We got up a little late. Since David had left to pick up his girlfriend, this time, Luigison drove us. The problem was, his car, a hybrid electric, was even smaller than David's. This made it impossible to sit directly side-by-side in the back-- the two people on the end had to sit on the front edge of the seat, but we all still managed to fit. The vehicle even managed great mileage. Those of us in the back got out of the car onto the sidewalk and Dennis and Drew drove off to find parking.
We found a Games for Windows tent outside and went in. I tried to play on one computer but it said Direct 3D error, then the guy came and shut it off and told me to play on a different machine. The interesting thing about the computers were that they had XBox 360 controllers hooked to them. I tried them out, and while I thought the sticks were a little stiff and high for my liking, the feeling of the controller itself was really nice. Much better than last generation, Microsoft. Good job there at least... Outside of the tent was a Bawls vendor. Bawls is a highly caffeinated soda (or "pop" to a few of those in our group). They were handing out bottles of Bawls like crazy, and the caffeine was welcome. I drank a pair of Bawls, and there were plenty of jokes like that to keep us amused.
Since we were even later than the first day, we decided not to do the Zelda line, since it was getting to be about 3 hours long... again, big mistake. Link was roaming around the Nintendo area, and the expression on his mask was classic. We stood in line to play Pokemon XD. Apparently the XD doesn't mean anything. After a 30 minute or so wait, I was able to play. I've never played a real Pokemon game before, but the battle mechanics in XD seem good. The reward for waiting to play the game was three plush toys: Pikachu, Plusle, and Minun. Dumb names. Some of the guys in the Pokemon line started to get rowdy... people go crazy for stuffed animals when they're free... Over at the Sony booth, they were handing out bucketloads of lanyards. This was good-- I took two of them and tied them together to make a belt since I had forgotten to bring one on the trip. They worked great and made me wish that I had brought one the day before instead of worrying that my shorts would fall down.
Video Game pianist
At 12 o'clock, we went over to BradyGames booth where the Internet-famous Video Game Pianist (Martin Leung) was to play. He played several Mario tunes, Halo 2, several Sonic tunes, and the Zelda theme. Afterwards, we were able to meet and talk with him. I tried to get Matt W. to play a duet with him since he also plays Mario music on the piano. I asked Martin if he'd play the duet and he agreed, but Matt refused!
Nearing 2:00, we went upstairs to the Atlus room to play in the Puyo Pop Fever tournament again. We still had a few minutes, so I popped into Nintendo's meeting room, which was two down from the Atlus room. Matt and I met with a GolinHarris employee to ask if Nintendo was going to show Revolution or Mario 128. The answer to both was no (even though Revolution was in the guarded back room of the Nintendo area and the fact that Reggie claimed Mario 128 wouldbe shown at E3-- he apologized for this as Dennis captured on camera). He explained that the DS line-up was so large that they didn't want to show even more software. Next I asked whether I could take pictures of the Nintendo area from their window; a request that he graciously agreed to. Before leaving, I asked if there were any Zelda trailer DS cards available that they had given to media. He said that there weren't, but gave me his business card and told me to contact him on Tuesday when he got back. He also said I could try the media booth downstairs. Hopefully this will work out and I'll get the coveted card. We then left for the tournament.
Puyo Pop Fever
16 people were there to compete, but only 8 people could compete at a time, so they split everyone into two groups. We went to start our game, but the problem was, some of the people waiting in the second group tried to join our game. After sorting that mess out, we started the match. I won the match and with it came a free copy of Puyo Pop Fever (I could have also received Shin Megami Tensei (Digital Devil Saga), but I don't own a PS2, and I'm a Puyo fan anyhow).
Nintendo, part III
I went back down to the Nintendo booth to talk to the media people. While walking by the non-media information booth, I found a guy asking about 4Kids, which was producing all sorts of merchandise for Nintendo. The woman had no clue what the guy was talking about despite the 4Kids mini-booth being about 3 yards from where she was standing, in plain sight! I told the man where it was found and he was not pleased with the woman. The woman also had no idea what I was talking about when I asked for the Zelda DS card. In between this info booth and the media booth was the guarded entrance to the Nintendo meeting rooms. Who was there but none other than Shigeru Miyamoto! His back was turned, and Nintendo would not let us in without an appointment, but it was still cool to see the creator of Mario and Zelda in person. Over at the media booth, I again asked for the Zelda DS card, but was told that they were out. I was still able to get a Nintendo press kit. I also asked for a Nintendo swag bag, which they provided me, even though they weren't for handing out... they had just brought their junk in them. It was nice to have a Nintendo bag instead of an XBox one, even if I hadn't found a Nintendo lanyard yet. Drew and I decided to play Super Mario Strikers. While waiting in line to play, I was finally able to get a DS download to work. I downloaded the Table Hockey Tech Demo. This was basically like the e-Reader game, but took both DS screens and used the touch screen for control. I picked up the control to Super Mario Strikers and it was literally dripping with the sweat of the previous player. After wiping that nastiness off, we played a couple matches, winning both of them in overtime. Strikers is probably the best Mario sports game to date. It's very easy to pick up and play, and plays like you'd expect soccer to, with a few twists. First, there are item attacks similar to Super Mario Kart. There are also cut scenes similar to Mario Power Tennis. Finally, there's no out of bounds. If you try to go out of bounds, you are simply electrocuted, but the ball remains in play. The game is very fun and Drew stated that he's buy a GameCube just for this game (if he could afford it). I'll definitely buy it.
