Here we are. The end of E3 1999 and my first trip to the west coast. I'm not really sure if it seems like it was more than 12 years ago or less than 12 years ago. I can remember it quite well, but to think it was before I even left for college seems like forever ago. Anyway, here's the journal entry I wrote for my PlayStation Underground site back in the day. Yeah, I still played some wrestling games, but I crammed a bunch of other stuff into my last day as well. I couldn't stay away from that Eidos booth though. My time probably could've been better spent, but oh well. I still had a lot of fun.
E3 1999 - Day 3
Well, the dreaded and yet still glorious day had arrived. The final day of the show was upon me. The final day is always the shortest, literally and figuratively. Only seven hours of open show floors...and what a long, tiring, fun seven hours that would be. Once again, I caught a cab to the South Hall of the Los Angeles Convention Center arriving early enough to grab a bite to eat...yes, it was another muffin...leave me alone. The doors finally opened, and the stampede squeezed through and into the promised land for one final day.
Day 3 at any E3 any year should permanently be designated as Fun Day. Everyone knows that they only have a few hours left to go see the best of everything at the show one more time, and that's exactly what I planned to do. No gameplans, no maps, no worrying about how much time was left; I was just going to go...play games, look at booth babes, and walk til I passed out.
Having said that, first thing I headed to was the always great Midway booth. No one had really gotten there yet so I took a few turns in the NBA Showtime Free Throw Contest. Midway was just shoving free stuff at us all day Saturday. I guess they were trying to get rid of it all. But they were giving away basketballs to anyone who even stepped into the free throw area. And if you made even one shot you got a Midway E3 '99 T-Shirt. Midway sure was great this year. Of course I had to play more of Ready 2 Rumble Boxing. That game ROCKS! I don't care what people say about the "cheesy" screenshots. Play the game and you'll be hooked!
After getting that free stuff, I stopped by the Eidos booth again, and the booth babes were out in full force to greet the people arriving to the show on this final day. Polaroids, t-shirts, and posters galore! Eidos was making sure everyone walked away with something that had their brand name across it before they walked out of the show. I just wish they had been showing Tomb Raider 4 in the booth because Fighting Force 2 and Omikron were really the only two games that were looking worth playing. Oh well, TR4 or no TR4...everyone still got their fair share of Lara Croft at the show, that's for sure.
After catching shirts and goodies, I went down the Concourse Hall all the way to the West Hall where the "Big 3" (Sony, Nintendo, Sega) were. I went into the Sony booth to play a little bit more of Crash Team Racing. I'm a huge Mario Kart fan and CTR just builds upon that. The only problem with the game that I could see was the enemy (other 7 racers) A.I. They didn't seem to know where to throw or shoot weapons and repeatedly ran into stuff. Of course that will be fixed before the final release of the game and other than that, the game is looking fantastic. Then I went up to one of my favorite places at the show, the Sony catwalk. I've already told you how many great pictures could be taken from up there and had to get them all. Sony, Nintendo, Sega, and even some of the smaller companies could be seen from up there. It was also the best place to scope out the most crowded and popular areas so you'd know where to go next.
That's when I spotted something I hadn't seen yet, the Nintendo Store. They had some pretty cool displays in there and plenty of stuff to sell. From Pokemon stuffed animals to games, it was all in there. Even a brand new thing I'd never seen before. An N64 seat console for your car! This thing is pretty damn cool. It's even got a VCR in it and includes a built in N64 with two controllers and two sets of headphones. The only problem? Retail value: $1499.99!! Ouch. Oh well, it looked good.
One of the more disappointing things at the show was 989 Studios booth. They had a lot of behind the scenes type posters all over their small booth inside the Sony area, but no new games. Just box art showing you what's coming. No NFL Xtreme 2, Cool Boarders 4, Jet Moto 3, or even NFL GameDay 2000. It just plain sucked. No shows on every hot new 989 title...what were they thinking?
Final Fantasy VIII was definitely drew a big crowd in the various areas of the show floor it was in, one of which was up on the catwalk. The end all be all of RPG's is going to blow everyone away. It's incredible and we only got to see bits and pieces of this four disc game. Also, the FF8 crew at the show had to be the most helpful and informative crew at the show. They know every little thing about the game, so much that it's scary.
I headed down the ramp and over to the outstanding Sega booth. I walked right up to the giant Sonic Adventure display and picked up the controller. I had played a demo at my local Babbage's store, but this version was the "Special E3 Demo." So that clued me in that there was more stuff in this one, and indeed their was. You could select from all of the characters in the game now and there a lot more levels available to play. The levels are outstanding with vivid colors and crazy architecture. The beachside level has big hotels and shoreline that looks real. Not too mention how amazingly fast this game is. One of the parts of the beach level has you run down a dock while a giant killer whale repeatedly jumps over the dock causing more of it to break away. And of course it wouldn't be the Emerald Coast if jumping dolphins didn't attack you. Another thing I liked were the mini-games. Each character has their own types. Sonic has a classic pinball game which has some great artwork on the board. Tails has a fast paced, ring grabbin' snowboard course to race down. On the way down you can pull off tricks for points for more lives and also collect more rings. Sonic has his classic SpinDash, Tails can use his tail to fly anytime you want, and Knuckles can glide across areas, latching onto walls, and even dig underground for hidden rings and gems. All in all this game is a definite must have for any new Dreamcast owner.
