[TMPL page.setTitle=" - Spiels: E3 2004"]
[TMPL page.include file="/include/banner_ad.html"]


So, I realize this rantspace is a BIT late. We had a really, really busy last few days. Basically, since friday, we had saturday, which consisted of us cleaning the house a bit so that we didn't have to worry about the cats destroying the place, and me fending off a sinus/allergy attack that lasted till, well... today. And then Sunday, when we traveled to Anaheim for the night, trying to get to Dave Kellelt's sketch comedy show, when the damned car battery goes out. We thought it was more than just that, since the car wouldn't even take a jump, but no, it just needed a damned battery. >< Oh well. Life goes on.

Anyhow, we stayed Monday night with Dave Kellett, who does Sheldon. Dave is possibly the nicest guy in webcomics (sorry, I like everyone else a ton, but Dave is my bro.) He went out of his way to give us his living room, and we pretty much just stayed up late talking comics and various other things. :) Anyway, so, the concert on monday.

As many of you know, we bought the Final Fantasy Dear Friends tickets, like, in the first five minutes they went online. We got the Orchestra view section, which is actually situated behind the orchestra. If you've ever seen the Walt Disney Concert Hall, it's an incredible venue. I don't think it HAS a bad seat. We were close enough to spit on the choir, and possibly the orchestra if we spit really, REALLY far, and we were essentially in the cheap seats.

One of the things that bugged us was that it was pretty much specified that this was supposed to be dress clothing only. I mean, seriously. This is the first video game music concert in the United States, for pete's sake. I mean, this is a pretty damned big honor. I knew for a fact that Uematsu-san was going to be there, in the audience. So when we get there to see that about 25-30% of people were wearing freaking t-shirts and shorts, it kind of irked us. Oh well.

Anyway, the music was brilliantly done. I'd heard many of the pieces orchestrated before, but they tended to change up the endings to many of them. But then near the end they played an orchestrated version of the Ronfaure theme. I have a whole new appreciation of that forest. Then they played a piece from the upcoming FF7:Advent Children. Sounded pretty good. :)

So, then they pull up Uematsu-san. Oh, by the by, the guy who did the voice for Tidus did the MC duties... he was decent enough. :) So Uematsu-san talks a bit about his music and whatnot, and he's a freaking riot (as everyone is cheering, he puts his arms in the air, then slowly pulls them down as the crowd quiets down, and then thrusts them back up in the air again. He's a ham. :D ), but THEN, he pulls up both Sakaguchi-san AND Amano-san! We've never even freaking SEEN Amano before, to the best of my knowledge! And he was funny, too... all three had to speak through an interpreter, but Amano at one point went on a rambling speech for, I swear to god, a full minute or so. The interpreter was falling all over herself trying to translate it. It was awesome. :)

Anyway, that was about it. It was an awesome experience, and we got some cool swag, but unfortunately there's no recordings of it. *sigh* Well, perhaps they'll release a CD eventually. We'll see.

Anyhow, it is now 1:53 in the morning, and I really need to get to bed so I can grab 6 hours of sleep to get to the expo tomorrow. We'll take pictures and stuff, but we'll get to that tomorrow. Take care. :)

Note: All text in white is by yours truly, pink is Liz, and green is Cliff. :)

Actually, let me take a brief (in an epic sense) moment to talk about yesterday, since I totally didn't cover it in the post yesterday. :D We headed out from Dave's house and somehow managed to find our way to the hotel Safety Monkey reserved for us. (Yes, that's what everyone calls him. His real name is Jon. We just call him monkey. You'll be hearing about Batjew as well. This is what we call them. Nicknames rule.) Anyway, so we managed to get a set of SUITES at the Residence Inn in Beverly Hills, and it's freaking affordable. This is awesome. It's got two rooms, and while we have 4 people in each suite, everyone actually has their own bed. It's awesome, and my hat is so incredibly off (as well as his pants) to Monkey . He is the official planner-guy for all E3's to come.

