Oh sure she looks happy now, but start talking about the difference between USB 1.1 and 2.0 and you're going to be in a world of hurt!
It's actually pretty easy to learn how to fake interest, and better yet, you can probably get your girlfriend to help you with it! Just sit her down and start rambling about why Super Mario Brothers 3 was superior to Donkey Kong Country ... even though Donkey Kong looked better. Or maybe it's time to explain to her exactly how a wireless control works, or why the Power Pad wasn't a good Nintendo accessory.
Now, if you don't have a girlfriend, or that suggestion doesn't apply to you, you can pick up a copy of Stephen Hawking's book, A Brief History of Time, turn to page 48, and start reading the second paragraph to just about anybody. You won't have to read it for too long, just long enough to study their reaction. Hopefully they'll respond with what I like to call, fake interest.
Once mastered, fake interest can be used to stay away from the American Idol booth or the the booth babes that have nothing but their underwear on (trust me, that girlfriend we talked about isn't going to want to see pictures of those booths). Hopefully this will get you out of the bad E3 experiences with a little more time to find good games to play.
Trust me, I wasn't fishing for compliment with this pic, I was just trying to get away from the action!
Games like SOCOM II, which did a great job of fixing almost every problem I had with the first game. Or Downhill Dominance from the makers of Twisted Metal Black, a racing game that was quite a bit better than I expected. Or there's always Final Fantasy X-2 and Star Ocean III, both of which looked extremely sharp. There is no time for games and people you have no interest in, there are simply hundreds of titles worth looking at and playing.
Here we are talking about the good games again ... I've yet again crashed this rule. Instead of moving on to a new rule, I think it's time to head back to the motel, look through the good stuff I collected at the expo, and get some much-needed rest. Tomorrow will bring us day two, new challenges, and even a few surprises we won't have to fake anything around. But for now, it's time to fall asleep while watching a rerun of Oprah.
Day Two: Where do we go From Here?
There is still a whole lot of interesting things left to see in day two ... don't worry, this isn't part of it!
Where day one is the excitement of finding all the new games you want to play and day three is the madness of playing everything you forgot in the other days, day two is relatively simple. It's a day when you can sit back and wait in lines, enter contests and wait around for the prize, and look for weird and wacky things to happen at E3.
But before you start the second day, you should have a good head start with a nutritious breakfast. Good food can go a long way when you are navigating your way through the crowds of E3. And with any luck, it will tide your appetite until the show ends. After you've gathered your goods, it's time to spread our wings and weather another day of game playing, celebrity hunting, and trinket collecting.
Now that you aren't in the rush you were on the first day, you have a chance to look at the people that make up this glorious event. You can finally mosey around and find life as normal happening to thousands of people. It's not like a concert, where everybody is transfixed on one specific thing, instead it's almost like a microcosm of all kinds of life in one area.
You usually start to notice this when you are sitting in line. As life passes you by, you can see hundreds of events occur, just like if it were a busy street corner in a bustling city. As one looks around, it's not hard to get lost in the whole carnival atmosphere that is E3. It's a world all to itself, something that nobody with extreme attention span problems should even attempt. Thousands of noises, images, people, and flashing lights all around, it may not be a concert, but it sure looks like one.
Every so often E3 will surprise even the most cynical among us, there's a magic that this show has unlike any other. All this leads us to our first rule of the second day of E3 ...
Rule Six: Be Prepared For the Worst
There is no joke needed here: it is indeed a cop playing Vice City! Just remember where you saw it!
I was reminded a lot of my friend who sat next to me on the flight to Los Angeles. He made a comment that I thought at the time would lead me on a path to a more sanctimonious life. He said, and I quote: "You won't find a police officer in this country that wants games like Grand Theft Auto and Vice City to be on the market."
At the time I found this hard to believe, since I'm sure there are more than a few police officers who actually enjoy playing video games, and aren't simply led by the media to believe the game is a lot of cop killing. I figured there had to be at least one cop in this world that wouldn't mind seeing a few of his FICTIONAL brothers go down in a hail of bullets from your gun.
But I never imagined a photo opportunity would just fall into my lap. Just when I thought day two was starting to wind down, I went back for another helping of their Vice City postcard books at the Rockstar Booth, and what did I see?
That's right, a Los Angeles Police Officer playing Vice City. And not just playing it, but actually giving it a good test spin. On a bike, and eventually by foot, this cop, one of L.A.'s finest, took down a whole army of police officers. One after another, all while using a half dozen different weapons to inflict his wrath.
Before too long the helicopters were overhead, he was out of ammo, and there were just too many men with badges after him. Tommy Vercetti was busted! And as the police officer looked around to see the crowd that had gathered to see his rampage, he quietly muttered: "Well, I guess I got what I deserved."
Even though I do not believe video game violence influences real life violence, I wasn't going to take any chances, and made sure to get the postcard book I was after, and made the pilgrimage to the West Hall where it was safe.
