Well, I’m back in LA for the week, here to gather all the sights and sounds of E3, the Electronic Entertainment Expo. As is customary, I’m emulating MacCentral’s own Dennis Sellers and his ever-popular Reporter’s Notebook series — with all deference to one of my heroes, Hunter S. Thompson, I call this series Fear and Loathing in Los Angeles.
If you’re not into games, chances are you’re not familiar with E3. It’s the biggest trade show dedicated to games in the world, and it occupies just about every nook and cranny of the gargantuan Los Angeles Convention Center, located conveniently in downtown LA.
It’s quite an event, and it gathers some of the best and brightest game developers, publishers, and game hardware makers in the world. It’s a three-day conference — it officially kicks off on Thursday and runs through Saturday. Perhaps a bit surprisingly for those that follow Macworld Expo, E3-related events actually occur before the show, too.
Although the show’s primary focus is on game consoles, handhelds, and PC games and peripherals, there’s plenty here for Mac folks, too. Many of the vendors at this year’s show ranging from hardcore game developers and publishers to edutainment and educational software makers hack out booth space at E3 to show off their wares, and many of them are either actively supporting the Mac, or are working with other companies who have licensed Mac versions of their software.
I’ve been doing this series for three years now, so if you’ve been a long-time MacCentral reader, chances are you’ve seen it before. And those of you who know me know that I always commemorate this event (and Macworld Expos) by doing something creative with my hair. This year is no exception, by the way — I have an appointment set up with the folks at Buzz Stop down on Melrose Ave later this week, and I’ll endeavor to get a picture of the finished product if you’re curious to see it.
Needless to say, I’ll also be bringing you pictures from the show, and other content as well — I have a full schedule of meetings with Mac-centric developers and publishers. Most of the “big names” in Mac gaming don’t actually exhibit at this show, preferring instead to focus their resources on the more Mac-centric audience that attends Macworld Expos in San Francisco and New York. MacSoft is a notable exception, riding on the coattails of their corporate benefactor, multinational game publisher Infogrames. But all the folks familiar to Mac gamers are in attendance at E3, and we’ll be bringing you more news from them as the week goes on.
My biggest adventure thus far (beside dealing with LA freeway traffic at rush hour) was trying to get off-street parking in Westwood, the area populated by UCLA’s huge population of students. Westwood residents get very creative in their parking space solutions, often stacking themselves off the curb sideways, two or three cars deep. Even for an experienced Boston driver like me, it’s an intimidating experience to try to wedge a mid-sized sedan into one of those spots. I ended up opting for a nearby parking lot, instead.
Of course, I want to hear from you about what I should keep my eyes on at the show this year. Are there specific games that you’d like to see come to the Mac that haven’t yet been announced? Are there publishers that you think should be supporting the Mac market which just aren’t? Or do you have an interest in the new consoles, like Microsoft’s forthcoming Xbox and Nintendo’s Gamecube?
I invite you to drop me a line by e-mail if there’s stuff you want me to research on your behalf. And as I said last week, if any locals have recommendations for local eateries, hangouts or things to do, let me know!