May 18th, 1999
5:33 PM CST -
Prior to this year's show, I had only heard great things about the Electronic Entertainment Expo. Soon after last year's show was over, I regretted that I didn't attend. Now that I have been to an E3, all I can say is that I'm going every year regardless. It was a gamer's heaven. E3 is all about playing games that nobody else gets to play until 4-6 months later.

Sega had a huge showing of their Dreamcast system software. It looks like they're going to hit the US stores with a full head of steam. With games like Marvel vs. Capcom, Soul Calibur, Virtua Fighter 3tb and Mortal Kombat Gold, the Dreamcast is going to be the fighting game player's dream system. You're definately going to want to pick up the extremely sturdy arcade stick controller when you pick up a Dreamcast. (the bottom trigger buttons on the standard controller drove me nuts) I have to admit, Soul Calibur looked very smooth on the Dreamcast hardware.

Sony's section was a little tame, with the exception of the huge PlayStation 2 pyramid. They had 3-4 flat panel TVs running those infamous technical demos, floating around the Internet in video form. They were nothing short of spectacular in person. Everything shown on the Next-Generation PlayStation was extremely detailed and running at such a high frame rate. The facial expressions demo made my jaw drop. Grand Turismo 2 was also on display for PlayStation looking very sharp with a myriad of new cars and tracks.

Nintendo showed off Perfect Dark, Rare's unoffical "sequel" to Goldeneye. The controls still felt very Goldeneye-esque; however, the graphics were several notches above it's predecessor. Donkey Kong 64 was there. I have to admit that I left the DK series after DK Country, I was pretty impressed with DK64. Although it doesn't match Banjo-Kazooie in graphics, DK64 seems like a more enjoyable game with all of the really cool bonus mini-games.
Nintendo announced their plans for their next-generation hardware (code-named Dolphin) a day before the show. The numbers being thrown around, an IBM 400mhz copper CPU (Gekko) and a 200mhz ArtX graphics processor, are very impressive. Check out E3News.com's story on the new hardware. Oh, there was plenty of Pokemon for everyone to check out. Nintendo had both Pokemon Stadium and Pokemon Snap playable. After about 10 minutes of playing Pokemon Snap, I still don't get why anyone would want to buy that game. Also in Nintendo's corner was Star Wars: Episode I Racer. While the area was too crowded to get a chance to play it, I did get to see a really cool life-size Darth Maul mannequin.

There was so much to see and do at E3. Three days wasn't enough to see everything. I didn't even get a chance to make it over to Kentia Hall to check out what those companies had to offer. Although I didn't get to see everything, of what I did see was well organized and well run. If there was something I had to complain about it would be the food prices at the Convention Center. ($2.75 for a medium soda?) With that aside, I had a blast at E3 and can't wait for next year's show to come around.

If everything goes as planned, I should have my full impressions of both MK:SF and MK Gold sometime Friday.

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