E3 Oddball Roundup

There were plenty of exciting high-profile games at E3 this year, dominated by sequels. Paper Mario 2, Half-Life 2, Doom 3, and Prince of Persia 2 were among my favorites, but they’ve been heavily covered on 1UP, Gamespot, Gamespy, IGN, and everywhere else. Instead, I’d like to mention some of the obscure and bizarre titles that might fall under the radar of the mainstream gaming press, including my favorite game of the show.

Best of Show: Katamaridamacy (PS2)

I found the Japanese commercial for this game back in February, and was intrigued. Playing it at Namco’s booth yesterday, I was stunned by the originality and addictive gameplay. (It also has the best game cover art I’ve ever seen.)

Namco says the game will come out in the US, but they’re not sure when. Gameplay video (MPEG, 10 MB), desktop wallpapers. 1UP loved it, and I love 1UP.

Other Highlights:

  • Chulip (PS2). A “kissing simulator” with the goal of kissing underground-dwelling people to make them feel better. Read the 1UP preview, with screenshots. Punchline, the game’s developer, has a Chulip homepage, with videos and wallpaper.
  • XTango: Shuffling Roses (Xbox). Multiplayer ballroom dancing, with a control scheme similar to fighting games like Virtua Fighter.
  • Under the Skin (PS2). An alien comes to Earth, scanning and assuming the identity of people around town. When the citizens figure you out, they attack you with special moves and you lose your clothes. 1UP preview.
  • Odama (Gamecube). Military pinball, a bizarre mix of the Japanese battlefield with a giant pinball and bumpers. Original concept, but didn’t seem particularly fun. From the developers of the very odd Seaman for the Dreamcast. 1UP preview.
  • Rumble Roses (PS2). All-female wrestling game, pairing big-breasted characters against each other. The gameplay wasn’t very good, and the uninterruptible cut scenes were unbelievably long. But considering the game advertises a “hands-free” mud wrestling mode, I’m not sure the gameplay matters much. 1UP preview.
  • Ribbit King (Gamecube). Like Frog Baseball, but played with golf clubs instead. Adorable, and approved by the ASPCA. Trailer.

Anyone find any other unusual and exciting games this year?


    The only unusual thing I saw was Richard Garriot aka Lord British. Of course he was fully decked out in custom medieval attire. I talked to him for a bit and we waxed poetic about the good old days of Ultima II.

    Man, I’m so hyped for Katamari Damacy it’s not even funny. I can’t wait for it to come out over here. I think you hit on the interesting obscure titles, though some of those DS demo’s like Pac-Pix and PictoChat looked pretty cool as well. While you were at the Namco booth, did you try out Taiko Drum Master? Other than those, what I’m looking forward to most is Tales of Symphonia (again, a Namco title. I guess they hit a sweet spot with me this year).

    Seriously, expect to see that cover art butchered for a domestic release… just like they butchered the Ico box art (ugh, the N.American version is hideous).

    What about that Donkey Kong Jungle Beat game (well, in addition to Donkey Konga)?

    Activision’s Dead Rush could be great; I’m maybe transferring too many memories of Escape from New York, and the battle car from Army of Darkness onto it, though.

    BTW: In my office, pretty much anyone who’s played Katamari Damashi has been in love with it.

    Katamari Damacy looks fairly ridiculous I know. But we play it here in our office when we need to relax. Its perfect…! And its strage because its fun you cant really put your finger on WHY it is so fun..

    Perhaps addiction is a better word?

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