I know, I’m still running behind on news, but I went to the Game Crazy Conference in Las Vegas at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center last week thanks to a friend of mine still in the biz. If you’ve been in the industry as long as I was, you can still find ways to return if you really want to.

It was small, but a lot of fun. One of the most fun things this time around was the pure amount of free swag given away. In its declining years, E3 stopped giving out all the cool toys and gimmicks like they used to, reaching a point where you were lucky to find anything cool at all. But Sony was giving out free PS3 games and backpacks, there were a lot of free T-Shirts and pens (Lucasarts gave out some neat Lego Star Wars pens), and of course all of the little toys and dog tags and usual stuff that you swear you’ll do something with, but ends up in your collector’s box.

Free stuff aside, there was a lot of good gaming to be offered. I got to check out Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games, Super Mario Galaxy, Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings and Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass from Nintendo’s booth. Word to the wise: DS games look really UGLY on a big screen. You can tell the graphics were meant for small screens, so I gave up looking at the monitors, and stuck tho the system screens, which looked just fine, and the graphics looked great there. Mario Galaxy has that old-school Mario 64 feel to it, which feels a lot better, and while the control and set-up takes some time to get used to, it plays really well.

Smash Bros. Brawl was once again a no-show, which has sold me that it will never be seen in magazines, discussed in interviews, or shown at a convention until its release in December.

The new Turok from Disney looks nice, but doesn’t look like a game you would think of coming from Disney, especially seated right next to Hannah Montana and High School Musical.

EA had The Simpsons Game for Xbox 360 up, which looked just like the show, played well, and was really funny. They still maintain that it’s coming for the Wii, but the lack of screenshots or gameplay footage at this point concerns me. When they hide a game like this… well, see TMNT from earlier this year. Crysis also looked good.

And of course it was this whole “Battle of the Bands” mentality between EA and Activision with Rock Band and Guitar Hero III, respectively. They rocked back and forth in the little showroom all day long.

I also got to try out that new Mountain Dew “Game Fuel“, which tastes like Jolly Ranchers or one of those hard candies you buy from the self-serve at the grocery store (like Brach’s), but it was melted into liquid form. It was so sweet that I think it melted my stomach lining. No thanks, but I’ll pass on this wacky gimmick.

The show was fun. No incredible surprises, but a nice little selection of games to preview in a much smaller venue. So you could actually play the games, as opposed to people crawling all over you for their turn.

I’ll post more thoughts soon. I at least wanted to get this out there.

And if you haven’t seen it, The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters is a fun mockumentary to go check out. It’s well worth the admission…. If you can still find it in theaters, that is.

Be Sociable, Share!

Filed under: game crazy