Okay, so I left off without talking about my Friday. I'm sorry. This rant will be about Friday at E3, and then it'll be an overall wrap-up, including a few highlights that happened in the hotel room and in the greater LA area.
So Friday was a bit more leisurely than the other two days, mostly because I didn't have much on my plate. But given how stressed I was, I woke up around 6 AM with a Hamusutaa in my bed, and oddly that didn't surprise me at all. I sort of walked around in a circle for a few hours for no apparent reason other than to welcome the creeping onset of madness, and then it was 9 AM and time to head off for my 10 AM appointment with SNK.
Once at SNK, I spent most of my time with Metal Slug 3, one of my favorite side-scrollers of all time. I saw Samurai Shodown Five/Zero, but I've simply become disenchanted with SNK fighters after what I believe is the pinnacle of their creation, King of Fighters '98. Guilty Gear is the premier 2D fighter these days, and Capcom's recent lackluster offerings have done nothing to unseat Sammy's series. Meanwhile, I've heard bad things about Samurai Shodown Five/Spirits Zero for months via Hodge-Podge (who, by the way, is working to get oop-ack back up within the next month... we're both getting our asses kicked by work) and so, I laid off of that.
And then it was glorious, terrible freedom, as I was finally able to see what I wanted to see. My first stop was the theater THQ had set up for Destroy All Humans, and their wonderful little theater, headed by an authentic 1950s-era Man in Black, gets my prize as the second-best presentation of show (more on that later).
After that I ran off with the Hamster and the Princess to see Sid Meier's Pirates!, which is a remake of one of the first PC games I ever played. In case you're wondering, my first PC games were Decathlon (with Bruce Jenner!), Moria (a rogue-type), Deathtrak, Bard's Tale, Battletech: Crescent Hawk's Inception, and some Gold Box game I can't remember.
Anyway, Pirates! looks awesome, though I'm kind of leery of the addition of a stealth mini-game to the core of its scallywag gameplay. I mean, it's a Pirates! mini-game that doesn't actually involve sailing, swords or cannons. What's the point of that? The Pirate DDR (AKA the ballroom dancing system) is pretty neat, though.
After that came the scariest part of the show, turning around during the Pirates! presentation and seeing Safety Monkey looming over me. Safety Monkey is by no means a small man, and considering he'd just been singing the praises of Splinter Cell, I was afraid he'd snap my neck and whisper taunts in my ear as I faded out of this world.
But thankfully, he didn't do that, and from there it was a stop by the Tecmo booth... which I'll also check out later. I wasn't even able to see what they were showing off, the testosterone was so thick.
After a few more stops I can't even remember anymore, it was then time to run back to the hotel and pack up to go--though before that, Hamusutaa, Safety Monkey, BatJew, BatJewess, and the robot known to many as Ian McConville decided that the best way to wrap up the week would be the unhealthiest lunch we could think of. So we went to Carl's Jr., where I had a bacon and cheese baked potato, a Six Dollar Western Cheeseburger, chili cheese fries, and I think a cup of lard. I'm not sure if there was cheese on the fries, but I do know I sucked down that lard like a pro. And after the food deprivation that marked the rest of the show, it was very, VERY good. It was especially nice given that it was again my first solid food of the day, a habit that many people yelled at me for, but I couldn't help. I was working, dammit!
As a sidenote, due to the severe stress I underwent while working E3, the next MT fan who says to me "I envy you so much for going to E3" will be punched. Not hard, just punched. Because if you want to go for fun? More power to you. If you want to be me and work 12 hour days with little food and no rest? You're an idiot.
So that just about wraps up the show for me--if you want to know about games that I didn't spend enough time on, go ahead and e-mail me with questions, and I'll answer them in Friday's rant. Until then, here are a few stories from the hotel room, and E3 statistics that may only matter to me:
First, the story of how Ian's hat met my crotch. So it was Thursday night and I was exhausted. Given that I slept in the living room of the hotel room I shared with the Real Life people, it wasn't easy going trying to get to sleep, what with four or five people gathered around Ian as he started drawing his comic. And when they, as a collective, all said that I just HAD to see Ian's "Meh macro is broxor" comic, I grudgingly pulled myself out of bed and wandered over there. Given that I was IN bed and all, I was just wearing my trademark heart boxers and a T-shirt of some sort, which prompted cries of "Dom, cover yourself up for God's sake!". So I grabbed the nearest piece of loose clothing and put it over my crotch (not like I was actually showing anything, because, well, they're good boxers). That happened to be Ian's hat. Which prompted cries of "Dom, stop molesting Ian's hat!". Geez, people, make up your minds on what you want...
In a slightly more clothed story, Safety Monkey and I won $25 or so from the Real Life folks, which we've placed in a private "Let's go drink on other people's money" fund, which I probably won't touch much given the whole "I don't drink" thing. But the fund exists, which is the important part.
Meanwhile, Liz seems amenable to playing H games, and while it seems a bit odd that Liz would play them before Greg would, it's all good. Because I get to show her the strategy games, the 2D action games, and other things I own which just happen to have porn attached to them. Not like she'll understand a word that's said, but hey, we'll have both played the same game--that's the important part, sharing the love. Or in some cases, the tentacle love. But that's neither here nor there, and I'm not even sure why I said that, other than the fact I like to say the word "tentacle".
Other stories include my incoherent babbling on the way back from the convention center on Wednesday--sitting in the back seat of Liz and Greg's car, I'm not even sure what I said to them, other than the fact that I created a new word: rabagan. It's a noun, and means "one who rabagans". I think rabaganning involves theft of some sort, but I honestly don't remember that car ride very clearly, so you'll have to ask the RL folks.
