Reflections on E3: “Extreeeeeeeme”
Greetings to one and everyone! Dylan here; I’m joining the crew at GFBR as your guide to all things noteworthy in the wonderful world of video games.
And what a week it was last week for the games industry! This year’s E3 delivered some of the most exciting announcements and revelations for hardware and software from the biggest names in the industry. Even though I didn’t attend the expo, I managed to keep up with news from the showroom floor and press conferences, and there are more than a few things from last week that caught my attention. Join me after the jump for an old-fashioned “the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly” style breakdown of three eye-catching moments, as well as the game I’m most excited about playing from E3.
The Good: Nintendo’s Press Conference
The best thing to come out of E3 2010 for me was the Nintendo press conference. Nearly every title announced looked to be of the highest quality, and as they progressed through the presentation, I became increasingly excited about what they will be bringing to us in the next year or two. I can’t tell you how excited I am to play Donkey Kong Country Returns at home with my wife, or to have my butt kicked by my brother all the way from New Orleans in the new NBA Jam (just like when we were kids). I’m always ready for a Legend of Zelda title; with Skyward Sword, it looks like Nintendo has expertly integrated the Motion Plus, despite the technical glitches Shigeru Miyamoto experienced during the presentation. Metroid: Other M and Kirby’s Epic Yarn appear to have combined the spirit of the original titles with interesting twists to the game design. The partnership between Warren Spector and Disney seems to be working out quite well for Epic Mickey, and I’m quite sure there aren’t very many gamers out there who weren’t pumped to hear about the GoldenEye reboot.
In addition to the software Nintendo and its third-party partners are releasing, the 3DS was by far the most impressive hardware announcement of the week. This is a device that supports stereoscopic visuals for games, pictures (taken with the double lens camera on the back of the device), and movies (including feature films from Dreamworks, Pixar, et al.) without the need for special eyeware. The addition of the analog Slide Pad, motion sensing controls, constant WiFi communication between devices, and the slider to adjust the stereoscopic effect, all wrapped up in a handheld device makes for an impressive gadget. It’s an incredible achievement in technology…
The Bad: Seeing is Believing
…if it actually works. The downside to the greater part of the announcements at this year’s E3 was the fact that many of the most exciting products required you to be there in person to get the full story. True, you can’t play the demo levels of the titles on the showroom floor from your home, but video is still a fair representation through gameplay and trailers for what the games will be like. With the 3DS, Microsoft’s Kinect, and Sony’s Playstation Move, those of us unfortunate enough not to have been at the expo can only take the word of those who were as to whether these devices actually do the job right. Call me a skeptic, but the Kinect and Move demonstrations might as well have been staged, for all I can see at this point. The stunning visuals of the 3DS obviously won’t be demonstrable if you aren’t holding one in your hands. I’ll have to wait to experience these products in a friend’s living room before being able to commit to buying into any of it.
The Ugly: Konami’s Press Conference
One thing those who have known me for a while understand is that awkward moments make up a sizable chunk of my sense of humor. If they’re sweating and standing in silence, I’m laughing. The Konami press conference was chock full of shining gems of awkward, uncomfortable, unrehearsed catastrophes. Take for instance the Ninety-Nine Nights II and Dance Masters game announcements in the video below:
It doesn’t get much better than that. Demonstrations across the expo were subject to similar glitches and awkward announcements, but Konami took the top prize.
Most Anticipated Title: Valve’s Portal 2
While I am pumped for almost the entirety of the Nintendo lineup, I couldn’t be more excited about a game than I am for Portal 2. I’m not spoiling any of the plot elements for myself, sticking to trailers and gameplay descriptions, but I don’t think a longer engagement with the portal gun could be a bad thing. The first game was instrumental in cementing my interest in game design, so getting another dose of chambers and the puzzles contained therein will be most welcome. I also enjoy co-op play more than straight up solo play, and Valve seems to be handling it well, ramping up the difficulty and providing tools for easy collaboration to solve the puzzles. It’s nice to know that this series is…well, you know the rest.
All in all, E3 performed admirably this year. The industry has succeeded in enticing me enough to divvy up a large portion of my income to indulge in their entertainments yet again. Until next year, then.
How about you? What were your memorable moments from E3? What game will you be first in line to pick up from this year’s offerings? Let me know in the comments.