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Wednesday, May 18, 2005




by Don Rose, TRR Technology Editor

(May 18, 2005: LOS ANGELES, CA) Everyone converges on LA during E3 WEEK to see the latest convergence-touting devices at the LA Convention Center. And this, being First Day '05, brought together the usual amazing assortment of elements, all in a magic melting pot on a sweltering hot day.

A sampling of what I E3xperienced: ...beautiful bodacious Booth Babes... Atari Flashback 2.0, which will make your thumbs twitch with nostalgia... out-of-booth babes... babe friends of booth babes... massively parallel lines waiting for press badges (as one guy wears, I kid you not, an actual Propeller on his Head)... AOL GAMES guys brilliantly positioned all along these massive press-wait-lines, wearing backpackgear-rig-things with TVs on top, promoting the big push AOL has been making into the game domain (anyone, not just AOLers, can play tons of games online thanks to the online service, which also covers the huge boffo-billiondollar business like nobody's business)... Mountain Dew giving anyone free ICE COLD drinks (sweet! --but not overly Snapple sweet) to trumpet the arrival of XBOX 360, the newest games machine from Microsoft (which is trumping the other two giants, Sony and Nintendo, by promising their machine by this holiday season)... and, note to self: self, how come no Trump? isn't The Donald somehow involved with everything?... more babes, this time giving samples of BRUT AfterShave and posing for pix next to a hotrod -- I think someone from Webster's was there to put this photo in the dictionary beside the word "male"... Steven SPIELBERG (yes, astute reader, "spiel" DOES mean "GAME" in German) hanging out casual-like as a caravan of cameras silently popped (the digital E3 kind, no paparazzi), Steven wearing his cool black W.O.W. cap (does he ever NOT don a chapeau?) in front of his WAR OF THE WORLDS movie's "house" (you can take a mini tour inside, if you are brave enough to enter and can brave the lines) -- which is next to, wow, a W.O.W.game promotion vehicle (literally, as in a truck where you can enter an online contest at UGO.com).... hey look, even MORE babes, is there some babe-making machine in the back or something?... then there was the guy wearing a "I AM A BOOTH BABE" shirt -- great, the one day I forget to wear my "I APPRECIATE IRONY" shirt... and oversized DEVELOP magazine was there for the taking, the best mag-swag -- an issue with half-digitized Marilyn on cover and other goodies wrapped with it in plastic, a swell addition to other freely offered pubs like PC Magazine and WIRED (with half George Lucas half Darth Vader on cover). No TIME magazine given away, which currently features half XBOX half Bill Gates on cover -- coincidence? Or is it all connected?

Okay, it is now PM and early power outage finally mostly solved... old friends pop up everywhere, I feel so CONNECTED -- this is almost like an annual reunion.... upstairs now, and guess what? some adorable friendly babes with cute exposed midriffs and some shaggy thing over their calves in the PELICAN booth upstairs and -- what's that? what do they make? oh, yeah, um, awesome HEADPHONES and ear buds that feature enhanced bass, I mean REALLY good bass on those headphones, sounding crisp not muddy, and bud, they're not that much more expensive than iPod replacement buds.

Show floor finally closes... off to INTO THE PIXEL, a fine video-game-art exhibit, sponsored by LACMA's GAC (Graphic Arts Council), with, surprise, a gaggle of ga-ga gorgeous gals swiping badges for Spike TV... and at the SAITEK wine reception, a friendly press liaison touts their ultracool products, which include a thin portable scanner strip device (e.g., feed in photos, it pulls 'em through to complete the scan), a handheld POKER playing game machine (for beginners like me OR pokerface pokerheads), and a snazzy looking PC-gaming-targeted backlit keyboard... then across the street to the excellent INTEL/ZIFFDAVIS party poolside at the Hotel Fig, with gaming contests raging as we mere mortals munch on mega mountains of food and some dude with elfin ears kicks a beachball outside and, hey, those ears somehow remind me that there is no more new Star Trek on TV, no speck of Spock or Spock-like quality Trek programming being produced anymore, is it because everyone now prefers SF in other more compelling media like games, or were recent plots simply not that compelling? Back to reality, and now there is the festive finale, the massive INSIDE E3 party at the Avalon club, with even more gaming going down everywhere in the place, being taped or broadcast, with, yes, more babes, and a VIP room upstairs in the Spider Club with giftbags that included games and CDs and more.

This, my friends, is but a small sample of how E3 converges so many diverse elements, with a clear common thread connecting it all: babeage.

EPILOGUE: "EPISODE 3" --- driving home, as I noticed legions of Star Wars diehards waiting in line to be the first to see the newest epic installment at 12:01am Thursday, I ponder the puzzle of why so many WarsHeads were wrongly camped out at the MANN CHINESE for weeks (finally learning at abillionthingsbabesdontcareabout.com that movie locations are the Achilles Heel of the Force)... which reminded me how "STAR WARS EPISODE 3, the Game" was the biggest baddest promo display in between halls at E3, loud and large and mesmerizing, which gave me that old familiar joy-chill down the spine during the climax of the short presentation, as the massively parallel combination of sights and sounds and blasts and magic John Williams score combined into a nostalgic euphoric ecstatic delight - and then, alas, it ended - all too soon - and, whoooosh, some babes blew by - and, suddenly, for the first time in my life, I almost had the virtual urge to smoke a cigarette.

Thank God Charles Babbage didn't have access to all this Babeage way back when, or he may have been too distracted to invent the precursor to the modern mechanical computer, which became the digital computer, which shrunk to the computer chip, which galvanized our gallant go-go industry and empowers the gazillion glorious gigabyte gadgets that bring the Gidgets to fidget in the booths. Yep... it's all connected.

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