E3 08: The Secret GamesRadar Diary

Four intrepid GamesRadar editors are in LA all week for E3 2008, writing and posting about everything they see and hear. Some of it's relevant, some not so much, but it all relates back to the dizzying clustershart that is E3.

Monday | Tuesday | Wednesday/Thursday

"We're OUTTA here!"
Friday, 7/18 Midnight
Brett Elston

That's it. We're done. It's after midnight and we're still feverishly trying to update this blog and start recording the tenth episode of TalkRadar. It'll hit Friday afternoon, packed with all our impressions, fears and favorite moments of the big week. Chris is seen here leaping for joy at the idea of returning home to the non-insanity of San Francisco. Hooray. To be continued in TalkRadar X!

"Goodbye and thanks for all the kitsch"
Thursday, 7/17 10:55 pm
Tyler Wilde

Today represents the last time we’ll walk out of the LA Convention Center this year (barring any unexpected invitations to garden shows). We’re tired, cranky, and so pumped with alcohol, caffeine, nicotine, and purified irritability that we can’t quite walk straight, never mind interact with other human beings in constructive ways.

Our first exhibit is Brett Elston, who, while hamming it up for the camera, is blissfully unaware of the tripod on the ground in front of him. The look from the cameraman after Brett sent his expensive and poorly placed piece of equipment spinning across the concrete was a shining moment in our experience. The crease in the man’s brow was so defined that Luke Skywalker could have flown through it blasting TIE Fighters on his way to the Death Star’s weak point.

Our second exhibit explores a relationship between men – namely Chris Antista (left) and our editorial director and thus boss, Stephen Pierce (right). I actually have no idea what kind of exchange is going on here, but I think there’s a story. I’m just going to say that they’re arguing over what would happen if you drank the Kool-Aid Man. Goodbye Los Angeles, and thanks for wrecking us. Maybe we’ll see you again next year.

"Oh hey, red 360 controller's coming out"
Thursday, 7/17 10:00pm
Brett Elston

Took this picture back on Monday during the Gears 2 party (mentioned earlier in the blog). Most of the controllers were locust-blood red, a new color that launches in October weeks before the game ships. I hear it spurts blood. No wait, I didn't.

"How to turn the Wiimote into a meaningless piece of plastic"
Thursday, 7/17 11:50 am
Tyler Wilde

I know we've railed on WiiMusic a lot already, but I'm nevertheless compelled to post my personal experience.

I stepped onto the show floor yesterday and was corralled against my will by an enthusiastic yet rigidly businesslike Nintendo PR guy who insisted that I fill the empty space in front of the WiiMusic demo. I donned the headphones and immediately began ignoring his directions, browsing through the menus until I initiated the Mario tune. As the music began I faintly registered that Mr. PR was instructing me to "just move my arms."

I spent the entirety of the session feeling a like baffled child on the verge of tears after being tossed onto the stage of a school play with no script or rehearsal, just a mandate to "have fun." I desperately searched for something on the screen to indicate that I was accomplishing anything by swinging my arms around like an asshole, but all I saw was the condescending grins in the faces of the crowd. I could hardly tell that I was contributing to the execution of the song.

I'm not five, but if I were, I'd still hate this shit.

Thursday, 7/17 11:40am
Stephen Pierce

The ESPN awards were held next door to the E3 convention centre last night. Least we think that’s what it was. There was a massive line of people, a red carpet and big built guys with ear mics and rough, dismissive demeanors. It looked like a tough gig to get into. Which represents the polar opposite of E3. I would suggest any fully clothed human being with the power of limbs could get in here. In years gone by there were security checks at the external door and constant checking of your credentials as you moved around he show. This year it’s pretty much anything goes. I, for example have just negotiated the watertight security of America’s premium video games convention with a banana nut muffin wrapper. Of course it would be professionally amiss of me to suggest that any non-E3 invitees in the downtown LA area with an interest in video games do the same. So I won’t.

