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Archive: May 2006

E3 in Today's Print Post: Sunday

What Press Pass? At E3, a Convergence of Card-Carrying Bloggers by Jose Antonio Vargas...

By Bob Greiner | May 14, 2006; 10:27 AM ET | Comments (0)

Photo Gallery 2

Photos by Chris Barylick for washingtonpost.com (click images for larger versions). Statue of a villain from Blizzard's World of Warcraft. Attendees test out the newest Nintendo DS wares at the Nintendo booth. Players try out virtual-reality goggles in multiplayer games on the show floor. An attendee tests out a racing...

By Bob Greiner | May 13, 2006; 9:15 AM ET | Comments (0)

Final Thoughts

The final numbers are in and 60,000 people attended this year's show. It was crowded, but it definitely didn't seem as crowded as last year, which had over 70,000 attendees. You couldn't walk from booth to booth in the South Hall last year. I think one thing that's changed in...

By Bob Greiner | May 12, 2006; 6:55 PM ET | Comments (0)

Video: Everybody's Golf

Footage of Everybody's Golf, an upcoming game for the PlayStation 3 that's a version of the popular PSP title also known as Hot Shots Golf. var movieSrc = "http://media.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/mmedia/player/player2.swf?whichMode=normal&justify=center&playad=yes&mediatype=stream&postdir=technology&postvideo=051206-5v&cuesfile=none&autoplay=no&starttime=0&endtime=0&largerver=none&image=051206-5s&playlistxml=none" ; //URL OF WHERE .SWF MOVIE IS PUBLISHED var movieWidth = "427" ; //FLASH MOVIE AND BACK-UP GRAPHIC WIDTH var movieHeight...

By Bob Greiner | May 12, 2006; 6:40 PM ET | Comments (0)

Windows Vista Aims to Get Gamers' Attention

Microsoft is doing something for Windows Vista that is usually only done with consoles -- releasing game titles concurrently with the new operating system. They're calling them "spotlight titles" -- when Microsoft releases Vista (whenever that is; it's been delayed quite a few times), it will apparently have a lot...

By Bob Greiner | May 12, 2006; 6:15 PM ET | Comments (0)

Video: Resistance: Fall of Man Footage

Footage of Resistance: Fall of Man, an upcoming game title for the PlayStation 3. Editor's Note: This video contains graphic images....

By Bob Greiner | May 12, 2006; 6:08 PM ET | Comments (0)

Answer: Splinter Cell

From a blog comment: Any thoughts on the new Splinter Cell? It seems to be a "choose your own adventure" plot. Mike Musgrove responds: Right you are, says Derek Chan, who is on the Ubisoft team developing Splinter Cell. In the game, government agent Sam Fisher infiltrates a terrorist group....

By washingtonpost.com Editors | May 12, 2006; 6:06 PM ET | Comments (0)

My Top 10

1. Gears of War 2. Assassin's Creed 3. Mass Effect 4. Bioshock 5. Command and Conquer 3 6. Rainbow Six: Vegas 7. Mercenaries 2 8.Justice League Heroes 9. Crysis 10. Virtua Tennis 3 -- Tom Ham...

By Bob Greiner | May 12, 2006; 5:40 PM ET | Comments (0)

Visit to Wisteria Lane

I had an interesting experience in the Disney booth at Buena Vista games. Since it was Disney I expected to run into Mickey Mouse and things like that, but instead I broke into someone's house, stole stuff to sell later, and got caught because I made too much noise. I...

By Bob Greiner | May 12, 2006; 5:35 PM ET | Comments (0)

Lost in Space

This is how you know it's getting near the end of the last day of E3. You're playing a sci-fi shooter game, right? With a bunch of other people? You ask what console the game is on, and then realize something: You are holding an Xbox 360 controller. You are...

By Bob Greiner | May 12, 2006; 4:57 PM ET | Comments (0)

Answer: Final Fantasy

From a blog comment by "Blepcots": How about some thoughts on Final Fantasy 12 (when is the actual U.S. release?) and also 13, since I've actually seen a few screenshots this week? John Breeden II replies: Most of the Square Enix booth is devoted in one way or another to...

By Bob Greiner | May 12, 2006; 4:39 PM ET | Comments (0)

People Who Aren't Real Will Phone You

Nokia is working on a new immersive RPG for the N-Gage (although N-Gages pretty much look like regular phones now, so I don't see why it couldn't be on other phones, other han licensing). The game, called Shadow Born is coming out in the second half of '07. The graphics...

By Bob Greiner | May 12, 2006; 4:21 PM ET | Comments (0)

Waiting to Play Wii

The line at the Nintendo area is the longest in this whole hall. When I walked around it, I felt like I was running the mile. I talked to two guys toward the end of the line -- Kevin Dowell, 19, and Paul Pao, 20, both students at USC. They...

By Bob Greiner | May 12, 2006; 4:05 PM ET | Comments (0)

Shhh, It's Getting Loud In Here....