Oh... let me introduce you to everyone that's hanging around with us, just so's ya know. In our room is myself, Liz, and Cliff, as well as Dom sleeping on the couch. In the other suite is Safety Monkey, Batjew, Batjew's wife Serena (I think that's how it's spelled. We've also decided that "The Jewess" works as well. :D ) and Ian McConville. Also, our friends Erin, Shaun, Sherry, Ian, Megan, Andy, and all sorts of other people (the group shifts. I have bad memory. Deal. :D ) (It's spelled Sean. But I'm too tired to remember everyone else. Sorry.)

So, on to the show. We hit up west hall first, which is generally speaking, the console hall. We started off around the Nintendo area, where we saw a few things that were more or less interesting (I know, you're curious about the DS. Don't worry. I'll get to that at the end of the post. :) ) and a few things we came back to later. One thing I played that I really dug was the Legend of Zelda : Four Swords Adventures. It's a GameCube game that works with the GBA. When one player goes into a building, their view switches to the GBA screen, and the interior is found there. Quite cool, though I really want to get in more time with it. Perhaps tomorrow I'll snap some screens for you. Oh, by the way... Liz got all the pictures for this newspost today. If it were up to me, there probably wouldn't be any pictures at all. :)

So from Nintendo (which, again, I'll try to visit more tomorrow), we headed to Sony. I want to play GT4 when I get a chance, but it looks awesome. I was too busy running over to the kiosks of FINAL FANTASY 12. (Who didn't see this coming?)

I should mention that starting off the show with your most anticipated game is PROBABLY not the best idea, but hey. :D So I got a chance to play it, and I was VERY impressed. The picture you see above isn't from an FMV. This is an in-game screenshot. The facial animation is beautiful... spot on with the audio. And the detail in the hair and facial textures is amazing... this picture doesn't even begin to do it justice. The thing that really made me sit up and take notice, however, was the combat system. All combat takes place in the game-world. There is no "battleground", or battle transition, or anything. You run around, and you'll see some dudes, who will then see you and come running. You and your AI teammates fight by selecting a target (gameplay will pause for a moment), and hitting attack. Your player will auto-attack, while you select other commands to use such as magic, items, etc. Oddly enough, it's kind of like the FFXI combat system, save for the "target lines" which tell you who is targeting who. Quite nice. I'll see if I can't get more details on it tomorrow.

The combat system was actually the most interesting part of the game for me. While I love the look (and the new character designer doesn't have everyone looking the same, so don't trust the PR concept/CGI artwork you keep seeing of the main character -- he DOESN'T look much like Tidus when you see him in game), it's nice to see the Final Fantasy combat system make a large progression in the way combat is done. XII is the first traditional FF game (i.e. not online) under a new director, the man who brought us Final Fantasy Tactics and Vagrant Story, a personal favorite of mine. I really like the way combat seems to move along and doesn't stop for long periods of time and yet doesn't sacrifice your traditional combat flexibility. I just don't want to wait for it.

From there we wandered over to a Silent Hill 4 kiosk. I'm a huge Silent Hill fan, so we had to spend a few minutes with it. Not many changes to the engine, but combat got some NICE upgrades. There's an on-screen health meter, as well as weapon changes that can be done on the fly, without switching to the menu. Also, you can now do a charged attack, which is indicated in that little circle you see to the right of the health bar. With the pipe, for instance, a charged attack will do a baseball-style swing that damages all enemies in its path. Oh, and now you can hit a button during combat to leap back suddenly, and it's fairly useful. "Oh crap! That thing just came out of the freaking wall!! *jump*"

This game is freaky. First of all, you are locked in your own house. (The picture above is your front door. I wish you could see these pictures uncompressed. It looked like I took a picture of a door. Not a door in a game, but a door standing in front of me. Then you find a hole to jump down and you go into tame "hell" mode. But you find yourself being chased around by floating zombies that can disappear into the walls. You finally have an on-screen health bar. Plus, the character will have a heart attack if he gets too scared. Its fantastic.

I'm pleased to see that the continuation of the Silent Hill saga is making strides in the way the game itself functions. They've always been creepy as hell, but it's often been a little harder than necessary to play them. The addition of a health bar might seem like it takes away from the immersiveness of the game, but anyone's who's ever played a Silent Hill game knows they're immersive enough already.

