E3 2006: Picks and Pans

Inevitable Yet Stlll Peculiar TV Adaptation: Buena Vista Games showed a game based on Desperate Housewives. --Harry McCracken

Biggest Pet Peeve: Running out of time to try Spore, brainchild of Will Wright, creator of the Sims. This looks to be one of the most innovative software titles in some time so I was disappointed to miss out on my chance to fight with other pet creature creations in the tide pool and evolve into a tribe, city and civilization before exploring space. There is some good news though; an official trailer is now available to watch online. --Danny Allen

Where's the Wi-Fi?: Bringing you the latest news amongst the crowds at big trade shows like E3 is a (mostly enjoyable) challenge unto itself, but this year it was doubly so. Given that my hotel's wired and wireless networks were inexplicitly unavailable, I came to rely on the courtesy Wi-Fi provided at E3's media room. Murphy's Law being what it is, this also came crashing to a halt. Many of us refugees turned to the paid Wi-Fi, which we soon overburdened to a slow crawl. The moral of the story: if staying in touch on the road is an absolute must, then invest in some form of mobile broadband or a laptop alternative such a Treo hybrid phone. In my case, I eventually McGyvered a temporary, yet speedy solution by innocuously using the network cable from one of the many VoIP phones strewn about the media room? just to see if it would work, of course. --Danny Allen

Where's my HDMI?: Given all the buzz about next-generation gaming platforms, it was hard to overlook the fact that the lower-end $500 PlayStation 3 would not include an HDMI port. Of course, nor, for that matter, does the Xbox 360--an omission that's rather critical when you consider why you should bother upgrading to an HD DVD drive at all if you can't output at the maximum digital resolution HD DVD movies are capable of delivering. --Melissa J. Perenson

Console Systems for Movies? Nah: Given the lack of HDMI output on Xbox 360 and the lower-end PS3, it's hard to take either console seriously as a platform to grow the audience for the next-gen movie formats on HD DVD and Blu-ray Disc. No HDCP-protected output like HDMI means that as soon as studios start to implement Image Constraint Token (ICT, a component of the AACS content protection system)--which they may very well choose to do as time wears on--that so-called next-gen console is going to feel pretty much like a large doorstop, if you planned on it doubling as your movie player. --Melissa J. Perenson

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