Scott Steinberg, Sega's vice president of entertainment marketing, said he had to call conference security to get the folks in the neighboring NCSoft booth to quiet down, as per new E3 rules requiring that booths keep the decibels down. "I think there's a rule," he said. "The less good your...

By washingtonpost.com Editors | May 12, 2006; 4:04 PM ET | Comments (0)

Is Will a No Show?

Ran into Will Wright five minutes ago, the world's most famous game designer, a guy who has made zillions of dollars for game publisher Electronic Arts. Wright, looking exhausted and panicky, was trying to find lunch in the 27 minutes he had till the next showing of his upcoming game...

By washingtonpost.com Editors | May 12, 2006; 3:55 PM ET | Comments (0)

Microsoft Everywhere

Spent a lot of time in the Microsoft booth ... Talked to Todd Holmdahl, corporate vice president for the Xbox and gaming platform group. He showed me an app that could be a key for Microsoft when it takes on PS3 later this year. Holmdahl typed in my Xbox Live...

By Bob Greiner | May 12, 2006; 3:38 PM ET | Comments (0)

Video: Final Fantasy XIII Trailer

Trailer for Final Fantasy XIII, the next new installment of the best-selling series for the PlayStation 3. var movieSrc = "http://media.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/mmedia/player/player2.swf?whichMode=normal&justify=center&playad=yes&mediatype=stream&postdir=technology&postvideo=051206-4v&cuesfile=none&autoplay=no&starttime=0&endtime=0&largerver=none&image=051206-4s&playlistxml=none" ; //URL OF WHERE .SWF MOVIE IS PUBLISHED var movieWidth = "427" ; //FLASH MOVIE AND BACK-UP GRAPHIC WIDTH var movieHeight = "300" ; //FLASH MOVIE AND BACK-UP GRAPHIC...

By Bob Greiner | May 12, 2006; 3:08 PM ET | Comments (0)

Mercenaries 2: World in Flames

Pandemic says "right now only on PS3" ... The game looked freaking awesome. The demo I saw showed the processing power of the PS3. The game takes place in Venezuela. Lush jungles, cool vehicles - I was duly impressed. Another cool feature: A co-player can join any time during a...

By Bob Greiner | May 12, 2006; 3:03 PM ET | Comments (0)

Mortal Kombat: Armageddon

The ultimate MK game. Total of 60 characters. If you've seen them in an MK game, they're here -- including bosses and sub-bosses. Air combos are new. Customizable fatalities were pretty cool, too. Huge single-player game and online play as well. Coming out October this year. I had a lot...

By Bob Greiner | May 12, 2006; 2:53 PM ET | Comments (0)

Quotes From the Floor

Despite being the last day, the floor is still packed. Prior to the staff's opening of the doors, the crowds lined up outside, ready to rush in at the first possible moment. At 9 PT, the moment arrived and the group surged forward like the Running of the Bulls. Some...

By Bob Greiner | May 12, 2006; 2:48 PM ET | Comments (0)

Video: Xbox 360 Samples

A roundup of several upcoming games for the Xbox 360 game console. var movieSrc = "http://media.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/mmedia/player/player2.swf?whichMode=normal&justify=center&playad=yes&mediatype=stream&postdir=style&postvideo=051106-10v&cuesfile=none&autoplay=no&starttime=0&endtime=0&largerver=none&image=051106-10s&playlistxml=none" ; //URL OF WHERE .SWF MOVIE IS PUBLISHED var movieWidth = "427" ; //FLASH MOVIE AND BACK-UP GRAPHIC WIDTH var movieHeight = "300" ; //FLASH MOVIE AND BACK-UP GRAPHIC HEIGHT var backupGraphic = "no"...

By Bob Greiner | May 12, 2006; 1:40 PM ET | Comments (0)

Unreal and Stranglehold

Unreal Tournament 2007 -- coming early 2007. New tech, built from the ground up. Four main modes, new vehicles (shipping with three times more than previous game), new weapons and upgrades and firing modes. This game is going to rock. For PC and PS3. John Woo Presents: Stranglehold -- Starring...

By Bob Greiner | May 12, 2006; 1:32 PM ET | Comments (0)

Answer: Assassin's Creed

From a blog comment by "Mid-LifeCrysis": Do you have any insight on whether "Assassin's Creed" is going to be a PS3 exclusive game? There's lots of inconsistent information out there on the Web. The game looks so spectacular that I think many console purchasing decisions would be influenced by the...

By Bob Greiner | May 12, 2006; 1:22 PM ET | Comments (0)

Mobile Game Outlook

Mobile gaming is a growing business, but E3 is not the best venue for those games. There are game makers and carriers at the show, but many of them are hidden away in Kentia Hall. CTIA, which happens twice a year, is the show for everything mobile, so a lot...

