david_lck Blog

The Walking Dead Review

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The stench of rotting corpses fills the air, alone and separated from your group, fear begins to set in. As you scramble gingerly and take a glance of the inhospitable surroundings, a slight misstep could spell the end. In the distance, the sound of chewing and gnawing is all too familiar. A horde of walkers have claimed yet another life. When will it all end?

Lee Everett, the games protagonist is first seen in a patrol vehicle on route to prison. A former university professor, his reputation is now tarnished and battered. What he doesnt know is that the next few days will make all that pale in comparison. Within minutes, a walker causes the vehicle to swerve and tailspin onto the side of the road, spiraling out of control into a ditch. Dazed momentarily, Lee makes his way out of the wreckage by breaking the windscreen.

Lees very first encounter with a walker is truly memorable as the policeman, or at least whats left of him is crawling menacingly towards you. A quick glance to the right, you notice a shotgun beside you. Left with no choice, you are forced to put it out of its misery. Fumble and take too long to react, and it could get messy.

The walkers here are no pushover

The Walking Dead presents you with many different choices to play the game. Do you shoot someone to save them from the unimaginable pain of being eaten alive? Take supplies that isnt yours out of sheer desperation or risk starvation? Choosing to spare the life of a maniac isnt so easy when the opportunity presents itself. Be the guy who thinks of nothing but the safety of the group or one that everyone would loathe and despise. These are just some of the choices that the game presents to you. How you choose to respond, whom do you pledge your allegiance with, or decide to rescue they ultimately go a long way in altering the game. Which is why, playing differently on your next session just to see what other alternatives can unravel is very much encouraged.

No zombie apocalypse would be complete without a well diverse cast, and this is where The Walking Dead delivers. Staples of the genre; college jock, the journalist with a keen eye, an overly protective dad, and an orphan are just some of the different people you will meet. Their motives and hidden agenda bring much conflict and tension once food and medication supplies run dry. Often at times, Lee will have to play peacekeeper and attempt to diffuse the situation.

With top-notch writing, initiating conversations isnt a chore but an integral experience. Friendships turn hostile, uneasy alliances are formed out of sheer desperation, romance could spark as you get to know someone, this game has emotion down to a pat. And in an industry marred with many one-dimensional characters that fail to engage, the cast here are well-rounded and relatable.

Amidst the chaos, humanity is very much alive

Players use the left analog to control Lee while the right one is reserved for looking around the environment. Everyday tools such as shovels, ladders and wrenches can be used to get out of a sticky situation or to fight off incoming walkers. Conversations are more often then not, timed as you are forced to choose from four options to respond. Get caught telling a lie and you will be called on it, raising further suspicion on Lee. Your actions are also tied and timed to the D-pad. Be too quick and press on the trigger, and it will alert walkers to your presence. With the onrush of footsteps and no escape in sight, scanning the environment for an exit or a tool that you can use, is bound to set your heart racing.

Point and click games will always have the issue of certain items and objectives not being highlighted clearly enough which is bound to frustrate and cause moments of aimlessly wandering around, but as they occur so rarely, it doesnt detract from the experience. If you appreciate a well woven tale that is high on drama and intrigue, $20 is all but a small sum. Ironically, The Walking Dead revives the slumbering point and click games from its grave to new heights, and sets the benchmark for others to follow. Season 2 cant come soon enough.

yum

Most bizarre moment (LOOK AWAY IF YOU HAVENT BEATEN THE EPISODE): Episode 2 will leave you disgusted once the motives of a group is revealed. Something about the St. Johns just doesnt seem right. With those shifty eyes and Brendas willingness to cook up a meal for our whole group, surely something is up. You see, they have a well thought out plan, survivors who wander onto the area will be presented with an offer that is too good to pass up on. Food for gas, you say? Fair trade in a world gone to shit. We will just keep you alive long enough and feast on your flesh. Its downright gory and sick, but thats what make this episode so awesome.

Link to review: The Walking Dead

Feel free to give me your critiques/suggestions on how I can improve :D

Top 10 PS3 Exclusives

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The PS3 is one well rounded console that has seen the introduction of various exclusives, some brilliantly executed productions that put many an action film to shame, a cel-shaded strategy game that is as gorgeous as it is fun to play, to a broken mess of a game that failed to live up to its enormous hype (Lair is that game). Now we get that not everyone will agree with our choices, which has some omissions that may surprise you, and trust us, deciding upon the finalized list was an arduous task in itself. 

Note: This article was also written by tjsmoke63rigbybot127 which was initially posted on Leet Gamers Asia

With that out of the way, here is the list:

10. Resistance: Fall of Man (tjsmoke63)

When the PS3 launched in 2006, it didnt exactly have a host of stand-out titles. One of them, however, that did stand out was a sci-fi first person shooter from Insomniac Games, who had previously been best known for their action platformers Spyro and the Ratchet and Clank series. Resistance: Fall of Man follows the exploits of Nathan Hale through an alternate history 1951 where the Earth has been invaded by a hostile alien species known as the Chimera. Hale makes his way through Britain, battling a variety of enemies while on foot and in vehicles (an early tank section stands out, and was one of the more fun missions in the game). Hale has at his disposal a wide array of weaponry with which to tackle the alien menace. In addition to your typical pistols and assault rifles, Insomniac, much as they did with the Ratchet and Clank series, also gives you some very creative pieces to take out your foe.

