Been there, done that and didn’t get a t shirt. It was a good trip. There were some great surprises, a good party, and some disappointments.

The conference had a really nice commemorative t-shirt that was free if you went in and swiped the dog tags that you received upon signing in from early registration. We found out that apparently it didn’t include media. A fellow reporter and myself decided that we would break down and just buy one to show that were had attended. Now to most, this would seem reasonable, but no. It was Sunday afternoon, an hour left, lots of t-shirts and they wouldn’t let go of any of them…oh well guess they can shred then and make rugs or something.

It was very hard not to keep comparing the show to E3. The bottom line though was that everyone DID compare the two shows. Each booth you went to vendors were saying how if they known how few vendors were going to be there they might not have attended. They were also disappointed in the attendance. Why in the world they thought the same amount of people would be at an event that was about one forth the size amazes me. The entire show was held in South Hall. Even the one room was not full or fully used. If one looks for the silver lining in all this, I believe it is this, it gave the attendee a chance for more personal one on one with the vendors, devs and other professionals.

One of the big draws at the show was EA’s upcoming game Warhammer. It is my personal opinion that anyone that likes Blizzard’s WoW will love this game. The beautiful, in depth colors are just breath taking. The buildings are so eye catching. The in depth detail to the clothing, characters, buildings, foliage and the overall game are just fantastic. One of the parts of this game that caught my eye is the Tomb of Knowledge. It houses your ingame experience. If you see a certain type of bird and kill it for example, there will then be an entry in the bestiary of that bird. You will know the name, where it lives, and everything there is to know about that bird. This follows for everything you do. You will always know your kills, all of your experience etc. There is also a history and lore section of each town. What we got to view was great, and they said the Tome of Knowledge was being made even better.

Guitar Hero III made a great presence. What was nice about their presence was that they really involved the gamer. Each person that competed in the competition really got into it. They weren’t just playing the game they really put on a show and it was fun to see.

It was great going to the SOE party over at the Marriott Thursday night. First a big thank you for hosting this party. Ara and I had a great chance to talk to Pex about his involvement with Star Wars Galaxies. Pex is the in-game support. If you need for instance for Darth Vader to attend your party, it is Pex that shows up. It was also fun because we got to meet our first guildmaster, Nallu. The music was great, the food was great, the drinks were great and the conversation was fantastic. There were representatives there from SWG, EverQuest II, Vanguard and other SOE games. I think due to the fact that this party was in the middle of the week and the fact that the party really wasn’t advertised very well made it so that there weren’t multitudes of people there which made it nice. There is always the obligation to mingle when there are masses of people. We were able to have long conversations, which was nice.

One of the nice little treasures found at the show this year was a gaming vest that could truly change your gaming experience. The vest made by TN Games lets you FEEL where you are being shot. It’s not anything I would call pain. It just wasn’t exactly comfortable either. You definitely wanted to find the bad guys and kill them so the shots you felt would stop. The vest was just really amazing. If you were shot on your left shoulder you knew you should turn in that direction to shoot your attacker. It is just a new device to add to your gaming experience.

One other little treasure that I found was the Novint Falcon. This is a new controller that is actually a robot. This hardware allows you to actually feel textures, mass and things like the kick of a gunshot. For those of you into fps games this is a gem of an addition to your gaming toys. The kick you feel is adjustable. Currently the Falcon works with about 30 games from Novint and does work with Half-Life.

I truly hope the powers that be rethink this event. What needs to happen is we go back to the one large E3 event. Hold it from Wednesday to Sunday and have the first few days for media then let general public in. We have GOT to remember that if not for the gamers the games and products are not going to exist.

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