By Bob Greiner | May 12, 2006; 1:11 PM ET | Comments (0)

Video: Metal Gear Solid 4

Trailer for Metal Gear Solid 4, the latest installment in the epic series for the PlayStation 3. (Editor's Note: This video contains graphic images.)...

By Bob Greiner | May 12, 2006; 12:57 PM ET | Comments (0)

Hearing the Buzz

Sometimes it pays to just sit down for a few minutes in an area and listen to the buzz. I was at the "Into the Pixel" art exhibit (they have comfortable chairs) and I heard some people talking about the show as it closed for the day Thursday. One of...

By Bob Greiner | May 12, 2006; 12:34 PM ET | Comments (0)

Photo Gallery 1

Photos by Chris Barylick for washingtonpost.com (click images for larger versions). E3 visitors catch their breath at the Microsoft booth. Attendees try out the latest gaming hardware at Fatal1ty's booth. Post staff writer Mike Musgrove plays Guitar Hero on the Gibson tour bus....

By Bob Greiner | May 12, 2006; 12:02 PM ET | Comments (0)

E3 in Today's Print Post: Friday

Pixels Put on a Par With Paintings: Video Games Show Off Their Artistic Side in Exhibitions by Jose Antonio Vargas Narrated gallery of images from the "Into the Pixel" exhibit Gallery of wire photos from E3...

By Bob Greiner | May 12, 2006; 11:57 AM ET | Comments (0)

Answer: Mobile Gaming

From a blog comment by "M. Mortazavi": I'm also hearing from other sources that games on mobile phones and devices are even a greater focus of attention this year at E3. I'm not there but I imagine this analysis to be capturing a significant trend. I've not read much in...

By Bob Greiner | May 12, 2006; 11:27 AM ET | Comments (0)

Video: Halo 3 Trailer

Teaser trailer for Halo 3, the next installment of the best-selling science fiction shooter series for the Xbox 360 game console. var movieSrc = "http://media.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/mmedia/player/player2.swf?whichMode=normal&justify=center&playad=yes&mediatype=stream&postdir=style&postvideo=051106-11v&cuesfile=none&autoplay=no&starttime=0&endtime=0&largerver=none&image=051106-11s&playlistxml=none" ; //URL OF WHERE .SWF MOVIE IS PUBLISHED var movieWidth = "427" ; //FLASH MOVIE AND BACK-UP GRAPHIC WIDTH var movieHeight = "300" ; //FLASH...

By Bob Greiner | May 12, 2006; 11:19 AM ET | Comments (0)

Heading Into Day 3

My main goal today is to stay upright and conscious. I have two high-profile meetings today -- one with Activision where I'm assuming they will probably show me and maybe let me play Call of Duty 3, then another appointment with Microsoft. I'd like to get their take on the...

By Bob Greiner | May 12, 2006; 11:10 AM ET | Comments (0)

Random Bits

I love the language of the video game industry sometimes. NCSoft is showing off its latest game. "We're going to shut off the god mode and show you death," says the game's producer, who was going hoarse, like everybody else, by the end of Day Two. ================ Most years, you...

By Bob Greiner | May 12, 2006; 10:04 AM ET | Comments (0)

We Take Requests

There's just one day left at E3, and we're interested in hearing what games, devices or issues you'd like us to write about that we haven't so far. We can't fulfill all requests, and of course they should be polite and reasonable, but we're listening. We will also try to...

By Bob Greiner | May 12, 2006; 7:51 AM ET | Comments (0)

Reflections on Celebrity

While Xbox Live had Jenny McCarthy, the band Panic Member and Method Man come by their booths at E3 this year, it seemed like there were less celebrity appearances this year from game companies. Paris Hilton isn't really "technically" a celebrity, yet she drew a crowd at the Gameloft booth...

By Kyle Balluck | May 12, 2006; 12:03 AM ET | Comments (0)

Atari's Chief Surfer

Atari chief executive Bruno Bonnell said the Xbox 360 is a "super telephone," the PlayStation 3 a "muscle car" and the Nintendo Wii a "wonderful toy." The company is in difficult financial times, and there is no surefire hit in sight for these guys. But it had the most pleasant...

By Bob Greiner | May 11, 2006; 10:13 PM ET | Comments (0)

The Paris Event

Throngs gather near the Gameloft booth to get a glimpse of Paris Hilton. (Chris Barylick for washingtonpost.com) So, I just came from the Paris Hilton appearance on the show floor. Amid a crush of reporters, photographers and fans, she emerged in a green dress to sign autographed cards for...

By Kyle Balluck | May 11, 2006; 8:30 PM ET | Comments (0)

A Real Workout

Kind of an interesting product from SDW Games ... One thing I got a demo of was virtual kickboxing -- you strap two sensors to your leg and put on two boxing gloves, and then you box and kick the person on the screen, and basically fight them. They also...

