Posted tagged ‘E3’

E3: Behind the Lips

July 28, 2008

E3 was different this year. The July timing meant there was little in the way of new announcements and the invite-only format kept the spectacle at bay. But the more intimate environment allowed for more time with each game, more chances to speak with developers, and generally a more valuable experience for the media.

Some US journalists I spoke with were disappointed that many of the builds they saw were the same as shown at pre-E3 events in June, but for international media it was often the first time we’d seen these titles in person. Ironic that what is ostensibly a US show proved more helpful for non-US media.

I saw a bunch of great games over the course of the week. Personal favourites included Mirror’s Edge, Prince of Persia, Far Cry 2, Age of Booty, De Blob, STALKER: Clear Sky, Colonization, and my pick for “best in show”, Left 4 Dead. But perhaps the most interesting demo I attended was for Microsoft’s Singstar tribute, Lips.

My time at the Xbox room was scheduled for Thursday 2pm – 4pm, the dead zone in other words right at the tail end of the show. It’s at this point that everyone is over it and just wants to go home. My time with Lips was at 3pm, precisely the same time Shigeru Miyamoto and his entourage decided to pay a visit and check out the competition.

Halfway through Keiichi Yano’s endearing presentation, Xbox’s US PR knocked on the door and kicked us out. Mr Miyamoto was clearly more important than some Australian journos. We’d been “Shiggy’d”. What was most frustrating – to be honest, karaoke games aren’t my thing so I wasn’t that fussed about Lips itself – was that when we had to vacate the room Yano had just hinted at how the motion-sensing Lips microphone could have other gaming applications.

There’d been a lot of talk in the lead-up to E3 that Microsoft would introduce “waggle” to the 360 in an effort to mimic the success of the Wii. Turns out they didn’t. But perhaps in the Lips microphone they did. I didn’t get the chance – curse you, Miyamoto! – to ask Yano about how sophisticated the motion-sensor inside the mic actually is, but the way he cryptically mentioned other gameplay possibilities (that they couldn’t demo at the show) gave me pause for thought.

Could the Lips microphone really be Microsoft’s “waggle wand”?