Year in, year out, we're faced with the daunting task of doling out awards to the games shown at the annual E3 convention/ad campaign. This is great for the people who make the games but can be quite problematic for us, as much of the show is comprised of totally unfinished, hastily thrown together demos that may or may not be representative of the final products. It's like giving an NBA contract to a 5th grader because he's wearing cool shoes.
So you know what? Screw it. Why give out a thousand awards to a thousand games that might never even see the light of day? Do you all really need to know which of the four strategy games present we think might turn out to be good? Aren't we better than that? By a show of hands, I see that we are!
And so welcome one and all to
GR's Completely Revamped Best of E3 2005 Awards!
We've gone to painstaking lengths to cover the breadth of E3, the entirety of the experience, if you will, not just the best games in the best categories. Speaking of which, we've come up with a crop of new categories altogether since the old ones were starting to stink up the joint.
Rumor has it there were over 1000 games at E3. To GR, there was really only 1.
The fact that Ben got a chance to see Will Wright's heavily-guarded pet while the rest of the staff didn't might make this award sound a little dubious, but you should hear him talk about it. Blah blah blah, all day long with the awesome clay creature designer, the incredible procedural animation technology, the epic scope. He makes a strong case, though, particularly since nothing else at E3 even came close to capturing the total bizarre-o creativity of this thing. Hence, it wins! Now if only they could make that release date evolve a little…
Platform: PC | Xbox
For years we have petitioned for zombie rights. For years we have clamored for zombie justice. For years we have decried the foul practice of obliterating our wormy brothers for the sheer sake of retaining our mostly pointless brains.
After years and years of abuse by those smarmy "living" people, it's time to exact some revenge. Stubbs certainly wasn't the biggest game at E3, but it was one of our favorites due to its impeccable zombie style and undead attitude. The fact that it lets you convert humans to your cause by dining on their gray matter helps, too, and the Halo engine doesn't hurt much, either. Then again, zombies don't avoid pain – they thrive on it.
Platform: PC | Xbox 360
Good things come to those who wait, but this is ridiculous.
We first saw Prey at a behind-closed doors meeting last century, when E3 was held in Atlanta and when GT Interactive was considered a non-bankrupt company. It looked pretty cool with its fancy portal technology and weird Native American themes, and we were interested to see how it would develop. After all, it was being made by 3D Realms, the guys responsible for Duke Nukem Forever, and that thing looked amazing.
HAHAHA! Joke's on us.
But while Duke Nukem Forever has taken up permanent residence in the Where Are They Now? file, Prey somehow managed to escape its vaporware destiny thanks to the crew at Human Head studios, who managed to bring it back to life and dress it in all kinds of new, groovy effects. Frankly, it was the coolest first-person shooter at the show.
Just imagine what it might be like in another seven years! Get to work, gang.
A double-edged award, no doubt.
On one hand, We Love Katamari will most likely draw us into the wickedly addictive, hilariously fun world of the Prince and his sassy dad all over again. We expect to give up eating, sleeping and drinking (well, maybe not drinking) for a week straight as we roll, roll, and roll some more in this anticipated sequel.
But there is a dark underbelly to the beast. We Love Katamari will feature what might be the most aggravating co-op multiplayer concept ever – two people controlling one ball at the same time. The left stick moves the ball. The right stick moves the ball. Somehow, you and your mate must agree to move in the same direction, or twiddle your thumbs in frustration as you play Katamari tug-of-war. We tried it for five minutes at E3 and got into no less than six screaming matches. "GO RIGHT! RIIIGHT!! YOU RETARD! WHAT PART OF "RIGHT" DID YOUR DEAF ASS INTERPRET AS "LEFT!"
Joe and Duke still won't speak to one another. They're so sensitive.
The Blizzard Booth
Average Number Of People: 60
Initially, this seemed like a tough category. After all, there were a good nine or ten companies whose terrible booth setups led to walkway arteries so congested, they should have been passing out Actifed.
But when it comes to total disregard for public safety, no booth could top Blizzard's. Successfully navigating past their booth required a combination of sharp wits, quick reflexes and some sort of wedge-like object to split the crushing wall of geeks lined up to stare at StarCraft: Ghost and World of Warcraft, both of which were on the floor for the two prior E3s. You got it – no StarCraft 2, no Diablo III, just two games that people either already own or stopped caring much about 24 months ago.