The Chimera are relentless as they are diverse

The Auger was one such weapon, whose primary attack is a rapid fire but the bullets burrow through walls and emerge with a greater strength, and the secondary attack creates a shield that blocks enemy fire, but allows you to shoot the enemy. With these weapons and documents you can find throughout the gameworld, Insomniac created a fresh alternative to your military shooters, and created a story that was both deep and rewarding. The game did well enough to spawn sequels. Resistance 2 hit consoles in 2008, Resistance: Retribution came out in the same year for the PSP, Resistance 3 hit consoles in 2011, and Resistance: Burning Skies released on the Playstation Vita. But none quite matched the first game, which still remains one of the best shooters to grace Sonys console.

9. Heavy Rain (tjsmoke63)

In 2010, developers Quantic Dream, the studio behind the PS2 game Indigo Prophecy (known as Fahrenheit in Europe) released a game that was very different from anything else on the consoles. More interactive drama than a standard game, Heavy Rain placed players in the shoes of four different characters in pursuit of the Origami Killer, a child murderer who leaves origami figures at the scene of the crime. The characters  include Ethan Mars, a man who has suffered tragedy and whose son is being held captive by the killer, Madison Paige, an investigative journalist, FBI profiler Norman Jayden, who has at his disposal a pair of high tech glasses that enable him to find clues, and Scott Shelby, a world weary private investigator looking into the case.

 Heavy Rains story puts many games to shame

The game was unique in that there was never a Game Over screen. Instead, if your character died or simply failed a challenge, the story continued on, taking into account the players actions and adjusting the story accordingly. It gave the game an immense amount of replayability and multiple endings (one count puts the number of endings around twenty), meaning each player had a unique experience while going through the game. Some players disliked the reliance on Quick Time Events (QTEs) but for this game they worked well. Also, conversation choices were given, and you had a limited amount of time to make your choice, which in turn reflected on how other characters in the game would react to you. It was a very intense experience that many gamers and critics embraced, and remains one of the most unique entries in the PS3 library.

8. Ratchet & Clank: A Crack in Time (rigbybot127)

The latest installment in the beloved Ratchet & Clank series of platformers (not countng All 4 One, and Full Frontal Assault) sees the separation of the titular duo, a continuation of the plot element introduced at the end of Tools of Destruction, and throughout the entirety of Quest For Booty (though you dont have to play that one, as its $15 for 4 hours, and the beginning of ACiT sums it up nicely). Ratchet must embark on the single most dramatic journey in the series, as he races to rescue Clank from Dr. Nefarious, before he destroys the universe by using The Great Clock, of which Clank and his helper, Sigmund are the current keepers of; all while Ratchet learns of his race, the Lombaxes, from one of his fathers best chums, Allister Azimuth, who may know more about the Lombaxes than he lets on. It ties in great with Tools of Destruction, as well as directly explains things that put the events of said game in motion.

With its Pixar esque graphics, its a sight to behold

If not for the amazingly epic story, then definitely get it for the near-flawless platforming/shooting gameplay, and awesome set-pieces and battlefields, as well as some interesting new time puzzles on Clanks levels; this game of which contains the most Clank sections in the series history. They are fun and challenging, but arent very large in quantities, unless you wanna go for the bonus Gold Bolt ones, but your mind will probably be reduced to mush before you finish all those.

7. LittleBigPlanet 2 (rigbybot127)

This is as wet as a creative persons dream can get. LittleBigPlanet 2 unleashes what is (quite literally) hundreds of games worth of assets at you, to assure that you and up to 3 buddies can have all the fun platforming in beautifully creative user-created worlds, but with all these assets, you dont have to stop there! You have the ability to create racing games, fighting games, tower defense games, first-person shooters, and much more, all for what is now a $20 dollar price tag (along with however much you spend on the games seemingly endless amount of downloadable skins, featuring the likes of The Muppets, Sonic the Hedgehog, Assassins Creed, Uncharted, Metal Gear Solid, which comes with a special paintball gun, and basically any other intellectual property you can imagine; the DLC for the original is also compatible, which means even MORE to choose from).

Multiplayer games are chaotically fun and a great ice-breaker

6. God of War III (tjsmoke63)

God of War III was the final chapter in the story of Kratos, finishing off the tale begun by Santa Monica Studio on the PS2. By this entry Kratos, the Greek warrior betrayed by the Gods, has reignited the Great War, and the game begins with Kratos storming Mount Olympus with the aid of the Titans. All does not go well, as Kratos is betrayed once again, this time by Gaia. The spirit of Athena appears once more to guide him, this time in search of the Flame of Olympus and Pandoras Box. Featuring plenty of characters and creatures from Greek mythology, the gameplay once again employed the brutal hack and slash found in the previous entries. Combos could be made using Kratos main weapon, the Blades of Exile, and the use of a secondary weapon, among them the Claws of Hades, the Nemean Cestus (a pair of fist gauntlets), and the Nemesis Whip.

