By Marino 16 Comments
I thought it'd be fun, if not a little embarrassing, to go back and look at my write-ups that I did for gaming events of the past. The first one I dug up was for E3 1998. I was 17 years old at the time, so forgive me if I seem too excited about a WWF game coming to PlayStation. You may be wondering how I was at E3 before I was 18. I have PlayStation Underground to thank for that. I used to run a website dedicated to it (which is what this blog was originally written for), and the producer of the mag (Gary Barth) found me through that. Since I lived in Georgia, he invited me to E3 in Atlanta in '97. So this was my second trip to E3. The writing may be bad, my views of certain games may make me cringe, and some of the things I decided to devote my limited time to at the show are certainly questionable. But here it is, including most of the original images I used on my site...
Once again, E3 kicked ass, 'nuf said.
The day had finally arrived...May 29, 1998. It might possibly be the busiest Friday I ever had. I woke up around 6:30am to get ready for school and take my first final exam. While taking that exam, my mom was getting me and my buddies tickets for WCW Monday Nitro. After my exam, I had to participate in my schools annual tradition of "Moving Up Day," which officially announces my class as seniors. Well, after all that was over, my sister and I cut school and we raced home. I changed out of my tie into my jeans and t-shirt as fast as I could, checked out my new Nitro tickets, and then we left around noon.
I live in Macon, GA. It's about an hour from Atlanta. So, on the way, I looked at floor maps of the show and read about the conferences that were held on that Wednesday. They may not have been that interested but I was too excited to care.
We arrived at the Georgia World Congress Center (GWCC) at around 1:30pm. We walked in, picked up the free E3 mags and stuff, then paged Gary to tell him we were here. After about 15 minutes of me looking over the Level 3 railing watching for Gary, my mom says "Is that him?" I turn around and there was Gary with Alan walking towards us from the opposite direction. We said hello and introduced each other. Gary gave my mom and I our passes but he didn't know my sister was coming so he said "I'll be right back." While he was gone, I talked to Alan about E3 last year and about what games I've been playing lately and also what I was looking forward to at this year's E3. Then Gary came back. Four words...Gary is the man. In a matter of minutes, he had an all new pass made up just for my sister. Gary then tossed me a red PlayStation shirt that Sony people were suppose to wear during the show, but Gary didn't want to so he gave it to me.
Then it was time to go down the many escalators to the main floor and I had returned to heaven once again. We walked in and Gary said to just have fun and he'll see us later. He also gave us our Sony PlayStation E3 Party passes for later that night (to give you an idea of how rare these things are, Gary's boss was even trying to find more). Little did I know that I wouldn't see him for the rest of the show. Since we only had about 3 hours left of the show for that day, and I was going to be there all day Saturday by myself, my mom took it as her oppurtunity to make the three hours time to get free stuff. We walked around and I basically got an overview of the layout of E3 98 and made mental pictures of what I would want to do and see the next day. I played some games like Crash Bandicoot 3 "Warped" and Zelda 64 but I'll tell you more about that later.
So let's get to the really kick ass part of Friday. Oh! You thought that E3 itself was as good as it gets? Well, the Sony E3 Party was the simply incredible. It all started at 7:00pm. All the people filed in and handed their passes to the gatekeeper who ripped them in half and threw them away. The party was all held outdoors at a big stage right next door to the GWCC. They already had a big set up for a camera to shoot the band and one on a crane that would swing around the stage. The entire place was covered head to toe with PlayStation stuff. Lara Croft, Crash, and others lined the sky with giant banners. I asked the camera man in the tower when the band would start and he said around 9:30. So I went downstairs and found that there was a mini E3 down there! Crash 3, NFL Xtreme, Tekken 3, and MediEvil were all playable. I played Crash 3 until a guy eating sushi started breathing down my neck, so I just let him play and went over to the Tekken 3 area. I started whoopin ass over there. I was playing a German guy who didn't speak English very well, but we still had fun. He gave up the controller to a guy who worked at Prima. We talked about the show while I wiped the floor with him as Hwoarang. I then went across the street where had a big screen. How big? How about 2 stories high and 30 feet wide? You sat in giant chairs and played Gran Turismo. You'll never play a PlayStation on a bigger TV than that. And then someone said that people were preparing the stage, so I went back across the street.Finally, after about 30 minutes, Kaz Hirai came out on stage. He talked about the worldwide success of the PlayStation and everyone cheered. Then the rest of the Sony big wigs came out and launched off some confetti rockets followed by several minutes of fireworks. Then Kaz came back on and said "Have I got a surprise for you. Ladies and gentlemen...THE FOO FIGHTERS!!!" The Foo Fighters rocked. They started out with "My Hero" and never stopped. Dave Grohl came out with a gray knit hat and 1930's style airplane goggles. He was hilarious. At one point he told all the Sony guys to "Take off those damn suit and ties and SHAKE YOUR BOOTY!!" It was an awesome show and I'll never forget their performance. I went back to the hotel around midnight and unloaded all my stuff from my bag so I could refill it the next day. Then I went to bed.
