E3 Day 1 Impressions

Article

posted 5/20/2005 by The GN Staff
other articles by The GN Staff
Today’s the first full day of E3 and it started out with a nice brown out in LA. Parts of the convention center were out and they had to move the entire media registration over to a tent in the West Hall. Good thing I pre-registered and got my badge holder within minutes while one of our co-workers waited in line for an hour and a half from within the tent to register. I had two appointments today and one was re-scheduled while the other I can’t talk about until a later date. So today I decide to walk the halls and comment on some of the products I saw today.



So far, the star of the show for me is Enemy Territory: Quake Wars. They had a stand at the Activision booth that showed a quick trailer of all in-game footage. What was shown was absolutely amazing. First of all, everything’s brightly lit in the demo. With a lot of light, you can see the great detail that’s in the models that you couldn’t really see in the dark dim scenes of Doom 3. Think the canyon scene in Starship Troopers and that’s the type of gameplay that was shown. The scene showed various flaming objects falling from the sky around the area and a large Strogg monster attacker that was reminiscent of the large bug coming out of the ground in Starship Troopers. The contrast between the tight spaces of Doom 3 and the very wide open areas of Enemy Territory: Quake Wars was enormous. Watching the soldiers scramble out into the apache like helicopters and seeing them take off really blew me away. The various Strogg vehicles had a very distinct style. For example, the aerial vehicles look like insects complete with legs protruding from the undercarriage. Watching the team of humans racing from the air attack in a jeep firing the mounted chaingun was a great adrenaline rush. I really can’t wait for Enemy Territory: Quake Wars to come out and Splash Damage looks to have done an awesome job with the engine.



Ultimate Spider-Man had a very comic like look. The cell shaded game’s main character’s design was similar to the MTV series that was on recently rather than being a more realistic body. Some of the scenes displayed comic book panels where the action took place and flowed into another panel. Animation was top notch with Spider-Man moving fluidly and exhibiting those great gymnastic moves with that spider-like flair.

At the EA booth, missing was NBA Live 2006. But the other EA title that I usually play was there and that being NCAA Football 2006. There didn’t seem to be an improvement in the graphics from the few minutes I was able to spend time with it but I did notice some minor icon changes and a more polished presentation now that they have the ESPN license. Some of the new features I did see were a fully rendered ESPN studio with Chris Fowler, Lee Corso, and Kirk Herbstreit. Lee Corso will now put on the heads of the mascots of the team that he thinks will win just like on ESPN GameDay. The Heisman race has been improved with a ceremony. With this year’s edition, you will be able to recruit year around as you get updates on the high school players you are interested in as well as schedule visits. Breakout players are highlighted and they showed various slow motion animation when they produced a great play. All in all, I left with the same impression as I do every year I see a new NCAA game; some minor improvements and a feeling that they should’ve done a lot more.


I haven’t golfed in a while but I think I may have found a product that will get me back into the swing of things. The Golf Launchpad is a USB peripheral featuring a real gold ball that’s tethered to a rotating base. On the base are eight sensors that will detect how your club meets the ball. By activating a specific sensor before the swing, you will choose whether you are chipping, putting, or going for a regular swing. Use your own clubs and go to town. You’ll hear the authentic sound of the club meeting the golf ball and see your swing translated to the screen. When you hit the ball, it will rotate around and there’s a net that will catch it in case it does get loose. The sensors will calculate everything that’s needed to generate a swing. Any game that uses Truswing will be able to use the Golf Launchpad and there are no drivers needed. You’ll also be able to download free software to have it analyze your swing. If you really want to experience the outdoors take a laptop, hook the Launchpad up, and use it outside. The ball and turf will need to be replaced but they are easy to change out. With the USB connection, the product will work on the PC, Mac, and the PlayStation 2. There’s a converter to plug it into the PlayStation 2 while a converter for the Xbox is in the works. It really looks to take video golfing for the home to the next level and can also be a great teaching tool.



Headgear that lets you experience games in a virtual reality like state isn’t new Trimersion is offering one up with head tracking. It’s a multiplatform device that works on the PC, PlayStation 2, and Xbox. Trimersion had a few demo units that were playing some first person shooters.



Soul Calibur III was on display but only two playable characters were available and the game needed some anti-aliasing. Tira, a new character with the round blade, along with Mitsurugi were the two you could choose and it played just like the previous version. There was some of the story mode and I’ll head back there to get some more impressions later on. Given that only two characters were playable, it was hard to gauge how much the game was improved for the third iteration but I’ve been a big fan a series and I’m anxiously awaiting this one as well.