One word to sum up the GOW series; epic

As before, unlocking chests released orbs that replenished both health and magic, as well as Gorgon Eyes, which upgraded health, Phoenix Feathers, which upgraded magic, and new to the series, Minotaur Horns, which upgraded items. In addition to combat, that game featured puzzles to solve and plenty of platforming sections. The story is a well written tale of vengeance, and is bolstered by strong voice acting and some jaw dropping visuals. The game remains of the best action adventure titles on the PS3, and offered a satisfying end to Kratos story, though Sony an Santa Monica Studio dont appear to be done with the character, as several prequels have been released. For those wishing to indulge in a fair amount of carnage this is the game to play.

5. Valkyria Chronicles (david)

A small nation overcomes all odds and emerges triumphant. War has never been forgiving and Valkyria Chronicles is filled with moments of sheer tragedy, personal loss that shakes the very foundations, and blooming romance that will tear at your heartstrings. Amidst the cookie cutter shooters and adventure games that has violence in spades, Valkyria Chronicles not only stands out for its beautifully crafted cel-shaded graphics but also for its unique and challenging gameplay. Like the Fire Emblem games which involve a lot of tactical planning and careful consideration before making a move, the sheer sense of accomplishment when you clear some of the latter stages is second to none. Which units do you deploy, who should make a quick dash through enemy lines, how to best thin out the enemys relentless assault? These are just some of the questions that players will ask themselves. And in a battle for supremacy  that can be shifted in one favor with one false move, the stakes are high in what is arguably the definite strategy game in PS3s long list of must-have titles.

selvaria

Selvaria, a deeply troubled antagonist

4. Journey (rigbybot127)

Journey is not a game in any traditional sense. Sure there are collectibles, and you move your character like one moves a character in a third-person game, but Journey eschews the normal video game format of quests, attacking, and health, as well as the ability to die at all; for a rich, gorgeous atmosphere, with beautiful lighting techniques utilized, (as you can see from the above screenshot, has the best sand in gaming) coupled with a rewarding narrative, that doesnt rely on heavy exposition or any dialogue whatsoever, and instead allows you and a completely random stranger to look past superficial details, simply make little chirping sounds to signal your new friend over, and create a real emotional connection with one another, as well as memories that will last forever, with a person youll never see again, all on that mighty trek towards the omnipresent mountaintop.

A sight to behold

3. Ni No Kuni (david)

As far as JRPGs go, many havent been as good as they used to. Marred with dated mechanics that fail to recapture the excitement of progressing through a story, playing it too safe with predictable gameplay and relying on past successes simply isnt cutting it. Ni No Kuni with its strikingly beautiful animations is a game that is very much alive and a genuine throwback to JRPGs of old. With characters in which you genuinely care for, it sets itself apart by going back to basics, making exploration and leveling up fun again. Familiars, companions that you can serenade and recruit to your team after beating them, is a neat addition. Much like the addictive nature of Pokemon, there is much satisfaction to be gained when one manages to serenade a familiar. Varied in design and personality, each encounter with them calls for different strategies and weaknesses to exploit. With over a hundred of familiars to collect and train, one can easily spent countless hours just wandering around the mass landscape completing errands as well as hunting for that elusive familiar. This is one game you wouldnt want to miss.

This truly is a beautifully crated game

2. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves (rigbybot127)

The full proverb is No Honor Among Thieves, which is certainly the case in Nathan Drakes second outing, and in most minds, his best. His first game showed a lot of potential, which was unfortunately not ceased due to clunky shooting controls and screen-tearing. Uncharted 2 takes its potential, and runs it up a very large hill, and has perfect framerate and zero screen-tearing, making it one of the most technically perfect console games ever made. Uncharted 2 pays homage to a lot of action-packed Hollywood movies (most notably the Indiana Jones series), and plays like a 12-hour movie, with all the action, romance, twists and turns you would expect from such; but the pacing is perfect, never gets stale, making it a joyride to play long after the credits roll.

A well crated adventure game, that doesnt let up

1. Metal Gear Solid 4 (david)

Storytelling in games, ranges from the downright bizarre (go ahead and Google Seaman, dont say we didnt warn you) to one that leaves you on an emotionally charged roller coaster ride and never lets up. Metal Gear Solid 4 is that game. With precision and fluidity coexisting effortlessly, the narrative is at its strongest in Metal Gear Solid 4. You see Snake isnt the same man; diagnosed with accelerated aging, he is wrinkled, nurses his stiff joints and is looking a lot worse for the wear. Although some cutscenes in the Metal Gear Solid series may be overly long, viewing them in its entirety is integral if one is to fully soak in the epic narrative. And in a game that has them in spades, each cutscene blends in seamlessly with smart gameplay that lets you tackle a stage in numerous ways. Do you take the stealthy route and pick off enemies one by one or go in guns blazing, shooting the living daylights of anyone who gets in your path? The choices you make and overcoming them on the harder difficulties is extremely rewarding as it is fun.  The fact that it debuted 5 years ago and yet remains at the very top of the list, is testament to just how great this game is. And if by some means you havent played it yet, we strongly urge you to give it a go.

