October 4, 2008
E for SmAll
What a far cry the 2008 E for All is compared to last year, which was already a shadow of the original E3 trade show. (E for All was spun off from E3 to give the public a chance to play with upcoming games, and now game development news comes out of E3 Media and Business Summit, along with the Leipzig Games Convention and the Tokyo Game Show.)
E for All 2008, which was organized by IDG, pulled in EA, Ubisoft and Microsoft to the Los Angeles Convention Center. But noticeably absent at the Oct. 3-5 event were Nintendo, Sony, THQ, Activision Blizzard (which has BlizzCon next weekend), to name a few.
Although a large crowd waited to get into the L.A. Convention Center on Friday morning, the numbers over the weekend didn’t exactly overwhelm the convention floor. E for All organizers said last year’s event drew 18,000 attendees. And while exact numbers for this year have not yet been made available (GeekHeeb was given the runaround when they were requested), few should expect a high score.
The U.S. finals of the World Cyber Games were a draw and it was cool to watch Steve Wiebe (one of the featured subjects in the 2007 documentary “The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters”) attempt to break the world record on the classic “Donkey Kong” arcade game at the Allgames.com booth. But Samsung products, Intel computers, DeVry, Gamer Grub, energy drinks and Fatal1ty products are not why people paid $35 (or $60 for two days, or $75 for all three) to get in. They wanted to check out upcoming games.
Target’s “Guitar Hero World Tour” display dominated the expo, but the retailer gave short shrift to “Star Wars” fans by setting up one perfunctory XBox to play “The Force Unleashed.” Other games that drew eyes—and sore thumbs—included “Gears of War 2” (great display in a dark area with ammo boxes, camouflage and moody red lighting), “Lego Batman” and “Mercenaries 2: World In Flames.” But most of the major games featured at the expo have already been released, leaving little for people to actually preview.
IndieCade to the rescue!
The Santa Monica-based group—founded by Stephanie Barish, former producer/director of multimedia publications and creative director of Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation— organizes international events to showcase independent games and their developers.
Some of the games featured at the IndieCade booth this year included:
• PMOG (The Passively Multiplayer Online Game)
• “Super Energy Apocalypse” (learn about sustainable energy use while fighting zombies)