A Void Amidst the Excitement at E3

The inclusion of Latino characters and history can produce some very original games

By Anthony Balcorta
Published on LatinoLA: May 22, 2006

A Void Amidst the Excitement at E3

The first thing that comes to mind when you step foot through the convention center doors are ?Where do I start??

This was my reaction upon entering the Electronic Entertainment Expo, or E3 for short, which is the annual trade show for major video game companies around the world. The overload of lights, music, and video screens playing games that the public won?t see for months is almost too much for any videogame or electronics fan to handle.

New technologies and games cover the floors of two huge halls, and walking through them to see every booth can result in sore feet. There is just so much to look at, so much to play, so much to take in that they have to give everyone three days to do it in.

At this year's show, the PlayStation 3 (which was confirmed to cost $499 and $599 in two different configurations when it comes out on November 17th) and the newly named Wii from Nintendo (price and launch date were unconfirmed) were playable. Expectations were big for the two systems, and they were met with games displaying amazing graphics and innovative controls.

There were plenty of PlayStation 3 games playable on the show floor, in Sony?s booth and in other developers?, and naturally, there were lines to wait in in order to play on them. The Wii, however, was only playable at the Nintendo booth within a closed area, and only after waiting in an enormously long line.

At its worst, the line encompassed the entire hall and the poor souls at the end had to endure a four hour wait; all this just to play a game. If line size was any indication of which system was the winner of this preliminary round before they launch in the fall of this year, then the Wii was hands down the champion. The Wii also had the most inventive controls of any other system, where its motion sensors and ability to point to things on screen gave way for extremely intuitive and fun games.

Something that was mostly absent from the show floor and has been largely absent from video games in general were games geared toward a Latino audience or starring a Latino character. There have been a few that have some Latino characters that play minor parts, like in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, and of course most sports games have actual Latino players in them.

There has been an increase in the number of Latino voice actors used as well, such as Michelle Rodriguez in Halo 2, and there have been more behind the scenes as developers and those in charge of business. Most might think that there isn?t a problem with the characters in games currently and that companies try hard to include different ethnicities whenever possible.

However, the inclusion of Latino characters and history can produce some very original games. Just think of a game in which you take control of an Aztec in ancient times, or one in which the characters speak Spanish in the style of a foreign movie. One upcoming game that stands out this year was Scarface, the game based on the movie. Although it?s based on a Latino drug lord, it?s a step in the right direction for the video game industry?s inclusion of Latinos.

It?s hard to be disappointed with so many surprises and new games at E3. Every year brings new technologies and new trends, and this year was full of them. With E3 being held every year in Los Angeles, where the majority of its citizens are of Latino descent, it?s amusing to see how rare it is for a game related to Latino history or lifestyle to be at the show. There is bound to be an upward trend of these types of games in the future as there are plenty of stories to tell and fun to have with them.

Maybe next year there will be a four hour wait to play the newest game staring a Latino and set somewhere in South America.

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