Just as long as it's not a picture of that Tommy Tallarico guy, this fellow should be fine!
I lost touch with the man I met on the flight, but if he's reading this, he should know one thing: there is at least one police officer in this country willing to play Vice City ... even if it was in a horribly vicious form. In a day filled with standing in lines, Turtle power, and booths with nobody around, this simple act by the police officer was the moment of the show for me.
That act wouldn't go unchallenged, though. Towards the end of the second day I found myself wandering by one of the three G4 TV areas. Since they were located outside of the west hall, I had passed them enough to see that one of the handouts was a fake-tattoo. This seemed reasonable, since last year a I had come across dozens of booths that were doing the exact same thing.
But as I passed the G4 booth on that Thursday a strange sight caught my eye. I noticed that there was a young man who had opted for a REAL tattoo, instead of a fake one. Now obviously tattoos are common place, and seeing a person getting a tattoo isn't outright unique. But I found it a tad sobering to see a real life tattoo of G4's logo being inked onto that gentleman's arm, like a walking, talking billboard.
Rule Seven: Don't Forget to Rest!
I know the LucasArts booth was boring ... but this is just silly!
Even though there are hundreds of games all over the place, in every direction, it doesn't mean you should over extend yourself. One should not burn out on the second day, and needs to get as much rest as one can before they simply collapse. But as important as finding a good place to sit is, it's equally important where NOT to sit is.
Whatever you do, don't rest outside. It might seem like the reasonable thing to do, but there are a number of problems associated with the outdoors. For one thing, it's not actually cooler outside than it is inside. The air also tends to push the odor of
Thankfully it's not Shawn Murray Underground, SMUG just doesn't have the same ring to it!
grilled food your way, which does nothing more than make you crave the overpriced food.
Instead of running for the doors, may I suggest a number of better places to sit and gather your strength? The favorite among the E3 attendees appears to be Nintendo's small theater rooms. Each year Nintendo puts one of their biggest GameCube titles in a well air-conditioned room, that is almost completely black, and has plenty of room to sit down and still enjoy a few games (or simply watching somebody play).
This year lazy E3 goers were able to enjoy Pikmin 2, Wario World, Final Fantasy: the Crystal Chronicles, Kirby's Air Ride, Soul Calibur, and a number of other big titles all in the coldest spot of the show. I found myself learning a good deal about all of the games at Nintendo's booth simply by needing to sit and rest every so often. It's a shame more companies haven't thought of this before.
Here we have Michelle Branch playing for us for no reason what so ever!
At least other companies are starting to give gamers chairs to sit on when they play. This practice isn't widely recognized, but is starting to be more commonplace. I found myself enjoying even the most boring tennis simulator, all because I needed to rest my tired feet. If more booths had little stools, some of us my stay at their games longer ... but then, I suppose that's exactly why they don't have little stools at each game.
If you're feet really hurt, and you feel like you need a good twenty minute rest, it's a good idea to wait in line for one of those BIG games. This year injured conventioneers chose to sit in lines for games like Half-Life 2 and Halo 2, among others. Since these games involve a great deal of sitting and waiting, it is a good idea to rest up here, so you will be ready to tackle the other booths before you call it a day.
If your feet hurt, and your legs are giving out, you probably won't enjoy any game, no matter how impressive it really is. I found that I was frustrated, and generally unimpressed with games like Castlevania,
No sex and no drugs makes Conker: Live & Uncut a boring display!
Conker's Live & Uncut, and Enter the Matrix at the end of Thursday, but by the time Friday rolled around I was ready to give Castlevania and Conker a second chance (but not Enter the Matrix, as it's just no good).
As I journeyed around the shows floor looking for a place to sit, I found myself drawn to a booth where almost every stand had a chair. And before too long, I found myself sucked into Nokia's rather impressive booth. It was there that I was able to have my first hands-on experience with the N-Gage.
With a tall, yet small screen, and a $300 asking price, I tried really hard to be impressed by the idea of the N-Gage going up against Nintendo's GameBoy Advance, but the games they debuted, and the product itself really didn't win me over. Of course, I'm the one person in this world without a cell phone, and certainly have no need for one, so half of this devices functions were useless to me.
Even with a huge N-Gage, dozens of available systems to try out, and tee shirts, Nokia's booth was a ghost town!
But the idea that a company would release a portable for $300 when the most successful portable is selling for $70; proves that some companies haven't learned a thing over the last ten years. Had Nokia taken the time to study NEC, Sega, Atari, or even SNK's business model, they would see that when you're dealing with the GameBoy, price AND games matter. One can only hope Sony has done their research.
But I found myself stuck at this booth, playing one barely 3D game after another, if only because it had the most chairs of any one area at the entire convention (outside of the always-busy lunch area). I realized as I sat there, just as long as I stay cool in the Nintendo theater rooms, sit at all the booths I can, and take care of my legs and feet, I shouldn't have too much trouble getting through day two. And with any luck, all this attention I've given myself will be rewarded with a fairly pain-free third day.