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E3 - 2006 : LIVE :: Prologue for a gaming frenzy

by Nick Haywood on 9 May 2006, 14:53

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Sports bars, flights and parties!

HEXUS.E3 HEXUS.gaming is covering E3, undoubtedly the largest games show on the planet, in detail this year and to this end we’ve got two HEXUS hacks on the ground to bring you the latest news.

Just getting here was challenge as it looked as though the traditional British weather would have meant both myself and David missing our flight! Yes, even though we set off with enough time spare to leave languishing at Heathrow for nearly three hours before flying, the weather tried to stop us even getting to the airport.

Driving in to Heathrow is normally just over an hour for us but with heavy rain and spray, the M4 turned into one enormous traffic jam. The modern beauty of intelligent sat nav couldn’t find us a quicker route and, two hours after setting out, we were still stuck in queues outside Reading. Things were looking serious.

A few phone calls to American Airlines revealed that if we missed or flight we wouldn’t get bumped to another and we’d have to buy a new ticket. At this late stage we were not looking forward to having to pay a premium for a ticket, but luckily for us we managed to crawl past Reading where the M4 suddenly cleared and we were off again.

There was a slow spot at Slough but it was plain sailing after that and we arrived at Terminal 3 with 10 minutes left of our check-in slot. We just made check in and then decided to go through security and passport control to then grab some breakfast before we flew.

Security passed off without a problem, except for the queues, which ate into our remaining time, leaving us a little over 25 minutes before boarding started. I was just grabbing a new book to read on the flight and David was sorting some bagels out when the tannoy sparked into life announcing the last call for our flight! Grabbing everything, we legged it to the departure gate and then got the best news we’d had all day. It seems that the flight was overbooked and they were bumping people to the next flight.

This is where that hold up on the M4 worked in our favour because late check ins were being earmarked for bumping. Now this might sound bad being dropped from one flight to be put on another, but it worked superbly for us. We were offered a flight leaving just ten minutes later than our original AND a free upgrade to business class! So, doing our best to look put out, we took the two business class tickets and then spent the ten minutes eating our bagels and enjoying the fact we’d being flying to LA in comfort.

The flight itself was probably the most boring flight I’ve been on in a fair while. The movies were pretty rubbish, King Kong being the most recent film in the list… So we whiled away the hours eyeing up the stewardess, playing World Tour Soccer on the PSP and annoying other travellers with loads of loud ‘Ooohs’ and ‘arrghs’ each time David missed an open goal, which was quite often…

So anyway, after having made the other business class users think that the world cup was in their section of a 777, we somehow got fast tracked through LAX and were standing outside the airport waiting for a cab.

Now it has to be said LA has left me a little underwhelmed… I know it’s a massive sprawling city, but it doesn’t really feel like a city. It feels more like a large town where they’ve decided to build some high rise office blocks. There’s not much feel for a nightlife centre here either… When we were in Chicago we’d found the bar district in about 30 minutes and were playing pool and sinking brews with the locals straight away. LA just doesn’t seem to have any of that, not unless you’re prepared for an 8 mile cab ride.

Just so you know, the E3 is situated just outside of downtown LA, so there’s a cluster of hotels around it, one of which we’re in, but beyond that, there seems to be little to do in the evenings. So we spent the first night in the bar at the bottom of our hotel, drinking a few beers and trying to figure out just what it was that we had done to piss off Tina, our waitress as she would happily take our empty glasses away but not take an order for new beers… ah well, it was probably the Ross effect…

The press conferences all kick off in the two days before the show itself actually starts and, whilst these are good for getting the early word on the new stuff, they’re not much good for getting up close and personal with the hardware and software involved.

Now lucky for us, we just happen to be right in the middle of the cluster of hotels that appear to be housing the SEGA and Nintendo reps, as there was a huge crowd of them in the bar last night. It could just be that we’ve lucked out here as our hotel looks like it has the only decent sports bar in the area nestled at the bottom.

So aside from the truculent Tina, we managed to get talking to some of the guys and girls from Ninty and SEGA and although they were very definitely NOT talking shop, who’s to say they won’t want to have a chat once everything goes official? Suffice to say, we’ve made a whole new bunch of friends, all of whom were left in no doubt as to my mad skilz on the pool table… I even ‘won’ a bet with two Nintendo guys over a tricky double into the corner pocket.

In fact, if the boss is willing, I might just skip the show and stay in the bar. I can get all the sports on ESPN and get all the inside lines on the new stuff every evening over a few beers. The only thing this place needs is a wireless connection and .. oh, wait…

So, today is the day when E3 really gears up for the show opening tomorrow. We’ll be hitting the press conferences today, but other than getting an early glimpse of what we’ll see close up over the next three days, we’re most likely still to see the really cool stuff as the show progresses.

Tonight should be fun for us though as we’ve been invited to no less than three parties this evening, with the rest of the week very much the same. So as to not let anyone down, we’ll screaming from one party to the next, though it has to be said that I’m most looking forward to Nintendo’s party, which features the Black Eyed Peas in concert. But that’s just today’s party list… we’ve got another three days of socialising to go after this… perhaps my sports bar idea isn’t so good after all…


HEXUS Forums :: 3 Comments

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what a LIFE….Jet Set David and Nick ;)

playing World Tour Soccer on the PSP and annoying other travellers with loads of loud ‘Ooohs’ and ‘arrghs’ each time David missed an open goal, which was quite often…

now thats no good…you've gotta beat Nick….he's cack at football….only knows about Fulham :)
I did beat him, however, he can think he won…
Just saw this on another news site

Microsoft and Rockstar games have entered into an exclusive partnership to provide exclusive episodic content through Xbox Live. Moore is interrupted by applause after this announcement. The crowd was not expecting this, and is pumped to hear it.

Any news on this from across the pond?