No More E3: Now that’s what I call a duck!

Wow, yes. This is a good thing! Both Tim and I have been arguing for a while that this circus should have been behind us years ago. That it still existed was a symbol of sorts of the whole inward-tuned wankathon that has been the game industry for a number of years. Sort of an embarassment, really. And it’s not the booth babes that were the problem, either.

It seemed clear that the changes this past year were a sign of desperation: either clean things up and change, or the expo will become completely irrelevent. The industry has actually started to move again, the last couple of years, and E3 really didn’t seem necessary anymore in its current form. The basic conclusion, from the people I’ve talked to, is that E3 really wasn’t any different this year. Maybe a little less annoying — and yet without the most ridiculous excess to distract a person, it became clear just how tedious and ill-conceived the whole thing was. It seemed clear that E3 was on its way down.

That they should have pulled out so abruptly is a surprise, though. Not an unwelcome one, mind! I just expected a more gradual, kicking, screaming, choking death until nobody cared anymore. I’m impressed, frankly. This is one of the more heartening things I’ve heard in a while, in regards to the industry in general — not just the “death” of E3; the boldness in simply pulling the plug like this, rather than clinging. The whole change in attitude that this suggests — well. It’s good! I like it!

EXTREME BUTTON-PRESSING ACTION

A guy ahead of me in line began to stare at me while I was waiting to see the new vampire western FPS game by Sammy Studios. Eventually, after getting the attention of the rest of his posse, he spoke.

“Dude. So you’re a journalist?”
“… I guess so.”
“Have you seen Halo 2?
“No.”
He paused. I could see he was confused. “But you have a press pass. You can get in to see it, right?”
“Theoretically, I suppose.”
“You aren’t going to see it?”
“No.”
A companion with bleary eyes and blond hair looked incredulous. “Why not?!”
“It doesn’t interest me.”
They stared. I ignored them. The first guy spoke up again. “But [whatever the name of Sammy’s game is] interests you?”
“Not particularly.”
“Then why are you here?”
“It’s the first original game by Sammy Studios. That is kind of interesting.”

They found nothing else to say to me.

I didn’t make it to the show flow today. I was just too tired. Several days of barely any food or rest, and too much eventitude, was enough to make me immobile until maybe an hour or two ago. I guess that’s okay. I saw everything I really wanted to see, the first two days. Today would have just consisted of poking around. I heard that Katamari Damacy is playable in an obscure corner of Namco’s booth, for instance. Also, it would have been nice to have talked with Tycho some. I keep missing him, although Gabe seems to be everywhere. Then there is the Pac-Man game for the DS, that two people in a row asked me about. I never got a chance with it, as the booth babes were rather quick to shoo me out of the demo room.

I have things to write.

Most interesting items this year:

There’s the Nintendo DS. It really could be revolutionary. You can’t understand until you hold it. This has the most potential of any current system to do something interesting. The PSP, while attractive, is just more of the same thing that Sony has been doing for nine years. There is no comparison between the two systems. Nintendo wins, somehow. I am shocked and surprised.

Neo Contra is a new Contra game that might as well have been made by Treasure, although Kojima insists that it wasn’t. It is more fun and bizarre than any other game in the series besides perhaps Hard Corps, for the Genesis, and it might be an example for how to do a series like Ikari Warriors in the modern era.

I asked Michael Meyers for a demo of KOF: Maximum Impact. He asked me if I had a dev system. I told him no. He said that it probably wouldn’t do me much good then, at the moment. He will send me a press demo when they have one ready. And. Good, because I want to play more of this game. I think I spent more time here than anywhere else. SNK did it. This game is more than competent. It is darned good — on whatever terms you might want to examine it. Brandon and Vince dismiss it rather quickly. They didn’t look close enough. Seriously, this is the start of something really good for SNK. I’m proud of them.