West Hall, South Hall
We went over to the Fata1ity booth where you were supposed to try out two demos before receiving a T-shirt or other prize. However, when the booth attendees saw that we were with IGN, they just handed us a shirt. Most of the rest of the day was spent trying to find T-shirts from South Hall, to little avail. Errol was following me around since he thought we end up with a lot of swag like I had the first day. Unfortunatley, that didn't really happen.
Nearing the end of the day, I had forgotten to get a ticket to the Square Enix theatre. Luckily, we (Drew, Errol, and myself) were informed that if we would wait near the entrance to the theatre, we'd likely be admitted. We were. Though photography was not allowed, I did take one shot inside the theatre. The presentation proported to activate the "fantasy center" in our brains. Here they showed a new (and very sweet) trailer for Fintal Fantasy: Advent Children. They also shown movies for the other 3 Final Fantasy VII spinoffs, as well as trailers for Final Fantasy XII and Dragon Quest VIII. They all looked great. Upon exit, we were given a slime from the Dragon Quest series. I received a green one. We walked around a bit more. Right before leaving, we caught Aonuma (Zelda producer) and Bill Trinen (NOA localization) being interviewed by Gamespot TV. We then all met up again at the stairs outside of the IGN room.
Since we didn't leave the convention center until after 6, I was worried that we wouldn't make it to Arclight on time. Some of us grabbed some grilled sausages from the vendors on the outside (Even 2 years ago, I'd wanted to try them-- they smelled so good) while walking to the car. Missing the exit ramp, driving a fair ways the wrong way, and driving in rush hour traffic-- i.e. not moving much at all-- did not help things. However, we somehow managed to get to Arclight cinemas in Hollywood with about 10 minutes to spare. We finally found some parking in their parking deck and went down to the theatre. The tricky part was that I had only purchased 5 tickets for the 7:45PM showing. However, due to a computer problem, I had also purchased 5 tickets to the 9:30AM showing. I had sold 3 of them to Matt McC.'s family so they could see it in the morning. Now, we had 6 people since Dennis was not in the original plan for attendance. I gave him my extra morning tickets in hopes that he would be able to get in with them. We were seeing the movie in a large dome structure with digital projection. We stood in line waiting for everyone's tickets to be checked. Somehow, Dennis made it through and we entered the theatre. The inside of the theatre was impressive for a movie theatre. The top of the dome looked like a honeycomb. There was an upper deck of seats in the back. We found our seats and it turned out that there was one extra seat in our area that Dennis sat in. It turned out that several people were missing and Dennis didn't even have to move. The lights dimmed and the trailers began...
Revenge of the SithWARNING: This section contains spoilers.
As Matt McC. put it, Episode III turned out to be nearly everything we hoped for. We all agreed that it was a little weird having almost the entire movie be action (though somehow Dennis dozed off a couple times?!), but it was still great. The humor was done well and the general absence of Jar-Jar was welcome. The parallels between Palpatine's take-over and Bush were simultaneously amusing and disturbing. Others in the audienced noticed this as well. The audience did cheer and clap at certain parts of the movie, but they acted a lot better than they could have. The movie was very dark, yet very well executed. Various touches were interesting like how Anakin didn't actually fall into the lava as generally thought, but gained his disfigurement from catching on fire from the lava instead (and Obi-Wan cutting off all his limbs). The fights were great... the acting still wasn't that good, but there wasn't much of it anyway. The ending seemed a bit rushed, but it did at least tie up several loose ends made by the other movies. Matt McC. found only one problem with the ending, and that was how Leia recalled her mother in the original trilogy, yet her mother died right when she was born. The irony of Anakin trying to save Padme was also a nice touch that reminded me of other movies like 12 Monkeys. It's funny how being in a relationship can change the way you look at movies. I just had a different feeling when watching the Anakin/Padme scenes... not wanting to make the same mistakes Anakin did in his relationship (no, nobody has to worry about me committing genocide). I also found the music interesting since it was a near endless flow of all of the old and new Star Wars themes. I'd like to hear the music as it was played in the movie, all the way through. I only took pictures after the movie, because I didn't want to get thrown out-- the guards were standing right behind where I was sitting.
We drove around in circles in Hollywood and Burbank since we didn't have exact directions on how to get back to the hotel. I had only printed directions on how to get from the hotel to the theatre since I wasn't sure where we'd be leaving from. Unfortunately, the directions didn't give actual directions, making it a 50-50 chance whenever we hit a junction. When we finally did get back, Matt McC. really wanted to go to Taco Bell, so we drove to the nearest one and ordered food. That was about all that happened that night.