That chick following you actually steps on the fallen creatures... kinda neat. She has a broken arm for some reason though. I'm befuddled. *shrug* we'll see when it comes out, I s'pose. (Her weapon is her purse. She hits the freaking creatures with her purse!!!! ^.^ You go girl! Hit those dirty smelly bats with your bag filled with metal cosmetics!)

The next thing that pops out of what we saw was over at Vivendi's booth, Evil Genius. This was right next to the new "Leisure Suit Larry" game. I need to own Larry. I have played all of the games. I mean, who else was this game catering to? It was obviously made for the perverted girl in me. [I should really play Hentai games with Dom])

The award for best concept goes to: "Evil Genius".Think of it as Dungeon Keeper meets Dr. No. Basically, you play an Evil Genius managing your evil lair, such as adding rooms to your island base, training henchmen, interrogating government agents, etc. You can even build traps to take care of unsuspecting invading Agents, like the flame trap you see above. There aren't any plans for multiplayer in the final release, but they're talking about it for a possible expansion. This is one of those games that I really just want to sit down with for a few hours just to see what I can do.

I've been following this one since it was announced and it still appeals to me. It's more of Dungeon Keeper gone spy. Much like Dungeon Keeper, you dig out your evil lair, train your henchmen and minions (although you can't actually directly control your henchmen, again much like Dungeon Keeper) and prepare to handle spies. The interface looks relatively easy to use and it lets you go and handle things in areas for cash. We didn't get enough time to really see how the X-Com like aspects worked, they sounded interesting. Pleasantly enough, game's currently set for a Septemer release, unlike, say...

This one unfortunately won't be out anytime soon, from what we hear. (That may turn out to be Greg's understatement of the show.) Peter Molyneaux's "The Movies" isn't like any other tycoon/management game out there. Not only do you get to run a movie studio from pretty much the beginning of modern cinema, but you get to actually work on the films themselves. And that means directing the scenes, adding the dialogue, the works. You can even add in your own music and spoken dialogue while the film is in the cutting room. To top it off, you can save your film to a standard computer video file and send it to your friends. This is just brilliant. We didn't get an in-depth showing, so again, I may have to talk more about this later. Think "The Sims" meets "Roller Coaster Tycoon". You can change the endings of your movies, add subtitles, add your own soundtrack/voices. As God, you can do just about anything.

I've always liked Peter's games. Dungeon Keeper was one of my personal favorites and I liked a lot of Black & White (although there was a lot of it I didn't like too...) When I first heard of this concept, it sounded ambitious. They were showing it behind closed doors last year, but this year I got a chance to actually see it and while it's early (and no one EVER rushes Peter) it holds a lot of promise and I expect to lose a lot of hours to it when it's released.

After The Movies, we headed over to the XBox booth, solely driven by Cliff's desire to see Fable. He's been talking about this since last year, and after seeing it in person, I can see why. Unfortunately, I didn't actually play it myself... Cliff would be able to tell you far more than I would. Oh believe me, I have a lot to say about the game. What impresses me most is the amount of freedom the game seems to offer. Every decision you make has a consequence. If you want to be a bandit, you can. If you want to be a dashing hero, you can. If you want to use magic, you can. If you spend too much time in the sun, you tan. If you don't stay active enough, you grow overweight. You get scars. You age. You can marry. All of this just adds to what looks to be an expansive RPG with a solid combat system and an interesting story. If even half of what I've heard is true, I'll play through this game several times... The pictures don't represent how gorgeous this game is. It has that pretty haze effect that makes the game seem mythical. Many soothing blues, and harmonious green tones. Really, this game looks like it should be framed and hung on your wall at home. We also saw Bioware's newest creation. But we will let you in on that later. That's pretty much it for software... now on to hardware. And you thought this next one didn't exist... It can't be true! When I heard that this was going to be on display, I told Greg that it was probably going to be a cardboard box with an Xbox inside. But this is actually pretty good looking. I would buy one for my addiction of FFXI. (Please note: Infinium has not yet released which games will work on their system.)