By Bob Greiner | May 11, 2006; 5:57 PM ET | Comments (0)

Rocking Out at E3

The Guitar Hero guys showed a taste of their next version of the title, due out in November. Publisher Red Octane, which was just purchased by Activision, is putting a few tweaks on the next installment, such as a new type of cooperative playability. At the Sony booth, attendees test...

By washingtonpost.com Editors | May 11, 2006; 5:52 PM ET | Comments (0)

Franchises Roll: Star Trek and Pirates of the Caribbean

Bethesda Softworks' meeting room was the nicest I've been to so far; it's like sitting in a movie theater. It's on the second floor of their booth -- four rows of plush seats, complete with cupholders. Nothing says "geek" like Star Trek, and geeks have been waiitng a very long...

By Bob Greiner | May 11, 2006; 5:32 PM ET | Comments (0)

From Swords to Phasers

Bethesda is trying to follow up on its hit Oblivion using the Star Trek franchise to do it. September will mark the 40th anniversary of the original TV series, and to commemorate Bethesda is releasing a game called Star Trek Legacy. In this real-time tactical/stragety game, you can command every...

By Bob Greiner | May 11, 2006; 5:16 PM ET | Comments (0)

The Madding Crowd

Complete mayhem on the PS3 floor, which is packed with wall-to-wall people. My closed-door meeting with Ted Price was a complete contrast, a nice relaxed atmosphere. Still, there's a huge contrast between the South Hall, where we have Sony and Nintendo, and the West Hall, with everyone else. It's much...

By Bob Greiner | May 11, 2006; 4:58 PM ET | Comments (2)

Console Comparisons

I've gotten a lot of looks at the PS3 this week ... When Xbox launched in 2001, a year after the PS2, there was a definite differentiation between the graphics. As far as the PS3 visuals i'm seeing now, while they are great next-generation visuals, they are about on par...

By Bob Greiner | May 11, 2006; 4:50 PM ET | Comments (0)

Bioshock on Xbox 360

This is the spiritual sucessor to the classic System Shock 2. Incredibly atmospheric, moody and some pretty disturbing looking enemies. Coming out in 2007. The demo was freaking rad. -- Tom Ham...

By Bob Greiner | May 11, 2006; 4:12 PM ET | Comments (0)

Long Look at Resistance: Fall of Man

Just left the Sony PS3 booth where I had a behind-closed-doors meeting with Ted Price of Insomniac Games, who game me and three other people a one-hour walkthrough of Resistance: Fall of Man. The game takes place in an alternate 1951 universe in which World War II never occurs. Instead...

By Bob Greiner | May 11, 2006; 4:08 PM ET | Comments (0)

Waiting for Paris -- or Not

Happened to be over by the booth for French mobile game maker Gameloft, which has a Paris Hilton jewel game. The PR people were going crazy wondering whether she would show up on time. In the queue for getting a picture taken -- Hilton's scheduled appearance was about a half...

By Bob Greiner | May 11, 2006; 3:52 PM ET | Comments (0)

The Darkness for PS3 and Xbox 360 for 2007

First-person shooter action-adventure based on a comic by Top Cow. Players will use conventional weapons in addition to magical powers. Wicked-looking summoned creatures, lots of violence, compelling storyline. The game looks promising. -- Tom Ham...

By Bob Greiner | May 11, 2006; 3:40 PM ET | Comments (0)

Every Kid a Game Designer?

Gamesweet.com is touting PC software that lets kids design their own video games. You can take objects like trucks or people, put them on the screen and define the rules of the world -- i.e., it's a combat game and you're supposed to kill enemies, or a racing game where...

By Bob Greiner | May 11, 2006; 3:39 PM ET | Comments (0)

Hellgate: London

PC action RPG. Incredibly deep and robust. Think Diablo in London with wicked monsters and futuristic weapons. And speaking of Diablo, over 15 people who worked at Blizzard on Diablo are working on this game. It's going to rock. It has been in development for 2 1/2 years. Hopefully will...

By Bob Greiner | May 11, 2006; 3:07 PM ET | Comments (0)

Gamer's Necessity: A Cold Can

Another cool gadget from Kentia Hall. Coolitsystems.com has a product calledl the Coolit Chiller, which solves a need that all gamers have: keeping beverages cold (gamers drink a lot of soda). It looks like a little hot plate almost -- it has a USB interface that you plug into your...

By Bob Greiner | May 11, 2006; 2:56 PM ET | Comments (0)

Tekken: Dark Resurrection for PSP

Over 30 different characters and 19 stages. Without a doubt the best fighting game on a handheld. Exclusive PSP features: Tekken Dojo in single-player mode, ad hoc network play. Plays incredibly fast and smooth. Visually stunning. -- Tom Ham...

By Bob Greiner | May 11, 2006; 2:32 PM ET | Comments (0)

Piano Wizard Mac Version; Guitar Wizard on the Way

Kentia Hall never ceases to amaze me with the innovation they have down here. Piano Wizard has a unique way of teaching children -- or anyone, really -- to play piano. It's $200 and comes with a keyboard with multicolored keys that you set in front of your laptop or...