After braving the initial morning and horrid traffic it was time to do what every gamer wants to do, and that is attend E3. After a painless badge fetching on Monday it was time to hit the show floor. After wading through the crowds just to get in to the convention center it was off to Konami’s booth to check out their showing. Music games were the focus of this year’s show as Beatmania was announce for the PS2. This game has been found in a number of arcades, and is a DJ Simulation game, a lot of fun for the gamer who loves his/her music. Also on hand was a new version of Karaoke Revolution which adds Dance Dance Revolution arrows to the game. New versions of Dance Dance Revolution were also on the show floor for the X-Box and Playstation 2. Dance Dance Revolution Extreme 2 features song like “Genie in a Bottle,” and “Get Busy,” by Sean Paul. Also on hand was a new Castlevania for the Nintendo DS, and PS2/X-Box, new Frogger titles along with a few new intellectual properties. More to come on Friday after I have my press interview.

Once the pounding bass of the Konami booth had knocked the sound out of my head it was time to mull over Square-Enix’s display. Final Fantasy XII was nowhere to be seen on the floor but rather an extended trailer was shown in the Square-Enix theatre along with a number of Final Fantasy 7 spin-off titles and a little bit more information about Kingdom Hearts 2. Square’s lack of Final Fantasy on the floor was a bit odd considering that there was a playable demo last year, but I digress I am not a marketing expert… yet. After that it was time for my tour of the Sony booth which is where I saw most of my gaming intake for the day.

Sony has a mountain of sequels to offer us with spin-off titles from Jak and Daxter, Sly Cooper, Ratchet and Clank, and Socom 3, but there is also a lot of new interesting titles coming out as well and show a lot of promise. Genji is loosely based of the book “Tale of the Genji” by Murasaki that takes place in ancient Japan and features a lot of motion captured samurai sword play that is reminiscent of Onimusha and Bujingai. The game will have a Fall 2005 release and will have 30 missions of samurai action.

Following Genji we were tolled around the booth and shown Shadow of the Colossus which many have touted as the spiritual successor to the under appreciated Ico released in 2001. Shadow of the Colossus looks to be an action puzzler in which you play a young boy trying to capture the powers held by twelve hulking giants that each play like a puzzle all for the sake of a girl. The HUGE environments and detailed graphics are nothing short of stunning. Colossus will drop in September this year so be sure to give it a look when it comes out.

Next up on the tour was a viewing of the new EyeToy products. First up was a demonstration of the new video chat functionality added to the EyeToy, appropriately named EyeToy Chat. There are also mini-games that can be played with other people. You can also encode and send video messages to friends that can be up to 30 seconds long. While this new technology is impressive sadly it is not something that has been seen before or honestly done better, but it is good to see that Sony is attempting to make the most of the under appreciated peripheral. In addition to the EyeToy Chat there is also EyeToy Play 2 a new collection of mini-games which makes a much greater use of the PS2 processing power, and contains an additional 75 mini-games to play that up to four players can play. EyeToy Play 2 is scheduled for a Summer 2005 release. Another addition to the EyeToy universe is the EyeToy Kinetic; this addition to the EyeToy family is the next evolution of Exertainment for the PS2 that had been previously dominated by Konami with their Dance Dance Revolution series.

Next in the line-up is the next game in the Ratchet and Clank series; Ratchet Deadlock, an arena combat game that has Ratchet fighting for his freedom from a media mogul who has dropped him into an arena combat show. The game will ship in the Fall this year, and with new weapons and up to 1000 different weapon combinations and up to 8 players getting their frag on online this title looks to be the much more child friendly arena combat game when compared to the next title that was shown to us; Socom 3.

Socom 3 is already shaping up to be the definitive online squad based shooter. With an improved netcode up to 32 players can go at it online, and now there are vehicles for everyone to drive with. The environments are also a lot larger this time around, giving games like Battlefield 2 Modern Combat a run for their money. Be sure to look out for this game when it drops later this Fall, also be on the look out for the PSP version as the two games will interact with each other in order to unlock new content for each game.

Taking a break for all the hardcore action it’s time for some sports. First up was a quick shot at Gretzky ’06. With the cancellation of the ’04/’05 hockey season gamers are the only ones who can enjoy a hockey season, even if it is a simulated one. A new feature allows players to get Gretzky on the ice for their team after completing some pre-requisite goals. Following Gretzky ’06 we were given a short glimpse of NBA ’06 which has a new player raising feature where you make the next NBA superstar. You take your home made character through the rigors of life as an NBA superstar as you deal with the coach, your agent, or even your team. You can also take your custom make player online after beefing him up by completing goals laid out before each game, this can be achieved by making shots, assists, or blocks. Gameplay through this mode alone has been stated to go beyond 30 hours.

