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Ed Day 3, E3

by Ed Shih - May 21, 2000, 8:30 pm PDT

I am Ed, and here is my Day three report! More about Silicon Knights, PC's running PS2 games, Digicents and more. Read it!

Day 3 (Saturday)

My last day of E3 came and went a lot quicker than I wanted. This was the day to take in everything that E3 had to offer; though I wanted to spend a lot of that time at the Nintendo booth. After a slight delay from traffic and parking (apparently there was another event in the Convention Center area Saturday morning, damn Revlon Fun Run), I was in the West Hall and racing to the nearest open game set-up. After sampling some of the games I bumped into Billy and Steve and made sure I could tag along on their 1 p.m. official Nintendo press tour...which meant I had another hour or so to kill.

So it was off to Eternal Darkness where all the games were taken. However, I did notice someone with a Silicon Knights T-shirt on who was giving tips to a clueless gamer. I figured I’d take the opportunity to casually say hi and try to start up a conversation. It turns out that he was a lead designer at Silicon Knights whose name eludes me at the moment (Ted something?). He was a really cool guy (like most developers seem to be) and was happy to shoot the breeze. Most of the talk was on Eternal Darkness but there was some talk about next-generation consoles. PS2’s showing didn’t seem to get him too excited and he, like many other show goers, was amused at Sony’s “PS2 development tool” that was running Unreal Tournament (check out Billy’s pics if you don’t know what I’m talking about). As far as X-Box was concerned, he shared the sentiment that Microsoft’s first party software will have trouble keeping up with the competition. Sega’s offerings seemed nice, but he questioned whether they’d be able to survive with their hardware...and then brought up a scary scenario where Microsoft would buddy up with Sega to fill their first party holes. Of course, that was pure speculation but it’d really be sad if Sega had to do that. As for Dolphin, he gave me full specs, probable cost, Internet strategy, probable launch line-up, and a playable Metroid demo. I was floored. He then told me the real life Joanna Dark’s phone number, how to get the 24th cheat code in Goldeneye, who the Second Gunman was (who incidentally went on to kill both Nicole Brown Simpson, Ron Goldman, and Jon Bennet Ramsey), what exactly is written in the Dead Sea Scrolls, why the X-Files sucks now, where all my missing socks are, how to turn lead into gold, what Titus was thinking when they released Superman, and the exact location of Area 51. Oh sorry, I’m getting fantasy and reality mixed up again. Time to take my pills...okay, that’s better. The only thing he mentioned was that they were likely to continue making mature, intelligent, adventure games like Eternal Darkness in the future (i.e. for Dolphin), which is really nothing earth shattering...I think my fantasy scenario is much more interesting.

After wandering around a little more and sampling a few more games (played Pokémon Card Battle just to get a free card...anyone want a “Cool Porygon” card?), it was time for the official tour. It was really cool getting special treatment at the Nintendo booth even if there was no Dolphin info involved. Actually, there wasn’t much in the way of exclusive info either but it was nice to see the N64 games with someone who actually knew something about them, I’ll include any relevant stuff in my impressions of each game. Highlights of the tour included seeing Pikachu getting pissed of in Hey You Pikachu (call him an “electric rat”) and getting to cut in front of the line for at the Conker’s BFD bar (we couldn’t be bothered with waiting in trivial lines! we were important....well, important for a few minutes anyway). After the tour, it was back to living life as a regular unimportant line-waiting kind of guy...and back to the rest of the show.

I ended up shadowing Steve for a while and wandered into the South Hall where most of the third party publishers were. I got a glimpse of Red Storm’s booth and met up with Paul Schuytema who taught a workshop that I attended at GDC. Of course, he was primarily working on PC stuff and didn’t have anything to say on Dolphin. He did reiterate the wait-and-see attitude of most PC developers towards X-Box...which prompted Steve and me to go seek out Mr. Gates’ mysterious uber-console. There was a closed X-Box theater on the Expo Floor showing demos but Steve and I ended up skipping the line (making me feel important again) and went to the behind-closed-doors demo showing away from the Expo Floor. Thanks to Steve’s media credentials and my being a “developer” we had no problems getting in (got some free food too). I’d seen the demo from a distance at GDC but this was the first time I’d seen it close up. On the whole, I thought the demos were okay. Not as great as I’d remembered from GDC; probably because there was a “exclusive world premier” feel to it back then. It didn’t look bad at all, and I’m certain the hardware will be impressive. But, whether final games will look this good and whether they will eclipse Dolphin and PS2 games is an entirely different matter. The sound demo seemed neat to me, though Steve was unimpressed. I suppose the idea of making interactive sound/music an important part of games was the real appeal to me rather than the demo itself. Of course, our friends across the pond at Rare have already been doing that on the N64, haven’t they? In the end, I found myself echoing Mr. Schuytema’s views of wait-and-see...with a touch of pessimism.

The last portion of my E3 day was spent redeeming some cards I received in the mail for free stuff and taking a closer look at Sega’s booth. I also stopped by Digi-Scent’s meeting room, too. I mentioned this company in the forums before and thought they’d be worth a look. They have apparently made a device that can emit a wide variety of smells and I was hoping to smell it up close and personal. Unfortunately, they only have a couple of working machines right now and they were being smelled somewhere else. How does this relate to next-generation gaming...um, it doesn’t. They might have a console peripheral down the road, but they’re mainly pushing it as a PC peripheral for now. There’ll be no smelling of rotting flesh in Resident Evil or sweaty wrestlers in WWF games on the console in the near future. That’s pretty much it for my final day at E3. I really wish I’d been there for all three days...but there’s always next year. Game impressions and session reviews coming soon.

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