By Bob Greiner | May 11, 2006; 2:30 PM ET | Comments (0)

Assassin's Creed

Remember I said Gears of War was Best Action Game of the show? Well...I might have to change that. More after I spend more time with this one. -- Tom Ham...

By Bob Greiner | May 11, 2006; 1:51 PM ET | Comments (0)

Justice League Heroes

Checked out Snowblind Studios' Justice League Heroes, an isometeric, top-down action game for the Xbox. You can play as Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, the Flash, Green Lantern and many others. I blew off a meeting so I could keep playing this game. Watch for it this fall. -- Tom Ham...

By Bob Greiner | May 11, 2006; 1:35 PM ET | Comments (0)

Nintendo Chatter

So Nintendo has offered something strange -- and it might actually work. So far, feedback on its wireless controller and directional "nunchuk" has ben overwhelmingly positive. The controller feels comfortable in almost any hand and can be turned sideways as a more traditional controller, the rectangle in your grip harking...

By Bob Greiner | May 11, 2006; 12:49 PM ET | Comments (3)

Same Old Weirdness at E3

It was oen of those classic E3 moments. I'm standing in a crowded open hallway on the second floor of EA's booth waiting to see Army of Two. It's hot as Hell up there with all of the people and computers. And I look across the hall to Activision's booth...

By Bob Greiner | May 11, 2006; 12:44 PM ET | Comments (2)

What's New in the Basement?

I have a couple of high-profile meetings this morning -- my first one is with LucasArts. But then I plan to spend the rest of the day in Kentia Hall. The Convention Center is set up with two big halls -- the West and the South -- but there's another...

By Bob Greiner | May 11, 2006; 11:30 AM ET | Comments (0)

Vargas Web Chat

Blog contributor and Post Style staff writer Jose Antonio Vargas, whose profile of enigmatic Electronic Software Association head Doug Lowenstein appears in the paper today, will take reader questions at 2 p.m. ET (11 a.m. PT). You can submit questions in advance, or read the transcript after the chat....

By Bob Greiner | May 11, 2006; 9:44 AM ET | Comments (0)

E3 in Today's Print Post: Thursday

Shadow Player: The Face of the Video Game Industry Steps Into the Spotlight at Electronic Entertainment Expo by Jose Antonio Vargas (Here is an audio clip from Jose's interview with ESA head Doug Lowenstein.) At Expo, Games Are Played and Opinions Aired by Mike Musgrove...

By Bob Greiner | May 11, 2006; 9:41 AM ET | Comments (0)

I Would Play Sega With Harrison Ford ...

Game publisher Capcom threw a neat party last night in an art gallery on trendy Melrose Avenue that features an exhibit of art inspired by vintage video games, called Gallery nineteen eighty eight. The show's co-curator, Jon M. Gibson -- a freelance writer who pens cartoon shows and video game...

By Bob Greiner | May 11, 2006; 2:59 AM ET | Comments (1)

Handling the Wii

So I went to Nintendo right before the show closed for the day. I wanted to really spend some time with the Wii controller. I have mixed impressions. It is cool. On games like Metroid -- which fully utilizes the "nunchuck" controller, it really adds another dimension to the gameplay....

By Bob Greiner | May 11, 2006; 2:27 AM ET | Comments (2)

Feeling Some Euphoria

The thing that most impressed me as I walked back to my hotel (I always like to be within walking distance of the convention to avoid LA's nasty traffic) was the Euphoria technology that LucasArts was demonstrating in their booth. In essence, the licensed technology allows game makers to create...

By Bob Greiner | May 11, 2006; 12:05 AM ET | Comments (0)

Wii's Wider Appeal

I saw Robin Williams late Monday afternoon getting a booth tour from Electronic Arts executive Bing Gordon. The only thing was that Williams was at the Ubisoft booth. A die-hard gamer, Williams is one of many celebrities that attend E3 annually to see the latest games. I also saw Williams...

By Bob Greiner | May 10, 2006; 11:59 PM ET | Comments (0)

We Mention a Skating Bulldog

Todd Hollenshead, chief executive of Id Software (the Doom and Quake guys), what are you looking forward to seeing? "Saturday." And the Nintendo Wii. The show has been chaotic for him, partly because Id's co-founder, programmer John Carmack, got stuck on a plane that was grounded for having a mechanical...

By Bob Greiner | May 10, 2006; 9:42 PM ET | Comments (0)

Sony Online Shows Two New MMORPGs

Sony Online, the company that brought you EverQuest II and is now publishing Star Wars Galaxies and the Matrix Online showed two new MMORPGs, both of which should be playable by the end of the year, although they make no commitments. The first one is called Gods and Heroes: Rome...