Getting back in to the action games we were then given a quick glimpse of Jak X Combat Racing. Vehicular combat is the name of the game in the newest Jak game with customizable pods and ten tracks as Jak and company fight for their lives. Up to 6 players can battle online and once again the PSP game Daxter can be used with this game to unlock new content. More mixing and matching between PS2 and PSP games, this is a trend I hope to see continue as the months go on, and hopefully into the PS3 era.

Finally it was time to take a look at the portable games that Sony had to display. First up was a look at a new fighting game called The Con which is akin to the old Punch Out games seen on the NES. As an ex-con you’re out to make as much money as possible by pulling off the biggest con in a Fight Club style contest where you can take a dive and bet against yourself or bet for yourself and make a modest amount of cash, it’s all about finding a balance between making money and keeping people happy. As an added bonus you can take an image of your face and add it to a character to add some personalization to the game. There are five fighting styles to choose from; Tae Kwon Do, Wrestling, Kick Boxing, Jeet Keen Do, and Street Boxing as you fight against another player or the computer in this nasty brawl of a game.

The last game we were showed was a quick shot at the new PSP adventure game Daxter from the Jak and Daxter series. Little information was revealed but it will be released in Spring of 2006 and will be compatible with the PS2 game; Jak X Combat Racing. Be sure to look out for the fuzzy little hero when he hits the PSP.

Before the end of the tour we were given a brief video preview of the Playstation 3. A great number of in-progress games where shown and have a lot of promising titles, including Unreal and Gran Turismo. After the video preview there were actual PS3 models on hand to oogle over and I could have sworn I saw some drool drip from the lips of others in the area and rightfully so as it is quite a nice looking piece of hardware. The Spring of 2006 will be a very interesting one when the system hits the streets.

This E3 will be remembered for the launch of the three major consoles but for me I’ll remember this year as the year of the brown-out. There’s nothing like showing up to pick up your media badge and seeing a huge line in a darkened hall. There’s nothing like the subtle reminder that our favorite hobby is dependant on something outside our control (well, except for those with handhelds).

First off today was THQ Wireless. The THQ wireless is broken into two separate divisions, sports and entertainment. The sports division offers four types of games, simulation, arcade, fantasy, and trivia. Simulation is your typical interpretation of the sport (five on five basketball, six on six hockey, etc). This is impressive given the limited processing power of cell phones. The arcade modes are simple events from each sport like the home run derby from baseball, skills competition from the NFL, and 3 point shot from the NBA all star game.

The fantasy sports side is where I think they are going to make a ton of money though. With fantasy sports becoming a huge industry this represents a huge potential market for THQ. Baseball Fantasy 5 allows you to pick five players that are playing that day. The catch is that each player costs a certain amount and you only have X amount to spend each day. A nice feature is that the game only allows you to pick players that are actually playing that day and the stats are always up to date.

We all know that custom ring tones are the rage and THQ will be delivering some cool ring tones from professional athletes. That’s right you can have Jim Thome or Warren Sapp as your ring tone. Perfect for the obsessive compulsive fan (I’m there as soon as they sign Rick Nash). They’ve already got 30 NFL players lined up and are working on getting a full stable of NBA and baseball players lined up. The ring tones will of course complement the assortment of branded wall papers and screen savers that they will also be releasing.

The entertainment side is no slouch either. They’ve signed an exclusive deal to be the sole provider of Star Wars content for cell phones. What’s surprising is that they will be releasing nine brand new games based around the Star Wars franchise in addition to 50 wallpapers and 30 ring tones.

The entertainment side will also be shipping a bevy of games based on existing THQ properties. Mobile gamers will be able to play cell phone versions of Destroy All Humans, Full Spectrum Warrior, WWE Smackdown, Evil Dead Regeneration, and Warhammer.

The entertainment stable also includes some new IP’s such as the multiplayer game Metal Unit and South Park. That’s a lot of cell phone content and it’s hard to ignore how big this market is going to become.

