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E3: The good stuff

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Without doubt, E3 2005 was dominated by the unveiling of PlayStation 3 at Sony's pre-show event. A wide-eyed audience was wowed by a series of tech demos and sneak previews from several titles currently in development for the PS2's successor. It remained a moot point throughout the week as to whether the footage witnessed was actually a true representation of in-game graphics the machine would be capable of producing, or whether they were just - incredibly impressive - pre-rendered movies. Only time would tell...

Microsoft's sleeves were comparatively empty, having revealed Xbox 360 on MTV the week before E3 while releasing a steady trickle of 'leaked' info from the Ourcolony.net viral marketing site. Various Microsoft representatives, including J Allard and Robbie Bach, repeated several times throughout the event that their machine would be "the most powerful next-generation console", although they offered no corroborating evidence.

And then came Nintendo - who had absolutely no interest in making the most powerful next-gen console - and despite revealing its GameCube successor Revolution and a new handheld, Game Boy Micro, its conference was a real damp squib with no indication of its latest console's motion-sensing magic.



Above: After the impressive demos at Sony's pre-show event, all eyes were on PS3

On the show floor, Microsoft was the only company with a significant next-gen presence, with an abundance of 360 trailers, demos and even some playable code, albeit running at less than half power on Apple G5s rather than final hardware. Both PS3 and Revolution were also in attendance, although a lengthy line had to be endured to reach Sony's console. Even worse, Nintendo's next-gen machine could only be admired by an exclusive few.

In terms of games, the show was dominated by first-person shooters, most of which were of an amazingly high quality. Prey, FEAR, Unreal Tournament 2007, Quake 4 and Black all looked awesome - fans of shooting men in the face had plenty to look forward to.

The power of the sequel was as strong ever: every both featured at least one follow-up game. And while some people grumbled about a lack of fresh content, there were some fantastic-looking sequels on show, such as Zelda: Twilight Princess, Killzone 2, Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones, Call of Duty 2 and Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion.

In terms of original software, Will Wright's Spore, Ninety-Nine Nights and Okami all put in an appearance to critical acclaim.

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