Believe it or not, that behemoth of a white box under that television is none other than the Phantom gaming console. I have to admit, we had our doubts, but after seeing it in action, this thing really began to take shape. Essentially, it's a broadband-connected PC. Instead of buying games and installing them, you simply choose one of the games offered by the Phantom Gaming Network, pay the subscription fee (which wasn't mentioned at the expo), and it automatically streams the game to the console. It saves games in memory as long as hard drive space allows, and the games are freaking beautiful. They were playing UT2003 on it, and it looked as good if not better than on a standard PC. Smooth as silk. What ared the controls like, you may ask? Glad you asked! (Its a good thing that I was taking the pictures. I saw many guys get upset because I was taking pictures ON their shoulders. But because I was a chick, they forgave me.)

That there is the Phantom Gaming LapBoard, as they call it. The keyboard swivels, so if you play left or right handed you can switch it up, and it lays flat if you so choose. The mouse plugs in to the back of the keyboard, and it has a fairly short cord, so there's only the one cord running to the console. Oh, did I mention you don't actually HAVE to buy the system? (If you want to, they're talking about a $200 release price. Not bad for an uber gaming PC) You can opt to subscribe to the Phantom Gaming Service and pay $30 a month for 2 years, and they provide the hardware. (Think of it as DirecTV for gaming) I'm skeptical as to what the market will be, but it's definately more than originally imagined. I'll be keeping an eye on it. I have to comment here -- I was not that impressed. I don't know that it won't get out of date fast, I haven't heard anything about original content and these guys have had so many vague answers, it makes me nervous... Then again, I'm a cynic and a bitter skeptic.

So, the Nintendo DS. Yes, we got to play it, and as odd as it sounds, it actually makes sense. Check this baby out.

Yes, there are two screens on that baby. The bottom screen is also touch-sensitive, and it comes with a stylus. How this feature comes in handy is for games like WarioWare, Inc. DS, pictured above. A screen will come up, and your instruction is "Slice!" Then fruit starts flying acros the screen, and you cut across it with the stylus to pass the stage. The touch-sensetive area is extremely sensetive, too, so controls are very tight. And both screens are beautiful backlit displays.

When it comes down to processing power, think of this as a handheld N64. The 3D features are smooth, and it even has games like Mario 64 and Mario Kart 64. That's where the dual screens come into play. (Yes, Dual Screens... DS... get it?) On the top screen, for example, will be the in-game screen, while the bottom screen will be a realtime map, keeping that information off of the game area, and keeping you from having to interrupt the game to check it. Also, with a mario game I saw, it was a platformer, and the lower screen showed stuff that was coming up from below. There are also games such as an odd pac-man game that required you to draw a pac-man in order for it to eat the ghosts. To top it off, it plays GameBoy Advance games, and it has voice recognition to boot. I don't know what the suggested release price is, but I'll more than likely be picking one up. I'll see if I can get the info on the PlayStation Portable tomorrow so's I can compare the two.

We got to sit in on an appointment with Bioware regarding their new game, "Jade Empire". Bioware always puts out a good product, and this continues that path. It is pretty much Knights of The Old Republic, but in a asian setting. We also saw one of their mini-games which was a remake of "Space Invaders". It looked good. I look forward to seeing this later on. (By the way, Bioware gives the media free beer. Those guys know how to make geek feel at home. ^_^)

That was pretty much it for Wenesday, though. I'll get you more information tomorrow as I get it. :)

Note: All text in white is by yours truly, pink is Liz, and green is Cliff. :)

I should note ahead of time that both thursday's and friday's recaps are both being written on monday, as I had no time either of those days to write one. By this time, I expect what I've seen to have sunk in, so stick with me. :)

