E3, the Electronic Entertainment Expo, is the video game industry’s biggest event of the year, worldwide. It takes place right here in my little hometown of Los Angeles, California.
Upon hearing this, one might think “Pshh, a video game convention. Big freakin’ deal.”
WELL IT IS! 🙂
The games themselves are presented on two-story tall televisions, THX sound systems, often with floor actuators to literally shake the room when something explodes. I’ve spent quite a few posts trying to express the insanity of some of Tokyo’s districts. Well, just imagine taking all of Tokyo…and cramming it inside the LA Convention Center. That’s about how E3 feels (I wouldn’t be surprised if a single E3 costs about as much to put on as Tokyo cost to build).
But even aside from the games, E3 is chocked full of movie stars, pro athletes, and playboy bunnies. This year I kicked off the convention by parking my car as the US army parachuted down Pico Blvd and landed right in the middle of Downtown, LA. Soon after I was watching Tony Hawk on a halfpipe and live music accompanied by some fire-breathing performers. E3 is, to put it simply, awesome.
To give you a better idea, here’s a video I clipped together after the conference.
Yet, I’d heard some pretty distressing rumors this year. Like how they’d be clamping down on security and making it impossible for non-“industry professionals” to get inside (remember: I’m merely an aspiring industry professional ;)). This, sadly, turned out to be true…and up until just a couple of days prior to the convention, it looked like I wasn’t going to be able to get in.
Thank God that a badge worked its way right into my hands at the last minute 😀
Still, E3 2006 was a very different experience from previous years. Rather than roaming around with my buddies goofing off and acting like idiots, I had a much more serious goal in mind: networking. I don’t want to report anything until it’s become more of a certainty, but let’s just say that I made a number of pretty exciting contacts this week. Rest assured that you’ll be the first to know if anything develops.
I did get to spend some time trying out the latest techs as well; Sony’s Playstation 3 and Nintendo’s Wii, to name a couple.
Let me just tell you this: when the next-gen consoles hit the market, Nintendo is going to blow the whole industry out of the water.
While the Wii is graphically the weakest of the next-gen systems, it has such a revolutionary control scheme that I could easily see it completely redefining how we play games from now on. Ever since the earliest consoles we’ve essentially been using the same controls: one hand for motion, the other for action buttons. But the Wii’s controllers sense their positions in 3D space. This means that to swing a tennis racket, you have only to swing your arm; to drive a car, rotate your hands as if you’re holding a steering wheel; to stab an enemy with your sword, just thrust forwards as if you were really holding a katana.
The most amazing thing is that the controls feel perfect. There’s no awkward jumpiness, no oversensitivity, and no missed motions. I don’t know how they managed it, but bravo to Nintendo…it looks like at long last we’ll be seeing some truly innovative titles (instead of just the same sequels being repeated over and over and over….)
Anyways, I should probably get back to studying. E3 was great, but it did result in a 3-day procrastination towards my goal of once again becoming a great programmer.
Full steam ahead.