Solid Snake

 

Snake truly has seen better days

Standout moment: The fight between Vamp and Raiden, is choreographed to perfection. Once a pushover and a big pet peeve of MGS2, Raiden is not only more composed but also a much bigger badass.

Leet Gamers Asia Update

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Three weeks have passed since the inception of Leet Gamers Asia and the site is starting to take shape. We even managed to recruit two writers from GameSpot's very talented pool of bloggers/reviewers.

Please let me know what you think about the site, or if you would like to write for us? Suggestions, feedback and critiques are all welcomed :)

 

LEET

Keep staying awesome 

Where the hell have I been?

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Hey, its been awhile hasn't it? I have been guilty of lurking far too much on GameSpot instead of posting. All that changes this year! I...promise :P

Leet Gamers Asia

Recently I have been busy with creating a website centered on what else but gaming.

With a heavy emphasis on the gaming scene in Asia (for now) our site aims to be the go-to-site for all the latest news and opinion pieces. By offering a platform to trade/sell things online through the forum, our site gives you the platform to advertise your wares for free and possibly start off a business venture. Having said that if you have an interest in helping out in the forums, do let me know and I'll set you up with mod capabilities.

Do note that the site is still relatively new (only a week) and as such its pretty barren ;)

If you would like to be a writer/graphic designer, we'll be more than happy to have you on our team. The odd game, Xbox Live points, Nintendo eshop credit and PSN cards will also be thrown in for contributing members who give that little bit extra. 

A Look at the Vita and it's Future, It Ain't Pretty

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Amidst recent lukewarm reception for the Vita and it's ever dwindling sales, what can Sony do to help reinvigorate it's latest handheld offering? With the Nintendo 3DS and iPad continuing to run away with the competition each month, Sony needs to halt the Vita's shortcomings or it could be in for even more tough times ahead. Gamers may well remember how Sony addressed the PS3's initial problems, launching the console at $600, lack of killer apps during it's first year, PSN still in it's infancy are just some of the issues that plagued it's launch - but the company swiftly rectified these initial shortcomings. Can they do the same for the muchmaligned Vita?

The following are some niggling issues that is seriously hampering the handheld's growth:

Memory Card

  • Expensive propriety memory cards

With memory cards being relatively inexpensive, most of us wouldn't think twice before purchasing them. On the Vita, it's entirely different - as memory cards are priced around $20 and above, they are clearly overpriced. As if that wasn't bad enough, most games require having a memory card in the system or it will refuse to play. Surely including one along with the system isn't too much to ask.

Note: Both versions of the 3DS have 2GB and 4GB right out of the box.

PSN Account

  • Only one account can be tied to a Vita system

This is a step backwards as the PS3 allowed multiple accounts to be shared on one console. Why the sudden omission? Game sharing across multiple systems seems like the most likely reason. It allowed gamers to capitalize on buying titles at even further discounts, which inadvertently affected sales. Sony has since went on to allow only up to two downloads for each game. You may argue that there is a workaround, but when it involves yet another purchase of the expensive propriety memory cards - is it really worth it?

What's worse is - you either have to sell your game or purchase another memory card (if its of a different region), or downloadble content's (DLC) won't work.

Sony Sales

  • Bad marketing

Lack of advertising certainly isn't doing the Vita any favors. Sony needs to market it's latest handheld offering as much as possible, like the PlayStation 3, because as it stands, not everyone knows about it's existence. Yes, Sony has been in troubling times as of late - but as with all new products, a good marketing strategy is not only crucial, its essential.

Monster Hunter

  • Lack of killer apps

As it stands, the Vita just doesn't have the killer app that will make gamers want to purchase the system. Gravity Rush, while a really fresh and unique game, failed to add a significant boost to those numbers. If that wasn't troubling enough, many publishers have backed out on supporting the Vita. Can you really blame them? Selling about 10k plus on average in Japan, a region where analysts expected strong sales isn't the kind of figures that would attract would be publishers. Coupled with the fact that its predecessor, a 7 year old gaming handheld is shifting more units, something is clearly amiss.

While it may be early days, Sony simply cannot allow this situation to continue any longer. It needs to convince more developers to make games for it, because as it stands, ports of popular titles just isn't working. Take the 3DS for example, faced with a similar situation as it's competitor, the flurry of killer apps just kept flowing in as the month's progressed. If Sony can secure the rights to a new GTA game like they did with the Liberty and Vice City Stories games, or a Monster Hunter title, it would be a start in the right direction, one which needs to happen sooner rather than later.

