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E3-No Exit-Los Angeles's Largest New Media Tradeshow: "The Horror, Oh the Horror"
Susan Shaw, Hyperspace Cowgirls' President, Lives to Tell

reprinted from the New York New Media
Association Newsletter, Vol. 2 Number 6, June 1996
E3 is like Jean-Paul Sartre's version of Hell morphed with Blade Runner. It's so humongous that it makes the Javitts Center look like a road-side rest stop. There were six gigantic halls at huge distances from each other, connected by corridors reminiscent of LAX, and the noise level made you feel you might as well be on the runway.

There were costumed characters wandering through the crowd, everything from giant green worms to Klingons, but this being LA they didn't look that different from the general populace. Chinese Chicken Salad was the cuisine of choice, everywhere, inescapable.

Poolside, back at the hotel, there were phones every four feet, even waterproof ones so you could take your meeting floating or partially submerged.

One of the big products in this game-focused event was Mattel's new Barbie CD-ROM. Their pavilion was manned by Barbie lookalikes whose presence was ubiquitous at the conference, the parties, poolside at the hotel, even in the seminars. Barbie as politics was a vehemently discussed topic, but, as the head of Mattel interactive pointed out, it hardly matters whether you're for her or against her, she's the leading doll in sales in the US. On the other hand, a product that should surely appeal to New Yorkers was a CD-ROM game where you have to deal with cockroaches all over your house. The booth was overwhelmed with all sizes of roach, and I for one felt right at home.

Overall, with a couple of exceptions there was an absence of new ideas and a monumental amount of hype surrounding the old ones. Games for multiple web-connected players offering real-time play and good graphics were the standouts, as was "Qin," Learn Technology's mega-, literate, and beautiful adventure game. Time-Warner had set up a veritable oasis of calm, peace and balance for the title, where you could get a chair massage, listen to a waterfall, and sit amid greenery - a welcome respite.

Despite the lavish displays indoors, the most spectacular visual was actually outside the convention center, where all the Jacarandas were in bloom, miles and miles of purple trees and a haze of purple snow drifting slowly down. Back at Union Square, with some time to think over the whole experience, I think the strength of E3 was that it gave me a very good representation of the whole US market. It's also given me a good message on how to position our company for the next year - Cyberhell or bust!
by Susan Shaw, Hyperspace Cowgirls

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