Thursday, 7/17 10:17am
Stephen Pierce

It’s weird being at E3. For a place built upon technological advancement and connectivity, those on the ground floor have little perception as to how the show is being discussed and perceived by the outside world. This is partly to do with (a personal, and heart-felt gripe this) the internet connection here is shit on toast. It is also to do with the fact that even though the show is small (comparatively to E3s past) and every journo I’ve met moans that there’s nothing much to see, everyone is constantly busy. Too busy to absorb outside media. Too busy to watch TV. Too busy to do anything except concentrate on what’s here, right in front of them, right now. I’m too busy right now to look at GamesRadar. I’ve hardly looked at the site I work on over the last three days.
From the noises I’m hearing at the show though I’m guessing that currently the outside world is thinking…
The Nintendo press conference was a load of balls.
Final Fantasy on Xbox 360 – WTF!
Resi 5 is very much like Resi 4 only in a politically incorrect suit.
Resi 5, Fallout 3 and Gears of War 2 are all a bit brown.
Everyone is copying everyone else – see: avatars, motion sensitive control, co-op gaming, user-generated content, cover systems…
That the new gamers are grannies and girls.
Is this E3 2008? Kind of smells like it from where I’m sitting.

"The Who make fun of Rock Band"
Wednesday, 7/16 9:30pm
Brett Elston

Rock Band/MTV Games/Viacom pooled all their money together and snagged legendary rockers The Who for a surprisingly energetic and exciting concert. I've never followed the band or paid much attention to their music, but it sure was a good show. The best part (for me) was when one of the remaining core members (Townsend or Daltry) started making fun of Rock Band's color-coordinated buttons. I happened to be holding up my camera so...

Just got back from a special Nintendo roundtable event that I foolishly thought was going to be the venue in which they'd announce a real game. Instead it was three Q&A sessions focused on games they revealed at the presser, Animal Crossing, WiiSports Resort and WiiMusic. When someone finally asked "Isn't WiiMusic basically a toy, because it has no goal or prompting or end?" Miyamoto responded "Yes, and that's why it's more interesting than a videogame."

Um, what? Isn't that like Spielberg saying "movies are a waste of time, go read a book?" I was already pissed as hell at their awful conference Tuesday, and now I'm effing astonished. Unbelievable.

This was tempered somewhat by the confirmation that Miyamoto is indeed working on a new Pikmin game. Whee.

"Bionic Commando: Exclusive* Arms-on!"
Wednesday, July 16th, 2:30pm
Chris Antista

Some lucky so-and-so ripped off Nathan Spencer's mecha-arm from Bionic Commando and he's letting members of unwashed gaming press soil the insides with their filthy appendages. Oh, you know we tried it on!

Above: Bionic Commandurrz!

*In no way exclusive. Sorry. That had to be confusing.

Wednesday, 7/16 1:45am
Brett Elston

48 hours of nonstop driving, walking, writing, waiting, talking, watching, playing and other infinitives have reduced my eyes to red puddles of glop. My eyes rarely get this red and bloodshot, so thanks E3!

"Cliffy and the Jets"
Wednesday, July 15th, 1:19am
Chris Antista

Bethesda’s party was a veritable “who’s who” of the gaming industry, so it’s too bad we were in the bathroom performing our longest hands-on of E3. No, not like that, Captain Dirty Thoughts! In an ironic twist, during a convention of the latest games and the newest peripherals, Brett and I became fascinated by the Air Dryers in the Saddle Ranch Bar. Hell it even brought the devil out of Gears 2 developer Cliffy B!

Above: Try as it might, the camera fails to capture Mr. B’s manic hands

The thing was so overpowered, capable of parting skin, one had to stand in awe, and of course use it for anything but its intended purpose. Brett had the bright idea that it could even replicate the effects of a space shuttle launch and damned if he wasn’t wrong!

Above: Mach awesome!