E3 mini-wrap-up

So other than the Who being a personal highlight, I liked the show this year. Many people said it felt like a wake — we were back in the LA Convention Center but occupied a much smaller space and there were fewer people. I spun that as “an intimate show where I didn’t have to elbow 12-year-old Gamestop clerks in the face to get 45 seconds of hands-on time with a game so I could write a 300-word preview.” They got rid of the fat. I don’t see that as a downside.

I saw a lot of games I really liked. Star Wars: The Force Unleashed looks great in motion; I’m really excited. I think the Wanted game could be great fun. Rock Band 2, well, rocked. I didn’t get to see Gears of War 2 or Lips but heard great things. And I simply do not want to play You’re In The Movies.

It was the first E3 in ages where I did not see a new Tony Hawk game. I think they’re finally giving it a short rest, which is good. How can we miss you if you won’t go away?

E3 is like homecoming. It’s the only time we get to see each other in person. Hell, I got to spend time with a writer I’ve been employing freelance for a year now.  The funny thing is I saw a lot of people who I see at all the junkets but have never really been introduced to and could not call “friends.” Last year, one of them memorably asked me where the bus was picking us up; when I said I didn’t know, they said “Don’t you work for Microsoft PR?” After all, there had to be a reason I was always around.

I was in the EA booth, minding my own business, when a guy from Goldman Sachs stared at my badge and asked, “Hey, you’re a reviewer — tell me, how would you review these games?” I said, “None of them are finished; it would be unethical and irresponsible for me to even comment.” And I walked away. Is this really how investment banking works — asking total strangers at trade shows what they think without so much as introducing yourself? I don’t care if you tell people to buy EA and EA buys Take-Two and Take-Two buys really fancy cars and homes. The media is not your focus group. That said, if you want to hire me as a temporary consultant or an analyst, we can talk.

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