17 June 2010

Thoughts on E3

Yes, it's that time of the year again when, in days of old, we gamers were filled with glee. Unfortunately, that glee has given way to disappointment in recent years and, most recently, quiet dread and resentment. This year was, perhaps, only better in the fact that we all were expecting to be let down. And when you're prepared for that thing, it doesn't hit quite as hard. Anyway, here's my thoughts of the three main press conferences.

Okay, so admittedly, I came into this one a little late, which means I missed, what? Gears of War and Metal Gear: Rising? Yeah, I think I caught most of it, and most of it was gimmicks. First of, the Kinect. I think I speak for many when I say, "When is this motion control fad going to die?" Your mom might like motion controls because she can "exercise" and your dad so he can practice his golf swing. Sorry for being stereotypical, but this seems to be how they view families anyway. The picture perfect family unit all sitting around the TV laughing and smiling as they flail at the screen, where a tiger cub is vaguely influenced by their actions.

I'm not saying that it's wrong to bring in casual gamers. What I am saying is that we gamers don't care. We don't want motion controls, and you know why? Because motion controls aren't precise. Microsoft kept saying that the Kinect would make game controls more "intuitive," and I think this is what bugs me most about motion controls. They are always touted as "intuitive." But I'm a gamer. I was pushing buttons to control Atari 2600 when I was 2 years old. That's how I've been playing games all my life. That's what's intuitive for me. Motion controls are not. Motion controls are weird for me, and more importantly, they don't work as well. They don't do what I want when I want. But I'll get to that later. I'm not done complaining about motion controls, believe you me.

One other gimmick that I think needs to be mentioned. This "Xbox do what I want" talking thing is a little weird. Even my dad understands a remote controller. Do we really need this? Do any of you actually thing this is a useful thing or just trying to make it more "cool" and "future is now oh wow!"

Oh, and now you can watch sports on your 360. I guess it's good they know their target audience.

Okay, so as I admittedly earlier, I missed most of the actual games. The ones they included as part of the Kinect presentation seemed pretty mediocre at best.

Final Thoughts:
I was unimpressed, but since I don't own an Xbox 360, I didn't really have any vested interests in it or anything. The one thing I do have to say is that I wouldn't mind trying Kinect in a store or something, just to see how it works. It is something different, and I guess I'm just curious on seeing firsthand just how inprecise it controls.

Nintendo was the least gimmicky of the presentations, despite being the most gimmicky of the consoles. Why? Well, because we all know that the Wii has motion controls. They've been there and done that. However, that doesn't mean that motion controls didn't make their appearance.

Namely, there was the demo of Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. Shigeru Miyamoto got up on stage to demostrate how the game will be controlled through the use of Wii Motion Plus, and the result was heartbreaking. Miyamoto had some trouble with the controls, with the game sometimes misreading his commands. Every time, the translator made the same joke about "turning off your wireless," referencing the technical difficulties during Apple's recent press conference for the new iPhone. Each time, the joke just became more depressing and more annoying. As a kid with fond memories of the Zelda franchise, this whole section was heartbreaking.

Nintendo also unveiled the new Nintendo 3Ds, which is essentially a DSi with a stereoscopic screen. That means the image will appear three dimensional to the naked eye. It's interesting, but an obviously needless gimmick, and one I will address in regards to the Sony press conference. Still, as long as it doesn't interfere with gameplay and quality game design, I don't mind, and I'm interested in seeing just what it looks like. And, thankfully, you will supposedly be able to turn it off, something that I am very happy to hear.

Nintendo took the show, honestly, because it actually showed games. A lot of games. A lot of games that looked good and fun. Obviously, as someone who does not own a Wii, I am most excited about the new Golden Sun. Though, I must admit, the new 3D graphics just don't compare with the old school sprite work of the originals for me.

However, they announced numerous Wii games that I would be interested in playing if I got the chance. The new Kirby: Epic Yarn looks really good both visually and in the fun 2D platforming department. Other promising titles include Dragon Quest IX, Goldeneye 007, Kid Icarus: Uprising, and Metroid Other M among others.

