Ely Awards - Best of E3 Edition
IÃ‚'ll assume that we all have the presence of mind to realize that every Ã‚"˜best of E3Ã‚' is an absolute example of subjectivity run amok.Ã‚Â And yet, you canÃ‚'t come back from the show without being bombarded with questions about what looked good, what looked bad, and what surprised you.Ã‚Â So, I offer up these Ã‚"˜best ofÃ‚' positions in the spirit of blatant flippancy with the hope that no one will take it all too seriously.Ã‚Â So, please, donÃ‚'t yell at me if we donÃ‚'t agree on game of the show.
Best Booth of the Show Ã‚– Nintendo -Ã‚Â Maybe it was just that Nintendo provided the frame around which I judged everyone else, as they were my very first booth, but when I saw those banners for long awaited games alongside some interesting surprises, I just got all tingly. It took me a good five minutes to even notice SonyÃ‚'s booth nearby, a twisting and disorderly affair full of games IÃ‚'d be hard pressed to remember much less care about. Though NintendoÃ‚'s booth was not full to near bursting with a host of perfectly mediocre games, holding to their presumed tradition of placing quality above quantity, what they did show looked all at once fun and innovative. At the very least, Nintendo fans have a lot to look forward to.
Worst Financial Decision of the Trip Ã‚– Renting a car in LA -Ã‚Â HereÃ‚'s something you can do to simulate LA traffic leaving the airport at 5:30 in the afternoon. Go into your kitchen, and find a plastic fork. If you donÃ‚'t have one drive to the store entirely in reverse to purchase one. Come back home and jab the plastic fork into your eye until the prongs break off. Then put some Air Supply on the radio and hit yourself in the face with your television remote controls until the batteries fall out.
Also, parking was bad.
Worst Game of the Show Ã‚– Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude -Ã‚Â This is the kind of game that makes DOA Xtreme Beach Volleyball look like a reserved and cultural sports simulation, that makes PorkyÃ‚'s seem like a somber cultural study, that makes The Man Show seem a paragon of feminism Ã‚"… well you get the idea. A hack mix of mini-games revolving around the polygonal near exposure of nipples in a co-ed environment the game is as subtle as jabbing a plastic fork in your eye until the prongs break off.
Best Out of Context Quote Ã‚– "LetÃ‚'s just all go to bed before something else gay happens." (Pyro) - Yeah, I think the less said about that, the better.
Worst Booth of the Show Ã‚– Atari -Ã‚Â This was a pretty tricky one to call, and though other companies had less than stellar showings, they usually still managed to put up a decent booth. I donÃ‚'t know, maybe Atari had some awesome playground of the Gods hidden far from the prying eyes of mortal men, but their public area wasnÃ‚'t just unpleasant, it left you wishing you had never come in to begin with. A long room with seven displays projecting their only publicly shown game, Driv3r (annoyance factor plus one for putting the numeral three in the actual name of the game) bathed in a painful red light that left me certain I must be coming down with a migraine. Imagine triggering a high powered camera flash mere millimeters from your eyes, and then trying to play a video game and youÃ‚'ve got a general impression of what AtariÃ‚'s booth was like. Worse still, there was no decoration to speak of in this immense red vacant room; some people milling about wishing theyÃ‚'d never come in, the banks of Driv3r, and a permeating red. ThatÃ‚'s it. Just awful.
Most Surprising Game of the Show Ã‚– Sims 2 -Ã‚Â I absolutely refuse to feel bad about my praise of the Sims 2 showing. Look, I could be all jaded, maybe tilt my hat sideways, cross my arms, and thrust my chest forward like a baboon in heat (or a rap star, your choice), trying to prove my hardcoredness to you, but it would be a total facade. Fact is, The Sims 2 looks fantastic as the element of devising a life and managing the relationships therein seems to hold sway over the boring elements of the predecessor. With changing goals, long term character development, and a strong AI to manage the mundane tasks of life, The Sims 2 seems to be putting an emphasis on fun. And, IÃ‚'ll play BarbieÃ‚'s Happy Time Mudbath as long itÃ‚'s actually fun.
