So this year was my first time going to E3 and I have to say there hasn't been an experience like this in my life. Ever. Normally I follow it on GameSpot but going there makes watching news coverage of it seem like a waste of time. This was an opportunity to meet some people, see some booth babes and maybe get some hands on time with some upcoming releases. Amusingly enough this was the first time I'd allowed pics to be taken of myself in awhile and I had a blast with it. You can see those on my Facebook page if you happen to know where that is, muwahaha!
I was actually at E3 as part of the staff of GamingExcellence. It was great meeting the team that I've been working with for over a year for the first time... silly Canadian publications. This meant that E3 was as much work as it was play. I had appointments and such, some behind closed door stuff that needed to be done between me doing sightseeing and taking pictures.
Anyways, on to E3!
Pre-E3: After getting our media passes I figured it might be a good idea to do some shopping before the show started. Picked up a bunch of shirts and stuff. Nothing too interesting here. However I did get to go to the Ubisoft press conference. While most of the stuff they showed there wasn't that interesting Splinter Cell Conviction looks absolutely fantastic and I WILL be purchasing this title ASAP. After that I got to head on over to the Microsoft Canada Media Reception for drinks, free food and meet some of the other Canadian media outlet people. That was a lot of fun. Apparently I was an honorary Canadian since the site I write for is all Maple Leafy.
Day One: Since I had some appointments right from the get go I headed right on over to the Atlus booth. While there me and Nicholas, one of the other GE guys, got to see and try out Demon's Souls and Trine with one of the Atlus PR guys. Trine took my interest there; something like Lost Vikings with crazy physics sums it up pretty well. Look it up if you haven't heard about it. After this I chatted up the Atlus editor on the floor and got some hands on with Devil Survivor and the redone SMT: Persona title for the PSP both looking really promising although Devil Survivor is a bit odd. I've got a preview of it up on GE for those who are interested.
After this I went on over to the upstairs meeting room for Dreamcatcher / JoWood. While here I got shown around, getting to see the new Hardy Boys game for the Wii (not as bad as it sounds), a DS Agatha Christie game that looks pretty good and the new Gothic title, Arcania. The only one that really stood out strongly to me was Arcania so I took some time to start working on a preview for it in the press room while relaxing. I did hear a great story about how one of the guys from JoWood got... questioned about bringing a DS capture unit into the states since it looks like a bomb. The games were pretty good and the people were really friendly. Good times.
With a break of about an hour here I took the time to trawl the floor and get some camera shots, booth babe shots and pick up swag. Then it was on over to the Paradox Interactive on-floor room where we got to see East India Company, Hearts of Iron 3 and Majesty 2. The people here were really awesome as well but I lost the notebook page with my Hearts of Iron 3 info on it so I couldn't write a preview. That game is immense though... deep enough to scare me thoroughly.
Finishing up there I got to have a whole lot of fun by going on over to the Vogster booth. Meeting a friend of my boss there I was shown the tower defense game Robocalypse - Beaver Defense. If you haven't heard about it look it up; it's a pretty simple game but it definitely looks like a lot of fun. I wrote a preview for it but it hasn't made its way up onto the GE site just yet. After this I had about thirty minutes or so to kill so I made my way on over to the THQ booth and got into a screening of the new Warhammer 40,000 game, Space Marine. Got a preview of that bad boy up and I'm dying for more info.
With this done it was time to retreat back to the hotel rooms to rest and recuperate for the next day.
Day Two: I was supposed to have a whole lot of free time today but I agreed to take some time from Isabel so that she would have more time on the show floor to look around. With that decision I got to go in to see Sega's games first thing in the morning. First things first were Obsidian games showing off Alpha Protocol. Not only was the game so good that I just had to write a preview for it immediately (I want that title, like yesterday) but I also got to meet Matthew Rorie.
If that name doesn't mean anything to you... you're a philistine. He was the old game guides' writer for GameSpot and he wrote some of the best guides I've seen. It was actually his work that got me writing FAQs and guides which are what, in the end, got me started in trying to get a job in the games industry. When I heard he was moving on from GS I was alternately upset and hopeful to try for that job position, heh. But meeting him was really awesome and put me in a good mood for the day.