So, thursday, the first thing we did was run over to the Square-Enix booth to pick up "tickets" for the special show they had. This didn't actually occur until somewhere around 12:30, but I'll just skip to that for the sake of keeping everything organized. Basically, it was a theatre in the round, with four screens, one on each side, and a bunch of Aeron chairs in the middle. The whole platform rotated, for whatever reason. It was reasonably impressive, but mostly just for spectacle's sake. We referred to it as "Square The Ride". Anyway, they had a bunch of trailers for their game lineup, most of which I found pretty ho-hum. Front Mission 3 really isn't my kind of game, but even if it were, the demo boxes they had out front were running at a resolution that was in the 640x480 or less range. Even for TV, it looked like crap. There's a new Musashi game coming out, but I can't really get excited about it... it seems too much like standard fare action game. Same for Full Metal Alchemist, too. I did get fairly interested about Star Ocean 3, though... don't know much about it, but it looked like an interesting enough story. They did show some stuff for the new Final Fantasy XI expansion, "Chains of Promathia", which looks cool. but it's JUST new land and quests. No new jobs, no new summons, nothing. Which sucks. They don't even plan on raising the level cap. Then there was a full-on trailer for FFXII, which freaking blew us away. The setting is extremely rich... I can't even begin to imagine what they intend to do with it. And all you people saying Vahn looks affeminate, you really have to see him in action for that to get dispelled. Dude's a badass. Oh, and they showed the FFVII Advent Children trailer... IN ENGLISH this time. Not that it makes much difference... I still don't know what the plot is. :D Did manage to get some pictures of the action figures they plan to put out for it though...

Our day actually started by heading over to check out the PSP (PlayStation Portable).

I'm excited as hell about it, but I still have my reservations. Things to be excited about: 1) It's essentially a handheld PS1 1/2. It's somewhere between the processing power of a PSX and a PS2, closer to the PS2. Some of the tech demos were gorgeous. Not some... all. 2) Damn thing shows movies on it. And with a screen as crystal-clear as this one, it's not bad for watching movies on. I've yet to see a handheld with a screen this clear. The DS doesn't even come close. 3) It has a memory stick slot. I don't know why you should be excited about this, I just thought I should mention it.

Things to be wary about: 1) It uses a disc-based media, the UMD (Universal Media Disc).

What's wrong with this? They plan on basically replacing the MiniDisc with it, which is fine, but this means that in order to watch movies on your PSP, you're going to have to buy them in UMD format. Even movies you already own. Which means when buying a movie, you have to decide if you want it for the sole purpose of watching it on your PSP, or watching it at home.

2) Battery life. Here's the skinny: 2 1/2 hours watching movies, 10 hours playing a game. Now, the gaming battery life's not so bad... 10 hours playing a handheld without interruption is quite a feat in an of itself. But 2 1/2 hours for movies? Um, is it just me, or are there a whole helluva lot of movies longer than that? I dunno. It'll work, but since I won't be getting any movies for the damn thing anyway, I guess I don't care.

3) The cost? Somewhere between $200 and $600, according to the guy Cliff talked to. I doubt it will go as high as $600, but I can't really see myself shelling out $200 for a handheld gaming device. That number is probably going to be closer to $300, honestly. All in all, it's got pros, it's got cons, but we can't really be the judge of anything. There were no freaking games to play on it.

After that, I saw three games that really got me excited about Q3/4 of this year. The first of which is The Sims 2. :)

Hot damn. I played the original sims, and while it was addictive, the thing that lost my attention the quickest was that I was constantly telling my Sim "Go eat! Go take a crap! Clean yourself! Go to bed! Go to work!" Fun at first, I suppose, but it gets old fast. For The Sims 2, not only have they given it a full 3D upgrade, they've also done away with the needless micromanaging of your sims' needs. They still HAVE those needs, but they're much better at taking care of them now. Now, the focus is on your sims WANTS. In the demo, one of the sims showed that he wanted to talk to the blonde at their pool party, so if you indulge it, your sim is made happier, and a new want will pop up. There are an endless number of things your sim could want, based on your house, your posessions, your sims' personality, etc. Also, your sims now have a lifespan. If all goes well, they will have had children of their own by the time they grow old and die. Then the cycle begins anew. All in all, I was highly impressed, and since it should be around in the October/November area, I'm even more excited. :)

