goes to E3!
By Jason "loonyboi" Bergman
And then of course, there was Um Jammer Lammy, the sequel to last year's surprise hit, Parappa the Rapper. While the general concept has remained the same between the two games, the musical style has changed from hip-hop to rock music (don’t worry, it's just as cheezeball as it was before) and they've added a two-player mode that was a big hit with the crowd. Many of your favorite characters from the original are returning for the sequel, and it looks just as weird as the original. I can't wait to try it out. The big PlayStation yawners at the show were Bloody Roar II (I wasn't particularly impressed with the original, and this one looks to be more of the same), Spyro 2 (one sequel that simply never should have been made…this means more annoying commercials), and Crash Team Racing, which is pretty much a poor man's Mario Kart.
One pleasant surprise was the presence of the Next-Generation PlayStation on the floor. They had a sort of pyramid set up, with monitors on each face showing off various demos, and there was even one live demonstration that was pretty impressive. In the live demo, the guy giving the demonstration was holding a PlayStation controller (the PSX2 shares the same controller ports, allowing for old peripherals to work seamlessly) and in real time, controlling the morphing of a man into a rubber ducky. It was very impressive, as were all the demos (that Gran Turismo demo looks even better up close) but I'm tired of demos, dammit. I want to see the games. After the meeting I had with Oddworld's Lorne Lanning, I'm ready to see what developers are doing with this hardware…quit telling me how cool it's going to be, and show it to me already! Aargh. What can you do?
Most Irritating Booth: Eidos "party people in the house" Interactive. For the second year in a row, Eidos managed to make me regret that I work in this industry. I'm totally cool with hawking your wares, but man…Eidos' stage was downright embarrassing. Only the Space Bunnies Must Die booth from E3 '98 came close to approaching their level of inanity. Make it stop.
Best Promotion: I'd love to give this to the Gathering of Developers' "Promised Lot," but all that turned out to be was a bunch of trailers with really cramped game demos, some cute Playboy models (hey, I went to the mansion, baby, this don't impress me anymore), and a whole lot of really drunk GameSpy employees. Whee. No, by far, the best promotion at the show was HEAT.net's sponsorship of…the Men's room urinals. That's right, they sponsored the friggin' urinals. Imagine managed to sponsor the hotel keycards, but only SegaSoft managed to corner the one thing that every man at the show couldn't possibly miss. Way to go. I can't even imagine what they did in the ladies room (nor do I really want to, frankly). I'm not entirely sure what their marketing decision was here ("come piss on us!") but hey…it was memorable.
Worst Party: Volume 9.9, thrown by the Gathering of Developers. Jeez…talk about backfiring, this was supposed to be the party to end all parties at E3, right? Well, unfortunately, they had a few things working against them. First of all, they forgot about an LA ordinance against raves, so they had to be over by 2 AM. Second of all, they overestimated how big a draw a rave at E3 would actually be. Paying $30 for an E3 party wouldn't be too bad, but they forgot that people go to these things to schmooze…and a rave - er, "techno party" isn't exactly conducive to schmoozing. Who wants to attempt to make contacts at a party where nobody can hear or see each other? The end result? Nobody showed up. Doh!
Biggest Wimps: Activision. For shame! Activision, fearing negative press about Raven Software's Soldier of Fortune, all but buried the game at the show. Not only was the game being shown by appointment only, but if you didn't already have an appointment before the show started, you weren't going to get one. And if you asked about the game, they dodged you entirely. Considering that this is an A-grade title, Activision shot themselves in the foot with this one - again. Come on, guys…didn't you learn anything from Heretic II?
Biggest Press Kit: Sony. It takes six guys to lift this thing. Seriously. I'm in pain here.
Best Freebie: The super-secret Anachronox Swiss Army Knife. Now that's some class.
Biggest Surprise: There really wasn't one. In all, this was a very conventional show, which was a bit disappointing, but hey...it was still a good time.
So there you have it, kids…E3 '99. I came, I saw, I barely drank. But hey…there's always next year. :)
- Jason "loonyboi" Bergman is the editor-in-chief here at loonygames.
Credits: Illustration © 1999 Rowan Crawford. This article is © 1999 Jason Bergman. All other content is © 1999 loonyboi productions. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited, so don't try it...or we'll peck your eyes out.