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By: Trevor Flynn [01.25.05]
Reflections by Carl Nelson

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As mentioned earlier on in the article, Fatal1ty had a booth set up all week in which he was taking on all comers in a 1v1 match of Painkiller. (Why Painkiller I don't know...maybe because no one else plays it?). Sponsored by Abit, Creative and Zalman, anyone who was able come out on top in a ten minute death match would be awarded $5,000 dollars.

Now as we were sitting and listening to the Creative reps give off their spiel about how great Soundblasters are and how crap onboard audio is comparatively, out of no where, one of the reps stopped and said, "Hey everyone, turn around and say hello to Sinbad".

Apparently the comedian and avid video game player was walking the floor (with a press badge no less?) heard the spiel and though, "Hey, that sounds cool, I want to play". So, he did.

And oh man did he get smoked! Check out the difference in facial expressions between Sinbad and Fatal1ty. Before it was over, Sinbad somehow was able to get the first (and only?) kill of the entire weekend on Fatal1ty, but it wasn't because Fatal1ty let him....honest!

Away from the action, the new Fatal1ty branded case was on display.

Abit and Zalman have teamed up to create a new completely branded system designed especially for gamers. Individual components will also be available for purchase.

The marketing team behind Fatal1ty is truly a force to be reckoned with. Hardware companies are jumping on the bandwagon like no tomorrow (expect Creative to join in the mix eventually). The first Fatal1ty product was a "gamers" P4 motherboard from Abit. The fact that they chose a P4 chipset for a hardcore gaming board makes me skeptical, but apparently they have an NF4 version coming soon.

Hopefully Zalman comes up with something better than red paint to set their 'hardcore gamer' products apart from their truly awesome silent cooling products. From what I have heard, there will be some interesting products to come after the initial launch of their Fatal1ty lineup. Regardless of the Fatal1ty brand name, it should be interesting to see what companies like Zalman, Abit, and Creative come up with trying to find a niche market.

And that was about it for me as I had to leave to get ready for my late night flight. Later on that evening Carl and Norman headed off to the Hard Rock Hotel in order to take in Sirius Rocks the Joint party which featured a live performance from The World Class Rockers which featured former members of The Eagles, Journey, Skynard, Toto and Steppenwolf. (Now we all know where discarded band members go...). From all accounts it wasn't a bad party to finish off on and the former members of famous groups put on a half decent show.

I'll tell you now, I was fully expecting a group of has-beens performing a Rod-Stewart-esque performance that night, but instead I was happy to find out that Sirius and these guys put an an awesome show!

Despite excessive strutting from Randy Meisner (who was an original member of The Eagles, but departed before the release of their hit album "Hotel California"), the show was great fun. I never thought I'd see the day our own Norman Tan would try to start a mosh to "Born to be Wild".

Although I am too young to remember when these guys were on top, I recognized most of the songs from commercials and movies. However, most of the crowd did know most of the songs, creating a great concert atmosphere. If only the crowd was this large and responsive for the Shinedown show.

Believe me when I say Michael Monarch of Steppenwolf can still rock, and Fergie Frederiksen (who was the lead singer for Toto for their lowest-selling album, unfortunately) can still wail! Another highlight to our trip was the Sirius party (as is often the case!)

From all accounts, the 2005 edition of CES was a giant success with over 2,400+ exhibitors and 140,000+ people in attendance. That being said, CES is still very much a consumer gadget show. Never in my life have I seen so many different ipod-esque devices, and the number of displays extolling the joys of Windows Media Center...oh the horror.

Admittedly our coverage was a bit sparse in sections with nothing of note from many of the big players such as AMD, ATI, Intel etc...and that's basically because they didn't really have anything new that we didn't already know about.

As CES continues to grow I hope that eventually an entire room will be dedicated completely to computer hardware, much like there is currently for car audio and home entertainment systems. Wading through multiple long halls through the masses of people in order to find that one booth that sounded interesting....only to find out that they're featuring, what else, Windows Media Center PCs can get to be a bit tiresome. Even better would be to see a break away event that would be dedicated specifically to computer hardware, much like Computex, something that's been lacking on the North American side of the ocean for the last couple years, since Comdex self-destructed.

This goes down as one of my better trade-show trips, if only because I got to meet Trevor in person for the first time since he joined our forum in 2000. However as usual, I was longing for some good food after days of catered dinners and nasty seafood buffets. As always, it was great to see the people behind the emails! Here's looking forward to E3 in May (if I'm still in North America) and Computex for sure in June.

  • Free Food
  • Free Swag
  • Open Bars
  • Norman Ordering a Gin and Rye
  • Voodoo Doll
  • Discovering Shinedown
  • Chilling with Gary Coleman!

  • Massive Taxi Lines
  • Those Card Snapping Guys
  • Airlines the Lose your Luggage
  • Not being able to party with everyone! :(