Tucked away over at the "Games for Windows" booth, which was more or less hidden in the back of the hall (and therefore, thankfull full of less people) were two awesome titles, one of which I've been looking forward to for a while, and the other of which I'm looking forward to now. :)

First we checked out the new Pirates! game by Sid Meier. This is the one I said I've been looking forward to for a while. I played Pirates! Gold back when I was younger. I mean, a TON. Nothing like sailing around, exploring the coast, seeing a Galleon on the horizon, and sailing up to give 'em hell. Well, the good news is, that's exactly what this Pirates! game is about. Speaking realistically, this is the SAME base game as the previous game. When you go into town, you have a menu of options. You can talk to the governor, head to the pub, etc. So, it's the same game... just made a TON better. Battles on the high seas are now fought right on the sailing map. It'll all in 3D, and the ships move very fluidly. Once you get close enough to jump ship to the enemy, you enter the classic duel setting, except now you have more options than just "up, middle, down, parry". At one point our guy kicked a nearby bucket at the enemy captain to knock him off-guard, then rushed him with his sword. Later, he grabbed a rope and swung around to kick the enemy captain off the edge of the ship. There's also additions like escaping from town after being captured, dancing with the governor's daughter to win her favor, and running around the landscape looking for buried treasure. Very cool... worth checking out when it hits later this year.

I liked Roller Coaster Tycoon 2, but just freaking look at that park above. That's Roller Coaster Tycoon 3, in real-time 3D, and it looks FANTASTIC. The core game is still there, but the main difference is in the options. You can now create specific families with particular interests, and they'll flock to the rides that meet those interests. You can do pretty much anything you want with the terrain, adding water is as simple as choosing a water level and clicking (yes, you can have ponds and lakes at different heights, too. It's fairly intelligent), and building coasters is far easier than it used to be. Oh, and when you're done, you can actually RIDE your creations.

All in all, what it boils down to is that I'm going to lose a large portion of my life once these few games ship.

And that's pretty much it for thursday. We went back to the hotel room and had spaghetti and decomressed. Aqua Teen Hunger Force was watched. Millions did rejoice.

Note: All text in white is by yours truly, pink is Liz, and green is Cliff. :)

Friday was essentially us playing catch-up. There was a lot of South Hall we still wanted to see so I don't think we ended up even setting foot in West Hall once on Friday. A few of the things we saw are without pictures, so you'll have to bear with me. I'm sure you can find pictures of this stuff from various other websites online. :)

The first game Liz and I checked out on Friday was Splinter Cell 3. We had to wait in a line for the presentation, but DAMN was it worth it. I've seen a lot of SC1 and 2, but I've never played them. They're not really my favorite type of game. I may have to pick up a copy of SC3, though. The leaps and bounds towards crating reality in a game have never been so freaking apparent. In the demo we saw, there were dynamic soft shadows, incredibly smart A.I., interaction with just about everything in the world, and effects I've never seen before. For example, when it begins to rain, puddles will dynamically form based on terrain, and anything that is out in the rain gets wet. They adjust the specularity of whatever is wet to make it look that much shinier. It's incredibly convincing. They had a janitor mopping a floor, and wherever he mopped, the floor got more reflective. In Co-op, we saw one player boosing another over a wall, and then his buddy drops down a rope to pull up the first guy. If the guy holding the rope moves left, the rope and his buddy move left too. There was one sequence where one of them was hanging from a ledge while his pal used him as a ladder to climb up. It's insane. You simply have to see it in action.

The other one we saw that I don't have pictures of is a game by the name of Destroy All Humans. I think it's going to end up being console only, but you play an alien with incredible telekinetic and telepathic abilities, and you can use your psychokinesis to throw people around, read their thoughts, and take on their form. Or you can just run around vaporizing them with your death ray. And if you get in trouble, you can hop in your flying saucer and level city blocks with a more powerful death ray, gravity bombs, you name it. It's set in the 50's, and it's INCREDIBLY tongue-in-cheek. Should be a fun game to play.

So we saw the new NGage. Does it matter? Not really... it's still not a viable handheld. A bit smaller, though... and no side talking this time. Oh, and a cartridge slot. Nokia, does the word "Duh" mean anything to you?

