Archive: Dispatches

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 of features built in specially for gaming. One is that that Xbox 360 controllers will work with PCs running it. Microsoft will also release a wireless dongle that will make every 360 peripheral work with your computer. It will also use Auto Update to update your graphics drivers. Some of...

By Bob Greiner | May 12, 2006; 06:15 PM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (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; 05:40 PM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (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 in Microsoft's booth. -- Mike Musgrove...

By Bob Greiner | May 12, 2006; 04:57 PM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (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 opinions from the show floor: Eric Rodriguez, an Earthlink employee from Glendora, Calif.: "I'm definitely going to shell out the $700 for the PS3!" Said he's disappointed at the lack of Madden NFL games at Electronic Arts' booth. Also disappointed that there didn't seem to be an enormous improvement between...

By Bob Greiner | May 12, 2006; 02:48 PM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (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 Chow Yun Fat. It incorporates all of the elements we have come to love about Woo movies. Big gun fights, bullets everywhere, massive debris -- total carnage. Everything in the world will be destructible. Visually stunning. Think Max Payne on steroids. -- Tom Ham...

By Bob Greiner | May 12, 2006; 01:32 PM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (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 time -- it's been three years since the last one. (For game details, see John Breeden's earlier post.) Star Trek Legacy graphically blows away anything ever done before in Star Trek games. The company is currently working with writers from the shows as well as the actual guy that creates...

By Bob Greiner | May 11, 2006; 05:32 PM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (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; 04:12 PM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (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 come out sooner than later. -- Tom Ham...

By Bob Greiner | May 11, 2006; 03:07 PM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (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 laptop or desktop. That little "cool plate" draws power from the USB port and keeps a soda cold. I mean ice cold. They said it will retail for about $25, although they're selling them at the show for $15. They had some sodas that had been sitting there all day,...

By Bob Greiner | May 11, 2006; 02:56 PM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (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; 01:51 PM ET | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

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 and there's Tony Hawk skating on a full-sized half-pipe performing ollies and jumps. Then there's a BMX pro pulling stunts while Tony takes a break. It's the kind of thing you'd never see anywhere else. I guess I should be used to it by now, but it's still surreal. The...

By Bob Greiner | May 11, 2006; 12:44 PM ET | Comments (2) | TrackBack (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 issue, so he missed his appointments today. We forgot to ask Hollenshead what he thought of the "Doom" movie. ============= Todd Howard of Bethesda Softworks complained that a photo we ran of him with an article about his company caused him considerable personal and professional embarrassment. So we promised that...

By Bob Greiner | May 10, 2006; 09:42 PM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (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 Rising -- it's based on Roman and Greek mythology. You are the son or daughter of a god, and as you go through the game, you get more and more powers of your father or mother. We played a demo and it was a lot of fun. There were plenty...

By Bob Greiner | May 10, 2006; 09:35 PM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (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 is that you're a truck driver who wrecks his truck and ends up in Silent Hill, W.Va., where a lot of people end up going to. It turns out he has an interesting past, and as you discover your character's past you learn the origins of Silent Hill itself. The...

By Bob Greiner | May 10, 2006; 09:18 PM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (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 online. The first part is completely a single-player experience. When the player is finished with the single-player game they can choose to then take their character into the massive character online world and pay a monthly subscription fee to keep their character active. The game itself is strongly combat based...

By Alicia Cypress | May 10, 2006; 05:59 PM ET | Comments (1) | TrackBack (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 fighting styles, and the AI is a lot smarter. Bioware producer Darcy Pajak gave a demo and consistently got beat up by the bad guys -- the developers didn't tell him how much smarter the AI has gotten, even on fights that were easy on the Xbox version. They think...

By Bob Greiner | May 10, 2006; 05:11 PM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (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 floor. I haven't ventured onto the floor yet because the press conferences I attended were all off the floor today. Clint Eastwood was on hand at the very small, invite-only news conference at Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment's room. The small theater only had three rows and besides 12 TV cameras,...

By Bob Greiner | May 10, 2006; 04:49 PM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (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 the current graphics, it's pretty impressive. They've also partnered with Vivox to add complete voice integration into the game without the use of any third-party servers. As far as timing, the best they could tell me was that this would be soon -- whenever they can get the patch on...

By Bob Greiner | May 10, 2006; 04:44 PM ET | Comments (1) | TrackBack (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 from book, plus a character that is not in the book who players use for solving the mystery. They're trying to ge the actor who plays the main character on PBS -- they don't have him signed yet. In ATTWN, the interface was 2-D -- traditional for adventure games --...

By Bob Greiner | May 10, 2006; 04:10 PM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (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 folks that brought you Prince of Persia. -- Tom Ham...