I hate Biohazard. Resident Evil 4 (version 3) is probably tied for my game of the show, along with the chat program for the Nintendo DS. (Just trust me on that one.) As Tim put it, it is already a great game. While it ain’t perfect, I can’t blame its few downsides in the face of what it has accomplished. There is an energy here.

Then there is Rumble Roses. I…

Jesus.

This is perhaps the most honest thing I have seen in my life.

It is a female wrestling game, designed by Yuke’s and published by Konami. It includes a mud wrestling feature, and a girl with devil horns and a tail who is chained up in a cellar somewhere, being whipped by another woman. They are still deliberating whether to include a nude mode. I think they should. From what they have accomplished so far, I see no reason to hold back. It would… taint the honesty of the rest of the game. And they say it will be an adults-only game anyway (the videogame equivalent of NC-17), so why not.

Tim says that he bets the game was designed by a woman. I think I agree with him on that. It would… take a while to explain.

Perhaps most surprising is that it plays well. It is a real game, with real depth to it. It plays like a 3D fighter, basically. And it’s just plain fun. Although again, it does not pretend. One of the main options on the menu is a computer-versus-computer mode.

Beat that, Itagaki.

EDIT: Wrong subtitle. Guh.

Otakon, part one (of who-knows-how-many):

I somehow managed not to forget much of anything. It was probably the list that saved me; I get antsier than I care to describe whenever I feel I need to remember something, as I know how awful my memory is. Even my daily personal activities are threaded with a continuous charge of stress, as I become afraid that I’ll forget what I intended to do as soon as I walk downstairs or that something else will pop into my head or grab my attention, forcing out everything else I’m intricately trying to keep in balance and carry to its conclusion.

But I had the foresight to write a list for myself, before I assembled my materials to pack. It went from such necessary detail as the clothes and personal belongings and supplies I intended to bring with me, all the way into suggestions about what, and when, I might want to eat up until the time I left and reminders to shower and brush my teeth. Honestly, I need this kind of detail or else things simply aren’t going to get done.

At approximately the last minute, Shepard decided to get in touch with me (and subsequently everyone else) about his plans; he was going to arrive, and leave, by train; these were the times, these were the places to be. Once I packed, there was nothing left to do or weigh on my mind until Mike arrived to give me a lift.

The journey to Lan’s place in Troy didn’t seem as long as I imagined. I’ve gone all up and down the east coast with one or both of my parents, all through my youth, and it always seemed to take forever to get anywhere. It was only a matter of a few hours, and I don’t recall getting bored or even resorting to much in terms of amusement on the way down.

When it got down to the last several directions, the Mapquest directions that Mike printed were pretty glaringly inaccurate. It seems small quantities are a problem with the service, as it was impossible to judge distance by the numbers provvided. Three yards translated as a third of a mile, and two to three miles could be listed as two hundred feet.

Still, it only took limited wandering and experimentation before we found Lan’s address. Almost immediately upon moving our gear into his place, we all sauntered to the “other” apartment to meet Erin and Pat. While waiting for the party to arrange itself to go out, I played some of the Spy Hunter remake and — later — GunValkyrie, on Pat’s Xbox. The former isn’t too bad, and somehow reminds me a bit of Jet Set Radio. (Don’t ask me to explain why.) The latter, Pat claimed that no one likes. It is true that the controls are a little weird — the reviews certainly got that right — but after some experimentation I began to dig them pretty well. I’ll have to play more to offer any good impression, but what I saw was positive to my sensors.

We (I believe) then went to see Men in Black 2. (It was a sequel; that’s all there is I have to say on the matter.) We returned and watched a taped Eddie Izzard performance. And then Mike and I returned to Lan’s place, where I proceded to forget to either sleep or eat for the remainder of the night and until we left early the next morning.

I say Mike and I, although Lan did, I seem to remember, return for a short while. I think after a certain hour Lan has come to become a pumpkin as of late if he stays in his own apartment. Perhaps it’s cursed. Some things man is not meant to know.

End of prologue.