How to stand out at the Electronic Entertainment Expo
May 13, 2006
E3 is like a flashing, smoking, pulsating hive crawling with thousands of caffeine-crazed bees frantically seeking even more stimulation.
The Electronic Entertainment Expo offers 400 companies from 90 countries showcasing thousands of games on 5,800 large flat-screen computers and TVs. There’s no shortage of stimulation. In fact, you’d expect it to all blur together, but there are some things that stand out — striking you with awe, or striking you as odd.
Best display: Giant screens are a dime a dozen but EA’s giant 360-degree screen and powerful sound system was breathtaking. It really made you feel like you were living inside a game as futuristic warriors sped into battle or enormous boxers took to the ring.
An intriguing concept: NC Soft plans to make four online games available for free. They’d make their money by charging for access to certain upgrades and adventures. These good-looking games are a multiplayer medieval adventure, an unsportsmanlike fighting/soccer game, a anime-driven tennis game and a robot-centered shooter.
Best skin-tight plastic suit: The “booth babes” for “Destroy All Humans 2” looked good, but they also knew their stuff. They competently explained how to play the new game – unlike the wannabe Grecian beauty at the booth for “Titan Quest,” who struggled to come up with the explanation, “It’s … a game.”
Best quote: The guy pitching the “Orcs & Elves” cell-phone game said: “We have the only mobile game that features drunkenness — and we’re proud of that.”
Best booty-grabbers: Get your mind out the gutter; I’m talking about the guys who are there to gather as much swag as possible. Some of them actually bring in wheeled suitcase to ensure they have enough cargo capacity when trolling the booths for trinkets.
Best extreme sports star: Pro skater Tony Hawk was in the air and looking good but was definitely outdone by the skateboarding bulldog in front of the conference center.
Freakiest exhibit: The booth promoting an upcoming World Wrestling Entertainment game displayed pro wrestling “artifacts,” including Mankind’s mask and sock puppet and Greg “The Hammer” Valentine’s tight black wrestling briefs. I hope they were washed.