May 17, 2003
E3 2003

It's Saturday morning and the kids are playing up front. I've got some time to write about E3.

First of all, what I looked at is what interests me. PC games, specifically PC games with multiplayer. I don't really care much for console games, not because they are bad, but because I don't play them much. So don't ask me why I didn't update you on Mario Kart 4 or Final Fantasty XXVI. I don't effing care about those games.

I took a number of photos, but haven't whipped them into shape. You can see the pictures later.

In no particular order:

MaxPac - A transportable PC. Not a laptop. This PC is size and shape of a briefcase. Slip off a side cover and there's a 17" LCD screen backed by top of the line CPU & video cards. Looks to be great for LAN parties or even takign it places where you want to do video editing.

World Cyber Games - It's the Olympics of video games. Players from all over the world compete in various games heading toward the World Championship. From Counter-strike to Starcraft to Age of Mythology to Halo, all gamers can find something they can relate toin the WCG. The US finals are at the UGE this summer.

Ultimate Gamers Expo - Imagine E3 for the general public? The UGE is going to try to through a convention for the gamers, not the gaming industry at the LA Convention Center on August 15-17. I'm going!

Halo for PC - Yes, the game looks great on an Xbox and i did have much even when it was released. I played the game on PC. It's OK, but still feels like a slow, chunky console game. There's no precision ala Unreal Tournament or smoothness ala Quake. There isn't really much that distinguishes Halo from the horde of other FPS available on the PC. I'll probably still end up buying it, but my enthusiasm is low. Still undecided if they will have a co-op play mode fr the game like Serious Sam. Also, there's no commitment yet to a mod SDK.

NVidia - The NVidia booth was great. They had demos of most of the great games on the floor in one place. When I first walked up, there was Gary Coleman talking about video cards with an NVidia guy. I saw demos of the FX series of cards and they are simply unbelievable. Smooth as glass and great textures. Too bad they are going to be $400+...

Battlefield 1942: Secret Weapons of WWII - BF1942 is a great game and deserved all the Game of the Year awards it garnered. The new expansion is basically fantasy stuff that might have been on the drawing board in WWII. I played the demo for about an hour total at the show. The secret weapons are all a blast. I dig the rocket pack the most. The cargo plane is cool because it becomes a mobile spawn point once in the air.

Uru - I hated Myst. I'm gunna hate Uru. Utter garbage.

Coaxsys - Coaxsys systems makes system that converts the coax wiring in your home into a 100 megabit ethernet network. With a hub adapater and seperate adapters at each end you want ethernet, it appears to work seemlessly with cable TV. At the Coaxsys booth, fatal1ty was playing UT2003 against all comers. Noone had killed him once all week. Amazing.

Play TV - Radica has a PlayTV line of games that are standalone. You plug the game into the video and audio in of your TV and you are good to go. Each game is designed for kids and is a physical object. The fishing game is inside a toy fishing pole. The snowboarding game is inside a snowboard.

Star Wars Galaxies - I saw this at the NVidia demo booth. All they showed was a guy running around in his underwear. They need to do better than that. I can run around in my underwear already.

Lineage II - I tried playing the original Lineage a while ago and was unimpressed. I saw the demos of Lineage II and the graphics are much better, but I saw nothing that would differentiate it from any other MMORPG. I know the Koreans love it, but I don't.

Tron 2.0 - I saw the Tron demo last year and it ws impressive. It's almost ready for release now. The graphics look good, but lack any texturing like other FPS games.

Toontown - Disney's version of an MMOG for children and Disney fans. I tried the beta a while back and it wasn't for me. It's tightly controlled to protect children from anyone that would try to interact with them in an inappropriate way. Looks like a blast for tweens to play with other kids online.

Wireless Controller for Gamecube - I don't know it took E3 for me find the solution to our problems. The girls like playing the Gamecube, but the controller cords are always a problem. With the new wireless controllers, it makes things much simpler.

Dark Age of Camelot: Trials of Atlantis - Seeing the Mythic developers demo the new Atlantis expansion for DaoC was fun. "Show me how to ride a shark. Show me how you swim." and they did. I haven't played DaoC in while but the new expansion look pretty fun. Instead of riding a horse you can ride a shark. They haven't came up with an explanation of how everyone breathes underwater, but they are working on it. I suggested a James Bond style mouth gadget.

Worlds of Warcraft - Holy Crap! This game looked GREAT. I was really suprised when I saw the demo at the show. The graphics are fantastic, like Warcraft 3, unlike the standard graphics in EQ/DaoC/Shadowbane. Smooth and fluid, the action looked arcade-like with all the options and flexibility of MMORPGs. I hadn't thought I would look forward to WoW, but I do now.

Guild Wars - NCSoft, makers of Lineage, showed a new game called Guild Wars. This MMORPG attempts to do awaya with the constant leveling and running from place to place that exists in other games. Evidently you'll be able to group instantly and jump into the action easily. Amazing concept, making a persistent world game that is more play than work. If you can distract a few of the EQ players from their food pellet levers, this game might catch on.

Magic the Gathering Online - Back in 1995 I started playing Magic the Gathering, the collectible card game. For several years it consumed my free time and my thoughts. I played in tournaments and collected box after box of cards. Unfortunately, Magic was a game that you needed to play in person. As I became a father, I found my time for playing severely crunched. Eventually my attention drifted to video games I could play from home and away from Magic. The online version of the game looks like perfection. Collectibility, rule adherence, and a good engine make Magic Online a great game. I met a guy from Wizards at the show and we discussed things a bit. I'm energized to give it a try.

Half Keyboard - I'm n ot sure why I'd want this, but it's done well. The company founder, Edgar Matias, explained the halfkeyboard to me personally. Smaller than a PDA, you can type on the thing in a somewhat familiar way. While I tried to type on it, I could feel my mind snapping as I tried to mentally flip the letters in my mind. Edgar can type very fast on the halfkeyboard. He had a few other products like full size keyboard that let you type onehanded when you wanted and two handed at other times. The wearable one hand keyboard that goes on your sleep looks like something straight out of cyberpunk fiction.

City of Heroes - NCSoft is publishing the game that appears to actually be headed for shelves. The game looks interesting, but in the limited test of combat I tried, the NPC kicked my superpowered ass easily.

Good things about E3: Pizza vending machines, booth babes, and Datafloss in full effect

Bad things about E3: Sold-out pizza vending machines, neckbone chicken and rice, Nazi registration folks

Games that were hyped but sucked: Black 9, American Idol, Tomb Raider: *.*, Sims Expansion 27, Mario anything, driving games, Counterstrike on a console

Companies that sucked because I could not play demos: id for not having playable Doom3, Valve for not having playable Halflife 2, Activision for not having a Return to Castle Wolfenstein booth

Companies that sucked because of their booths: Infogrames/Atari since their areas was appointment only. Sony Online Entertainment for their black box booth that made you wait in line to enter like a friggin Hollywood nightclub. I hope they lose money on all their games for their attitude.

Posted by michael at May 17, 2003 08:44 AM