Cooler Old Guy (Elysium or Sway) Ã‚– Sway -Ã‚Â On Sunday I turned 31, and on the same date Sway crossed the big three-oh, so itÃ‚'s safe to say we were essentially chaperones for Certis and Pyro, who both honestly needed a good chaperoning.Ã‚Â That fact doesnÃ‚'t make it any less painful when Pyro pointed out that where I, in fact, look thirty-one, Sway just doesnÃ‚'t seem that old. As if to drive home that point, Sway immediately snatched up his cell phone (which I presume was ringing, though I wouldnÃ‚'t put it past him to have been faking it) and said something along the lines of, Ã‚"Yo, Dog, whatÃ‚'s up.Ã‚" More troubling was that in his seemingly infinite nonchalance, he actually pulled the phrase off without sounding like an unmitigated jackass. A staggering feat at age thirty. As for me; gazpacho is cooler than I.
Best Moment of the Show Ã‚– Being asked if weÃ‚'d like to play Halo 2 -Ã‚Â Fresh from an enlightening interview with one of the producers from Gas Powered Games, we were all set Ã‚– braced perhaps Ã‚– to get the lowdown on Zoo Tycoon 2. It was nice enough being behind the curtain at Microsoft where one could actually get cold water without paying two-dollars. That alone would have left us feeling pretty good about our visit with the big boys, but when our PR rep leaned in close and asked if we might be interested in skipping the Zoo Tycoon 2 interview and getting a peek at Halo 2, well letÃ‚'s just say it was an easy choice. Halo 2 was shown in a dark room with comfy chairs, and silly as it sounds there was an air of accomplishment as we were ushered past people just trying to peer into this cordoned off area and given some playtime on the game everyone wanted to put their hands on. Like I said before, it was a high point. The high point, in fact.
Game We Wanted to Make Fun of But CanÃ‚'t Ã‚– Jump to Lightspeed -Ã‚Â Not unlike The Sims 2, I mostly approached this one prepared to emit my well practiced Nelson laugh, a thing I really should have done when the Phantom blue-screened, but I choked. Shown in ATIÃ‚'s booth, I shudder to tell you all how weak willed I am when it comes to Sony Online. But dammit, it looked fun! You get a ship with the purchase of the expansion. You can play the entire game in space, accumulating wealth, outfitting yourself with new craft and equipment, running missions, and doing it all in a crisp looking Star Wars space backdrop. I know, I know, Jumpgate already does all that and a thousand things more, but .. but Ã‚"… Tie Fighters dammit! Millennium Falcon! Curse you Sony and LucasArts for making me believe again!
Worst Thing to Eat at the Show Ã‚– Chili JalapeÃƒÂ±o Nachos -Ã‚Â Frankly, IÃ‚'m surprised I didnÃ‚'t die.
Average Distance Sway Tried to Keep Between Himself and Us Ã‚– 15 feet -Ã‚Â Perhaps aware of his hyper-cool old person status, Sway was, is, and presumably will continue to be a pretty enigmatic guy. As part of his mystery wrapped enigma which in heavy doses presumably becomes a full-fledged personality, Sway made it a point to distance himself from us on the street, never quite breaking into a jog, but certainly distant enough that he could make ignoring us a plausible action. I must admit, however, that itÃ‚'s entirely possible he considered us a prime candidate for death by drive by, and kept away as a defense mechanism.
Most Overused Graphic Feature Ã‚– Shiny Metallic Surfaces -Ã‚Â Look guys, I know itÃ‚'s cool to have reflective surfaces, but this is getting out of hand. ItÃ‚'s become like Michael McDonald singing Motown, it has the shape of something gritty and visceral, but itÃ‚'s so ridiculously polished and false that it loses all meaning.
Game of the Show Ã‚– Vampire: The Maquerade Ã‚– Bloodlines -Ã‚Â This was a hard call for me.Ã‚Â Halo 2 probably comes in a somewhat close second, but my limited exposure to that game whetted my appetite, but didnÃ‚'t show me anything significantly new.Ã‚Â It was an awesome round of CTF, but it was still basically CTF with some nice vehicles and dual wielding.Ã‚Â Half-Life 2Ã‚'s footage looked fantastic, but with nothing playable on the floor I just canÃ‚'t give it the nod.Ã‚Â Vampire, however, showed off Valve Source engine in a fully realized city, displayed multiple environments, hinted at some fantastic visual and gameplay effects, displayed a complete character creation and development system, and touched on the story to come.Ã‚Â It was as complete a package as is practical at E3, and everything about the game screams quality.Ã‚Â