Top 5 Moments of E3 2010
1. Dead Rising 2
Last year I wrote about how the Electronic Entertainment Expo was bringing back the booth babes, and I am quite happy to say that the trend continued during my visit to E3 this year. Beautiful women (and men!) were to be found in abundance, but none were quite so striking as the lovely zombies of the Dead Rising 2 display at the Capcom booth.
“Zombies?!?” you might say…yes indeed, these scantily-clad, toned, tanned, chained zombies and their equally-attractive handlers put on quite a show. As the hot blonde zombie chick strained to reach me from her cage, presumably to eat me (be still my heart!), hippie zombie lovers began to wander the crowd passing out “free the zombies!” literature. Soon thereafter a riot broke out, with the hippies getting tackled and pinned by macho guards with Abercrombie & Fitch looks.
Speaking of macho guards, my favorite moment came when I tried to ask an attractive “booth hunk” when the next “riot” would be held, since I wanted to get some video of the event. I know that booth babes (and guys too, apparently) aren’t exactly known for, shall we say, being up to date on the products being exhibited, but I never thought things were this bad.. He responded with “uhh…riot?” I proceeded to have to explain to him what the meaning of the word “riot” was.
Eventually our heroine found her answer, no thanks to the fact that apparently one doesn’t need a large vocabulary to earn a living as an actor in LA.
Picture driving outside the spectacle that is E3, with banners and billboards resplendent across the face of the Los Angeles Convention Center, then coming upon the Staples Center, all decked out in Lakers gold to celebrate the night’s NBA finals game…and then an entire parking lot full of cars flying the North Korean flag.
At first I had no idea what was going on, until I read a sign stating that this was “North Korean Subsidized Parking.” “Could this be true??” I thought to myself. Would Kim Jong-Il be crazy enough to buy out a parking lot in front of the Staples Center as a propaganda tool during the NBA finals? I found out the answer soon enough when I saw, at the end of the parking lot, a huge billboard promoting Homefront, an upcoming FPS put out by Kaos Studios/THQ, regarding the invasion of the USA by North Korea.
The game’s writer John Milius co-wrote Apocalypse Now and wrote Red Dawn, and the game itself looks intriguing. The booth inside the convention was quite impressive; fortified, with lookout towers and guards patrolling raised battlements, pointing their guns at photographers, it made quite a splash. Best of all, we didn’t have to pay for parking throughout the whole convention, so score one for THQ!
Even among the bright lights and gaudy exhibits of E3, the Virtusphere stood out. It looks like a giant hamster ball, and its aim is to provide a more “real” virtual reality experience. I just had to try it and make this video below (and for some reason as I was getting in, cameras started appearing in droves from the crowd!).
In theory the device could work beautifully. As I walked and ran inside the sphere the goggles on my face displayed reactions to the movement of my feet and the gun/controller in my hand. In practice though it left a little to be desired. No matter how fast I moved my character reacted rather slowly, and the controls/display were very clunky. It is likely a proof-of-concept, and a pretty good one at that, but for me to want to get in it and play a game they’ll have to improve the interface, the applications that use it, and the display goggles.
4. All Points Bulletin
Of most any game I saw at E3, I spent the most hands-on time with APB, the upcoming third-person shooter MMO from Realtime Worlds. The game looks and feels a lot like GTA or Crackdown, which it should as David Jones, one of the original GTA and Crackdown team members, is leading the game design. It is set in a fictional modern-day city with a failing government where players choose to be Criminals or thugs hired to enforce the law against the criminals (Enforcers).
I got to meet the Realtime Worlds team at their booth, and I could not have been more impressed. The game, from character and vehicle customization, through blowing up people with bazookas, was enjoyable. They seemed to be succeeding where others have failed by creating a MMO that is evenly balanced between gear and skill. I’m not sure how it will play out over the long run, but my small taste of it was positive. And the RTW guys definitely know how to throw an APB party. I had the pleasure of hanging out with the Suicide Girls (including my girl crush Bob Suicide) at the Bordello; make no mistake, those guys can hang!
5. Project Natal / Kinect
Project Natal has been re-branded as Microsoft’s Kinect, and E3 was plastered with it. There were stages, fishbowls, displays, and monitors, filled with people dancing, singing, exercising, and playing sports. Microsoft Kinect is motion-controlled gaming for the Xbox 360, but unlike the Wii players can interact with objects and games without a controller.
From what I saw the system appears to work rather well. Movements may have to be exaggerated a bit, but the over-exuberant dancers’ motions were replicated on screen as well as could be expected, and sports played out as I imagined they might. I didn’t get a chance to try a hands-on (or hands-off?) session, so I can’t comment on how it feels, but I am definitely looking forward to that in the future!
Speaking of ‘hands on’ — check back often for more poppin’ fresh booth babe photos, game previews and more E3 related goodies!