E3 Day 1

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E3 Day 1

Arriving at the South Hall lobby

As always, E3 is a spectacle. There are huge banners everywhere, loud booths, enormous video screens, and hours-long lines. I started out the day getting my badge and hanging out in the South Hall lobby until the line to get in was gone.

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I got a picture in front of the Dark Souls III display, where you could pull on a sword stuck in the display and a giant death scene behind you would spew black blood several feet into the air.

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Then I waited to play Forza Horizon 2 at a Mazda promo booth right next to the Dark Souls III display. Then I walked over to the Samsung booth and tried the Gear VR. I played a space fighter game that used their Bluetooth gamepad, and they had swivel chairs to sit in so that you could spin around 360 degrees. It was similar to my asteroids game, but a bit more complex and flashy. The performance seems pretty good, and I’m sure it would run my games with no issues whatsoever. I think that the Gear VR would be a good platform to target, especially since it is already commercially available and you can purchase games on their store right now.

West Hall (VR/AR companies)

After the demo, I walked over to the West Hall, since that is where Oculus, Microsoft, Sony, and several other VR-related companies had booths. I went to the Oculus booth first, and was disappointed to see a line of people waiting just to try the Gear VR. The only Rift to be seen was in a display case at the front of the booth.

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I asked about developer relations, and they directed me to the back of the booth. When I got there and asked about developer relations, I was told that I had to have a prearranged appointment and that they were booked up already. Whee! So I guess I won’t be trying the consumer model or the new motion controllers this week. I then wandered around near the Oculus booth and checked out Ant VR (a cheaper-looking alternative to Oculus), Virtualizer and OMNI (both stationary treadmills for moving around in VR), and a couple other companies with motion control devices for VR: Manus Machina and Nod.

Microsoft and Tomb Raider

After being disappointed by the VR offerings and access, I walked over to Microsoft to see if they were showing the HoloLens. I was told that they were showing it in the Halo 5 demo. The line for the Halo 5 demo was pretty long, but I noticed that the Tomb Raider line was short, so I went ahead and waited for the Tomb Raider demo.

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The demo looked great. I’m pretty excited to play the next Tomb Raider, since I really enjoyed the last one. I think it was the best 3D-enabled game that I’ve ever played. I don’t know when I’ll be able to play it though, since I have no plans to get an Xbox One and they have limited exclusivity on release. I watched some people playing various games, such as Mad Max,

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Gigantic, some magnetic-based physics puzzler game, but nothing struck me as ground breaking even if they all looked like solid games.

Sony and Nintendo

I checked out Sony next with hopes of seeing the Morpheus. There were lots of kiosks with indie games, which was cool to see. Many of them looked like fun. I feel like I may get a PS4 this holiday season. They had a line to see Horizon, The Last Guardian, and Uncharted 4, but I didn’t wait for it.

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Horizon is apparently about a future world where humans have devolved while robots have evolved to the point that you are future caveman fighting robot dinosaurs. I’ve heard several people say that it looked awesome. I then went to the Morpheus area, where they were showing about 10 different demos.

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According to the signs, you have to download an app to schedule a demo of the Morpheus. Something I will do as soon as I can get a connection with my phone. Across from the Morpheus display was Star Wars Battlefront. It looks awesome, even if it is just another Battlefront game. They did have a couple of Stormtroopers that you took your picture with, after waiting in line to play the game.

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I then went to the Nintendo booth to see what they had. There was a big display for Super Mario Maker.

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Basically an editor for Super Mario. I suspect it’s because I already make games, but the idea of a game editor as a game doesn’t really appeal to me. It sure seemed to draw a crowd though. I spent most of my time watching the Wii U Star Fox game.

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It was Star Fox in HD. Don’t fix what ain’t broken. The gamepad display showed a first-person view from the cockpit, which you could use for more precise aiming. I didn’t see any of the people playing the game look at it though. I did watch for a while, since I’m planning to do a VR version of that game with Ed someday.

South Hall

After not getting to see any of the VR stuff that I wanted to see, I went back to the South Hall. EA was front and center. Huge screens ran a continuous loop of demos for their premiere games. There was a snow speeder display and speeder bike that you could get your picture on. I didn’t wait for that. I watched some more of the Star Wars Battlefront game as dozens of people were playing it.

Then I walked over to Square Enix and watched a short video presentation of Deus Ex and Just Cause 3. Both looked great, and I’m sure I’ll play them both.

As I was walking past the Twitch booth, I saw Tim Schafer from Double Fine just finishing up an interview. So, of course, I walked over and said hi and got another picture with him.

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I have an uncanny ability to unintentionally stalk him. Which is cool, because he’s my favorite game designer and he’s always fun to talk to. He even remembered me this time. After that I walked around the smaller booths at the back of the hall and saw a few VR products that I will go back to see when the lines are shorter. I ran into Nate and Ginger, both of whom I had worked with at Buzz Monkey and Zynga.

Into The Pixel

The last hour of the day, I went to a reception at the Into The Pixel art exhibit located off the West Hall lobby. I met Nate and some of his coworkers from Sucker Punch there. I also said hi to Ted Price from Insomniac Games, who we had worked with when we were still Buzz Monkey on a couple of the Ratchet And Clank games.

Heading Back To The OC

I didn’t stick around for any after show stuff today, since I’d like to get some rest for tomorrow. I did stop by and see my cousin’s mom, Marion, in Naples on the way home. We had a bottle of wine and talked for while. It was a nice way to relax after a day in L.A.

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