By Bob Greiner | May 10, 2006; 03:11 PM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (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 battery savings as well. They're calling it Core 2 -- with two versions: Core 2 Single Processor and Core 2 Duo, which will go on top of Intel's dual-core architecture. They ran a demo of Quake 4 running on a system with a standard processor, then on one using Core...

By Bob Greiner | May 10, 2006; 01:57 PM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (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 himself, Clint Eastwood. The Oscar winner is working on a new virtual Dirty Harry game franchise. From there it will be off to the annual Sprint video game lunch, where the latest mobile games from the likes of EA Mobile and Namco will be on display, along with a free...

By Bob Greiner | May 10, 2006; 01:13 PM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (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 fans. Showed the new Wii controller in action. The demo guy jerked the controller forward and his skater boosted forward. World Series of Poker: Tournament of Champions - ZzzzZzZzz.. Shown on 360. Pretty decent visuals (you're basically looking at people and cards). But come on, why show poker at an...

By Bob Greiner | May 10, 2006; 12:01 PM ET | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

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 dog, Tinkerbell, are displayed. -- Jose Antonio Vargas...

By Bob Greiner | May 10, 2006; 11:07 AM ET | Comments (1) | TrackBack (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. -- Mike Musgrove...

By Alicia Cypress | May 10, 2006; 09:50 AM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (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 PC gaming today. I will be stopping by to meet with Intel, Sony Online, Bethesda Softworks and Dreamcatcher. Also I hear that Bioware has an announcement regarding Jade Empire for the PC, which should be an interesting surprise, especially if they have a playable version at the show. I'm also...

By Bob Greiner | May 10, 2006; 09:35 AM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (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 to 360. For the first time ever, Sony didn't get the exclusive on Rockstar. The new Xbox Anywhere is kinda cool too. The general consensus after the press conference was "Wii what?" P.S. After checking out the second Generation 360 games and seeing what Sony has in store with PS3,...

By Bob Greiner | May 9, 2006; 04:19 PM ET | Comments (8) | TrackBack (0)

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 also pushed his theme of interoperability, saying your cell phone, Xbox and Windows Vista computer would all be talking to each other and to your friends' devices, letting you know if your friends are working, watching movies, playing games or whatever. There was a Halo 3 video that consisted of...

By Bob Greiner | May 9, 2006; 04:09 PM ET | Comments (8) | TrackBack (0)

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 it's a clever way to keep Sony or Microsoft from ever using the first-person plural whenever they have to say something out loud. Before the presentation started, one of the bloggers sitting behind me said to his compatriots, "Remember, no fanboyism -- if something happens, polite clapping is enough." Nintendo's...

By Bob Greiner | May 9, 2006; 02:31 PM ET | Comments (0) | TrackBack (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. -- Tom Ham...

By Bob Greiner | May 9, 2006; 02:05 PM ET | Comments (12) | TrackBack (0)

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 dapper Japanese man in a trendy Yamamoto sweater blushed when asked what Wii translates to in Japanese. "Nothing," he said. Nintendo President Satoru Iwata, right, and George Harrison, senior vice president of marketing and corporate development, discuss the Nintendo Wii. (Chris Barylick for washingtonpost.com) In the news briefing at the...

By Bob Greiner | May 9, 2006; 01:37 PM ET | Comments (12) | TrackBack (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 little intense. If there aren't screams and of joy from some of these people in the crowd when the company shows its upcoming games and Wii console off, it'll be a first. Today's announcements are back-to-back news conferences from Nintendo and Microsoft. Only rumor/guess I've heard that Microsoft is interested...

By Bob Greiner | May 9, 2006; 10:49 AM ET | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0)

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 -- PS3 game demos. How good were they? Overall, what I expected. EA Sports was around to show off some cool facial animations and "player awareness" with demos of NBA Live 07 and Tiger Woods. Sony showed off some pretty wicked fist party offerings (including a demo of Heavenly Sword...

By Bob Greiner | May 9, 2006; 04:32 AM ET | Comments (30) | TrackBack (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), the consensus is steadily arriving about the PS3. Most are impressed, if for different reasons. The controller is interesting -- Bluetooth at its most useful. Where a standard keyboard configuration might make a player proceed through an intricate series of commands to perform moves such as a barrel roll in...

By Bob Greiner | May 9, 2006; 02:42 AM ET | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)

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 PlayStation 3 tonight: $599 for a 60-gigabyte version, $499 with a 20-gig hard drive. They didn't mention any other difference between the two models. They also revealed that the PS3 would have a motion-sensitive controller -- for example, in a flight simulator, you could actually tilt it rather than mess...

By Bob Greiner | May 8, 2006; 10:40 PM ET | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

 

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