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E3 2003 Wrap-up

Well, E3 has come and gone once again. Amidst the flurry of news and game media, I'd like to write a bit on some of the things that stood out to me this year.

Sony takes home the prize for biggest announcement this year, as the news about their new Playstation Portable handheld was by far some of the biggest news in a while. So far I'm not entirely convinced that it will be as successful as some people are saying. Right now I have the feeling that Sony will take about 40% of the handheld market, but unless they make the PSP flawless it's not going to knock Nintendo completely out of handhelds. Nintendo has dominated the handheld market for so long now and have destroyed any previous competition they've had. As a result they've already built up a large fan base that will probably stay loyal to the GBA and it's successor.

Speaking of Nintendo, their lineup was also great. It's great to finally see SMB3 ported to the GBA, and I'm looking forward to seeing whether Mario and Donkey Kong is going to be a straight Donkey Kong '94 re-make or more of a sequel. Either would be good, but I'd much rather see a sequel; we've needed a new 2D Mario game that wasn't a rehash for a while now. This new Pac-Man game that's been talked about is also looking good, and a multiplayer mode like the one that it's going to feature is ingenious. Pac-Man's always done better as an arcade game than as a platformer, and such a game could bring our favorite yellow pellet muncher back to the forefront of video games.

Microsoft had some online improvements on the Xbox front, adding some new features to their Xbox Live service. Microsoft's saying that by this time next year there will be over 100 Xbox Live games, so they're definitely not skimping out on their online gaming. Which is a good thing, because at this point in time there seems to be far too many console games that should be online titles but aren't. Microsoft also announced XSN Sports, a lineup of Xbox sports games that promise to take the competition beyond the game. XSN Sports will basically be a huge, centralized virtual sports league in which you'll be able to compete with other gamers around the world. Stats, scores and standings at will be updated every fifteen minutes and will be accessible from a person's Xbox, PC, or cell phone. This should be an awesome feature, and again, it's great to see a console company focusing on online gaming as much as Microsoft is.

And of course, we have the PC. As a Star Wars fan, I have to say that for me personally, some of the most exciting games shown at E3 this year were all the Star Wars titles. Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy, Knights of the Old Republic, Star Wars Galaxies... they all look to bring the Star Wars universe to life, even moreso than past Star Wars games. Probably everyone has wanted to become a Jedi Knight and have lightsaber duels with the Sith at some time in the past, and these three titles from LucasArts will give you the chance to do just that. In addition to those, I'm also looking forward to the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game, Need for Speed Underground, the new Pirates!, and NBA Live 2004.

So there we have it. Enjoy the new game media and information that's been released, and I'm signing off.

-- Philip Roland wonders just how many people tried the "Say you're George Broussard" trick.
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