June 11, 11

Since 1995 I’ve missed one E3.  The one in Atlanta, GA.  I wanted to go, but couldn’t get away long enough to attend.

This year it has finally become clear to me that my E3 experience is like Groundhog Day.  Same booths.  It seems like they are actually using the very same booth constructions, and since these are extremely expensive, and our economy is a soft floppy fish, it’s probably true that we are seeing the same walls and panels year after year.  You certainly can’t blame anyone.

We can always count on the crowds, but it’s a different mix these days.  We see the same licenses.  We see the same play formats.  A new controller with all the same games.  I don’t mean to sound too cranky, but it has all the feeling of a Groundhog experience.

This year everyone is waving wands or trying to dance like Michael Jackson or sing like they are on Glee.  I hope the Wal-Mart product buyers really can start to move like the King of Pop, and without knee replacement surgery.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for new controllers AND for getting active with games — but it seems like no one is really pushing the controllers to do new stuff.  They are just grafting motion controllers onto the same old games.  The only one that got me really smiling was Double Fine’s Once Upon a Monster.

It was a platter of interesting choices all the way around.  Nintendo has a new console!  But is everyone too broke to really care much?  A quote today in the LA Times mentioned that Nintendo could not understand why their stock continues to fall.

Sony showed their new portable — the Vita — for life, and it comes ready and waiting for an AT&T subscription package.

That’s what we all want, another carrier bill to sap our Vita.

You can actually have a conversation on the show floor now, because they re-wrote the booth sound rules.  It used to be like a rave, if I was cool enough to know what a rave is like.

Plenty of buyers from Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Gamestop.  Many booths now are largely areas of invite only, where they used to be fun places to mingle, talk games, and play stuff.

The Playstation booth was like a human habitrail of invitees climbing around in plastic tubes.  If you’re not cool enough to get into the little bubble pods for a quick chat, you stand against the glass with your greasy nose pressed out of shape hoping for a T-shirt.

As always, it’s going to be interesting.

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