UMD

  • No UMD support

Want to play all your previous titles on your new handheld? As much as you want to, it isn't possible. Gamers would either need to keep their existing PSPs or re-buy those games on the PlayStation Store if they wished to play it on the Vita. Could the dwindling Vita sales be inadvertently be affected by the lack of UMD support? This does carry some weight, as there is little reason for would be adopters to take the plunge at the moment. If Sony does phase out the PSP and place those titles (PSP) on the PlayStation store, the situation could very well improve. Only time will tell.

Final Note

Please don't take this the wrong way, as much as I love the Vita, with it's smooth and slick curves, dual thumbsticks, amazing OLED screen - it's just isn't giving me more reasons to carry it around. More announcement of fresh titles, not ports has to happen. The Vita's capabilities is remarkable, we all know that but it's not the capabilities that sell a system, its the games. Like Nintendo, Sony should assign it's A studios to make it's Vita games or most of us will just continue gaming on the PS3 instead. When you only showcase two games for the handheld at E3, Assassin's Creed Liberation and Call of Duty, something is clearly amiss.

Take my money already, CAPCOM!

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As if Resident Evil 6 isn't already jam packed with content, a fifth campaign looks to be on the cards!

5th Campaign

Who do you think will feature in the Prelude campaign? Could it be one of the series iconic female heroines? My bet is on Claire as its been 11 years since she last stared in a RE game. Wow has it really been that long?

Article: Resident Evil 6 to feature a whooping six campaigns(comment on the article, you could win a game of your choice!)

Shameless Self Promotion

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Its been a long time hasn't it? And no I'm not dead in case you're wondering. :P

Recently I have been part of a site, Gaming3DD, a videogames portal and we the writers have been given the task of outdoing one another by being the most active contributor. With that said, if you awesome folks can spare just a moment of your time away from work, the missus or [insert game here] you'll receive a game of your choice. Yes, you read that right.

So all you have to do is comment on my articles periodically on Gaming3DDand I'll choose a winner at random. The more you comment, the higher your chances of winning.

LINK: david_lck's Newsfeed

Minions, do your worse! Ahem, excuse me for a second there. You know I love you.:|

Here is an excerpt of one of the articles:

Vitas upcoming game, Soul Sacrifice not only has a Demons Souls / Dark Souls vibe to it, it actually looks to be the killer app that the handheld desperately needs right now. With lush gorgeous vistas, unique art style and gameplay, we at Gaming3DD are already counting down the days to its much anticipated release. Having said that, Soul Sacrifice will see players being accompanied by an AI partner throughout the game, with also multiplayer functionality thrown in for good measure.breakthestreak

Someone's in for a whole lot of pain

Ask Me Anything V2

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26574567 seconds, that's how long since I have written a blog. Okay I made up the numbers bit but you get the idea :P

Whatcha lookin at!

Go ahead, I won't bite.

An In-depth Look: Electronic Entertainment Expo

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What is Electronic Entertainment Expo?

Known by many as E3, The Electronic Entertainment Expo is an annual trade show for the computer and video games industry presented by the Entertainment Software Association (ESA). It is used primarily by video game developers to showcase their upcoming games and game-related hardware. Widely regarded as the biggest expo in the video game industry, E3 is an event that is packed with entertainment and numerous surprises.

Electronic Entertainment Expo

E3 was invitation-only in 2007 and 2008, reducing the number of attendees from 60,000 at E3. A separate conference known as Entertainment for All was created to accommodate the public demand for a huge, annual gaming event; however, it hasn't been able to replicate E3's success.

Video game companies tend to spend more on their presentations for E3 more than any other conventions (including fancy decorations and pyrotechnics). Major video game critics often have a "Best of E3" award session, with categories such Overall Game of the Show, Best Console Game, Best Graphics and a whole slew of other awards. E3 2010 is scheduled to be from June 14 to June 17 at it's original venue, Los Angeles Convention Centre.

History

Before E3, most game developers went to other trade shows to showcase new products. These shows were known as the Consumer Electronics Show and the European Computer Trade Show. The first E3 was conceived by IDG's Infotainment World and co-founded by the Interactive Digital Software Association (now the Entertainment Software Association). It coincided with the start of a new generation of consoles, with the release of the Sega Saturn, and with news on upcoming releases for the PlayStation, Virtual Boy and Neo-Geo CD. Specifications for the Nintendo Ultra 64 (later renamed Nintendo 64) were released, but no hardware was shown at that time.

PlaystationVirtual Boy

Neo-Geo CD


IDSA originally asked CES for a private meeting space for video game developers, but was told that they could not limit the access to only invited registrants. Patrick Ferrell, CEO of IDG's Infotainment World had sent his VP Marketing to the meeting, and after much deliberation, the management team at Infotainment World announced that E3 would take place. Needing to insure the support of the industry, Ferrell then negotiated a partnership between IDG and the IDSA, who then co-produced the show for a number of years.

