I flew in too late last night to go to Microsoft's press conference, so for me, E3 truly began today. It all started off with Nintendo. Last year, Nintendo had an amazing show, so anticipation was really high for this year. The lights dimmed, and we were treated to a talking NES. This clip was followed by several of the fan-made clips from all over the web, and then Reggie stepped out. Contrary to last year's conference, this year was mainly a lot of statistics. Nintendo is very proud that it is selling a lot of the Nintendo DS. They followed this up with some stats on ages of game players and genders. Not surprisingly, Nintendo is a hit with women and gamers over 25. After a half hour of this, they got to the games. At least I think they had games. Well, there was a tiny clip of Mario Kart Wii, and they had a girl play Metroid Prime 3 for us. But their big focus was Wii Fit, a game that centers around balance. Reggie showed off his skills to hit digital soccer balls with his head while simultaneously getting beaned by various objects from cleats to panda bear heads. Then they showed off the fact that the new controller also serves as a scale, and it said that Reggie was a LITTLE bit on the heavy side. And then it was over. In a nutshell, Nintendo's message was, "We are SO awesome, we don't have to show you any games."
This was immediately followed by Sony's press conference. Their message was "Games, games, and more games." They opened things up with a demonstration of Home, and that was followed up by a short talk about the PS2. They've sold a lot of them, and that's about all I remember. Then they moved on to the PSP, and just like everyone had been predicting, they announced a new, lighter PSP. I was hoping for new features, and it comes with a doozy: video output. It also comes in two new colors, Ice Silver and a special Star Wars white with Darth Vader on the back. The REALLY cool thing was the white one was brought out by Chewbacca. Other highlights include Wipeout HD, Killzone 2, Unreal Tournament 3, and of course, MGS4. And yes, it's still exclusive. One of the standout games was a very unique kind of puzzle game. It's all about perception. It's very hard to explain, but basically, take art from M. C. Escher, and make a game out of it. If you rotate the view, the way you move around changes. For instance, if there is a gap, simply block your view of it, and you can cross over it. If you need to move to a new place, rotate the view so that it appears that the place you need to get is connected to where you are. Words don't give it justice, but it'll be VERY cool when it comes out.
From Sony, I took a trip down to Barker Hanger to try out some games. I started things off with a little Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions, and I found it to be pretty cool. I only played a little since I've played a LOT of FFT. Suffice it to say that it looks pretty. Then I moved on to Namco Bandai's booth and gave Beautiful Katamari a spin. The name is very fitting; the game looks REALLY nice on the 360, but the game that took most of my time is a game I already own: Dynasty Warriors Gundam, or as I know it, Gundam Musou. I took the liberty of playing through all of the first level, and I was pretty impressed with the English voice acting. I think they MIGHT be all the originals from the anime. I finished off my first trip to Barker Hanger by trying out Wii Fit. I discovered that I should not quit my day job to be a virtual soccer ball hitting professional. In fact, I'm terrible, but the person said it was likely due to the fact that my balance is all the way on my heels because of my flat feet. The game is kind of fun, but I'm on the fence on that one. But before I could leave Barker Hanger, I almost literally bumped into Adam Sessler. I was so shocked to meet him, but I managed to come away with his autograph.
From that, I'd planned on going to Konami's press conference, but I ran into Mikel, and I somehow ended up in a roundtable interview with Square Enix, Gamespot, Gamepro, and us about Final Fantasy XI: Wings of the Goddess. I've never played an MMO, let alone FFXI, so I was a bit nervous, but I asked some good questions. It was a really cool end to my day. I'd say more about it here, but that'd just detract from the story I'm about to write up.
It was a long day, and I'm definitely tired, but I definitely like certain parts of this new E3. It's no fun going all over the city to get from place to place, but the lack of lines ANYWHERE is awesome. Don't get me wrong, I don't blame everyone for coming to E3, but I hated having to wait 30 minutes because some guy from EB Games wants to play something I'm going to write an impression about. Now, I can play what I want, when I want. And that is a good thing. With a little tweaking, E3 will be great next year.