Alright folks, so that's it, day 3 is in the book. All the hype, the questions about what project Natal would become, the anticipation of getting a first look at games of the show floor, and (at least in my case) the uncertainty about how it would all unfold have now been put to rest. The best explanation of the feeling that I'm left with is a feeling of satisfaction combined with disappointment. Satisfaction in that I finally got to experience every gamers' dream: I got to meet sonic, shake hands with Peter Moore, get a picture taken with a frag doll, and fight with a bunch of faux jedi masters all while experiencing the latest technology before it hits store shelves. Disappointment is there because it is over. I joked with people on day 3 of the show that I am going to start trying to flash my media badge to get in places only to be met with quizzical looks because stuff like that doesn't work in the rest of the world. Experiencing E3 from a media perspective is an experience unlike any other, even when you are just covering it for a small media outlet that no one has heard of and I'm a more than a little sad that I have to give that up and go back to my regular life. Plus, I lost my camera at the end of day 3, talk about a buzz kill. Anyway, here are some final thoughts from the show and what I saw there.
-Sony may not have had the best show but they are learning some lessons from its past mistakes. This one was actually from a developer when I was taking a look at John Daly: Pro Stroke Golf (impressions on that will be up in a bit). When the PS3 was released, Sony got the dev kits to the developers pretty late in the process which resulted in not the best launch line-up. Sony has done the exact opposite with the move, and I saw some titles which, although not tremendously innovative in terms of the use of the move, integrate it in a very refined and finished way.
-The Harmonix guys are awesome. I gushed about their game in the impressions that I put up but what I didn't talk about was just how cool they are. The people at that studio really want to make a great music game and give users a fanastic music experience and it shows in their game. Plus, they're just a bunch of funny, down to earth people.
-Developers aren't quite sure how to take full advantage of the Kinect yet. Most of the titles that I saw on the show floor which use the new peripheral are the very obvious choices: dancing games and EA ACTIVE-esque products are the obvious choices, but if Microsoft wants the Kinect to really take off they need to find a way to have developers harness the technology of the Kinect and create real, deep games that take advantage of it. After all, well polished dancing games will only take you so far.
-Nintendo's yet again showed why they are the leaders in this generation: they simply make quality, innovative products. Nintendo has been relying on the same titles year after year and people keep buying them because they are simply good games that deliver quality experiences. Moreover, although I didn't get a hands-on with the 3DS, it could safely be considered the most innovative hardware piece on the floor, at least that I saw/heard of. Nintendo may not have the highest technology in the console market, but the sure do in handhelds.
-Portal 2 has the best level design I have ever seen, every second of the trailer that I watched left my jaw open at the innovation Valve was showing with that title.
-I didn't get to touch on much of the Nintendo booth, for this I apologize. The lines and appointments worked out in such a way that it was very difficult to go hands on with Nintendo's biggest titles. I did get a copy of Nintendo's press kit and will be filtering through all of that information over the next couple of days so hopefully I can at least keep you up to speed with their latest developments.
-If the booths I saw were any indication, PC gaming really is going downhill. I barely saw any booths set up which had PC games outside of MMOs and strategy games, almost all action adventure games were console titles which will also appear on the PC. This could just have been a cost consideration, but it also seems to represent (at least to me) that most gamers in titles that are not strategy or MMOs favor consoles
-That being said, the fact that MMO and strategy games will always be dominated by the PC still leaves a tremendous market for peripherals. I went over to some of the smaller booths to get a look at the Bigfoot NIC (story on that coming up) and discovered what seemed like a whole new world. I was quickly overwhelmed with the technological jargon and went back to playing and writing about what I know.
-I can't wait to go back next year. Pat and I have already begun talking about it, so hopefully everything goes well and we're able to get a bigger coverage team there which can bring you more stuff from areas that I would never explored.
-Losing your camera on day 3 blows SO HARD
Well that's all folks, I've still got a ton of reviews and hands on impressions to put up, so you should be hearing quite a bit more from me over the coming days about the games I saw and my experiences with them. If you have any questions about the show or anything in general, feel free to shoot me an email over at firstname.lastname@example.org