As a favor to the other guy I was with, Nick, I took a hit for the team and did a write up for Mario vs. Sonic at the Olympic Winter games. Not bad but not the best either. More swag hunting and picture taking followed before I got to go into the Bethesda booth to see Brink. It's not my sort of game so I didn't do a write-up for it, a friend from the site is doing that I believe. I did meet an interesting girl from Mygamer which is funny because I applied to work on that site before GamingExcellence.
After another break I was supposed to go to the Square-Enix booth to see some stuff but apparently they're too good for that. Seems that they blew off several Canadian media outlets again this year, likely for not being big enough sites. Whatever, I'm no fan of their games anymore so not writing previews for them causes me no grief. Also, to the Squeenix guy who wouldn't leave me alone so I could do a write-up for Final Fantasy IV: The After Years thanks for saving me the writing.
I didn't get to go to my Sony appointment since I was trying to deal with Square but it worked out fine since they didn't show anything anyways. Probably the high point of this day was the Konami booth where I got to play Saw a tiny and Silent Hill Shattered Memories. Saw is more of a puzzle game but there's some combat to it, nothing to write home about but the puzzles look awesome. Silent Hill is bizarre since it's more like a Clock Tower title than a Silent Hill game with its absolute aversion to combat. I also got to play the Silent Hill game for the iPod Touch, The Escape. It's weird to control but it was fun nonetheless.
After hours I got to go to a Riot Games party in the Lucky Strike Lanes bowling alley. League of Legends was on display here and it was a pretty solid game. I think I liked it a fair bit more than Demigod which I reviewed not too long ago. Even better than the games was the free liquor and I drank a fair bit there but had to stop myself since I didn't want to take the train too blitzed. Good times!
Unfortunately we had to stay up pretty late trying to figure out our "Best of E3" award nominations from the show. This meant that, in the end, we only got about four to five hours of sleep this night which really began to drag us downfor the last day. Especially when we finally realized we had the show, after hours dinner, packing and previews to dothe next day.
Day Three: For this day I was with Isabel doing behind closed doors stuff with EA. Not only did I get to see the Dragon Ages Origins trailer twice (different each time) but I got some hands on time with the 360 version of the game. When it shows up on GE you will be able to hear me extolling the virtues of the title. Then getting to see Mass Effect 2 which they revealed some spoilers for that made me squeal like a little girl. Lastly was Dante's Inferno which, oddly enough, I'm more interested in than God of War 3. Don't ask how that happened when DI is so clearly cribbing off of GoW.
Since I had a lot of free time today, but I knew there was stuff to do after this last day, I went to the media room to do a lot of typing. Figured to get a bunch of work out of the way early which ended up working out pretty well. Then me and Alan got to go to Lucasarts to see the new Clone Wars game (pretty good looking actually), the Secret of Monkey Island remake, the new Lego Indiana Jones game and a new Star Wars Battlefront.
All of these were pretty good but Secret of Monkey Island and Battlefront: Elite Squadrons stole the room for me. Both of these were stellar looking titles from series that I have an affinity for and both of them are incredibly promising. I can't wait to get my hands on them when they finally release. They kept the Loom guy for chrissakes! With all that excitement, and photos with Jedi and Stormtroopers, I unwinded with some Left 4 Dead 2 gameplay which was pretty awesome. I was mauled by that walking Witch repeatedly thank you!
When E3 was over we got to go to a group dinner with the entire GamingExcellence crew, some friends of my boss and two of the guys from the Vogster booth. One of them, Ted, does some work for CDV and agreed to my offer of writing a guide for Sacred 2 (main quests mostly with some side-quests thrown in). Doing a guide for a game company? Yes please! That's gonna give me something to do for the next week or so.
It sucks that I missed the E3 emblems from GS but I'd say the tradeoff was worth it. As rough as the whole thing was on my sleep and poor feet I have to sayI'm eager to see you next year E3! Although let's just hope that the plane rides are a bit easier on me this time, eh? Last thing I need is another weird old guy so on top of me you'd swear he was trying to spoon with me. Apparently I'm the little spoon.