I woke up at 8:00am smelling like beer and cigar smoke so I jumped in the shower. I got dressed wearing that red PlayStation shirt that Gary gave me the day before. I thought it'd be funny, and I'd look like I worked there. I also wore my new PlayStation E3 1998 Hat that they gave out when you left the Party. I went down to the lobby to find out that it was raining like all hell had broken loose. I asked where the E3 Shuttle Bus would pick us up and the lady said "Out there." In the rain? Yeah, so I stood under the pavilion with about 10 other E3 goers but they were getting cabs. Lucky for me, one group had room for one more, so I hopped in and got a free ride to E3! I thanked the guys for getting the tab and ran for the GWCC through the rain. Once I got in, I picked up the E3 Show Daily magazine for Day 3.
When I went in, I was right in front of Acclaim's booth. I went straight for WWF WarZone. This game is a must have for a wrestling fan. When I walked around the corner I saw a sign showing all the celebrities that were going to be there on Day 3 and the ones that were there earlier. The names included WWF European Champ Triple H with Chyna, Brett Favre, Keith Van Horn, Donna D (the Forsaken girl), WWF Tag Team The Headbangers, and a few more. I walked a little farther and ran smack into the Nintendo booth. I felt like I had to be brave to walk in there wearing my PlayStation shirt, but I did it. I had to see Zelda 64. I'll tell you right now, this game is awesome. The boss battle scenes are intense. The only trouble is the control (and of course it was all in Japanese). With six face buttons it's hard to utilize your weapons fast enough. I walked through the Nintendo booth catching some odd looks at my hat and shirt but I didn't care. I got a look at GameBoy Color which looks pretty cool, and other games like Twelve Tales: Conker 64. I had my fill of Nintendo for a while, and I'd come back later. I couldn't help being drawn back to Zelda. So I then headed for the greatest booth of them all; the Sony PlayStation booth!
The PlayStation booth was awesome. The front had two giant jumbotrons where a guy from the other side of the booth was interviewing Crash Bandicoot and Lara Croft (both were in CG form). As you walk through, there was a big Crash 3 area with an underwater theme (there's scuba levels in Crash 3). As I walked through, there were many great new PlayStation games like Tomba, MediEvil, NFL Xtreme, Jersey Devil, Syphon Filter, and Cool Boarders 3 to name a few. Then I arrived at the PlayStation Stadium. It was a miniature stadium and you walk up a few stairs into the center where they had three TV's with MLB 99 on it. Immediately a lady walks up to me and says "Would you like to play in our MLB 99 HomeRun Derby?" I said sure, and sat down in the bleachers to wait my turn. As I waited they handed me PlayStation megaphone. Finally it was my turn and I went up to play. The record was 8 when I got up there. I had trouble with hitting foul balls. Everyone had to use McGwire and I kept hitting them foul because I was swinging too soon. I ended up with a respectable five homers and got my PlayStation baseball for playing.
After taking shots at MLB 99, I walked down the opposite side of the stadium and saw the GT Interactive booth. GT published Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee and they had a great thing last year for it so I wanted to see what they had this year. I walked over and found the little theater that was there last year and got in line. The show started and we all walked in to watch Oddworld: Abe's Exoddus. The game starts off right where the last one left off. Abe and his followers must save the blind Mudokens from Rupture Farms' new mining site. What the blind Mudokens don't know is that they're digging up dead Mudokens bones for Rupture Farms to make Soul Storm Brew. The promos are hilarious and the antics in the game like fart bombs are funny as hell. This looks like it's gonna be twice as good as Abe 1. As we walk out they give us a bottle opener with Soul Storm Brew on it, and then a cup of Soul Storm Brew. It was a blue, slushie, gatorade, kinda drink. I think this year's Soul Storm Brew was a lot better than last year's Snot Gulp, but that's just my opinion.
