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Shawn @ E3

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lee.jpg (30617 bytes)It could be that the best thing about E3 is walking around, taking pictures, and pretending like you own the joint. Being in downtown LA, I couldn't help but whip out my E3 sign just before Sarah snapped the photo. Is that tasteless? I don't know, probably at least a little bit, but it's hard not to feel damn cool cruising the worlds biggest free arcade. The name tags denoting your level of entry don't help mellow my exuberance. It's an event where the best tickets are given, and the worst are bought. Everybody knows exactly how important you are based on the color of your little entry card holder. But I would have happily sported the blue "Exhibits Only" pass available to the general public for the chance to check out the incredible games and gadgets coming out in the next year.

shawnsmech.jpg (29151 bytes)I got to pose next to all kinds of great vehicles: The General Lee, a Heavy Gear Mech, a Lego Car. Oh, yeah, E3 rules for the wishful thinking. I justify these gratuitous Shawn-striking-his-"hey-baby-wanna-ride?"-pose shots as giving scale to an event that nearly defies such conventional thinking. E3 is less an "exposition" and more an "extravaganza." It's an excercise in excess, and it seemed to me that everybody was just eating it up.

laurahonk.jpg (25417 bytes)Yeah, that's me honking the giant Lara Croft on the boob. "Tune in Tokyo" would be the optimal cutline for this one, but I'll go with an explanation that we can all understand: It was there, so I did it. E3 isn't all about the video games. It's also about the video game babes, and, man, do these people know how to round up the flesh. Every aspiring starlet in LA must have been working the booths or handing out propaganda. The Show Daily was distributed by women in half-shirts and vinyl pants. Mplayer.com had women in skimpy boy shorts and sports bras sticking advertisement stickers on passers by. Akklaim, despite their cloistered booth, had women in bikinis milling around. It was a monument to the partnership of sex and advertising, and made me question the validity of industry statistics that say games are not marketed at 14 year old boys. Then again, I guess sex appeals to all ages.

shawndrive.jpg (33476 bytes)Who could resist a setup like this to play Ridge Racer R4 on? I won a steering wheel out of the deal to boot. The setups for playing all of these new and wonderful games, or testing peripherals, were all absolutely amazing. From the theater-sized SW Episode I: Racer room to the gargantuan Umjammer Lammy screen, this is the way games are meant to be played. It's hard for a game to not be immersive and amazing at sizes like these.

shawn&yoda.jpg (13028 bytes)Check me out with Yoda. There are always two, right? Master and apprentice. There were characters from video games wandering eveywhere around E3. You could get your picture taken spooning Lara Croft on a motorcycle, or hanging with Sonic and the gang. A lot of guys were hooked on Lara and Nox's Hecubah, who are, admittedly, built like a brick house, but I'll take Zira over any of them any day.

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 --Shawn Rider