I was really looking forward to meeting with NC Soft this year. After seeing the early beta of Auto Assault last year I was anxious to see how far the game had progressed. I’m happy to report that the game has made huge strides over where it was last year and is poised to be another breakout hit like City of Heroes was last year. It looks like a lot of the design decisions have been nailed down and the game looks like it’s going to be a lot of fun. There will not be a heavy penalty for dying in the game. When you die your car is picked up by a transport and taken back to the repair base where you can heal up and re-join the attack. They’ve also separated out the appearance of the vehicle from the modifications to it. Unlike traditional RPG’s where your appearance is tied to the level of equipment you are wearing (you walk around in gold armor since that’s the best armor you have) the appearance of the vehicle is completely separate from what’s under the hood. Another cool feature of the game is that players are rewarded for making spectacular jumps in the game to the point that you can make a career out of being a stunt driver. The physics are toned down a bit so you don’t take a lot of falling damage (which ties back to their design goal of making the game more fun than real) so you’ll be able to create your own Dukes of Hazzard moments without worrying too much about scratching your car.

Next up was a look at some of the upcoming content for Guild Wars. The game has already racked up some impressive numbers and those numbers look to grow as the game is released in Korea (they’ve already got 500,000 beta users banging around in the game). The first major content package titled “Sorrow’s Furnace will be released later this summer and will feature some technology upgrades, a broadcast observer mode, and a host of new graphics and art. NC Soft will also be hosting a series of tournaments around the world that will help determine the top guilds in each region and eventually the top guild in the world.

Tabula Rosa was next up on the list and all of the new work on the game looks solid. The sci-fi MMORPG has you in the role of one of the few humans left in the universe after that planet was taken over by the demonic Bane. What’s unique about the game is that the game world state is persistent. Everyone is locked in a struggle with the Bane to reclaim control of the planet and the balance of power is always up for grabs. What happens is that there are control points in the game that each side (humans and NPC) are fighting to control. So the control point you fight to take control of one night might be back in enemy hands when you log in the next night. Another aspect of the world is that your missions can be impacted by what other people are doing in the game. In the example we were shown the player had to capture a set of secret shield designs from a Bane compound. The compound was guarded by several large defense towers. There are missions in the game which will disable those towers for a period of time which can make your life a lot easier. What’s cool is that once you complete the mission to get the shield specifications everyone in the game benefits for a period of time as you will be able to shoot right through their shields until they change the design. The game is a mix of sci-fi and fantasy (humans were granted mystical powers by a third alien species called the Helos). Richard “Lord British” Garriot has created an entirely new language for the game and the magic system is based on this language.

Last but certainly not least was the upcoming sequel to City of Heroes, City of Villains. I was a big fan of CoH and I can tell already that people are not going to be disappointed by the follow-up. Potential Villains will work their way up from petty thug to evil master mind in the Rogue Isles a chain of islands that used to be a French colony. The isles quickly became a haven for scum and villainy (think a less sci-fi Mos Eisley). You won’t get the chance to beat up on innocent civilians rather you’ll be beating up on other common street scum as you work your way up the corporate ladder of evil. Missions will consist of things like kidnappings scientists, robbing banks, planting bombs, as well as missions to Paragon City. The signature heroes from CoH (such as Positron) will be an integral part of several of the missions

The game also gets a significant graphical overall and the inclusion of a new physics engines. When you hit enemies with a fireball you get a nice shower of sparks that scatter all around the level. It’s something you have to see to really appreciate but it adds an entirely new element to the game.

The sequel also add a base building tool where super hero groups can design their virtual store houses (which can then be invaded by villains and heroes). The designer looks and feels a lot like the Sims except that you get to place wall turrents instead of plasma TV’s.

The game will also add new powers and extensions to existing power sets and archetypes. The character creation system gets a lot deeper with new sets of bad guy clothes and new effects.

Matt already covered the Sony portion of the day so I won’t rehash much of it here. Shadow of the Colossus is an amazing game, go pre-order it now.

It’s really hard to judge the PS3 right now. The system itself looks great and I’m thinking most people are going to opt for the shiny black console over the other two colors. The frustrating thing for me is that we didn’t see any real time game footage of anything. The 20 minute movie we sat through was all pre-rendered footage from games that are in development and it’s hard to get a feel for a system like that. I’m not bashing the system in any way (I know I’ll be buying one to sit next to my Xbox360) but to try and compare the systems based on what we know right now is a bit pre-mature.

One of the big knocks on the N-Gage is the lack of quality titles for the system. That might change with the release of Glimmerati and Civilization.

