The greatest show on earth

May 15, 2006 by Tim

After a tiring week of travel and video game expo, I’m now back at home
and settling into my routine once again. This year’s E3 was a great
show, now that all the next-generation consoles are on display and
playable. Some games I hadn’t been paying attention to before have now
caught my eye, and some games that I was eagerly anticipating have left
me disappointed. All in all, it was a good trip. Saw and played some
great stuff, and hung out with some great people.

And I’m not joking about the mechanical bull.
We found one at a bar near the bar we were getting drunk at. I have
video footage. I think CAD Premium subscribers shall be getting said
footage in my next video news post.

E3 is such an enormous event, it’s far too large for a single man to
cover. I even fell short on my goal of doing at least some CADMedia
coverage from the event. I have renewed fervor to buckle down in the
next week or so and finish the necessary application documents so I can
start taking on some help with CADMedia.

Until then, I do what I can alone. And I will now offer up what I consider to be my top picks from E3 2006.

There were 2 Xbox 360 games that stood out for me.

Dead Rising
was awesome. A plot about a photojournalist trying to escape from a
mall alive, buried neck deep in zombie slaughter of the most delicious
nature. Yes please.

Lost Planet was also looking incredible. There is a playable demo on
Xbox Live (the same one we had at E3), and if you’ve gotten your hands
on it, you know what I’m talking about.

Three PC games hold the honor, though one is there by obvious default.
That one is Spore. I mean, come one. How could you not wet yourself
over that game? So since we’ll just assume Spore is there by default,
I’ll use the spot for Battlefield 2142. Love at first high-powered
futuristic rifle headshot.

Next up is Age of Conan.
Surprisingly. Going into the convention, Vanguard: Saga of Heroes was
one of my most anticipated MMOs. After playing it, well… I’ll get to
that later. But Conan filled that void nicely, with a great showing in
West Hall.

Finally, Cellfactor, which is the game that was originally a tech demo
to show off the Ageia PhysX card power, and has now turned into full
development. On a side note, the PhysX cards are now on sale. From what
I’ve heard they have some teething issues, being such a new technology,
but I’ve got ahead and ordered mine. It should be here this week. If
this technology is going to take off, it needs support, so I’m throwing
mine out there by buying the first generation of cards. I’ll report on
how it goes after it’s installed and running.

The New Super Mario Bros. (DS), The Legend of Zelda: The Phantom
Hourglass (DS), and Dungeons and Dragons Tactics (PSP) scored as my
favorite handheld games for the show. And Super Mario Bros. arrived
this week. I went ahead and ordered my DS Lite on day 1, to hopefully
avoid any of the shortage nightmares that took place in Japan.

Other honorable mentions include God Hand and Rayman Raving Rabbids.

As I mentioned, there were some disappointments at E3. Vangaurd among
them. The game in motion just looked… well, it looked exactly like
Everquest 2. Which isn’t necessarily a problem, because I liked EQ2,
but… we already have an EQ2. I don’t see us needing another. I guess
it makes sense, given the developer, but I also find it ironic given
the game’s recent migration back to its roots at SOE. All in all, I was
completely unimpressed by the game. It was offering me nothing I
couldn’t get elsewhere, while Age of Conan is trying a bunch of new
things.

Another area of severe disappointment was the Powerstone compilation
for the PSP. Powerstone was my favorite franchise for my Dreamcast, and
I’ve been anxious to see it remade for a next-gen system. When I heard
it was being ported to the PSP, I was excited, but seeing it in action
leaves me sad inside. The game was hectic and chaotic, and sometimes
hard to keep track of when on a regular TV. On the PSP’s small screen,
it’s near impossible. Unless you hold the system right up in front of
your face, the massive amount of action taking place on the screen can
become just a colorful blur. It’s tough to see where your character is,
nevermind trying to control it.

All in all though, it was a great show. I just wish it didn’t have to
be in L.A. I hate Los Angeles more and more each time I travel there.

Thanks for everyone who came out and said hello at our little impromptu
fan meet on Friday. I met some cool people there, and got to chat video
games with fans. It was fun.

And a special thanks to all the industry reps who were extra nice to
us, including Honey over at EA, and Valerie and the folks at NCSoft.
You guys rock!


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