E3 2006


Thank shit that is over.

I had bad memories of Los Angeles, and it was really depressing to see that they were all still pretty much valid. After just coming from San Francisco (which I’m not going to write about, except to say that I was fortunate to get great weather most of the time and had a blast), LA felt like a major downgrade.

First of all, it is mostly grey – the air and the ground. What isn’t grey on the ground is probably the road. The whole place just filled me with dread the second I stepped off the plane.

Anyway, LA aside, E3 was really only vaguely entertaining for me this year – highlights included, in approximate order:

– Seeing the Microsoft press conference – they have some good stuff coming. Live Anywhere has some serious potential.

– Seeing Bill Gates IRL. I was wondering what all the security was for when I arrived – lots of incredibly serious looking heavies.

– Enemy Territory: Quake Wars. Looking good, baby. Also, meeting Kevin Cloud from id Software and Paul Wedgwood from Splash Damage.

– Rainbow Six: Lockdown looks awesome.

– Didn’t get to tinker with a Nintendo Wii but from what I heard and read, it sounds pretty good.

Wasn’t impressed with Sony’s offering or the PlayStation 3, to be honest. I didn’t get to see any steller titles for it (like Assassin’s Creed which by all reports is shaping up to look hot), and the release price – yowza.

E3’s changed a bit since I was there last in ’99. It is jam packed full of people, all the time. The exhibits are gaudier and noisier. There must be millions and millions of dollars spent, but somehow – it feels cheaper. Stretched.

I don’t really know what the point of a trade show is for computer games. I’m sure a lot of connections get made, deals get signed, ideas are shared, and that sort of thing. But it has turned into such a media blowout that it’s just really hard to take it seriously – publishers and developers trying their best to edge each other out to get the most coverage for their titles.

I think the entire thing would benefit from a no-media policy. Probably a weird thing to say from someone that only goes there as media (and E3 is such a popular time for gamers in general) but without them it might be less of a circus.

Anyway, with the exception of the Saddle Ranch – a great cowboy’ed up restaurant right near the hotel with awesome food – LA’s been the lowlight of the trip.

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