Glimmerati is an interesting twist on the racing car genre. The game is set in the world of 1980’s high society. You play an up and coming playboy who’s trying to work his way up the global social food chain. You do this by competing in a variety of events. These consist of races, challenges, and missions. The missions are interesting because they are a lot more than just straight up races or FedEx things. I played a level where you were shooting a video with your rap star friend and you had to keep within a certain distance of the helicopter spotlight or you lost the mission. The missions also have some scripted elements so the goal of the mission may change at some point during the mission

The game takes place over four exotic locales (Milan, The Alps, Paris, and Monaco) and as you progress through the game you will earn points for your club card. The card tracks your accomplishments, best times, and progress through the game. You can then post your card to N-Gage arena to see how you compare to others who are playing the game.

There's Bluetooth multiplayer support with up to four racers racing. It's one of the biggest for the N-Gage as it occupies every square byte of a 64MB memory card.

Civilization is a direct port of the PC version of Civilization II. The developers have done an amazing job of putting every little nuance from the PC classic into the handheld. I had some concerns that moving around and getting through the menus would be a hassle but they’ve done a great job of making it easy to get around and play the game. This is one of those really addictive games that could sell a lot units for Nokia (at least among Civ fans). They’ve even got all of the cheat codes from the bame baked in

Nokia also showed off some of the technology behind their new Series 60 phones. Top among them was an amazing new LCD screen that compares favorably with the one Sony’s shipping on the PSP. The screen supports a resolution of 640 X 320 and handled the high end Futuremark demo without dropping a single frame. The unit has a ton of potential but it will all depend on whether or not they get any support from third party developers.

Jaws Unleashed - This game really surprised me. I stopped in for a quick check between appointments today and the game is actually a lot more interesting than I thought it would be. There’s a certain visceral feeling to swimming up to a swimmer in the water and taking a big bite out of them. This game has a lot of potential and it will be interesting to see how the final product ends up as just swimming around in the water eating people could get old quickly.

NHL 2K6 - I always try to check out the hockey games this year and since EA isn’t showing NHL 2006 right now this is the only Xbox offering on the floor. The game looks and plays a lot like last year’s version except for the removal of all of the ESPN branding. It also feels a little faster and it doesn’t seem to drop frames during the Picture in picture puck dropping sequence like last years version.

Prince of Persia 3- Three new components in the game, new “Dark” Prince character, quick kill system, and that large portions of the game takes place on the tops of buildings in Babylon. Dark Prince character has a separate set of powers and represents the dark side of the Prince (i.e. PoP 2). The quick kill system allows you to pull off cinematic, quick kills as long you are able to get the prince in right place undetected (it reminded me a little bit of the kill system in Manhunt). The prince also has a new chain weapon which can also be used as a grappling hook.

Blazing Angels: Squadrons of WWII- Wow, just wow. I thought they had doctored the screenshots they sent in last week but the game just looks that good. This game is amazing and Ubi has found a way to push every single bit of processing power out of the Xbox for this combat flyer. The demo mission has your patrolling the skies over Pearl Harbor during the attack. The detail in the game is just amazing (nothing like flying over a cruiser and seeing the sailors running around on the deck of the ship).

Burnout: Revenge I thought I would be disappointed in this title as there was no way they could match the fun of Takedown. I couldn’t have been more wrong as they’ve added some new game modes and the ability to set off a Crash breaker in the other modes in the game. This creates massive damage and allows for double and even triple takedowns.

Destroy All Humans - This game just keeps getting better and should be at the top of every gamers list when it hits stores later this year. The fantastic sense of humor, physics, and game play are just too much to pass up.

My first official day at E3 was a light one when it came to appointments. I met with MonsterGecko, Akella, Krome, and Gamer Graffix. I was pleased to find that the companies were as easy to work with in person as they were via email, and that there are some neat new things on the horizon from some of the smaller companies at the Expo.

MonsterGecko debuted the gun shaped PistolMouse at the 2004 E3, arrived with an expanded product line for 2005.

The 2005 line begins with the wireless GeckoPad for both XBox and Playstation 2. The GeckoPad XB uses 2.4GHz wireless RF technology with 60 foot range, dual vibration motors, and runs on AAA batteries. The GeckoPad PS uses the same 2.4GHz technology and Dual Shock 2, but has only a 30 foot range.

To better accommodate the oversized base of the PistolMouse, MonsterGecko has produced a mouse pad that is sized more like a placemat. With dimensions of 17 ½ by 13 inches, you won’t run out of room on the aptly-named MonsterPad while you’re trying to run down your prey.

