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Jun 5, 2009

Booth babes and buzz at E3

After two years pale look, Electronic Entertainment Exposition, aka E3, saw a return to its glitzy origin. One of the world's biggest annual gaming event, E3 is known for its mega game launches, celebrity attendance and of course booth babes. However, the last two events were comparatively somber and low key.

However, E3 2009 marked the event's return to its traditional large-scale format. In terms of attendees too it was well received with the number touching 40,000. Over 200 companies showcased their latest gaming hardware and software. Celebrity appearances too made a come back with Steven Spielberg, Pele, James Cameron and Mickey Rourke attending the event.

And so did the E3 booth babes! An integral part of the gaming expo, these babes highlight E3's glamour quotient. In fact, some analysts say that the number of booth babes is a litmus test for the overall financial health of the industry. So, here's over to the glitz and dazzle of E3 booth babes and of course the event's hottest buzz. Despite a global economic slowdown, the video games industry finished the last fiscal year (ending in March 2008) generating $28.7 billion, up 13 per cent. Though last two months video game sales have seen a marginal drop, the industry still seems to be upbeat on 2009. Two big gaming titles are slated to be released in the second half of the year. The 3-day annual event is organised by Entertainment Software Association.

Sony Corp's new PSP Go was one of the biggest show stopper at E3 as the company unveiled a smaller, lighter PlayStation handled game device in a race to catch up to rival Nintendo in an intensely competitive mobile games arena.

About the size of a smartphone, it features a large screen that slides up to reveal two clusters of controller buttons. It comes with Wi-Fi range wireless capability, and 16GB of memory for storing pictures, music and games.

Another big launch at the event was from Microsoft. The software giant revealed that it has secretly been developing technology that lets people play videogames using natural body movements instead of handheld controllers.

The US software giant behind Xbox 360 videogame consoles showed a prototype of its project codenamed ‘Natal’, a system that combines cameras and voice and face recognition software to recognise people and their actions. Natal lets people play driving games by simply moving hands as if turning a car's steering wheel.

In a bid to outdo Nintendo, both Microsoft and Sony debuted prototype motion-control devices for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 that could rival popular Wii. Nintendo's Wii is the first console to employ a motion-detecting controller when it debuted in 2006. Nintendo is credited with opening the videogame market to new legions of "casual" players with family-friendly Wii consoles launched in 2006.

Gaming no. 1 Nintendo showcased Wii MotionPlus, an attachment announced at last year's E3 that uses sensors to more precisely mimic gamers' hand movements on screen. The only new apparatus Nintendo debuted this year was the Wii Vitality Sensor, which can check a player's pulse.

The music game genre has been evolving since "PaRappa The Rapper" launched for the original PlayStation in the mid-1990s. And this year too E3 saw a host of musical games coming out.
One of the prominent music game unveiled at E3 include an Electronic Arts "Brutal Legend" title, in which heavy metal rock band members wielding guitars and chords as weapons battle demons in a hellish landscape. The game features the voices of actor Jack Black and rock legends such as former Black Sabbath front man Ozzy Osbourne.

Microsoft, Konami, and Disney Interactive Studios showed off karaoke-themed videogames. Disney's "Sing It: Pop Hits" features a virtual voice coach to teach players crooning techniques for sliding between musical keys, performing harmonies, and breathing properly.

Players can then compete head-to-head, singing along to hits while original music videos play in the background of a virtual stage where animated characters are performing. Konami's latest "Karaoke Revolution" provides players with virtual worlds containing lavish stages on which they can sing any of hundreds of songs ranging from rock to country western tunes.

Sony has "SingStar" karaoke for its PlayStation 3 consoles, and Microsoft has made "Lips" for the US technology firm's Xbox 360 devices.

Not only musical titles but exercise games have become an established genre for game publishers. Electronic Arts has just released "EA Sports Active" for the Nintendo Wii which comes with a resistance band and a leg strap that lets players perform aerobic activities like virtual roller blading, jogging, or lunging.

Activision's "Tony Hawk: Ride" for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 adds physical play to the mix with a motion-sensor skateboard controller that translates gamers' physical moves into virtual tricks.

Konami Digital Entertainment introduced active games to the world with its "Dance Dance Revolution" game, which has sold over 11 million copies since its 2001 launch.

Babes standing in front of Ninja Gaiden 2 booth at the E3 show. Developer Team Ninja, best known for their ultra-violent Ninja Gaiden series have collaborated with Nintendo to work on a new Metorid game called Metorid: Other M.
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