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E3 is no longer about the games

Yesterday I was at E3 trying to talk to a developer who was obviously passionate and hopeful about their new MMO. I forget the name, but it was to be a free download and free play, with subscriptions for premium content. But I couldn’t hear half of what he was saying, even though he was speaking loudly, and I had my ear turned towards him. This is because they had the unfortunate position of being next to a booth with an announcer, screaming into a microphone idiotic play-by-play commentary on a game of Quake.

“FRAG!!!! OH HE’S GOING FOR THE MACHINE GUN! CAN HE GET IT! NO HE’S GOING FOR THE PLATFORM! DOOFUS JUST GOT A FRAG! LOOK AT THOSE GIBS! NOW DWEEBUS GOT THE ROCKET LAUNCHER! HE’S GOING FOR IT!!”

I was then drawn in by a huge projection of this 5 minute cutscene of a gorgeous battle between Japanese styled heros and a horde of crawling monsters led by a Japanese styled villian. There were hundreds of characters on the screen at once. So I turn to look at the game (yet another MMO) and, at least at first view, it’s a copy of WoW with one (not hundreds) of characters on the screen at once and that character with a sword (Rather than guns as was in the movie). Which was confusing because I didn’t expect to see a copy of WoW, but the game that was on the projector, which was hundreds of characters in a war with a zerg-like horde of charging beasts. So different are the two that I looked back at the projector just to make sure I was looking at the right game (I was). I try to watch some gameplay but am distracted when 6 scantily clad models prance onto the stage in front of the projection and start dancing around, with another model screeching excitedly into the microphone. I just left at that point because it was annoying and the crowd was too large to look at the game any longer.

A while later, in another booth, they have having a Warcraft 3 tournament, but it’s hard to tell more than that because there are 8 monitors up on a platform with only 3 of them showing the game the announcer is screaming about. Between the crowds, the announcer, and the layout I never was able to tell who won.

Mid-day they had a girl twirling a flaming baton, with other models on raised platforms dancing or shooting with pretend guns. I have no idea what game or company they were with. I think it was Ubisoft though, because later on in the same general area another model got a hold of another microphone. It went something like

“OK BOYS! ON THREE SHOUT UBISOFT! READY?! ONE! TWO! THREE”
“…”
“COME ONE GUYS. UBSOFT!!! ONE! TWO! THREE”
“…”

I laughed.

The most interesting thing I saw was that Microsoft games had a copy of Windows Vista there. The demo guy had chess up on the screen, but apparently lost the network connection because he had to load up ipconfig /renew (I was watching what he was typing). I don’t think he got it working though.

To their credit, there were companies there just trying to show off their games at let people play it. But a very significant number of companies were there just to do the equivalent of standing up on a box and screaming their names over and over, to the point where you couldn’t understand anyone else. I was ready to go home literally about 30 minutes after walking in. I’m not going to go to any future E3 events.

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