By Bob Greiner | May 10, 2006; 9:35 PM ET | Comments (0)

New Silent Hill Prequel for PSP

Just met with Konami -- they revealed details of their new Silent Hill title coming in 2007 for the PSP mobile platfrom. It's called Silent Hill: Origins -- that's sort of a working title -- and it's a prequel to all the Silent Hill games over the years. The premise...

By Bob Greiner | May 10, 2006; 9:18 PM ET | Comments (0)

Zelda's Intuition

Zelda is previewed on Wii during a news conference prior to the official start of the show: createVideo('right','technology','051006-16v','none','051006-16v_427','\'Zelda\'','yes','/video/2006/05/10/VI2006051001785.html','Chris Barylick for washingtonpost.com') VIDEO | 'Zelda'...

By washingtonpost.com Editors | May 10, 2006; 6:25 PM ET | Comments (0)

Conan, the Online Barbarian

I just got finished with a meeting with Funcom and they were showing off Age of Conan, a massive multiplayer online game to be released in the fourth quarter of this year. The game is interesting in the way they're going to release it. It's going to be played completely...

By washingtonpost.com Editors | May 10, 2006; 5:59 PM ET | Comments (1)

Sampling Wii

Take a look at the video of the Wii presentation from last night's Nintendo news conference....

By washingtonpost.com Editors | May 10, 2006; 5:34 PM ET | Comments (0)

Jade Empire Getting Upgrade for PC

Since BioWare doesn't have a publisher yet for the PC version of Jade Empire, there are no deadlines, so the developers are making the game as perfect as they can before shopping it around. They shouldn't have any trouble -- it's the same story, but with new characters and new...

By Bob Greiner | May 10, 2006; 5:11 PM ET | Comments (0)

Feeling Lucky at 'Dirty Harry' Event

It was obvious from the moment I walked into the main entrance of the Convention Center that the girls distributing the free magazines and Show Daily copies were more clothed than at previous E3s. I saw a few short skirts, but there certainly was less skin today off the show...

By Bob Greiner | May 10, 2006; 4:49 PM ET | Comments (0)

Eve Online: Graphics Update, Plug-n-Talk Chat

Just met with CCP, company that makes Eve Online -- they have 120,000 subscribers right now, and for 2007 they're completely redoing the graphics engine for all spaceships. It looks really nice for an online game -- the game already looks gorgeous, but when you see the update compared with...

By Bob Greiner | May 10, 2006; 4:44 PM ET | Comments (1)

Tennis Anyone?

Played PS3 and XBox 360 versions of Virtua Tennis 3. Smooth game-play, just like the original on the Dreamcast. Fans are going to love it. -- Tom Ham...

By washingtonpost.com Editors | May 10, 2006; 4:34 PM ET | Comments (0)

And Then There Were Two ... Agatha Christie Adaptations

Got a look at two big new games in the adventure world from Dreamcatcher. One is another adaptation of an Agatha Christie book, using the same developer who made And Then There Were None for them. This time the subject is Murder on the Orient Express. It'll have all characters...

By Bob Greiner | May 10, 2006; 4:10 PM ET | Comments (0)

Clancy's Vegas

Rainbow Six Vegas is a top notch shooter from the Clancy Camp. Totally rebuilt from the ground up fully utilizing the 360's power. Felt like Ghost Recon and other classic Clancy games. Watch for this one. -- Tom Ham...

By washingtonpost.com Editors | May 10, 2006; 4:03 PM ET | Comments (0)

Red Steel, Brothers in Arms

Played Red Steel for a bit. Tried the Nintendo Wii controller with Red Steel. There is definitely a learning curve associated with it. If you're not exactly in front of the receptor bar, you won't get a good response. This may cause some trouble for newb players. Also played Brothers...

By Bob Greiner | May 10, 2006; 3:57 PM ET | Comments (0)

A Look at EA Lineup

Had a meeting with EA. Checked Command and Conquer 3 (amazing visuals, too bad it's 2007). Army of Two looks promising. The PS3 sports stuff looked insane!!! Madden on PS3 is going to set the bar. Ubisoft has another killer app on their hands -- Assassin's Creed. From the same...

By Bob Greiner | May 10, 2006; 3:11 PM ET | Comments (0)

Intel Demos Game-Boosting Chip

Got a look at Intel's new processor in action, set for release in the third quarter. David Tuhy, general manager for the company's desktop division, told me the new processor is designed specifically to make games run better, with about 40% higher performance, and on notebooks a little bit of...

By Bob Greiner | May 10, 2006; 1:57 PM ET | Comments (0)

Into the Cave

Another E3 is upon us. The L.A. weather delivers another Hollywood performance -- not that I'll have much time to enjoy it. At 72 and sunny, it's the perfect pick-me-up before the long grueling day ahead. Highlights for today include a Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment news conference with Dirty Harry...