We salute you, Blizzard. We also expect you to pay for the funeral arrangements of one Jimmy Robinson, an 18 year-old Gamestop employee who sadly did not make it through your surging tide. He just wanted to see Activision!
They actually had a guy twirling fire.
Game Boy Micro
Okay, so this one wasn't so tough.
I suppose, in a sense, our worst fears were not realized. We all heard rumblings of Nintendo developing a new Game Boy system, which made the GR staff burn effigies of Mario in our sacrificial courtyard. How could they even consider releasing a new handheld right after making such a hubbub over the "we're still waiting for those cool games" DS?
The answer? They didn't. Instead, Nintendo unveilied their latest mediocre concept with the Game Boy Micro, which is nothing more than a tiny Game Boy Advance with a brighter screen. Of course, if your hands are larger than those of a Keebler Elf, it might not be so comfy.
Most mystifying of all is Nintendo's bizarre explanation for such a seemingly useless device:
"We're making the gorgeous Game Boy Micro for image-conscious folks who love video games, the ones who want the look of their system to be as cool as the games they play on it," says George Harrison, Nintendo of America's senior vice president of marketing and corporate communications. "Because of its diminutive size and industrial-hip look, Game Boy Micro immediately identifies the person playing it as a trendsetter with discriminating style."
We have a winner.
Location: South Hall, Towards The Back
We finally figured out who TQ was – an online game developer from China. Maybe. They also might be called NetDragon. We eventually discovered that they did, in fact, have a game at E3 called Conquer Online, which looks like a bad Super Nintendo game.
Anyway, TQ decided that if you're going to show your stuff at E3, that stuff might as well scream at the top of its lungs into a microphone. They hired half of some Wannabe Nickleodeon Team Dance Brigade Squad and three exceptionally phony hip-hop MCs and proceeded to unleash them all on unsuspecting passers-by. It was like dealing with a mean, pushy homeless guy – if you looked 'em in the eye, they wouldn't leave you alone. Awful dance routines and constant hollering about "Getting Up!" and "Feelin' It!" did a fantastic job of hiding the total lack of actual booth content.
Ben even got into a shouting match with one of the fake MCs, who kept yelling "C'mon! C'mon! C'mon! C'mon! Yeah!" prompting our bitter editor to holler back "Why!? Why!? WHY?! WHY?! OKAY!"
Maybe THQ should sue.
Robbie Bach, Microsoft
"Our goal: to reach 1 billion consumers.
In case you were wondering what happens to someone's brain when it spends too much time locked in a giant bubble in Redmond, Washington, here's some insight.
One billion. That's a 1 with NINE zeroes. That's one sixth of the human population on planet Earth.
Which, by the way, is not where Mr. Bach happens to reside.
Three hours prior to Robbie's ramblings, Sony announced at their press conference that 190 million Playstation units have been sold worldwide. That's Playstation + PS2. That's a lot, easily the most of any console system, and it took ten years to get there. To get to 20% of Robbie's sweet goal.
Now, we're all for outrageous plans and outrageous dreams and outrageous ideas of one's self-worth, but to actually barf out ONE BILLION when talking about the number of people you want sitting around playing video games is a little too outrageous for even our game-addicted asses. A gamer born every minute? God, we better start working out so we don't die and ruin the dream!
To put this into even more perspective, since its launch, the Xbox has sold through about 15 million units. Best of luck to you and yours, Robbie. Call us when you hit 50, kay?
When rumors started swirling about Neversoft's first non-Tony Hawk game, we all took interest. When that title was revealed to be GUN, our ears perked up. When we got to E3, we searched it out.
And found nothing at all.
Well, aside from giant posters bearing the cryptic words "From Neversoft," "Pull the trigger" "GUN," and "Fall 2005," a meaningless looping video and, astonishingly enough, a couple booth babes wearing GUN shirts. That's right – girls wearing shirts to promote a product that didn't make the trip.
Listen, we have enough games to deal with at E3, Activision. We don't need to be confused trying to find games that aren't there. Think of the children…or at least your budget.
Agetec's Anti-Booth Babes
We saved the best for last. Sorta.
FYI: That dude with the red hair kinda looks like Duke.