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AGS & DE Expo Asia 2005: The Expo That's Not E3
posted by: Aaron Stanton
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date posted: 07:51 AM Sun Dec 25th, 2005
last revision: 07:59 AM Sun Dec 25th, 2005

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Click to read.When 90% of your game exposition experience comes from events like E3 in California, it\'s hard to know what to expect from a game show in Hong Kong. Will it be big or small? Will there be thick crowds or thin?

The 4th Asia Game Show and Digital Entertainment Exposition Asia 2005 is not E3 or CES, though it has elements of both. The show floor is smaller, and though it claims more traffic than E3, it\'s from a different sort of visitor. Instead of purchasing a single ticket for the full four days of the show, visitors buy tickets for each day individually, check out what is there to see, and then head home. The exposition floor itself is not big enough to offer more than a solid day\'s exploration, and so more people pass through the event than you might find at E3 in California.

Sony made a strong appearance with a substantial PS3 theater, which unfortunately had no live demonstrations. Having a VIP badge and being ushered to the front of the line without waiting would have been even cooler if they\'d shown more than pre-rendered footage of upcoming PS3 titles. Sure, the games looked cool, but without offering much more to the attendees than what we\'ve already seen online or at E3 during last summer, I\'m not entirely sure why they wouldn\'t allow cameras. Some games look more exciting than others, with a few obvious titles targeting Xbox 360 upcoming releases. Gears of War is going to see heavy competition from the PS3\'s Gears-of-War-meets-Call-of-Duty style titles that we saw at E3. Biohazard 5, also known as Resident Evil 5, is going to be awesome when it hits both the 360 and PS3, that\'s pretty obvious.

But ultimately, besides being able to stand less than a foot from the PS3 in person, there was little more to do than ogle the system and move on. Because I lost my digital camera the first day I was in town and had to rely on my video camera to produce still images, the quality of my ogling - from your perspective - was even in question. It looks like E3 might be our next real opportunity to see what the PS3 can do, and hopefully by then they\'ll finally have some substance.

Other interesting elements abound, but few jumped out as being absolutely remarkable... except one, which you don\'t get to hear about yet. It gets its own series of articles, and doesn\'t come in the form of a consumer product at all. But you\'re going to like it, trust me. It\'s called Pebbles. You\'ll have to wait to hear about that, though.

Rule of Rose, a highly atmospheric horror for the PS2, looks to be an interesting title that, until now, I\'d not heard of. The game is reminiscent of Silent Hill, except dominated by children and cinematic creepiness. The problem with coming to an exposition in Hong Kong is that it\'s difficult to quiz the people attending the booths like I would at an event where English is the native tongue. In a quiet environment where you can hear, it\'s easier to communicate, but in the noisy halls of an exposition there\'s no chance in the world. And \"Press Packet\" is not as universally understood as I had hoped.

As a consequence, there\'s little to tell about the game besides what\'s seen in the video, except that it\'ll release in Japan sometime in January. Rule of Rose is a perfect example of a Japanese game we might simply never see here in the States, and that\'s too bad.

It has serious creep vibe.

As a gaming and an electronics show, there was a fair mix of consumer electronics on the floor, but most of it is already on the market. Unlike E3, the expo is less about introducing new products to the consumer for down the road, and more about getting attendees to buy what\'s already available. Nifty cameras and TV sets made a strong showing, as well as PDAs and cell phones, but few of them called out for media attention beyond the fact that small, expensive toys make us happy.

And of course, you couldn\'t have an exposition without booth babes. Cosplay is much bigger here in Hong Kong than in the United States, and it\'d be a mistake to assume that every person dressed up to resemble a character from Soul Calibur is being paid by a marketing company. Here, most of them seem to just be people doing it for fun, which I have to admit is sort of cool. I personally wouldn\'t be caught in the costumes I saw people wandering around in, but the flavor and excitement that came with people enjoying themselves generally added to the quality of the exposition.

After the first full day of going from booth to booth, the AGSDE Expo Asia 2005 may have already surrendered its only major media gem in Pebbles, which you\'ll hear about after an interview or two that\'s scheduled for tomorrow.

But stay tuned. Pebbles was discovered, tucked away in the corner, after most of the main floor had already been seen and seen again. Maybe another hidden excitement is there waiting to be found.

Maybe there\'s more than one hidden talent that Nintendo should have on payroll.

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