After that I went to the Midway booth in the hunt for some Mortal Kombat 4. I found it and started playing the PlayStation version. It's fairly choppy, but the N64 version is smoother. Goro looks great in 3D and Noob Saibot is finally back. I hadn't seen him since the MK4 Road Tour in August of '97. As I was playing MK4 I looked behind me and there was a line forming. I stopped playing and checked it out. People were standing in line to get their pictures taken with MK4 stars Kerri Hoskins (Sonya), Lia Montelongo (Tanya), John Turk (Scorpion), and the guy who played Raiden. When I got to the front they handed me a card to get a Midway T-shirt after I was done and then asked me who I wanted in my picture. When I went up there, I told Kerri I had sent her a question about MK3's motion capture on her official web site in the Q&A section. And my mind was blown when she remembered my name from it. Kerri and Lia were both super nice.
After that thrill, I looked at my watch and saw it was time for the Headbangers to be at the Acclaim booth. So I raced across the GWCC floor to the Acclaim booth. I saw Mosh and Thrasher sitting behind a table with a stack of photographs. A line had already formed so I took my spot. When I got to the front, I asked if they were gonna get a title push anytime soon. As Thrasher answered me, a cop moved me along and I said thanks for the picture. After that I went back over to play a 4 person cage match with three other guys in WarZone.
I went back over to the PlayStation booth but before I went in, something caught my eye. The Eidos booth was filled with about 100 guys screaming "LARA! LARA! LARA!" so I had to check this out. I went over there to find that four Eidos booth babes were throwing t-shirts and bags to the crowd. I was lucky and caught one of each and ducked out of the mass of testosterone with both still in my posession. I then went over to get a look at Tomb Raider 3. It's alot like TR2 but a lot more detail. For example, when you shoot an animal and they die, blood runs across the floor from their body. And when Lara runs through dirt, mud kicks up on her legs. Overall, TR3 looks like it's gonna be another smash hit for Eidos. I didn't spend much time in Eidos other than TR3.
Then I went back to the PlayStation area and found a lot of people crowded around the personnel area. I went up there and they were handing out E3 1998 PlayStation passports just like they did last year. You had to hunt through the GIGANTIC PlayStation area and find each of these five games: Syphon Filter, MediEvil, Tomba!, Jersey Devil, and Cool Boarders 3 and once you played each one, you got a sticker on your passport. Once you completed it, you got a free PlayStation shirt sporting their new catch phrase...Live in your world, Play in ours. Syphon Filter is a new 3D action game. It plays a lot like Tomb Raider but you're a cop in the middle of a city at night trying to stop a terrorist attack or something. Anyway, it was cool. Tomba is pretty cool too, but you've seen the video in Underground #5. Cool Boarder 3 is better than either of the other two CB's. CB3 looks a lot more detailed with the courses and boarders themselves. MediEvil needs some more time but it looks promising. And you've also played Jersey Devil on Underground, but the demo I played at E3 is even better and a lot more in depth.
After completing the PlayStation passport, I started walking and found a warzone. No, not WWF Warzone again. It was the Konami booth. It was decked out in army special forces boxes, nets, towers, spotlights, and even guards dressed up and pacing back and forth. Plus there was a PA system saying "Warning, restricted area, highest personnel only." All of this was for one game and one game only...you guessed it...Metal Gear Solid. And this game is totally awesome. I didn't get to see much because of the crowd around it but from what I did see, MGS is going to be amazing. It's a game changer.After that, I went over to the Electronic Arts booth, which was decked out in full with a miniature boxing ring displaying their new boxing game, Knockout Kings. Of course they also had Madden 99, Tiger Woods 99, NBA Live 99, and more. Madden 99 has answered NFL GameDay's 3D polygons with polygons of their own. Now Madden has got everything NFL GameDay does, plus two man commentary. Or does it? Well, Sony is keeping their lip sealed on GameDay 99. It wasn't on the show floors with Sony's other Sports 99 titles. So maybe GameDay has something new up it's sleeve.
At this point, it was already about 2:30pm and the show ended at 4:00pm. So I started to make quick rounds back through the show to see everything I could one last time. This is when I journeyed back into the Nintendo booth and played Zelda 64 for a little bit more time. I also went back to the Midway booth and played some more MK4 and NFL Blitz. I went back to the PlayStation area for one last time too, just to play some more Crash 3 and Tomb Raider 3. And finally, around 3:30pm I went back to Acclaim and played WWF WarZone until they shut it down. I played against a guy who worked at Acclaim and we talked about the game since he's seeing it everyday in development and I asked him if I could get one of the demo copies but he said he couldn't do that. So we played and played until 4:00pm when they turned all the light on in the GWCC and the guy said everyone had to start packing up and heading out. So I said my goodbyes looked around one last time and said goodbye to the greatest place on earth and then took that dreaded step onto the up escalator. See ya in Los Angeles, E3...