E3: The Tuesday on Friday Report (Gamecock, Turok and… Hannah Montana?)

CULVER CITY, California — E3 isn’t really a week a long. It’s just one 120-hour day, interrupted by a few short naps.

Because of that I don’t feel too bad that I’ve fallen behind in my blog dispatches. Tuesday wasn’t that long ago. In fact, it seems like it happened just this morning.

Tuesday was when I thought I had what would be my most prototypical and most animal-oriented experience of E3. I was wrong. Two moments on Thursday would earn those labels. More on them in a later post.

E3 wasn’t really happening yet on Tuesday, not until the evening Microsoft press conference. But earlier the day, I took E3 by the lapels, shook it and made it happen.

The fine folk at Disney Interactive took two of their top E3 games to the MTV News office in Santa Monica and showed me:

  • Hannah Montana: Music Jam,” which is a clever enough game (trust me!) that I’d recommend even the most macho gamer to check it out. Why? Because it turns the two stacked screens of the Nintendo DS into the strings of a guitar. Strum the strings with the stylus. Change chords with the buttons. The lower screen can also be used as a stylus-tappable drum kit. And you can sing into the microphone, recording a full composition into the game. Players can link DS systems over short-range wireless to form live multi-“instrument” bands.
  • Turok,” which is not just a PS3/Xbox360 first-person-shooter, but, the developers’ attempt to make the world’s best first-person-stabber. I was told that they want to make the knife one of the best weapons (and, from what I could tell, the enemy-eye-gouging guarantee that this game will be M-rated). The allure, as it was with the series a decade ago, is the ability to hunt dinosaurs. The thing I found most engaging during my hands-on demo was the ability to trick dinos into attacking my enemies for me. I commanded. I conquered.

In the afternoon, I went to the Hotel California to meet people from maverick publisher Gamecock, who weren’t actually officially part of E3. They just showed up. More on these guys next week. For now I’ll just mention that while I was there I played:

  • Hail to the Chimp,” the most graphically intense party game I’ve ever seen and the only one that is based on a political election in the animal kingdom. I give this game points for having a hovering trap in one level called the Cloud of Scandal. It slows you down and makes you lose. More on this one next week…

I should note that the Gamecock event is where I had what I thought would be my most special E3 moment. As I and the rest of the MTV News E3 crew pulled into the Hotel California parking lot, Gamecock co-chief Mike Wilson was pulling out. He was noticeable: he was driving a red roadster; he had a cameraman sitting on his passenger’s-side-door filming him; he wore a rooster costume. He pulled out onto Ocean Avenue. He turned toward me, picked up a megaphone and said: “See you later, Stephen.”

I knew the new E3 was different. I just didn’t realize it would be like this.