THE E3 EXPERIENCE
By Brian Bell
Photo Credit: Brian Bell & Rudy Sanchez
The Electronic Entertainment Expo, more commonly referred to as E3, is an annual trade fair for the video game industry to show off its upcoming video games (and related hardware). For anyone unfamiliar with E3, it is a video game players dream and PPLA was there to take part in the action.
It is the largest most coveted video game conference in the world and (as of 2007) is invitation only. I was fortunate enough to attend this years conference, something I have wanted to do since its creation in 1995. As a teenager, I read about each year's show in my subscription to GamePro (a video game based) Magazine. And now, in 2012, I would walk through the doors and experience it for myself!
Before I could “walk through the doors”, I had to wait for the doors to actually open. I got there early (not knowing what to expect), so I sat on the carpeted floor outside the entrance. At first there were a few dozen of us. And then there were hundreds of us. By the time doors were about to open, there were thousands of us all squeezed together waiting to charge through the doors and be the first in line for our favorite games. And then it happened, the doors opened!!!
As I walked through the doors at a brisk pace, there were dozens upon dozens of media outlets all filming the opening hysteria. There was an instant onslaught of sights and sounds never before experienced. There are LED screens everywhere; I mean literally thousands(!) around the convention hall, all of which were pumping house music (or music of some kind) so loud I could feel my chest vibrating from the bass. It was awesome. Flashing lights, screens of all shapes and sizes, loud music, the sound of the crowd hooting and hollering... This was E3, and I was loving it.
I quickly came to my senses, realizing I had an appointment in just minutes, so I had to find my way to the Majesco booth to play the re-imagining of one of my favorite childhood games, "Double Dragon". Now titled "Double Dragon Neon", it's an updated version of the side scrolling, butt kicking arcade classic. The new version looks great. The graphics are a treat for the eyes, having a 3D cel shaded look (they really pop off the screen). The game controls felt a little sluggish at first, but within a few minutes I was kicking butt and loving it. The game is meant to played with two players, so if you don’t have a buddy on the couch with you, fear not- you can play with a friend online. There are some new features like the hi-five, which allows players to give each other health and temporarily power up. "Double Dragon Neon" will be available later this year via Playstation Network and X-Box Live (most likely for $9.99-$14.99). I assure you, I will be picking this bad boy up!
Off I go to wander the floor and play some games. And play some games I did! From "Castlevania: Lord of Shadow-Mirror of Fate" (yes, that is all one title) on Nintendo’s 3DS to "FarCry 3" (available on multiple platforms), I spent hours waiting in lines to get my hands on upcoming games. Another standout game in my day of gaming was 2K’s "Borderlands 2", a post apocalyptic cel shaded masterpiece. I was a fan of the first game in 2010, and as we all know sequels are often risky (in video games as much as film). After spending thirty minutes playing the demo, I was very happy. The game feels like the first, but is even prettier and more action packed (it simply plays better). This is one of those games that, in a market flooded with competition, is a must buy or play for any FPS (first person shooter) fan. It has a great story, beautiful graphics, intense music and sounds, outstanding controls, and an overall original look and feel that rivals most of what Hollywood is putting out these days on film.
E3 is an experience all of its own. It is a gamer’s paradise with which one doesn’t want to leave. Before the day was done, in between gaming and collecting swag from the various booths (Bethesda takes the cake by giving out free portable speakers to everyone visiting there booth), I managed to get several themed photo’s. From sitting in the Captains chair a la Kirk (complete with lovely Starfleet ladies to either side), to replacing Ripley in the Exo-suit cargo loader (complete with an Alien attacking) compliments to the upcoming "Aliens: Colonial Marines". This was an experience I will never forget. I can’t wait for E3 2013!