By Bob Greiner | May 10, 2006; 1:13 PM ET | Comments (0)

Hitman: Blood Money and Reservoir Dogs

Accidents happen, but moreso when Agent 47 is in town. I just finished an interesting meeting where I rigged a barbecue grill to explode the next time somebody uses it, threw somebody off a balcony, and infiltrated a high-security area wearing a chicken suit. Of course I'm talking about Eidos's...

By Bob Greiner | May 10, 2006; 1:07 PM ET | Comments (0)

Study: Games Contributed $18 Billion to U.S. GDP

Think-tank report commissioned by ESA (summary here and PDF of full study here) looks at economic impact of the industry....

By Bob Greiner | May 10, 2006; 12:50 PM ET | Comments (0)

E3 in Today's Print Post: Wednesday

Nintendo Offers a Peek at System: Firm Prices Wii Console to Attract New Fans, Undercut Rivals Also, here's a link to the text of ESA chief Douglas Lowenstein's State of the Industry address and the ESA's "Essential Facts" presentation (PDF download)....

By Bob Greiner | May 10, 2006; 12:37 PM ET | Comments (0)

Activision News Conference

At an Activision event on Monday, saw Marvel Ultimate Alliance running on PS3. Showed off some rad, dynamic gameplay and some pretty wicked cinematics. PS3 is already impressing me. Vibrant textures and great lighting effects. Tony Hawk Downhill Jam, exclusive to Nintendo Wii. Looked cool. Good game for Tony Hawk...

By Bob Greiner | May 10, 2006; 12:01 PM ET | Comments (1)

It Has Come to This ...

Paris Hilton is here at E3. She's got a game. Paris Hilton's Jewel Jam -- designed for mobile platforms by Gameloft -- lets players "manipulate on-screen diamonds in a grid and link them up together to see the actual gems." And of course, during gameplay, photos of Hilton and her...

By Bob Greiner | May 10, 2006; 11:07 AM ET | Comments (1)

Great Ad for Army Game

The U.S. Army is here again, with one of the coolest ads I've ever seen, for the game America's Army: A picture of a soldier in a combat zone with the text: "No Actors. No Costumes. No Cheat Codes." A lot of people are stopping to look at it --...

By Bob Greiner | May 10, 2006; 10:57 AM ET | Comments (0)

Gearing Up for Game Day

I'm looking forward to interviews with George Harrison, Nintendo of America's senior vice president of marketing and Kaz Hirai, president and CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment. Also looking forward to being done with my column for tomorrow so I can actually play some games. Today's going to be pretty hectic....

By washingtonpost.com Editors | May 10, 2006; 9:50 AM ET | Comments (0)

Looking for PC News

Getting ready to head over for my first day at the show ... While most people at E3 today may be focusing on the new consoles -- probably trying to get to the playable PS3s that are rumored to be there -- I will be trying to concentrate mostly on...

By Bob Greiner | May 10, 2006; 9:35 AM ET | Comments (0)

Gathering Beads at IGDA Party

The other party I attended last night was for the International Game Developers Association. Funny thing is, the guys who actually make the games don't always get invited to the swank parties, which exist largely to build up good vibes with retail buyers. The organization devised a little game to...

By Bob Greiner | May 10, 2006; 2:40 AM ET | Comments (0)

'Land Straight'

This was mentioned to us in the Wilshire Grand's elevator, the legendary Tony Hawk (a man who has more than proven that falling on concrete doesn't hurt after a while) murmuring it to us through a sheepish grin. For some reason, we entered the elevator only to find one of...

By Bob Greiner | May 10, 2006; 2:23 AM ET | Comments (0)

Will.i.am's Link to Hollywood

Just leaving the Nintendo party ... the Black Eyed Peas played most of an hour, including a great short version of "Sweet Child of Mine." During a break Will.i.am told the crowd, "I can't wait until the day there's a Zelda movie. ... [Expletive verb] that 'Lord of the Rings'...

By Bob Greiner | May 10, 2006; 12:14 AM ET | Comments (0)

Encounter With the Birdman

Chris, Jose and I were in a hotel elevator and ran into Tony Hawk. Legendary skater Tony Hawk at the Grand Wilshire Hotel. (Chris Barylick) We asked him what he was up to -- he said he was going out to dinner with some Activision people. I apologized for making...

By Bob Greiner | May 9, 2006; 9:53 PM ET | Comments (0)

Microsoft Gets in Gear

Microsoft showed off an incredible lineup of goose-bump-inducing games at its news conference. I'm going to call it now: Gears of War is my pick for Action Game of the Show. Other key announcements: Forza Motorsport 2 (this fall), Fable 2 (2007) and the biggest, Grand Theft Auto 4 coming...

By Bob Greiner | May 9, 2006; 4:19 PM ET | Comments (8)

Gates Pokes at PS3, Names GTA4 Release Date

Bill Gates himself showed up at Microsoft's news conference, saying the Xbox 360 would have a 10 million-unit lead over the PS3 before Sony's new console even gets out of the gate, and announcing that Grand Theft Auto 4 would be coming out for the 360 in October 2007. Gates...

