|Electronic Entertainment Expo 2001|
This is a short description of my journey through the Electronic Entertainment Exposition. Since I wanted to travel light, I only took a digital camera with me. The pictures aren't the greatest, but they still help illustrate the awe I felt.
I arrived at the West Hall entrance at 2:00 on Friday. I picked this end of the convention center as my starting point because it contained the parties of Nintendo and Sony, the only two companies I really wanted to see. I met my friends in at the main entrance and proceeded to the festivities. (Don't be fooled by their trickery. The action is below the stairs, not up them.)
The first booth I headed for was Nintendo. Inside I was met by what looked to be half of LA. I hadn't felt this cramped since that Metallica concert, but I hardly noticed as my eyes were drawn to the rows of TV's featuring future GameCube games. I had a chance to play the up coming Jurassic P--I mean Starfox adventure, and I can assure you that the game does look as good as the screenshots. It plays like the Zelda's of the N64, which was a bit disappointing, but I might forgive them and buy the game anyway just so I can see that crystal clear, surrealistic water again. I also saw the new Super Smash Bros., Wave Race, and Luigi's Mansion. Amazing is all I can say. Certainly better than anything I could ever hope for on the PS2.
After looking at the merchandising section, I came across a little device that plays GB games, but it's not a Gameboy. Now everyone knows, well anyone who visits the Nintendo web site, that emulators are illegal. So what would you call it? How about a "proprietary software adaptation" of the hardware?. Heh, I like that. I think I'll use it in my future documentation.
Nintendo also featured many Gameboy Advance systems to test. I spent more time here, because the lines were shorter, and got my hands on Super Mario, F-Zero, and Wario. I also got to play the yet unreleased Diddy Kong Flying. The control took a second to get used to because it uses a gyroscope or something to detect orientation changes in the GB which are in turn used to control your character. No d-pad action here, this is full motion hand control. Aside from the HUGE cart (I hope that was just the prototype model), the graphics were great.
Nintendo was offering a contest to win a Gameboy Advance. To be eligible to win, you had to first play the GameCube and GB Advance, then find a representative to stamp a card for each. That was the easy part. To actually enter, you had to stand in a three hour line that zigzagged through the booth then out and down the hall.
My friend and I waited in line for an hour just to have a Nintendo rep cut right in front of us and say that no more people could enter. Certainly he could've allowed just two more people through. Maybe he was offended by the PS2 hat I was wearing. Anyway, hurt by the cruelty of this man, we decided to show our spite by crossing the walkway to Sony's booth.
By now, time was running out, so we didn't spend much time with Sony. Just long enough to look at all the new games coming out for the PSX and PS2. We then jumped over to SEGA, but it appeared you had to be l337 to get in. They did have some demos running outside showing future titles, like Sonic for the GB Advance.
Now it was time to go. Slowly I made my way to the hotel, which took a little longer than expected since none of us knew where we were going. After checking into my room (which had a great view of the ocean, something we don't have where I live), we got something to eat and retired. I went to be early, because I wanted to get back to E3 when they opened so I could be first in line to win a GB Advance.
I awoke at 7:30, ready to hit the Big N for my prize, but due to circumstances beyond my control, I didn't get to the convention center until 10:00! The line was even longer today. But I decided I had nothing better to do, having already seen most of what I came for. The wait wasn't too bad. There were "Advance" people walking around with eight or so units attached to them that you could play while standing in line. (I forgot to get a picture of one of them.)
Three hours later we got to the game table. Thirteen people would sit around a circular table with an inner ring constructed of glass boxes filled with various promotional material. Introductions would be made, then the hosts would spin the ring around. When the spinning stopped, whatever was in front of you was yours to keep.
After introducing ourselves, the hosts tried to get us pumped up by asking us to scream and make noise. While everyone else was giving a mediocre "yea", I made sure my presence was known. (There aren't very many times when you can make a fool of yourself and get away with it, and I was taking everything I could get.) The table began to turn, and the cheers died down (all except for me, anyway) and people eyed the containers, wondering which one held the grand prize and hoping it would stop in front of them. When the table ceased to move, and the contents delivered, there was no question who discovered a Gameboy Advance inside their complimentary carrying case. The four hours of waiting was well worth it. :)
Unfortunately the excitement was short lived, because I quickly realized that there were NO GAMES! What am I supposed to do with a system with no games? Oh well, it was still fun, and I endured the badgerment of "you suck" with a smile.
Next was the Micro$oft booth. Surprizingly, their booth was half the size of their competitors. I took a few moments to check out the Xbox, and I can honestly say I was not impressed. I don't think anyone was. The graphics looked good, better that most of the PS2 games I thought, but everyone I talked to seemed to agree that after all the hype from M$, the Xbox just didn't live up.