With E3 2019 nearly right here, I assumed I’d lastly speak about that point some pals and I weaseled our manner into the Digital Leisure Expo.
Scene: It was 2001, and on the time I used to be nonetheless working the Metroid Database. The earlier summer time, at their 2000 Spaceworld present in Japan, Nintendo had proven that notorious sizzle reel for the then-upcoming Gamecube — you already know, the one with the life like CG footage of Hyperlink preventing Ganondorf that everybody pointed again to when Wind Waker got here out. Anyway, for those who recall, inside that sizzle reel there was a fast shot of Samus Aran working down a hallway from some alien creatures, and that seven-second clip made the collective heads of Metroid fandom explode right into a nice pink mist.
Zoom ahead a number of months, and the Gamecube hype practice was boarding. Nintendo was going to be exhibiting the Dice for the primary time at E3 2001 and with it, a number of as-yet-unannounced video games. Was Metroid Prime, the primary new Metroid recreation since 1994, going to be there? If that’s the case, I needed to be there to see it. And by chance, I had the connections to make it occur.
Properly, that makes the circumstances sound extra dramatic than they actually had been. In reality, I used to be invited to hitch some pals to attend E3 that yr. Bear in mind, again then, the general public was not allowed at E3 — it was industry-only. So all we needed to do was prepare dinner up a easy rouse to get ourselves admitted — and, you already know, fly to Los Angeles.
Our ‘in’ was a good friend who I’ll name Tom (not his actual identify). Tom owned a online game rental store (which not exists) and was going to E3. He provided to invent jobs for one more buddy and I inside his LLC (which has since been dissolved) in order that we may be a part of him. So he received the mandatory functions to register us for E3 attendance, and I selected the job of Promoting Supervisor for his firm. (I used to be truly already knowledgeable graphic designer on the time and dealing with promoting, so I figured if by some distant likelihood somebody truly wished to speak store with me, I may undoubtedly spin some completely convincing bullshit on the subject.)
Lengthy story brief, we received all registered and able to rock, and the following factor we knew, we had been on a airplane to L.A. I distinctly keep in mind my buddy Dan (additionally not his actual identify) turning to me on the flight at one random level and simply saying, “We’re flying to Los Angeles. To play video video games.” Then we each cackled maniacally.
We stayed in a reasonably cruddy little Finest Western in Koreatown, the funniest a part of which was a store throughout the road referred to as Toys & Fancy. We did test this store out at one level, and found that the “Toys” portion was 99% Pokemon and Hey Kitty, and the “Fancy” half concerned housewares, clothes, equipment, and knickknacks. This dichotomy was finest represented by the funniest merchandise rack within the retailer, the left half of which displayed Recreation Boy video games, and the best half…pantyhose. And that’s about all I’ve to say about that.
Anyway, I additionally recall heading to the conference heart the primary day and being actually nervous that for some motive, they both wouldn’t discover our registration, or we’d get referred to as out on our fake-ass “employment.”
However all went easily and earlier than we knew it, we had our badges on their Konami lanyards (which make you are feeling SO official) and we had been on the present flooring!
So clearly, you need to know what I noticed there. Properly, it was 2001, so it was a really attention-grabbing yr. I performed a TON of various stuff, however aside from a couple of standouts, it was all type of a blur, to be trustworthy.
Konami was able to knock everybody out with the one-two punch of Steel Gear Strong 2 and Silent Hill 2. They’d spectacular shows for each.
Silent Hill was playable on the present, and I took it for a spin, however I recall the graphics being extraordinarily darkish and I had a tough time seeing a lot of something as I attempted to navigate James across the house constructing scene.
Steel Gear Strong 2 was not solely playable, however additionally they had a big display screen suspended above the ground that might play the sport’s newest trailer each 15 minutes or so.
Massive crowds gathered across the display screen each time the footage looped, and the thrill for the sport was greater than palpable.
Konami additionally confirmed off Castlevania: Circle of the Moon, giving the GBA a promising begin.
