The next step in video games gets unveiled -- Looking at the future of gaming at the Electronic Entertainment Expo

For many of the 70,000 video game enthusiasts who were in Los Angeles for the May 18-20 Electronic Entertainment Expo, attending meant making an excruciating choice: miss a day of the convention for opening day of the new Star Wars movie? Those who chose PlayStation over Padmé were rewarded with a sneak peek at the next generation of game consoles. Scheduled to hit shelves over the next 18 months, all three systems will deliver huge advances in graphics as well as enough home-entertainment features to satisfy the laziest of couch spuds. Due this November, Microsoft’s sleek-but-friendly Xbox 360 boasts wireless controllers and home-theater-worthy presentation. Shipping in 2006, Nintendo’s Revolution will allow users to download and play retro classic favorites. (When can we expect Super Mario Bros. and Donkey Kong?) Due sometime next spring is Sony’s PlayStation 3. It was this machine — with its photo-realistic graphics and Blu-ray capability — that had fans panting like Darth Vader after a five-mile run.

Of course, E3 is really about the games. Here are five we’re now panting for.


The life cycle begins with a microscopic organism and — if you’re good enough — evolves to an advanced space-faring society. Ingenious.


Tamagotchis are so 20th-century! This quirky Nintendo DS game lets you raise a criminally cute digital pooch.


Obliterate Eastern Europe by blowing up cars and buildings! A first-person shooter for your inner Michael Bay.


Eye-popping graphics, a big hairy star, and near seamless integration of cut scenes and playable action.


Run a movie studio and become the next Jeffrey Katzenberg: Hire actors, edit film, send an actress to get Botox.