The best moments of videogame convention E3
For one week each year, the Los Angeles Convention Center is transformed into the flashiest and noisiest videogame arcade in the world. It’s known as E3, the Electronic Entertainment Exposition, and I hoofed the 515,000-square-foot floor and tested some of 1,300 games on display to bring back this report on the show’s best moments. Boy, are my thumbs tired.
BEST ENTOURAGE Snoop Dogg pawed through the Xbox booth surrounded by a swarm of toughs. But reality queen Anna Nicole Smith, with her E! camera crew in tow, had an even bigger swagger. Or was that a wobble?
BEST PERFORMANCE AT A PARTY The Playa Del PlayStation event last Tuesday brought 50 Cent on stage before a packed crowd that included Leonardo DiCaprio, Demi Moore, Kelly Osbourne, and Christian Slater. Then the Foo Fighters ripped through a set at Sony’s second party on Thursday night. But it was funkmeister George Clinton, with special guest Tommy Lee on drums, who tore the roof off the sucker on the second stage until early the next morning.
BEST CASTING GIMMICK ”American Pie” alum Shannon Elizabeth is going to be the first Bond babe never to appear in a 007 movie — instead, she’ll star in Electronic Arts’ next videogame, Everything or Nothing.
BEST VIDEOGAME THAT WON’T BE MADE Arnold Schwarzenegger, while promoting his upcoming ”Terminator 3” videogame, lobbied for one he’d like to see: the ”Pumping Iron” game. ”The body grows according to how much training you give it,” explained the seven-time Mr. Olympia. ”It can be something very educational but at the same time inspirational for kids to go and work out rather than to become a couch potato.”
BEST REASON TO DIG OUT YOUR LIGHTSABER Star Wars Galaxies, an online game that lets you fight the imperial forces, chat with Han Solo, and dance around Mos Eisley to the music of the Cantina Band.
BEST GUERILLA ADVERTISING The SARS face mask sporting a logo for Gamespy, an online arcade network, was fetching, but not as much fun to ogle as Christina Applegate’s skintight shirt emblazoned with a PS2 logo.
BEST GAME FOR THE BEACH Boktai, a vampire hunting game for the Gameboy that senses the amount of direct sunlight a player is in. The object is to haul the vampire caskets out into the light to vanquish the ”Immortals.”
BEST PLACE TO GET ON YOUR KNEES AND BEG FOR MERCY Inside the Activision booth, where gals in head-to-toe Goth gear doled out discipline with leather whips as a promotion for the game Vampire the Masquerade.
BEST REPLACEMENT FOR ”BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER” The newest ”Buffy” videogame, Chaos Bleeds, takes place during season five of the show when a villain creates an alternate Sunnydale from Buffy’s past. It also includes blooper reels and cast interviews that won’t be available on the series’ DVD.
BEST QUOTE BY A VIDEOGAME EXECUTIVE ”You’ll never see Mario shooting hookers.” — Nintendo’s George Harrison, announcing that his company’s mascot will never pander to the popularity of such violent titles as Grand Theft Auto: Vice City
BEST DEMO A tie between Halo 2, the Xbox’s killer app featuring a double gun wielding space Marine named Master Chief, and Half-Life 2, a PC franchise with amazingly detailed characters and innovative game-play mechanics.
BEST OBJECT OF ENVY A sleek silver GameBoy Advance SP autographed by legendary Nintendo game master Shigeru Miyamoto and possessed by a mere genius, The Sims creator Will Wright.
BEST OBJECT OF ENVY FOR 2004 The PSP, a portable gaming device designed by the granddaddy of the PlayStation, Ken Kutaragi, that will play music, movies, and videogames.
BEST OBJECT EVERYONE WILL ENVY THIS CHRISTMAS Sony’s Eye Toy, a tiny set-top camera that connects to the PS2 and translates a player’s movements onto the television screen. Instead of using a controller, the player flaps and swats his arms in the air to fight off small ninjas attacking on screen.
–WITH REPORTING BY GARY ENG WALK and GEOFF KEIGHLEY