Then, MonsterGecko showed me a prototype for something I was really hoping to see: a controller that may evolve the home gaming experience. The GeckoBlaster is a revolution in gaming controllers. This gun shaped controller uses gyroscopes for both movement and aiming which allows this gun to be used with rear-projection, LCD, and plasma TVs. The gun can be reset to a centered position on the screen with a button that temporarily disables the gyroscopes, allowing user to move the gun without moving in the game. Aside from the trigger, the controller also has analog thumb-stick movement, an 8-way analog D-Pad, programmable buttons, dual vibration motors, and it works with all games for the console it is designed for. The controller uses the same 2.4GHz wireless RF connection as the GeckoPad, and will be available for PS2 and Xbox, with development for next-gen consoles pending. The GeckoBlaster is due to hit stores in the first quarter of 2006.

Next, I was on to Akella, the Russian developer of such titles as Sea Dogs, Age of Sail II, Privateers Bounty, and Pirates of the Caribbean have arrived at E3 with a stable of 5 new games in development. For company whose development history is rich with naval war titles, it isn’t surprising that 4 of the 5 titles in development take us back to the water.

PT – Boats, Knights of the Sea is a game based on the battles fought by the mosquito boat fleets of World War II. The player can choose between sailing for the Allied, German, or Russian fleets. Each member of the ships crew can be controlled one at a time, and the player will have a first person view of the player they control. The death match and cooperative modes of the game were not ready for demonstration, but may add life to a genre that has been rehashed many times over the past 15 years.


The next sea based game, Age of Pirates, combines fighting, sailing, trading and character development in what may be a sleeper title of the fall pre-holiday season. This game also allows the user to virtually explore the entire area of the Caribbean. Up to 16 ships with 4 different types of shells, and 12 types of cannons can do battles in the Death match mode. This game follows much of the same path their previous pirate titles, with addition of character development and an enhanced trade mechanism.

Yet another pirate game, Captain Blood, takes an entirely different spin on things. This title is pure action. No need to waste time doing the typical pirate stuff, this game is all about hack and slash, whether on land or sailing on the high seas. This game also contains some terrific wave emulation, and playing the game well rewards the player with addition ad-ons, not included in the documentation.

Swashbucklers: Blue & Grey provides an interesting turn on sea battles as the player works as a privateer. The player decides which side to help in this Civil War-era video game, works to help both him and the side he chooses. The choices a player makes without thought may lead to major consequences later, or at least an effect will be felt on the player’s life.

Finally, the only game promoted by Akella that did not involve a boat is Rage Rider. This motorcycle action game combines combat and racing to make a truly dynamic experience. The world in which this game is played is quite large, including cities and towns, both large and small.

While players with a strong appreciation for the sea battle Akella is famous for coming up with will be excited about the upcoming release from the developer. The casual gamer may find the action level of Captain Blood to be a nice sit and go title while the rest have very little new to offer from previous offerings in their respective genres.


My next stop was with Krome, the Australian developer of the TY the Tasmanian Tiger series, to learn about their newest offering in the franchise, TY the Tasmanian Tiger 3.

Due to be released in the fall of 2005, this newest addition to the best selling Australian gaming franchise in history is firmly rooted in Australian folklore. Creatures within the game are based on components of Aboriginal mythology and patterned after indigenous creatures of the Australian Outback.

In this installment, TY must fight off invasion from an otherworldly evil. If you played TY 2, you are familiar with its clever controls, sharp graphics and boomerang based combat system. All 3 have been given a bump up in terms of quality, with the ‘rang system receiving the most serious enhancement and now lists as one of the games strongest points. Anyone looking for good fun for kids in the 8 to 15 range should consider this title.

My last stop of the day was with Gamer Graffix. This new company makes what they call skins, but they are most easily described to as ultra high quality padded stickers for gaming consoles and portable electronic devices.

Using a special 3M Brand adhesive, the skins can be applied and removed from each unit without leaving a residue trail. Gamer Graffix claims that it needs only 24 hours from the time a new device is on the marketplace to the time it begins designing skins for the unit.

Gamer Graffix has created hundreds of designs for the electronic devices they support. These include: Xbox, Playstation 2, iPod, iPod Mini, and PSP. Gamer Graffix has also licensed the Playboy logo and has released 2 skins featuring Playboy Playmates, both of which appeared at the expo to autograph the skins for those present.

As for upcoming designs, Gamer Graffix has partnered with Nintendo to provide exclusive skins for the upcoming Legend of Zelda title for GameCube.

All in all, not a bad way to officially start E3 2005, and day 2 looks just as interesting.