I have returned from E3. I'm still trying to find the brain cells I lost, so please try to bear with the meandering nature of this post. If you're a gamer, it'll be worth it, I promise!
This was my first E3, and hopefully not my last. I learned quite a few things for next year:
1) Don't book almost 30 vendor meetings if you only have two and a half days to conduct them. I had two hours to walk the floor (Wednesday, from 9 to 11 a.m.), and the rest of the time, I was in either in a meeting, or running to one.
2) Morgan Webb was just as hot in person as she is on TV. She looked much more pale than I was expecting, but that only proves she is indeed a gamer. I took a few pics, but none of them turned out very well. 2a) Buy a better digital camera before next year's show.
3) The resolve of some fanboys is beyond belief. Here are a few of them, camped out, waiting for the next showing of the Metal Gear Solid 4 trailer:
I would've taken a picture of the line to play the Nintendo Wii, but I was busy picking my jaw up off of the show floor. The average wait in that line was four hours. Just to get five minutes with the system. Since the company I work for deals directly with Nintendo, I was able to get into their VIP room for some hands-on time. And it's pretty cool. But it ain't THAT cool.
4) The money that video game companies spend on their booths is insane. We met with Vivendi about two months ago, and they showed us an artist's rendering of what their Scarface booth would look like, and I thought they were kidding.
They weren't. I was expecting Tony himself to burst out of the doors at the top.
5) Don't buy new dress shoes less than a week before the show. Either that, or rent a midget to carry you around. Ryan, I'm sure I could get you into next year's show, if you're interested.
6) Thanks to Sony, I now know that only one thing is cooler than an open bar, and that is an open bar with a DJ spinning records on top of it.
7) First-person shooters on the Nintendo Wii sound like a great idea, but they're not. After spending five minutes with Red Steel, my right arm started to hurt from holding the controller towards the screen. And I'm probably in better shape than the average Nintendo fanboy.
8) Not only should you not drink the water, apparently now you're not supposed to even LIVE in downtown L.A.:
That was posted by the cab stand outside my hotel. Is a three-night stay long enough to kill a 185-pound human?
9) French people may make great video games, but most of them are still really rude.
10) Get less sleep. Of the 72 hours I spent there, I slept for almost ten of them. Waste not, want not.
And the games. Oh, the wonderful games. I played a few, and saw even more. The best games I saw or played, in order:
1) Gears of War. Cliff Bleszinski demoed it live at the Microsoft post-press conference party, and it was stunning. Microsoft hinted at a September or October release, which would be great news.
2) Assassin's Creed. This one should be out in Q1 of next year, so it won't be a PS3 launch title, but from what we saw demoed for us (in that hot little white plastic square room), this will be a must-own.
3) John Woo Presents Stranglehold. The name 'John Woo' doesn't mean what it did 10 years ago, but by returning to the story line of one of his most famous pre-American films, he might be doing us all a favor. This game is meant to be a direct sequel to Hard Boiled, and while it plays a lot like Max Payne, let's not forget where Max Payne (and The Matrix) borrowed a lot of its influence. I got to play Stranglehold for about five minutes (in the tea house level), and I didn't want to put it down. Right trigger fires, and the left trigger interacts with the environment. I was sliding down hand rails and diving over tables in no time. November can't come soon enough.
4) Bioshock. It may look like another first-person shooter, but it's nowhere near that simple. The story looks like it's going to be classy, and yet creepy at the same time. If you were a fan of System Shock 2, you'll know what the developers of this one are capable of.
5) Tekken: Dark Resurrection. I was worried that the PSP wasn't the best format for this series, but I was wrong. It plays like buttah. The load times were even bearable, which is saying something. Ever since I got bored with Soul Caliber 2, I've fallen out of 'fighting game fanboy' status, but this one might bring me back.
I was also impressed with how the following games are coming along:
WWE Smackdown Vs. Raw 2007
NCAA Football 2007
Call of Duty 3
Army of Two (Buggy, but they have a ton of time to clean up the issues, and it's looking really pretty, even this early)
Guitar Hero 2 (If it ain't broke, don't fix it. They also added practice mode and co-op play, with separate rhythm, lead, and bass lines. And it will have Primus's 'John the Fisherman' on it)
And I regret not getting to spend any time with the following games:
God of War 2 (it was horrifyingly under-represented on the floor)
Well, that should do it. There were hundreds of other games on the floor, but not enough time or space to write about them. IGN, Gamespot, and 2old2play all have fantastic coverage, so if there's a specific game you want to read about, one of them will most definitely have it.
Now if you'll excuse me, I have to put my feet up...