E3 2011: Wednesday & Thursday

First, I must apologize to all you readers out there; it’s 2:41 Sunday morning for me right now, and I’ve not only yet to post the final days of my E3 journey, but I’ve yet to post any of my E3 coverage at all. But don’t worry, it’s still coming, and it’s still relevant, as I got personal hands-on time with some great titles, and behind-closed-doors looks at some big names. While a lot of the information has been covered on the web, I hope to give a different take on a lot of it. So definitely check out a ton of E3 content coming your way shortly. But first… how did my E3 journey end?

Wednesday, as expected, was a lot easier on my body, as I had far less appointments compared to Tuesday. As a result, I was able to take my time on the show floor, catch my breath, and really absorb everything. I started things off bright and early with barely any sleep (as I spent the night writing all of my articles that I’ve yet to post, thanks to the lack of internet access), but the kind folks at 2K Games made the morning easy with some fine presentations for both The Darkness II, and XCOM. After exiting the XCOM presentation, I was seriously debating an attempt at sneaking into the BioShock 2 room. I really think I could have pulled it off, but I didn’t want to take the risk and get tossed out on my second day. After giving up on my dreams of pulling off James Bond-ish maneuvers, I hit the show floor to play some games.

2k did a great job with their presentation rooms. ‘A’ for effort!

My goal was to spend the entire day in the South Hall, which had pretty much everything except for Nintendo and Sony’s main features (which were in the West Hall; I was saving that for my last day). Another plan I had was to take a look at some of the lesser known titles, as I’m sure everyone knows just about everything that I would have been reporting from E3 about the larger titles (thanks to all the great coverage online that’s available to anyone). So I thought I’d try out some games like Rayman Origins, Tintin, and El Shaddai, to name a few.

I found myself having a blast just walking around though, looking at everything. The environment itself is addicting to be in. At first, after Tuesday, I was exhausted and thought I’d almost grow to hate going to the place, but by Thursday I was sad it was over. I miss it so much already. The highlight for Wednesday, however, was being invited to SEGA’s Sonic Anniversary VIP event at the Club NOKIA.

The place was cool, open bar (complete with a blue Sonic drink called Sonic Rocks), and had stations set up to watch Sonic videos, and play the new Sonic Generations game. There was also a live performance by Crush 40, who you might be familiar with if you’ve ever played any Sonic game. They played some classics from the Genesis, remixes, and some of the music from the latest games. The older stuff was cool to hear live, but the ‘hard rock’ stuff was pretty lame. Either way, though, it was awesome (even if terrible-awesome), and it was great to see the original members of Sonic Team make it out and say a few words. There was also a live performance Sonic musical performed by a group of kids that had won a contest earlier, which wasn’t too bad for what it was. Lastly, Sonic himself came out on stage with a big cake, and we all sang happy birthday to him. The best part: the audience there will all be featured in Sonic Generations saying, “Happy Birthday Sonic.” By the end of the night, though, I went back to my hotel a happy camper and very aware that the Sonic Rocks drink had a lot more alcohol to Sprite ratio.

Jun Senoue rockin out to some Green Hill Zone remix

Thursday was a big day, as I was squeezing both Nintendo and Sony all into one day, but the West Hall didn’t seem to offer nearly as much as the South Hall. I gave up going to any of the smaller areas at E3, partly due to time, and partly because the other small halls were too hard to find and get to.

Nintendo had long line-ups to try out their new Wii U of course, as did Sony with the PSVita. My time with both of them was very brief, and I don’t have much to say about either. I’ve never been a big fan of Sony’s attempts at portable gaming, but for people looking forward to it, you’ll like it. The Wii U I’m very curious and skeptical about. It feels okay to hold, and doesn’t look too bad, but I’m just curious if it’s really the answer Nintendo is looking for to recapture the hard-core crowd that they’re aiming for. I still don’t see myself choosing the Wii U as a platform to play any third-party games, and I still don’t see myself being down to hold that giant controller and waving it around. The few ideas I do like that I’ve seen still feel gimmicky to me, but who knows.

Worth a two hour wait?

Overall, my trip started off rocky, and I almost lost faith in the entire thing, but I can confidently say that as soon as the actual event started, I couldn’t get enough. Being treated as VIP at times felt really cool, and being able to see things that nobody else will for quite awhile was also a treat. The entire atmosphere, though, is what captured my heart the most. It wasn’t the eyes-on presentations, the hands-on exclusives, or the free swag; it was the people, the sights, and the love of the industry that you could feel from everyone that attended. Going there, I never intended to ever go back, but should I have the opportunity again I will be there for sure.

All that’s left for me to do now is share my thoughts of all the games I had a chance to play, and watch. I hope you enjoy everything that’s to come, and hopefully this may help cure a few people’s post-E3 withdrawal.

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