By Wook Kim
Updated May 11, 2006 at 05:42 PM EDT

The first day of E3 left us bone tired (not so muchbecause of the convention as it is our annoying inability to adjust toa new time zone), near deaf (why do exhibitors feel it necessary toturn all their TV monitors and sound systems up to 11?), and burstingwith news to report to you, our gaming readers (oh, GatorBait, toanswer your question you posted yesterday: many specialty stores likeGameStop will accept pre-orders in exchange for a small down payment).We met with a bunch of game publishers on Wednesday — and offer youthese two quick impressions:

LUCASARTS

What we saw: Lego Star Wars 2, a sequel to one ofthe biggest surprise hits of 2005 (while the first re-enacted the recentprequel films with cutesy Lego figures, the second one gives the sametreatment to the original trilogy), and Traxion, a music-based game forthe PlayStation Portable that take your MP3 tunes and turns them into abunch of cool mini-games.

What we liked best: Promising videogametechnologies called “Euphoria” and “digital molecular matter.” Wedidn’t quite get the mumbo-jumbo at first, but after seeing thetechnology used in a new next-gen Indiana Jones adventure (due summerof 2007), not to mention a top-secret Star Wars game called Force Power(due sometime… this decade), we were believers.

MICROSOFT

What we saw: Viva Piñata, Xbox’s answer to Pokémonis a strange and colorful kids’ game in which you raise and train cutelittle critters you’d normally see getting wacked with sticks. AndWorld Series of Poker, which uses the upcoming Xbox 360 cameraattachment to digitally insert your best poker face onto figures aroundthe virtual card table.

What we liked best: Gears of War, a gritty run-and-gun (or, as the developer preferred to call it, stop-and-pop) actiongame, on target for a Christmas 2006 release, featuring robustmultiplayer modes so engaging, gamers just might forgive Microsoft formaking them wait ’til 2007 for Halo 3.

We’ll have much more tomorrow (including our take ona few Nintendo titles, including The Legend of Zelda: TwilightPrincess). In the meantime: Do you have any questions about E3? Arethere some games you’d like us to check out? Let us know — we’ll tryand get some answers for you.

(Additional reporting by Gary Eng Walk)

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