The event ran from May 11 though May 13, 1995 in Los Angeles. Keynote speakers included Sega of America Inc. president and CEO Thomas Kalinske; Sony Publishing Company president Olaf Olafsson; and Nintendo chairman Howard Lincoln. The first show was one of the largest show launches in history, with over 1.2 million feet of show space and over 80,000 people in attendance.

Layout

The 2007 show was housed in suites and meeting rooms in numerous hotels in the Santa Monica area, within walking distance of each other. The Barker Hangar was used for showcasing software.


Show Floor

E3 Show Floor

When held in Los Angeles, the show was exhibited over five halls: Kentia, South Hall, Concourse Hall and the West Hall. Booth space was purchase ahead of time by publishers. Some publishers, in turn, spent millions of dollars creating elaborate displays and structures to accommodate the promotion of their bigger titles.

While E3 was being noisy and busy, sound levels are not what they once were; in recent years (2005,2006), publishers such as Electronic Arts have kept their sound down compared to years directly before. At one point, sound levels would fluctuate as exhibitors raised the volume to compete with nearby stands. Shouting was common at some stands. Meanwhile, in 2006, when attendance was down to 10,000, according to the organizers, it was a planned move as industry accreditation was stringently checked.

Different booths would also invite celebrities over for signings for their specific games. In 2004, Activision brought Stan Lee and Tony Hawk to promote X-Men Legends and Tony Hawk's Underground 2 respectively while Vivendi Universal Games brought Vin Diesel to promote his new game The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay, a prequel to the summer 2004 film. Celebrities were generally only available for a few hours, so line-waiting was a general practice at E3.

Venues

The external apparatus that connects the bigger halls is the Concourse Hall and subsequently, the West Hall and South Hall lobbies. The lobbies were used for registration, picking up badges and badge holders, and other general information. Bag stands and the daily magazine were available in the lobbies. The lobbies were also the signature glass structures of the LACC and were massive structures.

The Consourse Hall generally featured four booths and a few media outlets as well as the Into the Pixel game art exhibition that started at E3 2004. The Concourse Hall was generally used as a link between both lobbies and featured a window display with a beautiful view of downtown Los Angeles.

South Hall

E3 South Hall

The largest ship of the LACC and the largest space by default. Microsoft and many of the largest Western developers from North America and Europe generally found their homes here.

Kentia and Petree Halls

Kentia HallPetree Hall

The second smallest and smallest ship respectively. The RMN Petree was the indefinite home to Atari and Midway's massive booths. The RMN Kentia was generally used by smaller developers who could not afford the hefty fees of having booth 'planetside'. As a result, the look of the RMN Kentia at E3 was similar to that of a bazaar.

West Hall

West Hall

The RMN "West Hall" was used by the biggest publishers from Asia. Nintendo and Sony's booth are normally located here. The RMN "West Hall" was also normally temporarily home to private message rooms. The rooms were used by TV studios, or large gaming media outlets such as GameSpot, 1UP.com, GameSpy and IGN.

Media Coverage

Many websites and blogs have a history of providing entensive coverage of E3 with live webcasts, game previews, game media and blog entries covering popular press events. Some of the more popular sites include, but are not limited to GameSpot, IGN, ScrewAttack, Kotaku, 1UP.com, GamesRadar, GameTrailers, VGChartz and Giant Bomb.

Microsoft E3

On site, the event is covered by professional journalists from around the world. Proof of credentials are verified before the event or on-site. Originally E3 was almost entirely dominated by print media journalists, the event eventually came to include general and specialist TV crews, newspaper journalists, website journalists and "fansite" journalists. Many of those in attendance came with consumer-level digital video and photograph cameras.

On behalf of the organizers, Future Publishing now publishers the free official daily magazine, named in 2006 as The 2006 Official Show Daily. Previously published by Ziff Davis under "SHOWDAILY", the magazine provides news, and maps of the show floor.

Traditionally, many of the media outlets give out Best of E3 awards in various categories. Common categories include Best of Show, Best Trailer, Best Original Game, Best PS3 Game, Best XBox 360 Game, Best Action Game, Best Hardware, etc. Of the awards, the most prestigious is the Best of Show of the Game Critics Awards.

G4 has aired live coverage of E3 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009 covering three hours a day over 4 days in the week of the event.

An episode of The Showbiz Show featured Andrew Daly getting live coverage from E3.

Claimed Successor

On August 8, 2006, Gen Con announced that it would be expanding its gaming exhibits to include video games. The company also stated that it would increase venue space at its Idianapolis convention and relocate its Anaheim convention to the Los Angeles Convention Center. However, on January 26, 2007, Gen Con announced that it would be canceling its Anaheim show, Gen Con So Cal. The company cited a lack of growth in attendance and an increase in competing shows.

