Another year, another E3, but this one was definitely splashier than last year's snoozer, with Microsoft touting its no-controller 'Natal', Sony countering with an ultra-precision 3D angle, and Nintendo trumpeting new Mario, Metroid, and Zelda games.
Microsoft put on quite the dog and pony show, trotting out no less than Yoko Ono, Olivia Harrison, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Cliff Bleszinski, Felicia Day, Hideo Kojima, Steven Spielberg, and Peter Molyneux to celebrate everything from The Beatles: Rock Band and Facebook for Xbox 360 to their stunning Project Natal, a 3D motion-sensing device that lets you interact with games controller-free.
Nintendo's show was less about flash than familiar franchises and friendly faces. We saw two new Mario games, tons of new Nintendo DS games, a new Metroid game co-developed by Team Ninja (Ninja Gaiden), and Shigeru Miyamoto even teased a new Zelda game later in the show. Of course we also got the Wii Vitality Sensor, which no one knows quite what to make of at this point.
Sony countered by focusing less on celebrities than their 2009 lineup, confirming a new, reduced-size PSP, new Metal Gear Solid and Gran Turismo PSP games, walking us through tons of new PS3 game demos, and playing their own motion-control hand with a pair of 3D "wands" that seemed even more precision-oriented than Microsoft's Natal or Nintendo's Wii Motion Plus.
Winners? Losers? Good luck with that. This year everyone brought at least something fascinating to the table -- exactly how fascinating depended more than ever on what sort of gamer you were. If a single word embodied this year's show, it was simply this one: choice.