Welcome to the Big Show

Well, it’s that time of year again. The entire gaming world (except for Midway and Atari who are probably too busy restructuring or desperately trying to sell their office equipment at auction) is watching the Los Angeles Convention Centre, hoping that their favourite rumour will be trotted out at their favourite platform holder’s keynote and confirmed as fact.

Kojima, as usual, is trying to tease us all with his matryoshka-doll countdowns and rumours of another Metal Gear Solid (despite MGS4 being categorically the final one). The gaming press is unanimous in declaring their indifference to the charade but we’re all still reporting it anyway. Nobody can afford to be the only site that doesn’t carry the news.

Microsoft are dripping tiny teasers through their various twitter outlets. Even Tony Hawks tweeted yesterday that he would be appearing, in make-up, for the MS keynote, presumably to show Ride (and lend more credence to the farcical “is it or isn’t it exclusive” debacle) and not to demonstrate how awesome he is on Viva Pinata. Also, their super-secret early start time is causing a bit of a buzz. Apparently they’ll start five minutes early to make room for a special guest. Rumour has it that the early start has something to do with music.

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Personally, I don’t see why five minutes makes a big difference to anyone other than the rabid fanboys poring over every carefully crafted marketing tweet. Maybe Tony Hawk is going to demonstrate his awesome ability on Lips, made-up to look like Gene Simmons from Kiss.

Nintendo are reasonably quiet before the big show (or maybe we just don’t care enough to listen anymore?) but it seems that Wii Motion Plus and a couple of new games are likely. Well, when I say new games I obviously mean reiterations of old games and extensions of franchises. This is Nintendo after all. Following the success of Punch Out! On the Wii they might be convinced to bring some more old NES titles to the little white box of tricks. Following the success of Madworld they might be convinced to abandon making grown-up games altogether. I’m more interested to see what costume they dress Miyamoto up in. I hear that he has more outfits than Sackboy and none of them are suitable for a job interview.

This brings us neatly to Sony’s offerings. They’re getting all of the pre-show hype due, mostly, to the now infamous (see what I did there?) new hardware “leaks”. Everyone in the gaming press has been fairly positive for a few weeks now that a new PSP is coming at E3 so it’s not been a surprise to see the heavily scripted and rehearsed “leak” video rattling around the news sites. I still have an inkling that Sony haven’t shown us their surprise yet and I would absolutely love it if it turned out that the “leak” was a publicity stunt and they actually announce a PSP that their customers wanted. Especially since they, quite obviously, designed the new PSP’s case especially to fit the second analogue nub and then replaced it with the hideously-designed start and select buttons.

This is the main line for the hype train and the L.A. Convention Centre is like Grand Central Terminus for our industry. Sure, the Tokyo Game Show often has bigger announcements and more interesting industry news. The European show is perhaps more relevant to us but L.A. is the epicentre of showbiz and E3 is, once again, all about the show. Expect lights, action and drama. Expect big names and bigger announcements. Expect comedy, confrontation and copious amounts of alcohol abuse. Above all, expect to be dazzled. E3 is the big show and TheSixthAxis hopes you’ll be watching with us.

For all our E3 2009 news, click here.

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