Gen Con So Cal

In January 5, 2007, IDG announced that the ESA had endorsed a consumer-oriented successor to E3 called Entertainment for All or E for All (which replaces the GamePro Expo name). The expo took place from October 18 through October 20, 2007 at the Los Angeles Convention Center to allow participating companies to sell their holiday releases to the attendees. The expo charged an entrance fee of USD $50 to $110, but attendance was no longer limited to video game developers, retailers and media.

Company breakaways

Blizzard E3 Booth

According to GameInformer, video game companies Activision and Vivendi Games have broken away from ESA. In an interview with Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick, when asked why the company left the ESA, he stated that they "have [their] own issues that are not the industry's issues" and that they need their own executive to deal with the government instead of the ESA. However Activision continues to attend and showcase its games at the Electronic Entertainment Expo 2009 and Electronic Entertainment Expo 2010 while the other half of the company Blizzard Entertainment no longer attends the show and, instead, hosts its own event called Blizzcon.

Final Note

As E3 draws closer with each passing moment, what are some of the games and announcements that you are looking forward to? Natal to really reinvigorate motion gaming, the 3DS to have Wii-like graphics or it could even be a release date for the much anticipated Final Fantasy XIII Versus. Whatever happens at this year's E3, it's pretty much guaranteed that there will surprises and amazing tech demos aplenty.

CK's Monthly Highlights: Feel the burn!

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Games Played

Episodes of Liberty City: The Lost and Damned

The Lost and Damned

With so many video game add-ons that are content with just including a few multiplayer maps, new islands or a snazzy new armor with increased attributes, the Lost and Damned expansion uses the existing cityscape of Grand Theft Auto IV, but adds 10-15 hours worth of new characters and a gripping story to the mix. Say goodbye to Niko and his bumbling cousin, say hello to equally conflicted Johny "The Jew" Klebitz, his psychotic boss Billy and the rest of the members of The Lost motorcycle club.

If that wasn't enough, new multiplayer modes have also been thrown into the mix - Race: where you race on bikes armed with nothing but a bat, "Lone Wolf Biker" where you are "it" until someone offs you, and they're "it"; Own the City, where you take control of parts of the city, Chopper vs. Chopper, where you go one-on-one with another player, one on a helicopter and one on a bike.

With so much on offer here, GTA fans will find a lot to love with the new downloadable content. One could easily dump twenty (or more!) hours into The Lost and Damned and still find things to do. But if you weren't already an initiate of the franchise, don't expect The Lost and Damned to convert you.

The Ballad of Gay Tony

The last chapter in The Episodes of Liberty City begins on a high and refuses to ease up on the action. Concluding plotlines that began with 2008's GTA IV and developed through The Lost & Damned, The Ballad of Gay Tony introduces us to the world of nightclub impresario Tony Gay Tony" Prince and his assistant Luis Lopez.

The Ballad of Gay Tony

To a certain extent the events of GTA IV and The Lost & Damned have already established the duo. The central storyline of the blood diamonds, which came over to Liberty City along with Niko Bellic on The Platypus, is brought to a conclusion with a masterful approach and a sharp ending. We won't spoil the surprise, but it seems there's a moral in the tale for Liberty City's cast of nihilistic characters.

It does seem that Rockstar North hasn't shied away from controversy with the last chapter. Luis is certainly a ladies man and happy to get his rocks off at any opportunity in scenes that leave little to the imagination. Now we're not morally opposed to seeing a GTA protagonist enjoying the company of a slightly strange looking female characters, but seeing bodies hurtling towards the ground from a skyscraper, with a city-line inspired by New York City, could perhaps be a little close to the bone for some.

God of War 3

You know how Kratos' battle against the gods of Olympus is known for its massive, insane action sequences spread throughout? Well, some genius (or likely several geniuses) at Sony's Santa Monica Studio had the brilliant idea of making a whole game just out of those incredible moments. It was rare that I went 15 minutes without my jaw dropping at the immense size, stunning beauty or sheer creativity of the set piece I was now scaling or destroying.

On the rare occasions that the game pulls away from the slice-'em-up action and fantastic boss fights, it's still effortlessly successful. There are segments where Kratos uses Icarus' wings to soar or descend through chaos, avoiding bits of rubble and fire, that are as exciting as anything you'll play this year. What's evident is that God of War III doesn't lean on these moments -- it doesn't need to. The game is that good of an experience, top to bottom.

God of War 3

What happens next is anything but pretty.

God of War III is billed as the final chapter in Kratos' story, and it's a shame, because this is the iteration that took me from liking the series to loving it. On the other hand, I'm not sure I would have had the same reaction if the game hadn't been the world-destroying, everything-and-the-kitchen-sink, leave-nothing-for-the-swim-back adventure it was. The series has always been fun, but this is the God of War you have to play.

Red Steel 2

I played Red Steel 2 on my feet, for hours at a stretch. I don't know if that's how you're "supposed" to play this new Wii game, a first-person shooter in which you don't do a whole lot of shooting.

