One Day At E3

By Louise Yang . June 7, 2009 . 12:58pm

I don’t know how people can do multiple days of convention. One day of E3 was enough for me. It must take a lot of stamina to work the booths for so many days straight.

 

Skateboard peripheralI checked out the new skate board peripheral for Tony Hawk Ride. It seemed to work better than I thought it would. You can lean on it as you would a skateboard (I guess — I’ve never really skateboarded before) to do turns and you can jump on top of it to do tricks in the video game. Seemed fun. I wonder how well it would work on hardwood. I bet the downstairs neighbors wouldn’t be too happy about it.

 

I’m glad to see more physical game peripherals being out in the market now. Makes being a gamer more active and less couch potato-like.

 

I also had a go with the PSP Go, which I was lukewarm on when I first heard the news. When I held it in my hand, I was a little swayed. It’s definitely less wide, and it feels more solid. I’m not sure about the button placements though. The L and R trigger felt awkward, but maybe it’s because the device was tied down. It felt like my hand would get tired if I had to keep my fingers on the L/R trigger for too long. I definitely like the fact that it slides into a more compact shape — very pocket-friendly. If I didn’t already have a PSP slim, I would definitely get the PSP Go.

 

Wiz handheld consoleI saw another hand held console called the Wiz (cue Idle Thumbs music: The Wizaaaaard). It’s made by a Korean company and is about the same size, maybe a little wider, than an iPhone. It’s light, but feels solid. So far, not too many games on it, but it’s certainly home-brew friendly. According to the developer I talked to, they might come out with an SDK for the system so that more developers can contribute to the software. It’s definitely not something the main stream is likely to want anytime soon, but good for those who like to tinker in homebrew.

 

Dead Space Extraction was also out on the floor this year and I got some hands-on time with it. I thought a light gun game would feel dated and boring, but this one gave me a surprise. It feels like the original Dead Space complete with strategic dismemberment of enemies, except in light-gun format. It doesn’t feel as on-rails as other games of that genre are, maybe because sometimes players do get limited control of which direction they want to look at. My co-op partner did make the experience more exciting, especially during the puzzles where both of us needed to work together to make things like elevators work. Picking up ammo and weapons littered throughout the stage also kept the light-gun parts less monotonous.

 

New Super Mario Brothers on the Wii was news to me this week and I didn’t know anything about it until today. I wasn’t that excited for another Mario platformer, as good as they may be, but the 4 player co-op changed my mind in half a second. This is EXACTLY what I wanted as a kid while playing Super Mario Brothers. Playing it for a few minutes on the showroom floor has changed this into a must-buy. I can already tell it’s going to be a blast playing this with friends.

 

I also got to check out the iPhone and Wiiware version of Robocalypse. The iPhone verison is a port of the original DS game, an RTS, but with upgraded graphics. The robots look spectacular on the higher res iPhone screen. Scrolling around the map quickly was also smooth and seamless. The controls were also fine-tuned for the iPhone and intuitive. Can’t wait to see more of this game. It feels like full fledged RTS game.

 

The Wiiware version of Robocalypse is completely new and instead of an RTS, it’s a tower defense game. From what I played of it, it’s a solid entry into the genre. Instead of a fixed path, like Defense Grid or the Final Fantasy tower defense game, players get a wide open field and can place towers anywhere to force enemies to make their own paths. More difficult, but also more rewarding. In addition to the traditional towers, players also get a hero to control, which acts like a movable tower. I mainly used him to force enemies to take a certain path. I like that towers have multiple types of upgrades like range, power, and frequency of firing. It’s good to see the twists companies come up with for tower defense games.


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  • Aoshi00

    Cool you get to attend E3. I’m thankful regular people now get to watch all the new trailers and conferences in HD almost instantly at the comfort of their own home. How far we’ve come w/ technology.

    I was wondering about PSP Go’s screen size too. If it’s not as wide as regular PSP screen, wouldn’t the sides get cut off? Or they would have the option of letter box, but that seems unlikely since the screen is small as it is. I’m interested in the new digital format. Many complained about UMD being noisy and draining battery, so this is the solution. As much as I like to collect physical copies, I think my finite space is about to hit a threshold, but the design just isn’t very attractive. Plus the $250 price point is a no go for now. I guess that really caters more to iphone people who would have no problem shelling out that kind of money for new gadgets or phones. As a game system, not an upgrade I’m looking for.

    Unfortunately I have to stay a couch potato play games or watching movies because I live on 2nd floor and can’t disturb my neighbor (no 5.1 audio either). I never thought of getting Wii Fit, DDR, especially the upcoming Natal which seems like you need to whole floor to do karate kicks, I imagine the floor in any house would creak after people doing skateboard stunts. Sony’s new motion controller seems very accurate, I don’t think Wii Motion Plus would match that.

    Super Mario Bros Wii can definitely be hilarious w/ 4 people, w/ friends jumping over each other.

    • Chow

      As I’ve said before about the PSP Go!, it seems like the perfect device for custom firmware. I’d probably get it and continue using my PSP-1000 for my regular legal PSP needs, which do include collecting physical copies of games.

      Didn’t the Gameboy Micro also have a smaller screen than the GBA, but kept the same resolution? I’d assume the Go! would go the same way here. (I’d still have preferred the screen to have stayed the same size, or to even go slightly larger)

    • http://www.nakedsushi.net/ Louise

      Spencer and I were just talking about this. With so many places online to see streams of games at E3, not going is almost the same as going. You can just experience E3 in the comfort of your own home if you have broadband. The only difference is not being able to play games hands-on.

      The $250 price point for the PSP Go is certainly high if you treat it as an upgrade, but if I didn’t already have PSP, I might be persuaded to get one now that it’s smaller and supports digital distribution. I really think this is the future.

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