E-Mecca wrap-up

This past week was the Holy Grail of expos for video game players: the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3). Held — as usual — in California, Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo were all there with their new systems; all boast wireless Ethernet game play and wireless controllers. The interest the systems generated was incredible, with some waiting in line for three hours to catch a glimpse of the PlayStation 3.

The Revolution sat in Nintendo’s booths. The new system (to be released in 2006) is backwards compatible with the Nintendo GameCube and can download a vast array of NES, SNES and N64 software. A big part of the Revolution was rumored to be the new controller, which was not unveiled at the show. The code-named Revolution will be about two to three times more powerful than the Gamecube. Metroid Prime 3 has already been confirmed.

Careful not to neglect their current offerings, Nintendo also showcased the lineup they have planned for their other systems. The Cube’s star game, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, has been set for a worldwide release at the end of this year. A handheld version of Animal Crossing was on display for the DS, as were a Viewtiful Joe spinoff, New Super Mario Bros. and Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow, the spiritual successor to the Game Boy Advance’s Aria of Sorrow.

Sony had its hands full. The star of its show was the PlayStation 3, which will have wireless capability with the PSP and be roughly 35 times more powerful than the PS2. The system’s 3.2 GHz CPU and 512 MB of RAM rivals that of modern computers. The PS3 will use the Blu-ray disc format, which will allow games to hold up to 50GB of data. Metal Gear Solid 4 was announced, as were other sequel favorites such as Killzone 2 and Devil May Cry 4. The third-party support that has helped Sony’s consoles climb to the top of the sales charts will definitely be there for the PS3.

Rockstar (famous for Grand Theft Auto) showed off Bully for the PS2. Soul Calibur 3 and the highly acclaimed Okami (from Clover Studios, which made Viewtiful Joe) received high praise. Marvel Nemesis looks to be a hot fighter from Electronic Arts. Jackie Chan has his own game coming out, as does SpongeBob, 50 Cent and a horde of others.

The PSP offered more revisits of hot PlayStation titles such as Street Fighter Alpha, Midnight Club, Socom, Wipeout and Gran Turismo. Daxter of the Jak and Daxter series is getting his own platform game. Metal Gear Ac!d 2 was announced. The Sims 2 will be on the PSP, allowing gamers to raise a family on the run.

Microsoft was first in unveiling its new system, the XBOX 360. Quake IV, Halo 3 and Dead or Alive 4 were confirmed. Xbox titles included a long-awaited Castlevania title, a new Tomb Raider, Half-Life 2 and a Halo 2 map expansion. Surprises included Square-Enix announcing its support for the 360. Microsoft did not mention backwards compatibility, which may hinder the system. System specs are closely matched with that of the PS3, the major difference being the lack of Blu-ray technology. The XBOX 360 will instead sport a 12x DVD drive, as Microsoft has stated Blu-ray drives would have made the price point too high.