My Last E3

So yeah: the show itself. It’s tough to come up with anything to get excited about. Microsoft has a huge booth set up for the Xbox 360, but it’s fairly unremarkable. The highlight is a big game from Rare called “Kameo”, notable for having hundreds of enemies on screen at the same time, but to be honest I assumed it was running on an old-school Xbox at first. Apart from that, there’s an unforgivably cheesy “Grand Theft Auto” rip-off, a racing game, and a couple of sports games out on the floor. Nothing to get all that excited about; it seems it would’ve been better for Microsoft to milk another year out of the original console before putting all that expense into showing off a lack-luster successor.

To be fair, it’s quite possible that Microsoft were showing the good stuff in private. It’s been at least three years since I’ve been to an E3, but it seems to have outlived its usefulness to the general videogame public; it’s a lot easier just to let the press and retailers deal with the nonsense and catch all the real info online. The last show I went to was Sega’s dream year, with big, impressive displays for “Jet Set Radio” and “Space Channel 5;” this year, everything worth seeing is sequestered away from the smelly masses. The PS3, the new Zelda game, and a game based around Peter Jackson’s King Kong movie, all had semi-private showings behind closed, huge, very expensive-looking doors, each with at least an hour-long wait in line. As it is, I just kept thinking of how expensive all these displays must’ve been.

Part of it could be that this is The Year of the Handheld, and there’s more new stuff to show for the PSP, the GBA, and the Nintendo DS, but handheld games don’t lend themselves to the huge screens and excess of E3. Sony went balls-out on their booth, with a huge video screen showing off the PSP, but it’s all over the place instead of focusing on anything. There’s a platformer spin-off of “Jak and Daxter” called just “Daxter” that looks really nice, but wasn’t all that fun to actually play. Apart from that, and a version of “Animal Crossing” for the DS, none of the handheld stuff really caught my attention.

There were a couple other minor highlights: a Japanese ink-brush themed game called “Okami” for the PS2, and “Shadow of the Colossus” from the makers of ICO. Bethesda Softworks had a bunch of announcements of cool-sounding games, “Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion,” “Fallout 3,” and “Call of Cthullu” game, but they weren’t showing anything except for a non-interactive trailer for “Oblivion.” I’ll see if I can make today the “survey” day and see stuff in more depth tomorrow.

Another thing: I saw Brian Posehn again. I see that guy everywhere — the Wonder-Con, E3, and an episode of “Tom Goes to the Mayor” featuring him was just on TV. I think he’s stalking me or something.