E3 used to be a shameless nerd spectacle in the 90s when there were 60,000 people hanging out in LA playing new video games and ogling over the C-list porn stars dressed as Lara Croft. Plus, since the internet hadn't strangled print media yet, video game magazines had the money to print 300-page tomes of coverage every year. People were happy. Then in 2007, the convention went invitation-only and cut attendance down to about 5,000 privileged guests. That's when things got boring and that's why the convention has been re-opened to the public. This year, Microsoft has been demonstrating their "Project Natal," which is a really frightening brand of artificial intelligence that, as shown in the video above, allows you to hang out with a virtual child that can read your facial expressions and remind you when your mom's birthday is. It doesn't help that the designer, Peter Molyneux, is basically a mad scientist. Even Steven Spielberg is hyped on this venture. Anyway, if this is the end of traditional gaming and the dawn of robot personalities finally taking over our lives, so be it. To reminisce, here are a few of the older attempts at technological revolution that paved the way for our new found virtual loneliness.
This makes us happy we don't live in Australia. Besides that, the whole virtual friend craze was definitely popularized by the Tamagotchi. We'll admit, it was fun to starve these small digital animals during recess, but now there's probably a million of these things clogging up every landfill from Osaka to Timmins, Ontario.
Virtual Boy was absolutely retarded. People were really sold on the whole virtual reality headset thing but all it did was give people migraines. Also, to achieve their painful 3-D effect, all of the graphics were awash in red. No other colors allowed. Why did they think this would sell longer than one Christmas season?
Another weird Australian commercial that promotes anti-social behavior. This paranoid kid has some schizophrenic tendencies that need to get worked out before he cleavers his family. Thankfully he has a Nintendo camera to fulfill his delusions.
The PlayStation Eye Toy was pretty terrible as well. It was really only playable if your living room had a studio-grade lighting kit inside it and even then the games were boring. Once they figure out how to turn this kind of technology into a sex simulator--which is probably about a year or two away, just as soon as some porn director can afford the development kit--the whole face-to-face socialization thing will be pretty much done for. Enjoy reality while you still can.