One of the other games we checked out was Rome : Total War. The way I figure it, the thought process for this game was something like this - "Hey, Bob... how many units you reckon we could get on screen at once, in full 3D?" "Uh, i dunno... thirty or forty?" "No, no... we need more than that. How about... TEN THOUSAND?" "Hm. I'll get to work on it." In all seriousness, if you're a war buff, you'll love this game. The tactics are representative of what they actually used to do back then, and the battles look damned epic. It's just not a game I'd probably spend any time playing, personally. I think you have to be a historical war buff to appreciate this kind of game.

I want to get more info on it, but UbiSoft had a demo of the new Myst game, Myst IV : Revelation. They actually managed to make the prerendered click-to-move engine look even BETTER, believe it or not. Now the prerendered levels have 3D effects layered over them that make them look incredibly realistic. Each world is alive with motion, and it looks gorgeous. From what I gather, the game focuses on Sirrus and Achenar, Atrus' sons from the first game. It has a fairly dark tone to it, even for a Myst game... so it should be good. You know me, I'm a Myst freak. :)

A few other things I want to hit on before I go into the rambling section of this page: We saw a game called AlterLife at the NC Soft booth, but I can't seem to find ANY information about it on NC Soft's site, or anywhere else on the web for that matter. I even have one of the digital press kits from the game.. it looks intriguing, but I don't have any other information on it. Also, NC Soft had City of Villians on display. Perhaps soon I will bring my villianous alterego to life... EL CHUPACABRA! Dom said we'd start a cadre of Villians called the Goat Sucker Proxy. :) CoV looks cool... like CoH, but EBIL. :)

And now, ladies and gentlemen, the height of excitement for me at any E3... I met Lord British.

Richard Garriott was there all dressed up, but god DAMN he's a nice guy. He's with NC Soft promoting his new MMORPG, Tabula Rasa. I hadn't really heard much about it till this E3, and it REALLY intrigues me. We actually talked for a few minutes about his new game, and it's very apparent that he really cares about his universes. He autographed one of the TR demo cd's they were giving out, and he took a minute to show me the new language they had developed for it. It's actually a series of Idiograms... i'll see if I can scan them to show you more. But this guy didn't get to where he is by sitting back and living on his reputation... the man is GOOD at what he does, and he pours all his energy into it. My hat is off, and if this somehow gets read by him, dude, get me into that beta test. :)

So I did some research on Tabula Rasa, and the backstory for it is pretty cool. Essentially, there is a race known as the Benefactors who traveled and colonized the galaxy through a method of teleportation they perfected. As their influence spread, eventually a faction known as the Thrax broke off and decided to exploit their influence and use the worlds they had found for their own means. Your base of operations is in the Sanctuary, hidden away in a black hole, and you're fighting a celestial war on countless planets to stop the Thrax invasions. And from what I hear, you actually play a human, from earth, in a near future setting. Correct me if I'm wrong, but that means you get the whole "pulled into a celestial war from humble roots" aspect of the story, too. Each player has their own home island that they can customize (and by Island, we mean floating, mystical island), and the crafting system looks to be pretty deep, too. Check it out at www.playtr.com.

Oh... we dropped by Kentia hall for a little bit too... here's the most interesting thing down there:

Ain't that carpet COLORFUL?! Seriously though, they were holding the Classic Gaming Expo down there, and they had just about every video game system that has ever been produced, EVER. Many of them were hooked up to screens with a handful of cartridges around to play. I kicked some dude's ass at Combat. :D

Oh, and we were able to uncover a Nintendo conspiracy that dates back over a decade, and culminates at this E3 : Nintendo DS and Nintendo Game and Watch.... Separated at birth? You be the judge.

I think that image pretty much speaks for itself. And it's going to have to, because this is about where we ran out of energy and decided to hit the road. We'd pretty much seen anything anyhow. All in all, it was a TON better show than last year's, though I still can't wait for next year, when the companies are all unveiling their next-gen consoles. :) Thanks for reading!