend the biggest gaming convention ever? You bet your sweet ass I would. It’s E3 week baby, the spring break for all geeks to flock over to Los Angeles, California and soak up the LCD television rays and catch the gaming world in its finest hour. It is here that the hottest, newest, and futurest games can be seen, played, drooled upon and enjoyed. For this trip both Krush and I converged onto the LA area and what we saw truly kicked our asses and then some.

Let me start off this was not my first trip to E3. I actually got the chance to attend in 2001 and I had such a great time. The PS2 was unveiled, Final fantasy 11 was also shown, Xbox was shown, Sega Dreamcast kicked things off with a bang, and a ton of games for the current Nintendo and Playstation systems were unveiled. And for me, at that time, was a high point in my life, until E3 2005 came along.

I was there from day one, actually getting to the show ½ hour earlier, thinking it had already begun. When I arrived the first thing that caught my eye was the Xbox 360 bags everyone was carrying. It made me angry because I had probably missed out an early goodie bag, only to find out it was just the bag. Hey it looked hot, I took one. For people who have never attended E3, those bags come in handy when you are walking from booth to booth snagging free swag as you go along. The crowd to get in was long, it was cramped, people just wanted in. And when the time came, we started to file in slowly, but surely and I can almost feel my hands wrapped around the controller of some hot new games.

And that’s what it’s all about, the games. This is the only chance and place where you can play games that won’t be out for a few months to a year and beyond. Games based on current or past hits, movie license, sports, racing, new gadgets and doo-dads, and also to hang with sexy booth babes. Another key aspect of the show and what better way to attract the geek crowd than with something a lot of them have probably never or will ever get the feel of? (I’m sorry, I’m a geek but there were some UBER-geeks in that crowd). For the most part I give those ladies much credit for having much patients putting up with the guys that attend E3 who just wanna ogle, get a quick feel and snap there pictures. I like the booth babes, I think they are hot, but they are still people… people in sexy, sexy, tight outfits, but that’s beside the point. My point is Booth babes are hot, but in the coming years guys lets show a little restraint.

Oh yea we were talking about the games, sorry got a little side tracked, we cannot talk about E3 unless we talk about the games as they are key to the shows existence. My first stop took me over to the Tecmo booth where they were showing off future games for the PS2 and Xbox, also games for the Xbox 360, all presented with a huge stage a big screen TV and some hot babes. Most notably was Ninja Gaiden Black which looked hot, DOA 4 which had the crowd up in arms, it looked that impressive. Trapt, which I think would be fun for a few hours after awhile though the gimmick, would just run out. A trailer to Fatal Frame II,  And finally they showed off the Tecmo Classic collection which featured some old school games such as Rygar and Tecmo Bowl. There were also mobile phones set up for play and I had the chance to play the original Ninja Gaiden. Now that took me back to my arcade days.

Next up is Nintendo. I gotta give it up to the Big N, they had an impressive booth with tons of games to play, huge video pedestals that showed off flames and fireworks and some hotties showing off the new Gameboy Micro. Though I am not impressed by it. It’s just another gadget that will get lost in the caverns of the Val-cave and I do not need anything else like that. Although the tiny system itself showed off some nice graphics as I had the chance to play Diddy Kong country. It was cute, but again I wouldn’t invest in it. There was also the amazing showing of the new Zelda game, which had fans wanting more. The new Pokemon game for the Gamecube was on hand and the lines were long, even though you only get to play one level. To top it all off you have a bevy of DS titles to play and if you were smart enough to bring your own, you were able to download some software to it.

Speaking of handhelds that just won't quit, how about a round of applause to the people of Nokia, though the N-gage system is all but dead to the world thanks to the coming of the DS and PSP, the system is still holding strong and Nokia shows that their little system that could still has some life in it yet, though I only had the chance to sample one game which was Mile High Pinball, and it was ok. But I am still not yet sold on N-gage as a gaming machine. However with an impressive round stage and ongoing commentary by their host and hostess, and also some of the sexiest babes around, it was a joy to hang around the Nokia Booth.

The people of Sony always seem to go all out and this year was no exception. The Sony area was crammed with people playing some of the newest PS2 and PSP games as well as trying to catch a glimpse at the new PS3 in action. Krush was able to get a look at the PS3, but it was a bit easier for him because he went on the last day, which there were not too many attendants. On day one, two hour wait!! There were tons of games to play including 24, Kingdom Hearts 2, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (psp), Need for Speed, Madden 2006,

The people of Bandai had a simple yet highly effective booth showing off great anime titles for all platforms (Xbox, Ps2, Gamecube, Nintendo DS) such as One piece, Inu Yasha, Zatch Bell, and Digimon World 4 among other titles. My favorite of the bunch was One Piece which was fun and Inu Yasha which was fun and looked great.