Being amazed by Sonic, I went over to Sony's new system currently called Next Generation PlayStation. As I've already told you, the demos running off the new hardware are looking incredible. Of course, these pics do them no justice. Especially the duck one which looks really cheesy in still pictures but in motion is astonishing. The water looks real...and I mean real. The ripples and waves creating by controlling the duck around the pool are perfect. If this is just a taste of what the graphical capabilities of the new system, I can't wait to see what it will do at full power.
Then, since I'd seen the other two, I went over to the Nintendo booth one final time. I went in and out of everything at the huge Nintendo area. There was a really cool Mario fountain near the front of the booth that hadn't realized yet. It was pretty cool, and had a nice bench to rest on for a minute. Anyway, Nintendo did a great job in laying out their booth. The front couldn't be missed with the giant Nintendo logo, plus giant banners hanging from the ceiling, and a giant movie screen hoisted high in the air showing many games and especially Star Wars Episode 1: Racer. Right below the screen was a hallway type space with demo stations set up on both sides. There must have been forty tv's set up in just that spot showing off many of the new titles coming to the 64 including Mario Golf, Excitebike 64, NBA Courtside 2000, WWF Attitude, Resident Evil 2, and more. You could get a taste of everything to come without walking more than twenty feet, great job by Nintendo for doing that. Around the corner was the great Donkey Kong 64 display and way in the very back was Perfect Dark. Both are shoe-ins for top sellers. There wasn't anything left for me to see in the Nintendo booth, so I decided then to leave the area for the last time.
On the way around to the Sega booth, I picked up the Dreamcast controller for what would be the last time to play one of my favorite, if not THE favorite, game of the show, Ready 2 Rumble Boxing. I couldn't stop playing this game. Sega had four stations set up to play it and you always had a partner to play against since there were so many people there. Everyone just adopted arcade rules, so if you won, you stayed and, if you lost, you moved. Everyone loved this game and the Dreamcast is the best platform it was on. The game isn't even half way completed and it's already a smash hit with everyone who's played it.
Coming back over to the South Hall meant that would be the last time I'd be in the West Hall with Sony, Sega, and Nintendo. That's when it hit me that it was all starting to end. At this point, my back was about to snap, my feet felt like cinder blocks, and I didn't know how to spend my final few hours at the show. So I pushed through it all and kept walking, taking it all in...or as much as I possibly could. I began taking pictures of booths that I hadn't spent much time in just be able to remember the experience of being on the show floor. Booths like Konami and Infogrames were really cool even though I didn't see them much. With all the stuff that I really wanted to see, there really isn't enough time to see it all unfortunately. It's like trying to see the entire Smithsonian in a day. It's really unbelievable how much stuff is at the show.
I then ran into Capcom's booth, which was adjacent to Eidos' and they were having their own little free for all party. I walked over and a crazy dude with pink hair and a green suit was running around the stage getting people to say "really stupid shit" for a Capcom shirt. Some things heard were "I sleep with Capcom," "Capcom flew out of my ass," and "I'll kiss you for Capcom," after which a guy actually kissed the pink haired dude for a t-shirt. Funny...yet fairly frightening...it's just a t-shirt dude. They were holding the Street Fighter Championships during this, and the final rounds were about to take place. It could be watched on a big screen overhead which had the game in the middle of the screen and each player on camera on the left and right of the screen so you could watch them react too. It was really cool. One of the funny things was the rivalry Capcom was trying to start with Eidos. Capcom was getting chants of "Capcom don't need girls, Capcom has games" going. It was all in fun and Eidos apparently had no reply. It was true though, from what I saw. Capcom's booth may have actually been better than Eidos when it came to games. In fact I know it was. Eidos just got more foot traffic...you can figure out why.
Well, at that point it was about 3:30pm. The final thirty minutes were counting down. No time to go back to the West Hall so I headed over to Midway and played a quick game of NBA Showtime with three other dudes and talked about how great the show had been. Then, for the final fifteen minutes I went back to the Acclaim booth and played WWF Attitude just like last year's final moments. Then, the dreaded moment arrived...the lights in the LACC came on. Everyone looked up to the ceiling as if to say "No, please...not yet." I kept playing for a minute and then all the TV's at Acclaim turned off, which meant that I really had to go. I stood there and looked around one final time and then walked towards the doors to the lobby. I knew once you exited those doors, the guards wouldn't let you back in, so I stopped at the door frame and turned around just thinking..."I hope I get to see this again next year." Then I stepped through the doors and down the escalator. The show was over. A year doesn't seem that long when looking back at the show a year before, but when you realize that to get back to the show next year I have to complete a full year of college, it seems like forever. Who knows where I'll be in a year? I just hope that during the week of May 7-13 of the year 2000 that I'll be in the City of Angels.
As I walked down the lobby halls, I bought a couple E3 shirts and picked up a few more magazines then hit the shuttle bus back to the hotel. I was exhausted...I was sad...I was happy to be going home...I was feeling so many things at once I just leaned back and watched out the window of the bus as the giant banners passed behind the skyscrapers of downtown and out of view.