Crispy Gamer

Kyle Goes to CES for Some Reason

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Greetings from the FABULOUS Sahara Hotel and Casino, way at the north end of the Las Vegas strip. I'm told this place was actually a big deal back in the golden age of "Rat Pack" Vegas, when it was one of the first major hotels on the strip. Now, though, its old-fashioned furniture and faded color scheme make it seem a little run down and neglected compared to the gaudy, glittering, over-the-top casinos on the rest of the strip.

So it's somewhat appropriate that I'm staying here for the duration of my second visit to the annual Consumer Electronics Show this week. The show is undoubtedly an important part of gaming history, serving as the industry's premiere annual showcase for decades before E3 took the reins. But much like the Sahara, CES' best days are obviously behind it, at least from a gaming perspective. Despite what show organizers are touting as "the largest gaming showcase in the show's history," the line-up of gaming companies here this week doesn't exactly read like a who's-who (unless you consider minor rhythm game distrubutor DDRGame a major player). Even outside the gaming industry, this year's show seems like a distraction from major announcements from the likes of Google (which unveiled a new phone today not here in Las Vegas, but at Google HQ in Mountain View, CA) and Apple (which is expected to announce a new tablet computer later this month).

Still, I'm expecting a good deal of interesting, somewhat offbeat gaming stories coming to come out of the week. Capcom is here showing off some upcoming games, and I'll be seeing a demo of the upcoming Lego Universe MMO. Major peripheral manufacturers Nyko and MadCatz will be showing off new controllers and accessories, as will seemingly thousands of other minor peripheral companies hawking everything from $5 Wii remote attachments to $40,000 home racing simulators. There are a few PC makers making a renewed push for gamers this year, and a few promising technologies that could well effect the future of gaming in their own way (where's my glasses-free 3D TV already?) Plus gaming in Vegas doesn't just mean gambling -- look for some posts about those places where your quarters can buy you a game of skill rather than a spin at the slots.

Now, if you'll excuse me, there's a pretzel with my name on it.