Day Zero Roundtable Recording (MP3, 18.4 MB)
Even though the E3 Expo does not officially begin until Wednesday, Tuesday still proved to be a busy day for the RPGamer E3 correspondants. Mikel Tidwell, Zachary Lewis, Philip Bloom, Andrew Long, Elliot Guisinger, Chris Beaupre, and Ed Walker met at the end of Day Zero to discuss the major events and revelations from earlier in the day.
The big topic of the day was Nintendo which had its press conference Tuesday. The new Gameboy Advance Micro was a hot issue as it caught the attention of the roundtable members but perhaps for all the wrong reasons. The roundtable criticized it for having a strange appearance and noted that it really isn't a new design. One panelist said, "It isn't a new Gameboy ... just a new model." With the same processing power as the current generation of Gameboy Advances, the panel compared the Micro and the Gameboy Advance as having a similar relationship as the Gameboy Pocket had with the original Gameboy.
The roundtable then discussed some of the other aspects of the press conference. While the panel felt that the press conference was technically sound and flashy, they also felt that "[Nintendo] talked a lot about nothing" and summed up the show as Nintendo simply saying "we're going to do something cool, but we're not going to tell you what it is."
Indeed, Nintendo remained tight-lipped about many of the details of its upcoming Revolution game console, leading the roundtable to speculate that Nintendo knows it has the weaker of the three next-generation consoles. Nintendo noted that the size and shape of the demo unit presented at the press conference were still preliminary, and the panel noted that Nintendo was considering seeking input from gamers on some of the aesthetic features of the Revolution such as its color and size since neither has been finalized as of yet.
The roundtable members were disappointed in the presentation of the Revolution, in no small part due to the fact that there was no real technical demonstration of the Revolution's game-playing capabilities. One panelist noted that there were "six seconds of Metroid Prime 3 that could have easily been from the Gamecube." With no clues as to the technical specifications of the Revolution, and with no real demonstration of its power, the most exciting revelation about the Revolution was that its wireless controllers would "interact with games in a different way than other controllers do." Unfortunately, Nintendo remained cryptic on what this actually meant, though the wireless capabilities of the Nintendo DS may allow it to operate in a controller capacity with the Revolution.
With the Nintendo discussion exhausted, the topic turned to the other big console-makers. Both Sony and Microsoft had had their press conferences on Monday, and both provided full technical specfications and tons of pictures of their next-generation systems. The panelists pointed to these two companies as likely remaining the top competitors in the console market over the next several years.
So far, the panel felt that the biggest eye-candy of E3 was the Final Fantasy VII technical demo shown at the Sony press conference. The demo consisted of the opening FMV from Final Fantasy VII (the shot of Aerith and the train approaching the Midgar reactor) rendered in stunning real-time using the PS3 hardware. "It looks really nice," came the obvious understatement from one roundtable member.
Some of the panelists attended Monday night's More Friends concert featuring the Final Fantasy music from Dear Friends and a special appearance by Nobuo Uematsu and his rock band, The Black Mages. The general impressions of the panelists was that the concert suffered from major technical difficulties including a broken amp that regularly issued gunshot-like sounds (not a pleasant thing to be hearing in Los Angeles), non-functional microphones, and lighting problems. One panelist recalls that these problems eventually led Mr. Uematsu to rush off the stage in apparent embarassment. The roundtable members who attended were saddened that The Black Mages only played a few selections from their first album, but they enjoyed the surprise encore which featured the band playing One-Winged Angel with the choir. The technical difficulties persisted during that number, too, which resulted in it being restarted three times.
The roundtable drew to a close with several quick topics including excitement over the next Mario and Luigi title which drew the label of "Super Mario Bros. 4" from some panelists. One roundtable member expressed concern over the lack of in-battle screenshots presented by Nintendo for the upcoming Pokemon XD, especially since Pokemon's gameplay is largely known for its battles. More concern arose from the revelation by Square Enix that Final Fantasy XII would not be playable until its July 30th party in Japan.
The final topic of the night came from IRC user braska who asked the roundtable if they would be attending the premiere of Star Wars Episode III the next night. The panel responded unanimously that they would not be, if only because tickets to the midnight Star Wars showings had sold out weeks ago in L.A.
Tune in Wednesday evening from 8pm to 10pm PST for the next Roundtable live from E3 as the Expo kicks into high gear with the opening of the exhibition halls. Join the fun via IRC or e-mail your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.