Capcom… wow!! They always have a great show and this year was no exception. Gaming was everywhere and there were some that will be sure hits. I spent a lot of time playing the new Final Fight game. It’s a little like Grand theft auto-ish, with the feel of Final Fight tossed in. You can get guys to join your gang by beating up on em and making them surrender to you. You can also change your clothes making it harder for rival games to track you down. Resident Evil 4 was there but it was hard to get a controller, however a game called Okami was a visual stunner, the new Onimusha “Dawn of dreams” was damn cool and now I gotta go back and play the first one. There was Megaman zero 4, I’m sorry that’s a thumbs down. Great job, Capcom.

It took me some time to track down Square/Enix and when I did it was well worth it. Their booth was stunning with a stairway leading up to a large screen showing off up and coming titles. There were many gaming kiosk showing games such as Kingdom Hearts 2, Full Metal Alchemist, The new Dragon Warrior game, plus I had the chance to play Before Crisis – Final Fantasy 7, which is a game played on your Cellphone. It is only available for play in Japan right now but I hope we here in the States get the chance to check it out here as well.

Microsoft was no slouch at this years E3, their area was huge. The Xbox360 was shown to lucky folks who could get a ticket and see it behind closed doors. (Which I think is a bit redundant since the had a special showing of 360 on MTV pre E3). They also had these funky chairs that you can sit back and relax and get some gaming in. Chronicles of Narnia was the biggest game on hand, though I think I need more indepth play to really judge it. I mean if you go by my first impression, it will be the game sucks. (There’s no jumping, or did I miss something?) other than that the booth look great but I wasn’t really impressed with the gaming.

How about some none gaming things to see while at E3? For starters the new Batmobile from Batman Begins was on display, The people at Logitech showed some new gear for the PSP. Speaking of the PSP there were many booths offering all kinds of accessories for the Sony Handheld including speakers, gel holders and my personal favorite – Skins. Down in Kentia hall there was an old school gaming table filled with consoles from days past. Anyone remember or trying to forget the Power glove? Stan “The Man” Lee was on hand signing autographs and chatting it up with gamers. Also someone who I could have sworn was Eddie Murphy was voicing an animatronic Donkey from Shrek.

King Kong the game!! What better way to show off a game based off a big gorilla movie than with a BIG booth display. It kind of represents the gateway from the movie that leads to where the sacrifice women to the big Kong. Now when you go in, there is wall to wall security. They don’t want ANYTHING leaked out as far as audio/video. Anyone even hints at reaching for their cellphone for ANY reason, they get snatched up and booted out.

There are some negatives to this years E3, for one thing not much swag (unless I missed out on a lot of stuff). Although I like the security they had in place, there was still some people without badges that got in. (Not really complaining, but they seem to make a big deal about it.) Next time how about some guards walking the floor checking the validty of the badges. Several Booths like Nintendo and Capcom had a great idea. In order to get swag you gotta play. Even if that means standing in line you gotta play the games, I mean people other than the swag that’s what we are there for, right? You want the cool gift, play the games! Now for the food. I know this is a bit nitpicky, but freak man I had to wait 30 – 40 minutes just to get a hamburger!! Are you kidding me? Next year pre-make this stuff and sell it a bit cheaper trust me people will be very happy and thankful. Wait no leave it expensive, just make it FAST!  It sucks when after a day of walking around and u need a bit to gnosh, there is an uber long line for burgers.

But overall I was happy to attend 2005 E3 there was no shortage of gaming and that’s what it’s all about it’s why I made the trek in the first place and believe I would do it all again in a heartbeat. But before I end this I gotta give a shout out to a few companies whom I didn’t mention but were a big part of my E3 experience: Koei, Activision, Sega (yea yea!!) Konami, Universal/Vivendi, The folks representin the “Ice House Comedy Club” Thanx for the tickets but I’m sorry I couldn’t get out there but 2006 is fast approaching, Rockstar Games, Spherex with your kick ass gaming/ movie chair yes I am gonna invest in one of those bad boys for the cave fer sure, THX, G4 TV and the kick ass, super huge Nintendo controller that really works, Nyko (whoo!!), Nvidia (whoo hoo!!), Creative (hey I saw you guys at CES!!), EA Games (Breathtaking) and finally but not forgotten NCsoft for a kick ass booth with a kick ass performance by the Mutators whom I’m doing a separate review for so don’t get ansty lol.

Valkor out!

Email: valkor@the-other-view.com

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