E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo) 2004

So, you want to hear about my trip to E3?  Well, I'll tell you.  Right now you have the opportunity of a lifetime: The chance to view E3 through the undeniably abnormal eyes of jitspoe.  This may only come once because I don't know if I'll be returning there.

Why not?  I suppose the problem is that the majority of the time is spent at E3 playing games that aren't completed, waiting in line to watch highly anticipated video game trailers, and seeing millions (probably billions) of dollars worth of flashing lights everywhere.  As a PC gamer, the first can easily be obtained by playing a game before installing the patches.  Waiting in line for a game trailer?  Pfft, just hit up fileplanet.com during the busy hours.   As for seeing more pretty, flashing, colored lights than can possibly be counted in the average lifespan of a human being... well, I guess you'd have to visit E3 for that.  I'm jumping ahead of myself.  Let's view things as they happened.

E3 Entrance - freaking huge

Here's the line for bag inspections.  Why do they do bag inspections?  I'm not sure.  With the thoroughness they inspect the bags, you could probably get away with bringing in anything short of an anti-tank missile launcher, but hey, at least the lines moved quickly.  Now, as you approach the conference center, you'll probably notice two things: a) it's really freaking huge, and b) there are a whole lot of people, but once you get inside you'll notice...

E3 - lots of people

a) There are a whole lot of people, and b) It's really freaking huge.
Now at this point I'm pretty psyched.  I'm about to enter an extremely exclusive trade show where only people directly associated with the entertainment industry are allowed to enter, right?  After amusing the guard by turning myself around instead of my swiveled badge due to a communication (or brain) malfunction, I was in, and... what? It was like a Disney Land for geeks!
No, it was Disney Land!  There were even pantless ducks, buck-toothed dogs, and silhouettes of gigantic H2O molecules there to greet us!  I took a picture, but it ended up turning out pretty blurry because I was intimidated by an overgrown kid with spiky hair wielding the largest key I've ever seen in my life.  Thus I moved along faster than my cameras shutter speed.  No worries, though, I have plenty of other photos to keep you entertained with.
First stop?  The jungle:

E3 - Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater

Complete with fog, artificial plants, rocks, and a life-sized Solid Snake, this exhibit has everything you need to watch a video game trailer.  Am I watching a trailer for a game or a movie?  It's hard to tell anymore, but it looks pretty awesome.  If the gameplay is anything like the video, I'm Metal Gear sold!  (As long as they make a PC version -- and yes, that was a really bad pun).  Oh, I should mention: Don't bring your pet boa into this booth.  It will get eaten.

Next, we visit the nVidia Borg:

E3 - nVidia Borg

Well, nVidia has been known to assimilate technology. ;)  This was pretty cool, though.  Unfortunately the room was dark and surrounded by glass, so the extreme glare made it impossible to get a good shot.  The Borg lady was actually a puppeteer.  All of her movements were reflected by nVidia's Dawn character (the pixie/fairy) in realtime.  The gal on the left -- here's a better shot of her:

E3 - nVidia Dawn voice

controlled the face and voice of Dawn.  They had a whole interactive show with her.  You can see the audience intently watching in the reflection.  Dawn played rock paper scissors with audience members.  Rules were: You win, you get a T-shirt.  You lose, you get a T-shirt.  Unfortunately for the fist contestant, he tied.  All 3 rounds.  What's even funnier is that the second contestant tied as well.
A glimpse of the Square Enix exhibit:

E3 - Square Enix

That giant, glowing white doorway?  Yeah, that's a really massive collection of LED's.  It's like 5 uber-TVs combined to make one giant uber-uber-TV in the shape of a doorway.  I wish I had one of those.  I'd find a way to make some game for it despite its odd shape.  Some uber-game.  Call it ...uber-goober... or something.
And here we have a man balancing a model car on his ear:

E3 - Crash n Burn

Don't let the perspective fool you.  That's actually a full size vehicle suspended from the ceiling... just a car hanging from the ceiling, that's all.
speaking of hanging, there was a dummy hanging out at the Punisher exhibit for quite a while.

E3 - Punisher hanging out

Hanging out and over.  He was motorized, too, so he'd swing back and forth.  In the movie he got dropped, but unfortunately that never happened in the set. :(

E3 - World of Warcraft Dwarf

Don't touch this guy.  He gets really ticked off.  Trust me; you don't want to tick off a dwarf, especially if he's armed with a bladed, projectile-firing trumpet.  This is for the World of Warcraft display, by the way.

E3 - World of Warcraft uber-screen

Of course there was one of those uber-LED screens to go along with it.
Having seen enough of the glamorous South Hall for a while, we decided to head downstairs to the Kentia Hall.  It was quieter down here.  You could actually hear conversations with your friends and walk along paths of your own choosing, rather than get pushed along with the mob glob.

E3 - Classic Gaming

I'm not sure why so few came down here.  I mean, there were some really quality games to check out, like Space Invaders and Ms. Pac Man.  It was a real let down that Puppy Pong didn't work, though.

E3 - Dancing Robots

Oh, and they had dancing robots!  Dance, robots, dance!  The system is down!
When I was going through the exhibitor list, I noticed "Powergrid Fitness," and I wondered what in the world a fitness center was doing at E3.  I mean, sure geeks need exercise, but E3 is probably the last place you'll be slapping some sense into them.  When I actually saw their exhibit, though, it turned out to be pretty cool.

E3 - Powergrid Fitness

It's a controller, compatible with pretty much any popular gaming system, where you have to push or pull the whole controller around (using quite a bit of force, I might add) in place of using the analog joystick.  It seemed to be pretty effective.  You can still be a gaming dork, but this way you'll be a really buff gaming dork.

E3 - Half-Life 2

Oh... HL2... I just downloaded the E3 video when I got back so I didn't have to stand around in line.

E3 - Nokia N-Gage

N-Gage had a kind of cool looking light show... er, exhibit.  They actually had Call of Duty on their systems... a very low resolution, low detail, low polygon, short draw distance Call of Duty.  I tried to play it, but I found it a bit difficult to control.  Somehow playing a first person shooter on a... thing that you hold in your hands doesn't quite cut it, plus it needs a better button layout or something.  I guess it might work for some people, but I never get away from my computer long enough to be desperate enough for a gaming fix to use a handheld.
This is getting to be pretty long, so I'll continue on with a new page later.
Will the people survive the giant, inflatable spiderman?  Who managed to kill Fatal1ty?  Will people heed the warnings about going toward the light?  Will Arthur manage to shoot enough flying spheres with a laser gun?  Is there really an air-conditioned building inside of an air-conditioned building?  How many payphones are still functioning in the conference center?  Who will win the live martial arts battle?  Is Gordon Freedmon a real person?  What was the most entertaining game at E3?  Find out next time on Exciting E3 Expeditions with jitspoe (E5w/j)!

[continue to page 2]

[Back to the Joint]

Created May.22.2004, Commentary and photographs (c) 2004 Nathan "jitspoe" Wulf
Names and things in the photos (c) Whoever They Belong To.