The Saga Continues…
LucasArts is a forceful presence in electronic games. The well-established Star Wars film series ensures success for the company's many releases.
The new Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy allows players to experience what one would imagine Jedi Training to be like - lots of leaping and (light) saber rattling. More traditional minded fans will enjoy Rebel Strike - Rogue Squadron III, the continuation of LucasArts' popular Rogue Squadron II. This lively endeavor drops multiple players into scenarios taken from Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back and Return Of The Jedi. Gamers can strafe the Death Star, assault ice planets and bicker with Ewoks until the Banthas come home. Rogue Squadron III includes a second offering, Rogue Leader, at no additional cost. Two for the price of one, young Skywalker!
Shocked! Ultimate Arena, an online competitive game system, has drawn lots of attention as well as a fair amount of controversy. By combining PayPal-style software with multi-player technologies, Ultimate Arena allows contestants to battle each other - get this - for money! In just a few months, the website has amassed several thousand subscribers.
Interested parties simply register at the site for free, create an account and work out monetary stipulations with their opposition. Transactions ensue. The principals behind Ultimate Arena maintain that this practice cannot be construed as gambling because participants are taking part in games of skill. Fair enough.
Ultimate Arena offers many options to its subscriber base. Combatants can meet one-on-one, battle in teams or struggle through massive winner-take-all commotions with several players.
Be All You Can Be!
Electronic game play is predicated on feats of fantastic heroism - ordinary people are allowed to perform extraordinary acts vicariously, and with assistance of the consumer technology. In direct contrast, at the outset of the E3 Expo, a small group of extraordinary men performed extraordinary acts assisted by nothing but their own force of will. Special Forces operatives rappelled from a Blackhawk helicopter hovering over the Los Angeles Convention Center. This was to promote America's Army, the official game of the United States Army.
Never Too Young
Doug Lowenstein, the president of the Interactive Digital Software Association, noted that the average age of electronic gamers is rising. "The majority of people playing video games and computer games are adults," proclaimed Lowenstein. It's unclear whether these consumers never let go of the Night Driver experiences they had in, say, 1979 or if the games themselves have become more sophisticated. One thing is for certain; manufacturers are recognizing these trends and advertising to a mature audience. Releases such as Buffy The Vampire Slayer: Chaos Bleeds are darker in tone and more explicit in their portrayal of violence.
Can You Beat Me Now?
Therefore, it would make sense to hybridize with that talisman of hip adulthood - the portable phone. Mobility is increasingly important in the gaming community with electronics becoming smaller and easier to use. Some companies are even developing games which can be played on cell phones.
Vanessa Carlton, that enigmatic pop princess, appeared at E3 to perform an original song which can be heard on the soundtrack of Midway's Spy Hunter2. Ms. Carlton turned in an enthusiastic performance, mustering more than enough energy to be heard over the auto theft, marauding zombies, explosions and kung fu fighting.
Much of the foundation of popular electronic games was laid back in the seventies by the brilliant engineers at Atari. The notion that popular arcade games such as Space Invaders and Missile Command could be imported into one's living room started a revolution that continues to this day. Atari's presence at E3 fostered warm feelings of nostalgia. However, the company's notable new designs proved they didn't need to rest on past glories.
Obviously, Atari's most prominent new releases tie in with Matrix Reloaded. Anticipating massive public interest, Atari is furnishing its wares in Xbox, GameCube, Playstation and PC formats. Terminator 3 products feature, for the first time, a remarkable likeness of Ah-Nuld Schwartzenegger, himself. Finally, Kya: Dark Lineage takes players into a oddball, dreamlike universe.