The week before E3 should not start off like this.
At first I expected to write a very convincing preview for next week’s big event, but wouldn’t you know it, I get home from a small trip out of town only to find out that my computer will not power on. Turns out that during a heavy storm the day before my power supply ended up being fried.
And if that wasn’t enough, when I wanted to take out my tensions on a game of NHL 2002, I inserted the disc into my PS2, only to be greeted with a black screen reading "Disc Read Error."
Now I have been originally receiving this message when trying to watch a DVD, and it didn’t really bother me much since I can always use my Xbox to watch movies. But now that my PS2 can’t even play regular blue CD-ROMs, I have no choice but to spend $120 to get the stupid thing repaired (in addition to another $275 to purchase my much-planned PC upgrade).
Then again, after what I read earlier (and was to be a prediction on this commentary), both the PlayStation 2 and the Xbox have reduced their prices to $199, so maybe I can get a better deal on the repair bill. Now I am surprised to see this price drop happen now, as opposed to the first day of E3. Heck, Sega was able to hold of the Saturn launch until E3 1995 (four months before the system was to be released to stores), but this is definitely a surprise. Now I am only wondering if Nintendo will follow suit and offer the GameCube for $149, or dare I say, $99?
Aside from the price drops, this year’s E3 will be interesting. This will be the first year that I attend an E3 without a new system being launched (PS2 in 2000 and both the ‘Cube and Xbox in 2001), but the main focus this year will be online play. There were some hints about the online community last year, as early builds of great online games such as SOCOM showed, but the development has been very slow, and I can’t really consider a 16-player LAN Halo deathmatch as true online play.
It will be interesting to see how each system reveals their plans, and it will definitely be the key focus this year.
I will also be looking forward to seeing the new offline titles to be released this year. Now that the Gamecube is coming out with some decent original titles, it will make Mario Sunshine, Zelda (which hopefully will revert back to its old look) and Metroid Prime all the more alluring. I know the Xbox will not be left behind as well, as I’m definitely looking forward to Brute Force, Unreal Championship, and hopefully Capcom’s Steel Battalion (with its monstrous 40-BUTTON controller!). But as far as the Xbox is concerned, I will definitely be looking forward to my meeting with Konami to see what is the status (if there is any) of Metal Gear Solid Substance.
Not to be left out due to DRE messages, but I will also be curious as to what PlayStation 2 titles will be released as well. Going back to their online plans, you know that Final Fantasy XI will be a key title, but you know how I feel about that series (with the exception of X, of course). But I will definitely be looking out for GTA: Vice, Devil May Cry 2, Red Faction 2, and many more exclusives.
And lastly, since I will be getting back into the PC gaming field (once I get my new Athlon 2000 upgrade), and I will definitely keep an eye out for what will grace the PC. I am looking forward to Elite Force 2 (the first one even impressed a non-Trekkie like myself), C & C Generals, Unreal Tournament 2003, and (hopefully) DOOM 4, to name a few. It will definitely be worth me making a major PC comeback.
But fortunately for me, E3 isn’t just about gaming, but also getting in touch with many friends I only get to see once a year, as well as to meet new ones in the industry. And of course, it allows me to also make some newer enemies as well, trying to prove to them why they are wrong and why I’m right. But still, the thing I’m looking forward to the most is seeing whether or not UPN 13 (KCOP) is still showing the kick-ass, tabloid news broadcasts that I and my staff knew and loved last year.
But whatever happens, these three days are going to be another great experience. I will be sure to add more info when I hit the show floor and am stunned by whatever turns out. Stay tuned is all I can say.