RIP Ralph Baer
I really, really hate writing obits. I really do. But I take it as a personal honor to be able to say good things about the men and women I respect, whether in this industry or just in my life, and Ralph Baer is the reason all of this exists in the first...
Now that E3 '06 is a distant memory and a faint hangover, we're thinking clearly enough to give out some awards.
The thing is, this part sucks. Last year, our Best of E3 awards shocked, upset and disturbed some of our readers because we didn't follow the game plan of rewarding publishers for their carefully staged demos. You wanted to know which incomplete games were better than which other incomplete games. You wanted us to tell you the future by handing out shiny fake trophies today. You wanted us to play nice.
Number Of People At E3 : 60,000 People Watching the Frogger Trailer : 6 People Watching the MGS4 Trailer : 60,004 Fire Code Violations : 8 Number Of People Killed : 17
While NCSoft tried to win this prestigious award two years running by actually setting their booth on fire, cheap theatrical stunts can’t beat the fear of real physical danger for the average E3 attendee.
Konami’s Metal Gear Solid 4 trailer, however, blocked the walking aisles, crushed people against walls, and had the fire marshal flipping out every 45 minutes or so when the trailer would start. Gamers, it seems, are perfectly happy to trample lesser nerds underfoot in order to get a glimpse of Solid Snake putting a gun in his mouth.
Designer : Safety Uniforms, Inc. Cost : $15,000 Length Of Poking Stick : 3 feet Vonage Stock : Down 12% Closest Rival : Paris Hilton
We haven’t seen an orange jumpsuit this snazzy since Joel left Mystery Science Theater 3000.
This sartorial nerd was attempting to be a one-man television studio, complete with forward and rear facing cameras, as well as the controversial “pants-cam” that caused him to miss his plane at the airport security checkpoint.
Accessorizing his jumpsuit is a Ghostbusters Proton Pack from Ralph Lauren and a protective helmet for the mentally-retarded presumably provided by Doctors Without Borders. Best of all is the addition of a forward pointing head-stick, perfect for poking people in the face, as demonstrated in this picture.
Developer : Two Tribes Director : Alan Smithee Average People In Booth : 2 Average People In Booth (non-employees) : 0 Theater-To-Video Gap: 17 days
The Garfield movie was so bad, it should have been cancelled in production. The game that was supposed to be released with the Garfield movie was so bad, it was cancelled in production.
And nothing has that sweet, sweet smell of success like the sequel to a cancelled game based on a terrible film. Oh man, that Garfield. He sure does like lasagna!
Whoever invested money in that movie license got ripped off. Whatever kid gets that game from his aunt on his birthday is going to be pissed. Hell, even building that booth was a total waste of time and money. Congratulations! You win an award!
Everyone at E3 knows that Kentia Hall is the glorious ghetto of the show. Rents are cheaper, spaces are smaller, products are stranger, and you don’t have to try to compete with the Metal Gear Solid trailer blaring away at 50 decibels on a 40-foot screen.
Anyone with a crazy idea can bring it to the expo, show it off, and then not return the following year. But nobody will not be back like our winner of the "money is no object" category.
Do you like the beats? Sure! But do you like them costing a few thousand dollars? The guy who makes this luxury model Beatmania controller better hope some Saudi prince’s kid decides he wants one.
Publisher : Ubisoft Developer : Ubisoft Montreal Ship Date : 2007 Difficulty : 5.13a Dangers : Acrophobia
Third-person action game design had run into a brick wall...until Assassin's Creed showed up this year to climb right over it.
Tired of being blocked because you can’t even climb over a car in Resident Evil? Sick of Lara Croft bumping her bosom ineffectually against perfectly climbable-looking objects because it’s not the exact thing she’s supposed to climb? In Assassin’s Creed, every single nook and cranny that sticks out more than a couple inches can be used as a handhold or foothold.
Length Of Line : 12 Parsecs Number Of Bathrooms : 0 Wii Games Shown : about 20 Patience Level Required : Fanboy Runner Up : The DMV
There were so many contenders this year - the PS3, Spore, Haze, The Food Court - but the 2006 winner was clearly the Nintendo Wii.
Hiring a department of ex-Disneyland line technicians who had been fired for being too evil, Nintendo managed to turn a single line into three lines that had to be waited in sequentially.
First, eager fans waited to get into the booth; this line stretched approximately to Ohio. Once inside the booth (sucker), there was a second line where you waited to actually get into the room with the Wiis. Finally, once in that glorious Shangri-La, there was still a line(often 5 or 6 people deep) to play each game.
In order to play Excite Truck for five minutes, fans were required to wait four months.
And there wasn't even a ride at the end.
Real Army Guns
Number Of Troops In Iraq: 132,000 Number Of Troops At E3 : 17 Mysterious Piles Of Walking Seaweed : 26 Caliber : .50 Number Of Injured : 4
People get injured or mistakenly shot all the time because of fake guns; guns with giant orange nubbins on the end of the barrel or big green fins that shoot water.
So when the U.S. Army shows up and starts passing out real guns – big, powerful, real guns – you know a disaster is in the making. This photo was taken just seconds before that crazy looking kid began to unload into the crowd.
Fortunately, no Army personnel were harmed because they were all wearing camouflage so cunning, they could not actually be seen by human eyes.
Double your frags and become world champion with this awesome new mouse!
Well, not really.
The “Headshot” mouse sounds like a gamer’s dream come true. This particular product is not just a mouse, it’s a mouse WITH a glowing rainbow cord holder! Considering that my current mouse doesn’t even have a cord, this is clearly some very advanced technology. I can’t wait to upgrade.
Because nothing says “Headshot” like a rainbow.
Jam A Game: Burst A Fever 2
Engrish Multiplier :3x Fever Temperature : 102.6 Places To Jam It : 7
Go ahead. Do it. You take that game and you jam it. And then, YOU BURST.
Of all the awesome titles at the show, no single name bespoke awesomitude like Jam A Game: Burst A Fever 2. Combining a Fonzie-style threat, something vaguely medically unpleasant and a number, this game just can’t be beat. Or cured.
Number Of Winners : 54 Number Of Entries : 54 Hugability : 9.8 Runner-Up : The Special Olympics
Every publication gives out Best of E3 awards these days. It’s required by law. The most “official” of them is the Game Critics Awards, but if quantity equals quality, then the award for best awards clearly goes to Game Daily.
Giving out their “prestigious” Nod awards to a staggering 54 games meant no potential advertiser could feel insulted in any way. “We like everything,” said GameDaily’s editor-in-chief Chris Buffa in this entirely made up quote, “We even gave out Nods to games that weren’t at the show, and to others that didn’t exist, just so that nobody would feel bad.”
GameDaily plans to expand their Nod program in 2007, giving out even more awards to not only games, but show attendees, booths, CEOs, lighting fixtures, and sandwiches.
Developer : Techland Publisher : Ubisoft Arrives In : 40 days and 40 nights John : 3:16
With no official Bible Game endorsed by Jesus this year, heavenly inspiration fell instead to Call of Juarez.
These days, most developers try to attract gamers by loading their titles with fancy gimmicks, blurry visual effects or buckets of blood. But not Techland. Instead, they went Biblical in Call of Juarez, arming their deranged preacher character with, among other things, a Bible!
But instead of rolling joints or making planes like the rest of us, the preacher uses his copy of the New Testament like a flash grenade, confusing enemies by spouting arcane passages, then shooting them in the mouth. It just goes to show that guns don’t kill people, Bibles do.