E3 2004 Coverage ArticleFormer staff writer - May 19, 2004
The last of the truly interesting companies in Kentia Hall was the ButtKicker sound system. Well, I suppose it wasn't so much a sound system as it was an additional sound-accompanying device. This is a silent sound enhancer. The unit attaches to the bottom of your chair and provides the bass subwoofer-kick in an environment where you may not even have a subwoofer. They had a demonstration of a machine-gun firing with normal speakers, and sitting in the chair you could feel the bass kick, adding a whole new level to the game (considering you vibrate, fun stuff) The best one though, was simply music on headphones. With headphones, you lose that large-room big-subwoofer kick, the vibration in the air. With the Buttkicker attached to the chair you gain that reverb back. Now, you may be thinking the exact same thing I was - isn't the point of headphones for silence? Well, guess what? This system is completely silent, allowing for full-room big sound and feel with headphones and silence. Cool stuff. Check it out more at TheButtKicker.com.
After this, moving into the main South Hall wasn't just a step up, it was like the difference between apples and oranges. The relatively relaxed feel of Kentia was replaced by a nearly frantic feeling and the teeming masses of gamers, media and exhibitors in South. Its simply overwhelming. Knowing full well that we'd barely be able to absorb a tenth of what the hall had to offer we just mingled around the booths, checking out (and booking an appointment to see the demo for) Half-Life 2, and generally mingling around. We took a look at the Matrix: Online - which in my eyes looks fantastic but not once would the MxO people let any of the public touch the computers. I got a couple fingers waved at me for trying to take pictures of the screens...but if they're going to have them playing games there, you know OCC is going to have the down low (sorry Monolith, what, you expected us NOT to do this?). Next up was the newest iteration of the Nokia N-Gage. Though their first attempt failed (miserably) the newest version actually doesn't look that bad (and neither did their booth babes). Me and LP chilled out for a while playing the Sims on the small handheld. Considering its dual personality as a phone as well, it's a pretty slick piece of work. Time will only tell if it manages to succeed, or fail like its ill-fated predecessor.