E3 2004 Coverage ArticleFormer staff writer - May 19, 2004
Category: OCC News
Alright, so we've got another OCC first for you folks today, we're here in sunny Los Angeles, California for the biggest video game convention in the world - the Electronics Entertainment Exposition. More commonly known to the gaming world, the hardcores and pretty much anyone who's ever played so much as PacMan in the local pizza joint as E3. Those of us who know about it dream about going, and those of us who finally get to go after following this expo since they've had a computer (or console) in the house are...LinuXProX and myself in this case. Sorry folks, neener neener.
However, fear not! I'll be here merrily typing away in the hotel at ridiculous hours of the night with Leno distracting my chances of ever managing to get enough sleep to recover for tomorrow. There's still two days left and I'm already wasted - this Expo is overwhelming.
So, without any further ado (but I can't promise to not rub it in anymore), Day One of E3.
We started off the day fairly early, the Expo opened at 10AM. We got there shortly after 10, and the first thing that went through my mind was 'Thank the Lord we do NOT have to wait to get passes.' No joke, the lineup was probably about a kilometer long (that's about half a mile for you American folk). And that's just when we got there... After merrily skipping the line and casually strolling into the main hall, you're taken right away by the size of the whole thing, and to tell you the truth, the main hall is one of the smaller parts of the Expo. We started off the day in one of the side halls, just to get a feel for the place - Kentia Hall.
This small hall had some interesting sights to offer, as well as the majority of the CD-repairers (scratched CDs and DVDs) a lot of the game distributors, and some of the smaller companies. The first one that caught our eye was the Rogue gaming tablet. This was a tablet PC that was running some top-of-the-line hardware. It was running UT2k4 flawlessly. From what we heard from their representatives, the tablet itself basically a working PC. Running a 2GHz processor, the tablet boasted upgradeability in a fairly unique way - a swappable NB/SB combination - one block that can be upgraded. That's not all folks, the CPU, RAM, AND video card are all swappable. That's right, this is basically a PC in tablet form. The benefits of this over, say, a laptop? Well, for one, all your basic controller-style buttons are what you can use to play instead of a keyboard and mouse. Of course, if that isn't your style this isn't just a handheld tablet - as mentioned before, this is a PC as well. Its got a DVD/CD-Rom, 80Gig upgradable HDD, built in IrDA, Ethernet, USB, WiFi, sound and it was running Windows XP flawlessly - this thing can hook up to all your computer equipment and bam, you have a PC instead of a tablet. I personally can't wait to see where they're going with this. Only downside - its bulky - its definitely no GameBoy, but for crying out loud it's running XP and UT2k4 easily. Check em out at www.sl-interphase.com.
Moving on, we made it to the Saitek booth. This is a popular brand title in the controller and joystick market, and man do they have some slick ware. Taking a look at the joysticks you can tell that these are high quality controllers, and they look good too. However, it wasn't the controllers that caught my eye. In a big display case in the centre of the booth they had displayed their new USB keyboard. This was a gorgeous piece of work, tasteful, well laid out keyboard. And more - its backlit, 3 settings, off, low and high, allowing for complete adjustability, and easily able to switch it around at the touch of the button. Boasting an additional, programmable hotkey pad with 9 keys, programmable for 27 functions, as well as for program-specific settings. I've got my fingers crossed that I can take a closer look at this keyboard for you folks, and you can learn more about Saitek at Saitek.com.