And now, on to my personal favorite part of any con report, Babbling with Numbers Attached at the End (and a few show prizes):
Number of times I walked past the Tecmo booth: 2
Total amount of time I spent looking at the Tecmo booth before I had to look away in disgust: 20 seconds
Number of women I counted in the audience of said Tecmo booth: 1
Least Number of Sequels On the Floor (tie): Sammy, THQ. Other than Guilty Gear Isuka and maybe a couple THQ games I didn't notice, those two booths were a breath of fresh air in a floor full of sequels (Capcom, EA, I'm looking at you).
Best concept of show: Evil Genius. Freedom Force 2 would've been on this list but they're self-publishing and didn't have any floor presence. This makes me sad. But Evil Genius, as I said, makes me happy because it provides so much PURE GLEE. From the ability to gloat over prisoners to the myriad humorous torture methods, this is an overdue idea and I'm glad that it's coming out this September. More power to you, Elixir!
Second best concept of show: Destroy All Humans. As I said, THQ put on a special show for this one, which included a guy dressed as a man in black delivering great line after great line. See, in Destroy All Humans you get to play as an alien invading earth during the 1950s, and you get to take over men's minds, interrogate them, or just plan destroy them with your disintegrator beam, your death ray, or your psychokinesis. And of course, you say "Pathetic humans!" a lot, and this looks like a surefire hit in 2005 if they live up to the concept.
Least complete game of show: Prince of Persia II. Okay, seriously, why not just show a video instead of showing a single, buggy room? Okay, we know that the Prince looks like Trent Reznor. We know that the Prince is "darker" and can use two swords. But did you need to show off his one new move so badly that you'd create a buggy little room to show it off? Oh, look, he has a sword in his left hand and he doesn't use it in the current system. Yeah, that's real sharp. Seriously, didn't anyone learn from Sega's 3% complete Vectorman blunder from last year?
Most joy in game creation (tie): Evil Genius' Elixir Studios, Bard's Tale's InXile. Nothing says "We love making games" quite like paying attention to all the little details, from casting Cary Elwes as your sarcastic hero to writing songs about beer and figuring out how everything can be used to torment superspies. Noogie!
Least joy in game creation: Capcom. Seriously, other than the Viewtiful Joe team, does anyone at Capcom actually LIKE making games anymore? Each year they bring out the same crap, with a few retreads and meaningless additions. Devil May Cry 3 had three playable fighting styles for Dante, and only one was at all interesting--Trickster. The others were just plain boring, especially Gunslinger, which involved hitting square a lot and hurting your thumb. Note that I'm not counting Onimusha 3 on this indictment of Capcom, which came out before the show and is therefore not something I'd call "on display".
Best game to play while drunk: Guilty Gear Isuka. "Dammit, I'm on your team!" "Oh, sorry, I'll stop hitting you." "You'd better, you bag-wearing freak! Stop poking me in the ass!" "Well, I can't promise that part..."
Worst game to play while drunk: Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth. 'Nuff said.
Best game that's all about getting drunk (tie): Pirates! and Bard's Tale.
Best presentation of show: Splinter Cell 3. If you haven't read any other gaming site's glowing description of Sam Fisher's next adventure, go do so. I can't do it justice.
Second-best presentation of show: Destroy All Humans.
Third-best presentation of show: Square Enix: The Ride. Seriously, the Square Enix theater spun, the Aeron chairs spun, and if I'd had food in me, I might have vomited gleefully, Roller Coaster Tycoon-style. I just spun and spun and spun, while they showed me some games that I was kind of interested in.
Most promising no-show: Freedom Force 2. We all know it's coming... it's just not there because they don't have the money to get a booth.
Most disappointing no-shows (tie): True Fantasy Live and Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. Where were you guys?
Best RPG on the floor: Fable. Jade Empire came close, but Fable is what convinced me that the Xbox RPG drought, which saw a shining oasis in the form of KotOR, is over. Long live the Xbox RPG! As for Final Fantasy XII... I just can't deal with the fact that I set my characters to attack, TURNED AROUND AND TALKED TO THE PR PERSON, and then turned around with the fight won. I'm sorry, but a game that can be beaten without any input from you is just not appealing.
Best fighting game on the floor: Guilty Gear Isuka. See above.
Best stealth action game on the floor: Splinter Cell 3 doesn't quite count because it wasn't playable, so Starcraft: Ghost gets the nod here. I'm looking forward to Spy Fiction, but that wasn't exactly playable, and thus I give this award to Blizzard for giving us more Starcraft. I just wish that fighting zerglings was a bit more interesting. It got kind of old.
Best FPS on the floor: Surprisingly? Far Cry. Doom 3 and Half-Life 2 have been floating around the magazine circuit so long they aren't showing us anything NEW. And I just wasn't impressed with Half-Life 2 having the same multiplayer as Half-Life 1. Where's Team Fortress 2, dammit?
Best puzzle game on the floor: Pikmin 2. Mmm, all the Pikmin, none of the time limit.
Best movie on the floor: The Incredibles trailer. Woman, where's my super suit?!
Best strategy game on the floor: I actually didn't look at very many, so I'll have to trust Ian's judgment on this one and say "Well, Ian said he really liked Warhammer 40K: Dawn of War."
Game that gave me the most warm fuzzies: Playing Combat at the Classic Gaming Expo booth. It's all about invisible tanks, bouncing bullets, baby. That and Space Invaders.
Best piece of swag: Natsume was giving out plush cows. But dammit, I wanted a chicken hat. I was denied the chicken hat. Boo!
Best T-shirt: The Bard's Tale T-shirt simply says "I am the chosen one!" on the front. Simple and effective, except for the fact that the tag on the thing is really, really itchy. I need to take care of that.
So that's all I can think of right now! If there's anything more you'd like to know about the show, just e-mail me with a general request and I'll fulfill as many of them as possible