Legend tells of a fabled land that, once upon a time, was as much a part of the kingdom of E3 as the West and South Halls. It was called Kentia Hall.
Here, it is said, all manner of strange knickknacks and oddities were peddled to passers by. Kentia is recalled as a wobbling weird cult that pulled up its shirt and displayed the strange, pale underbelly of gaming culture.
If such a place really existed, there's precious little evidence of it now. E3 has become safer, more prosaic. But still, E3 does throw up the odd curio, especially if you are willing to trudge the whispering business suites and meeting rooms at the periphery of gaming's annual jamboree where there is usually something peculiar to be found.
This year, I came across the Air Hogs Connect Mission Drone. It's a remote control toy drone and a mobile game mixed with an augmented reality military sim.
I played it for a while on an iPad. I pointed the device at a small mat on the ground, which displayed as a space station. On the mat (and, virtually, on the iPad) there was a drone. I followed mission prompts and controlled the drone as it dropped off space marines, kidnapped aliens and moved about the world.
Air Hogs manufactures RC gear. This is the company's attempt to get in on the coming AR / VR market.
The game itself follows a standard RPG upgrade system, in which individual marines have their own specialties and can all be upgraded. Interestingly though, the actual drone gets upgraded during the game, so that (for example) it can ascend and turn faster as the game goes on.
The video above explains how it all works. Air Hogs Connect: Mission Drone will cost $149 when it launches this fall on Android and iOS.