Capcom had a Ghosts ‘n’ Goblins spinoff referred to as Maximo, and a cool new motion recreation referred to as Satan Might Cry. In addition they had some arcade video games arrange, which I believe was largely Avenue Fighter stuff, although I do keep in mind a Heavy Steel Geomatrix machine being there as effectively.
Enix’s huge presentation for the yr was Dragon Warrior VII, they usually had this cool show with a large Slime hanging above their space.
Microsoft had an space exhibiting off their upcoming Xbox console. I used to be already skeptical moving into, and actually, I keep in mind being no extra impressed after enjoying what that they had on provide. I believe the video games had been even working off PCs, with Xbox consoles arrange beneath the TVs only for present. I do know I attempted out Venture Gotham Racing, and perhaps a pair motion video games. The whole lot was uneven and unfinished and appeared prefer it actually wasn’t able to be proven. I predicted that the Xbox would tank, and tank laborious. Properly, everyone knows how that turned out, nevertheless it was a reasonably fashionable opinion, not simply mine.
Sony, alternatively, was hitting its stride with the PlayStation 2, and was closely selling Jak & Daxter and Last Fantasy X.
A pair different little no-name video games referred to as Ico and Grand Theft Auto three had been there too, however they most likely wouldn’t make a lot of an affect…
2001 was additionally the yr that Sega began publishing video games on different platforms because the Dreamcast was dying its gradual loss of life, they usually had been hyping Loopy Taxi on the PlayStation 2, Sonic on Gamecube, Panzer Dragoon on Xbox. Everybody was nonetheless attempting to get used to the thought of Sega not being its personal platform anymore. Sadly, their sales space was closed off to most attendees that yr — I believe it was press solely, or perhaps invite-only, so I didn’t get to see any of it.
Then, after all, there was Nintendo.
Nintendo’s large space was stocked with Gamecubes and Recreation Boy Advance models, they usually had been demoing video games like Wave Race, Pikmin, Smash Bros. Melee, F-Zero Most Velocity, and Advance Wars. Attendants handed out nifty foam GCs and GBAs after you spent a while enjoying a recreation.
Sadly, there was no Metroid Prime on the present flooring, however some pre-rendered promotional stuff was a part of Nintendo’s press video footage, and it was listed of their TBA releases of their press supplies.
Nonetheless, there was one other enormous shocker in Nintendo’s sales space. There was a display screen exhibiting upcoming Recreation Boy Advance releases, and as I watched the video loop, one thing utterly sudden confirmed up.
Completely unannounced, completely stunning, there was a GBA Metroid recreation being developed alongside Prime that we didn’t even learn about. This was, after all, the sport that might change into Metroid Fusion, however again then, it didn’t even resemble the ultimate product. I took a ton of photographs and video of the footage, and people pics wound up circulating the web for fairly a while afterwards (and possibly nonetheless are). Wanting again on it now’s so fascinating, seeing the very early, very tough work in progress.
These had been actually the highlights of the occasion for me. I imply, a pair different cool issues occurred — I had lunch with an MDb reader sooner or later, and Tom gained a luxurious Nall from Lunar on the Working Designs sales space, and I begged him to promote it to me for ten bucks (which he did, and I nonetheless have it). We did slightly driving round L.A., noticed Hollywood, and noticed the ocean at Santa Monica. Apart from that, by the third day I used to be fairly burnt out and able to be finished.
After all, I got here dwelling with a very good quantity of swag, largely magazines and flyers and pamphlets and stuff, most of which I nonetheless have. I additionally don’t know why I didn’t take extra photos. Guess I wasn’t pondering I’d be running a blog about it in 18 years.
Lately, the general public can attend E3, nevertheless it’s not low-cost. I don’t recall what we paid to be there, however I’m fairly positive it was a fraction of what they cost now. However regardless that I struck out on Metroid Prime information in 2001, the time I received to go to E3 nonetheless went down as a milestone in my private gaming historical past, and I’m hoping I could make it to a different one some yr.