What makes this game unique is that your character's most powerful weapon is his katana, or samurai sword, which you use to slash at enemies by making big, wide swings with the Wii remote (and the MotionPlus accessory, which is required). After about a minute of sitting in a chair swinging my arm around, it just felt wrong: I had to stand up, kick my chair back and play the game while standing. At this point, I'd no more try to play Red Steel 2 seated than I would try to play Wii golf on the couch.

Red Steel 2

There are a lot of things I wish Red Steel 2 did better, but it gets the big stuff right. The mechanics make you glad that the MotionPlus exists. The extra polish on the graphics (and the perfect spaghetti western music) helps a lot.

Just remember to get off the couch when you play it. It helps.

Heavy Rain: The Taxidermister

On the trail of a cold blooded killer, Madison Paige is drawn to a house that she feels is behind all the recent deaths. What she doesn't know is that the house is home to something else entirely. Used as a front to conceal his dirty deeds, Leland White is a deranged and disturbed individual. A closer look at his mailbox will reveal that he is into woman's clothing as numerous catalogues are strewn around.

The Taxidermist

Without giving too much away, how you finish this chapter will hinge on how familiar you are with the intuitive controls and whether you are careful in covering your tracks. A broken beer bottle or an opened cupboard will arrouse suspicion that someone has entered his house and he will begin to search for you. Do you call the cops, or hope for the best that he doesn't find you in closet that you have hastily bunkered in.

The choice is yours as there are five possible scenarios that can be unravelled but even then, there is little reason to replay the game as each ending results in the same newspaper cutting that will show whether you have made your untimely demise or put an end to Mr. White's reign of terror. At $5, this DLC is even shorter than most demos as it can be completed in about half and hour. However, if you are looking for a gripping and rather suspenseful short game, The Taxidermist doesn't disappoint as it gets better midway through.


If you haven't played Heavy Rain, this short downloadable content will give you a good indication of what to expect from a fuller and more gripping story as you come to grips with the controls.

Movies Watched

Kick Ass

Kick Ass

Dave Lizewski is an unnoticed high school student and comic book fan with a few friends and who lives alone with his father. His life is not very difficult and his personal trials not that overwhelming. However, one day he makes the simple decision to become a super-hero even though he has no powers or training.

The Hurt Locker

The Hurt Locker

When SFC William James joins Bravo Company in Iraq, they have a month or so left in their tour of duty. He's a bomb disposal expert and he is replacing Sgt Matt Thompson, a long-standing member of the team who was recently killed disposing of an improvised explosive device. To say that James loves what he does doesn't quite capture the emotional high he experiences when he gets to do what he does best. For his fellow squad members however, including Sgt JT Sanborn and Spc Owen Eldridge, they just want to survive the few days of duty they have left. James risk taking however drives them all to the edge.

Iron Man 2

Iron Man 2

With the world now aware of his dual life as the armored superhero Iron Man, billionaire inventor Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) faces pressure from the government, the press, and the public to share his technology with the military. Unwilling to let go of his invention, Stark, along with Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow), and James "Rhodey" Rhodes (Don Cheadle) at his side, must forge new alliances -- and confront powerful enemies.

Buttered Prawns

Buttered Prawns

A personal favorite of mind, they're just so good.

Carbonara

Carbonara

Just look at all that bacon bits. :P

Tiramisu Cake

Tiramisu Cake

Feeling hungry yet?

Babes of the Month

Alessandra Ambrosio

Alessandra Ambrosio

When one mentions a Brazillian model, the first one that usually comes to mind is the beautiful and ever modest, Alessandra Ambrosio. Born on April 11, 1981 in Erexim, Brazil - she was destined to become a model at such a young age. What seemed like a dream, quickly turned into reality as she landed a contract with Elite Model Management. Best remembered for struting down the runway, she is one of the more prominent angels in Victoria's Secret long list of talented models.

Alessandra Ambrosio Close Up

She also enjoys sandboarding and lounging on the beach listening to Brazilian music.

Sofia Vergara

Sofia Vergara

Sofia Vergara is the only Hispanic actress who started her career in a U.S. Hispanic Network and successfully crossed over to the general market. She can currently be seen as one of the leads in the #1 comedy show in America, "Modern Family". Her past appearences on primetime TV include "Dirty Sexy Money", "Entourage", "Hot Properties" and "The Knights of Prosperity" among many others.

Sofia is currently the only spokesperson for Cadillac in both English and Spanish. She has been selected as one of this year's Faces To Watch by The New York Times for her role in "Modern Family", which has already been categorized as "Emmy Worthy". The Hollywood Reporter and Billboard have also named her one of the most talented and powerful women in Hispanic entertainment.

Sarah Mutch

Sarah Mutch

Discovered at the tender age of 13, this Vancouver vixen and her rocking body has already graced the pages of Elle and Vogue and TV shows like Smallville. Now she's gone global as the worldwide face (and seat) of Guess? jeans.

Sarah Mutch

End Blog

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Do take a look at the latest issue of System Wars Monthly if you haven't already. It's feature packed with goodness. :)