Three days, four hundred booths

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By David Morris & Johnathan Kroncke

Gamers wait in line to try out the latest game systems. (Chris Ullyott)

By David Morris & Johnathan Kroncke

Robots and gamers and booth babes, oh my!

Yes, the Los Angeles Convention Center was overrun once again by frantic gamers and industry representatives at this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo, or E3.

E3 is the chance for companies and game developers to show off their new wares and give industry insiders and media a first look at games and consoles that have not come out yet.

Sony came out in full force to show off their highly anticipated PlayStation 3 and with it, some spectacular new games. However, it’s not always just about the quality of the games but also the quality of the presentation.

In an industry convention like E3, it’s all about how you strut your stuff and Sony did so with style. They laid out more than enough PS3’s for gamers to enjoy at their leisure and, more than that, they showcased their new product in an easily accessible way.

Anyone could walk up to the displays and expect to wait no more than five minutes before they had the controller in their hands.

There were also special rooms next to the playable PS3 which showcased some of its other features. In one such room, attendees were invited to see the quality of a new blue-ray DVD being played on a PS3.

If that weren’t enough, Sony also created a unique and appealing area for their handheld system, the PlayStation Portable. Each PSP section had a theme to it that corresponded with each new game that Sony was showcasing.

In one case, the area was set up to look like the inside of an airplane fuselage and was done so to coincide with Sony’s upcoming release of their new game “Ace Combat X.”

For the release of several new sports games coming out for the PSP, Sony created an old-school, neighborhood style basketball court and positioned the playable systems around it.

Of course, new games are still being developed for the PS2 and Sony provided plenty of those for gamers to enjoy.

However, all was not right in the land of E3. While some companies like Sony really showed their skills in presentation, Nintendo’s booth was another story.

Nintendo’s new system, the Wii, garnered more excitement and attention than any other product and Nintendo knew it. Naturally, you would expect them to make it easily accessible to anyone who wanted to play it, like Sony did.

Instead, Nintendo constructed a little room with several playable Wii consoles and surrounded it with a giant wall. So while Sony’s highly anticipated PS3 was on display for anyone to walk up to and enjoy, the Wii was hidden away behind a wall with no less than a two-hour line on the other side.

Aside from botching the Wii display, Nintendo decided to leave all of its GameCube’s at home. Whereas Sony provided countless PS2’s fully stocked with their new releases, Nintendo provided not a single GameCube.

In its place, a sadly boring display was set up with a long row of Nintendo DS’s.

While they were able to showcase many of their new titles, the booth lacked any kind interest or flair.

Perhaps the only appealing aspect of Nintendo’s booth was its “booth babes” who were on hand to hand out freebies and award prizes to Nintendo DS contest winners.

Microsoft had another powerful year for the Xbox systems. Well, mostly the Xbox 360.

Along a wall were rough sketches of people and as you moved past them they changed to actual pictures of people, bringing to light how successfully the Xbox 360 has connected gamers on a whole new level.

Taking games to a level that not only includes on-line gaming, but establishing an on-line identity and organizing communities.

Watching over the assembled gamers was an omnipotent face of an Xbox 360, overseeing its satellite games. Each game was grouped into pentacle with a double screen at each point. It enabled players to sit and play with observers watching on the other side. The annoying thing is that some of the developers that hogged their games.

The overall look and especially the greenish tint that everything was bathed in screamed Xbox. Overhanging screens would drop down and feature trailers for upcoming games.

Microsoft made it accessible for the average gamer to just jump in and try out the new games. A convenient ticket system enabled them to avoid long lines and return at the designated time to view exclusive content.

The gaming industry appears to revitalize itself every five years. This year marks the resurrection of the three core consoles.

Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft are ushering in a new age. Solid Snake, Mario and the Master Chief are the new legends, establishing a new rock & roll legacy.

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