Electronics Entertainment Expo (E3) is a rockin’ show. Plenty of recognition is given to the hot new games, new platforms, new graphics, and new hardware, but it’s to give some shout-outs to the other things that are great about E3:
Best Swag: Getting cool, one-of-a-kind stuff is every fanboy’s right at a convention, but not every maker of games realizes it. CD Projekt Red Studio, the creators of The Witcher, did things right by giving a quality jigsaw puzzle to everyone who sat for the demo. This is the second time they’ve won this award, which shows that these guys know how treat their fans right. They followed up with a demo evaluation form, but I didn’t have the time to fill it out with all the things I wanted to say. Oh well, they have great plans for their next game, The WItcher 3, which is getting a Skyrim-job—instead of a single storyline, Geralt The Witcher will have an open world to explore.
Best Booth: From the outside, Bethesda’s booth looked like a cardboard fortress, with only a few insignia and one large robot to hint as the gaming goodness within. Inside, cool statues of Nazi supersoldiers (promoting their Wolfenstein game) and Elder Scrolls-inspired decorations made for an excellent display of how important artwork is for a game. Truth be told, I don’t remember seeing anything for their Evil Within game, but that’s just as well—it’s one gory creepy game.
Best Food: Food was in short supply this show, and I was hard pressed to score anything resembling a meal. The selection of mixed nuts was pretty good in the CCP Games (the makers of Eve Online) booth. I’ve played Eve before, but what made this special were the Oculus Rift virtual reality helmets; that technology has come a long, long, way in the last few years. Except for momentary blurring, I could look up, back, left and right and see space just like I was a fighter pilot! If I looked down, I saw my puny fighter pilot body; anyone using this device had better have those controls memorized, because you can’t see the controller with that helmet on…it’s a fair price for the ultimate in coolness.
Best Brand Ambassadors: There are no booth babes at E3, apparently. But Activision had a brand ambassador to put me in my place while I was waiting to see Call of Duty: Ghosts, which, between the awesome graphics and apocalyptic storyline, might well be the best in a long and successful series.
Best Presentation: Giving demonstrations at E3 is tough. On the first day, you make mistakes because you’re new at it…by the third day, you’re making mistakes because you can’t remember if you’ve said something 50 times before, or only 49 times before. When you subtract swag and food from the calculation, the best presentation was at Gameloft, where I was shown half a dozen different tablet games, from their Despicable Me 2 game to Modern Combat to Asphalt (a driving game) and others, flawlessly showing everything each game had to offer.
So Alike Yet So Different Award: It’s tough to be completely original in a game, but it’s also tough to be exactly identical…but both things do happen. Black Gold is free to play online game that has two factions (one technology, the other magical) fighting over Black Gold, a resource that powers both. It’s in late beta, and uses Snail Games’ Age of Wushu engine. Nival’s Prime World is based around two factions (one magic, one technology) fighting over Prime, a resource that powers both. It too is in beta, and is being developed to allow the player to manage his resources via his table, for when he can’t get to his computer. While both games have the same basic underlying story, Black Gold is more of a traditional online role player, while Prime World plays more like a real time strategy game with role playing elements.