To: The Game Industry
From: Gen Katz, Editor
Topic: A Slimmer E3
Date: Aug 2007

The new slimmed down E3 (E3-07 Media Business Summit) was more healthful fresh ocean air, long walks from hotel to hotel, nutritious food. More effective and efficient smaller down to around 5,000 attendees from 60,000 - you could actually talk to some of the developers. With the absence of the deafening sound, it makes you wonder why we put up with it in the first place; the producers could now lay out their plans for the next 6 12 months to us. Dialogue happened between the producers, developers and attendees that didn't have the time nor space to happen before. At the Barker Hanger which I left for the last day you could see and get to play the games without waiting on long lines.

There was still room for mega press spectaculars. Microsoft lit the Santa Monica High School in '360-green' light, and Nintendo commandeered the Santa Monica Civic Center. And while there was a big hullabaloo about "by invitation only", there were thousand of these privileged people at these events.

Hour long open press presentations, in four to five hour runs, were held in the ballroom of the Fairmont, the main conference hotel. Not enough time was allowed for breakdown and set up, so of course the schedule went to pieces, which was a concern for those of us who were scheduled up to our eyeballs. The expense of bringing in celebrities, skateboarders, army brass and such could have been saved 'cause they only got a quiet response from the audience that were there for the games. Only complaint was that there was too much distance between all the hotels and Barker Hanger. To see all the games you had to make the press conferences at the main expo hotel, keep your appointments at the individual press meetings at one of the other five hotels and check out Barker.

I missed the pens. At the old E3 I could always collect my year's supply of pens no need for them now. Gone forever are the paper press releases, press kits and news dailies. The press room was too dark to write, with row upon row of computers. Information was on E3's website and the entire event was being telecast. This was a strangely dichotomous event information was digital, contact was personal. I care about the PR staff that have served me well through the years. Some have married and some have even become mothers. Some I have followed from one game company to another. Without this personal touch, companies can just send me disks; I'll stack them up and maybe look at them.

We went with an agenda. Games4Grandmothers.com was launched in time for the E3-07 Media Business Summit. Our position is to educate the producers to insert into their games options to make the games assessable for casual gamers. Hard core gamers don't have to use it (and most likely won't), but it is time that games stopped being the exclusive club for hard core gamers. The HCG don't have to worry that they are being ignored. There were plenty of FPS and some of them very complex, where you could target various parts of your enemy's body, groin or head, and watch the blood spew forth. The new development in these blood letting games is setting the scenario at Armageddon the end of civilization and humanity as we know it. A time where no one wins, where in such a setting of ultimate destruction, no crime or action is too heinous.

But we were looking for other games. It would be hard not to put the Wii Fitness group in first place. With a rectangular foot pad, you are encouraged to do yoga, the hula hoop and who knows, maybe eventually belly dancing. And it wasn't just girls trying it out.

Electronic Arts has

  • Boogie -- a blob that encourages you to sing and dance
  • Playground has all those kids playground games that we used to play in the old days; remember dodgeball?
  • My Sims and easy to make community
  • SimCity Societies a compelling realistic city building activity
  • Sims Castaway complete with a chimp on board
  • Simpsons a spoof on an already funny show
  • and of course Rock Band never too late to play rock star with three of your buddies to take on bass, drums and vocals

Disney is coming out with

  • an impressive Hanna Montana Musical Avalanche, more than a story, you can make and record your own music, almost too good to be true
  • High School Musical more music
  • Enchanted a princess tale from an upcoming movie of the same name
  • a new Narnia book Prince Caspian
  • and an all time favorite, another Disney Princesses

Both Nintendo and Majesco are coming out with brain games: Brain Age 2 and Brain Boost. These games will become bin fodder as soon as folks realize that playing games itself keeps you alert and provide more fun 'till then ...

Activision has Guitar Hero 3 and they are inking something with Gibson, the big brother of guitar manufacturers.

THQ has

  • besides all the games that kids like, SpongeBob, Zoey, Bratz, Drake &Josh and Avatar
  • a drawing game Draw to Life, a little like the old Orley
  • Smackdown Raw will have women wrestlers and character related dissing motions to goad the combatants
  • de Blob, conceived by game design students in the Netherlands and developed for the Wii by Blue Tounge Entertainment, has players painting the town in fantastic color combinations and patterns with a flick of the wrist

SEGA's games will be more appreciated by teens

  • Golden Compass, one of the first in the Dark Materials Trilogy by Phillip Pullman about Lyra, a young girl in search of her friend. Could this maybe be the new Harry Potter?
  • In Iron Man, they have taken on the most complex of the Marvel heroes, I hope they do him justice
  • NiGHTS: Journey of Dreams will have two teenagers trying to cope with their nightmares

Crave's

  • George of the Jungle promises to be hilarious
  • and Pinball Hall of Fame has rooms full of antique pinball machines that you can play on. I am not sure how accurately they replicate the mechanics but the visuals are enough for me, and you can TILT them

Konami has

  • Kid's Playground for young kids where the controller is completely on the footpad, lots of color coordination
  • a new DDR Hottest Party
  • and Dewey's Adventure looking much like Elebits

Atlus showed at Barker Hanger. I don't know how this company produces some of the most inventive games not all peaceable but interesting.

  • Oden Sphere a 2D scroller with a four tiered story
  • Persona3, another story about teenagers battling nightmares but this one will be rated M
  • and Trama Center-Second Opinion, for those who haven't already seen Sicko

There was lots more but this report has gone on too long. Enough to say there were games with other options besides war, mayhem and Armageddon.