By Bob Greiner | May 9, 2006; 4:09 PM ET | Comments (8)

Wii, Myself and I

I've had the first glimpse of what the rest of my year is going to be like. Every time the Nintendo folks say wee, I don't know whether they're saying the pronoun or the name of their machine. "wee will make things better" ... "wee will never sleep" ... Maybe...

By Bob Greiner | May 9, 2006; 2:31 PM ET | Comments (0)

Nintendo Impressions

Solid press conference. Reggie Fils-Aime (marketing head of Nintendo America) really knows how to pump up a crowd. The live demo of Zelda on the Wii was pretty cool, too. I was kinda bummed about the visuals. After seeing PS3's HD visuals, Wii's looked kinda weak. Looked like GameCube, honestly....

By Bob Greiner | May 9, 2006; 2:05 PM ET | Comments (12)

A Wii Problem

Nintendo is the underdog in these console wars, or so the conventional thinking goes. So you have to feel for the company when it was revealed that the new console was named Wii -- as in "yes" in French, as in a misspelling of "wee," as in "say what?" The...

By Bob Greiner | May 9, 2006; 1:37 PM ET | Comments (12)

E3 in Today's Print Post

Where the Games Go To Compete: Developers Look to Score Points at Annual Expo by Mike Musgrove Coming to a Console Near You: Local firms and products being shown at E3 (D.C. area) News Graphic: What's the Real World Anyway?...

By Bob Greiner | May 9, 2006; 12:14 PM ET | Comments (0)

What Will Microsoft, Nintendo Cook Up?

After last night's controller announcement from Sony, everyone seems to be wondering if Nintendo will have an equally surprising announcement up its sleeve. The applause for most of Sony's announcements was a little tepid. The Nintendo event is always a little more high energy, because Nintendo fans are ... a...

By Bob Greiner | May 9, 2006; 10:49 AM ET | Comments (6)

PS3 Impressions

As in years past, Sony put on a pretty impressive news conference. Once we got through the requisite Power Point presentations about how many units they've sold so far (over 100 million PS2s in the world) and how great PSP is, we got to see what we all came for...

By Bob Greiner | May 9, 2006; 4:32 AM ET | Comments (31)

Party Hardly

E3 without E3 parties is like the Oscars minus the Vanity Fair party, like the Superbowl minus the half-time show, like ... well, you get the point. Year in and year out, E3 parties have been legendary: very, very VIP, though with lots of Ps and not enough Vs and...

By Bob Greiner | May 9, 2006; 3:20 AM ET | Comments (0)

PS3's Controller Conundrum

Ken Kutaragi, head of Sony Computer Entertainment, speaks Monday night at the Sony news conference in Los Angeles. (Chris Barylick for washingtonpost.com) The Sony press conference over and the free noshies consumed (Sony holds an excellent garden-style party on their main lot amid 10-story movie studios and ample security),...

By Bob Greiner | May 9, 2006; 2:42 AM ET | Comments (5)

PlayStation Answers -- and Questions

The Sony news conference is over, and everybody's hanging around in Sony's studio space, snacking on Sony's sushi and imbibing from Sony's open bar, asking the same questions: "Is that too much money to ask for a game console?" "Will this kill Nintendo?" Sony released its price points for the...

By Bob Greiner | May 8, 2006; 10:40 PM ET | Comments (4)

Nintendo's Magic Wand?

No one knows what to make of this show other than the fact that it'll be significant. This isn't one of those times when everything revelatory is revealed; that was last year with the three new consoles. This is the year we fill in the gaps and find out more...

By Bob Greiner | May 8, 2006; 8:16 PM ET | Comments (8)

The Right Amount of Skin

The Super Shuttle on the way from LAX to the Wilshire Grand Hotel was filled with game industry guys. A couple of guys in the back lamented E3's new rules cracking down on "booth babes"-- the models that game companies hire and squeeze into skimpy outfits to attract attention to...

By Bob Greiner | May 8, 2006; 6:58 PM ET | Comments (0)

Spago and Sony

How important is E3 to Los Angeles? Well, it brings in $19.35 million in direct spending to the local economy this week. Hint: hotel rooms. E3 is the largest annual convention in the city, and L.A.. Inc., the organization that touts tourism in the city, hosted a lavish lunch --...

By Bob Greiner | May 8, 2006; 6:25 PM ET | Comments (0)

About Our E3 Coverage

After Hours | Answering Your Questions | Dispatches | Game Play | Off Screen | Sights and Sounds Six people will be covering the E3 expo this year for washingtonpost.com, including two Post beat writers, three longtime game reviewers and a multimedia journalist. They will be taking you to L.A....

By Bob Greiner | May 5, 2006; 4:06 PM ET | Comments (0)

 

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