Friday, June 8, 2012

E3 2012 impressions: Celebrities, trends, weird games and ‘Adventure Time’

The 2012 Electronic Entertainment Expo had video game companies big and small screaming for attention in and around the giant Los Angeles Convention Center this week.
The annual conference, better known as E3, kicked off with pre-show press events on Monday and the exhibit floor opened Tuesday. The trade show ended Thursday.
I covered the big news stories from the show for Investor’s Business Daily and
What follows are some miscellaneous thoughts from this year’s show.

Best celebrity appearances

Ubisoft chose beautiful and charming actress Aisha Tyler to host its media event at the historic Los Angeles Theater. Tyler gets bonus points for being a gamer herself. (See photo above.)
Microsoft’s press event at the Galen Center featured R&B singer Usher performing his new single “Scream” with a troupe of dancers. The song and an avatar of Usher appear on the upcoming game “Dance Central 3” from Harmonix.
Usher Raymond must dig trade shows because I’ve seen him perform at Activision and Sony events in the past.
“South Park” creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone also turned up at the Microsoft event to promote their upcoming video game from THQ called “South Park: The Stick of Truth.”
Hall of fame football greats Joe Montana and Michael Irvin showed up to tout Electronic Arts’ “Madden NFL 13.” Montana appeared at the Microsoft event and Irvin the EA event.
I also spotted actress Felicia Day and rapper Snoop Dogg on the show floor at the convention center.

Most interesting trend

Games using voice commands through the Kinect sensor array for Microsoft’s Xbox 360 was a cool trend at the show.
Microsoft’s “Halo 4,” EA’s “Madden NFL 13” and “FIFA 13,” and Ubisoft’s “Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Blacklist” are among the big games using the technology.
It was fun to see Montana call plays and hike the ball while controlling his on-screen avatar in “Madden NFL 13.”

Oddest new video game genre

Majesco Entertainment’s “NBA Baller Beats” was the oddest new video game I saw at the show. The game combines sports and music genres. Players have to bounce a basketball in time with the beats of a song and prompts on screen.
I’d hate to be living in an apartment downstairs from someone playing this game.

Best company reception

At an outdoor reception before its media event at the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena, Sony provided guests with a very L.A.-style treat: Food trucks featuring gourmet eats and comfort food meals.
I loved the shrimp and chicken tacos from Komodo. Other trucks offered Asian food, wraps, macaroni and cheese, barbecue chicken, pizza and desserts.

Fun sights on the exhibit floor

As a fan of Cartoon Network’s “Adventure Time,” I loved seeing the giant inflatable characters of Finn and Jake on the show floor. They were at the booth of D3 Publisher, which is releasing an “Adventure Time” game for the Nintendo DS and 3DS handheld systems in the fall.
Usually the E3 exhibit area is reserved for giant video screens showing game trailers and rows of televisions connected to game consoles for trying out upcoming titles. But there’s lots of other eye candy including booth babes, photo opportunities, and big props like a combat vehicle from “Halo 4” and a full size creature from “Alien.”
I took photos with Master Chief from Microsoft’s “Halo” series and sat in the captain’s chair for a “Star Trek” vessel promoting a new game from Bandai Namco.

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