I alley-ooped with Kobe Bryant, shot spells as Harry Potter, rode a light cycle inside Tron and danced like a monkey in a bubble. Yes, E3 must be upon us.
E3, the Electronics Entertainment Expo, is like San Diego Comic Con with more interaction and less people. This industry only event is the most important video game conference in the world because everyone who works with video games not only gets to see what everyone in the business is doing, but get a hands on test of the goods. E3 continues through Thursday at the Los Angeles Convention Center in California.
Collider will be at E3 each day giving you an idea of what exactly goes on behind those closed doors. Hit the jump to read all about Tuesday at E3 and check back to read about more throughout the week.
Basically, E3 is two huge rooms with every single video game developer and company showing off what they have coming out for the rest of the year and beyond. It’s so packed with flat screens, pretty girls and people dressed as Master Chief that upon walking in, you are totally overwhelmed. I’ve been to Comic Con every year for about a decade and E3 still intimidated me. Not because of the size (it’s way smaller than SDCC) but because every almost booth has something you can try. It’s a giant video game toy store where you can’t buy anything. Plus, because it’s not packed full of the general public, it’s totally normal to see someone like Elijah Wood walking around playing games. Which I did.
Before I headed downtown, I knew that Microsoft has unveiled their hyped Kinect system (formerly known as Project Natal) and that Nintendo had just announced their brand new 3DS. Those two things seemed to be the hot hardware everyone was talking about so I had to try those. Unfortunately, the line for 3DS was so long, I’ll have to get back to it later in the week. And the Kinect line was long enough that I saved it for last.
So, in the meantime, I just popped around and played some games. First up, I tested the PlayStation Move. It’s basically a Wiimote for PlayStation 3 with a colored ball on top. Not the prettiest thing you’ve ever seen. Nor the most fun. I only played one game, called The Shoot, which is a Time Crisis ripoff, but the Move didn’t give me anything the Wii hasn’t had for two years. It was okay, far from revolutionary.
Speaking of the Wii, I then hopped over to Nintendo. As I said 3DS had the longest line, followed by The Legend of Zelda: SkyWard Sword, so I’ll try those later. I was immediately drawn to the new NBA Jam, a game I have fond memories of as a kid. The new version is awesome, a near carbon copy of the arcade version. And the controls are sick. To shoot, dunk or block, you flick the Wiimote up and then flick it back down at the top of the jump. It gives the game a whole other dimension. I was going to play Goldeneye 007 (yes, it’s coming back) but it looked exactly like the Nintendo 64 version from like 15 years ago. The people playing the demo weren’t even using any Wii motion, they were using Wii Classic Controllers. I’ll do more investigating on this one soon. Next to that was another hyped game at E3, Epic Mickey, which is a 3D free action game starring Mickey Mouse. The game simply did nothing for me. Some of the cool levels, like Steamboat Willy, looked great, but who wants to run around shooting stuff as Mickey Mouse?
Next I headed to the EA booth, a company that makes a lot of games I’m a huge fan of. I first stopped at Madden NFL 11 which, you guessed it, looks like Madden NFL 10. It seems to have some new coaching options but that’s all that jumped out upon quick glance. The Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 game caught my eye next. None of the levels from the movie were playable due to embargo, so you had to mess with some side mission. The controls took some getting used to but all the Potter moves were there and I can image the game is really fun for Potter fans once they get the hang of it.
From there, it was impossible to miss the awesome Tron booth that Disney created. A giant cave with walls that are just the word “Tron” in huge neon blue, walk inside and you see demos of Tron Evolution, which will be out this winter. The game looks sweet. It’s a 60% 3D actioner and 40% race game. Obviously, I tried the light cycle. Even in its early stages the game looks pretty and is very fun to play, but I found myself hoping for more tension and speed. I was told the story bridges the gap between the original Tron and the upcoming Tron Legacy and features many characters from the new movie. They wouldn’t say if Daft Punk did the score to the game, but they bragged about being able to race five of your friends on light cycles online. Sign me up.
At this point it was time to wait for Kinect so I could try it before the Lakers/Celtics game started next door and made moving around impossible I waited 45 minutes to try this thing out and I’ll say that it was sort of worth the wait. If you’re reading this, you’ve probably already seen it demoed but basically it’s a piece you put next to your TV which tracks all movement. No need for a controller. You move your arm, leg, head and it moves on the screen.
We demoed two games: Kinect Adventures and Kinect Sports. Each require way more locomotion, and room, than gamers are used to. You are jumping up and down, flailing your arms and legs wildly, sliding back and forth. The technology is really impressive. But I just kept thinking, this is strictly a family/party thing. No person who likes in depth games is every going to seriously use the Kinect when they are alone. Now, maybe in the future if the games get a little more realistic, action packed and/or violent, the Kinect might reveal its true potential. But as of this Winter when it’ll be released, the Kinect is merely a very high end kids toy.
So, that was basically my first day at E3. It a ton of fun and I can’t wait to go back Wednesday and Thursday to try new things and see new people. And I will certainly do my best to not only try the Nintendo products I mentioned above, but the new Mortal Kombat, Fallout: New Vegas and more. If you have anything you’d like me to try or focus on, post it in the comments below.