Final Thoughts:
Ninetendo stole the show simply because they actually talked about games. They showed us gamers what we want to see. Even the 3DS announcement was paired with the news that it was going to have the largest third party support in terms of release games. That's good news!

3D and motion controls. That's right! Sony has both! And that's basically all they talked about. Oh, and a partnership with Coca-Cola. Yeah. I cried.

No, not really, but I was frustrated. Okay, so here's the thing. We've done 3D before. Sega Master system did it. The Virtual Boy did it. Before that movies did it. They all failed, but they had their time in the sun. This is because 3D is a fad. It has been and it always will be.

See, creating the illusion of a third dimension is disorienting. It causes headaches. And really, we all got used to imagining the third dimension in two-dimensional images ages ago. See, there are all these things called visual cues that inform us of the third dimension when we are viewing flat images. This whole 3D thing is just a temporary fad because we've just developed a new technology to do it, one that is a little better. But eventually, we'll get bored and we'll get tired of it. I gaurantee it.

I just hope 3D on the PS3 will always be optional.

And the Move? See all my motion control comments above, and add one more thing. They said that the Move has something very important to games: buttons. This was obviously a jab at the Kinect, but it was also really stupid. Because you know what? You're right, Sony. Buttons are important to gaming. In fact, my PS3 controller has 17 buttons and two joysticks on it. And so far, I've been doing just fine with them. Never once have I thought to myself, "This game plays pretty well. Now if only I could flail around and have the game guess what that means. You know... I wish my controllers didn't always do what I want them too." You guys do realize that some gamers will pay hundreds of dollars to get controllers with ultimate precision, right? There's a reason for that...

What games? They didn't really show much of anything I was excited about. In fact, until they started talking about the PSP, I don't think they mentioned a single game after their initial Kill Zone 3D video. Also, lots of videos, very little demoing. Perhaps they're still apprehensive about the "giant enemy crab" incident?

Seriously, though, the title I was most pumped about was Persona 3 Portable, which I pre-ordered a week or two ago. Yeah, the highlight for me is a game that I've already pre-order and is coming out in less of a month.

Oh, and then suddenly! Twisted Metal! That's cool. Looks interesting, and definitely a nostalgia trip for me. Although it looks pretty intense with, like, sniping and stuff? Kinda weird.

Final Thoughts:
Can we just end this? I'm depressed. Honestly, not sure which press conference was worse, Sony of Microsoft. However, Sony's ended up more of a disappointment for me, just because I have a PS3 and PSP. Otherwise, they probably tied.

Oh, and Sony? Where's my Last Guardian?

So yeah. There you have it. Nintendo stole the show. And even then, I still can't get over the demo for Skyward Sword. So sad...

I think I'm gonna go play some 3D Dot Game Heroes... To quote Menchi, "It's kinda sad to say, but... this game is more Zelda than Zelda these days..."



    you can't really blame them for making motion controls, they just kinda want that causal gaming skrilla. with the exception zelda, none of the games that people actually care about use motion controls. and as long as i'm not required to own any, i'm not going to buy any

    They're placing most of the spotlight on these new devices because they need to sell a ton of them to make money. the game i wanted to see the most wasn't mentioned at any press conference. and MVC3 was given a 2 second spot on sony's highlight reel.

    you have to remember that E3 is an event to show and sell people on the latest technology in games. the press doesn't really want to hear about KOF13, or persona. it's a press event, its not really for fans. fans just like to watch.

    just remember, twisted metal won't have any stupid fucking motion controls.

  2. Well, it's the whole casual gamer thing that has changed E3. I remember (vaguely) a time when E3 really was about the games. Gamers were genuinely excited because E3 really was for us.

    Of course they want to make money, and motion control is the current cash cow. That doesn't mean that hardcore gamers can't be annoyed by them, whether or not the Kinect or Move is required by more "hardcore" games. Sony's whole "the Move has buttons, too!" thing is actually kind of worrying, because they might start trying to use it for all sorts of games like Nintendo has been doing with the Wii. Just because Zelda was the only E3 game gamers cared about that showcased heavy motion controls doesn't mean other companies aren't going to try tacking on motion controls as well.

    I guess the whole thing boils down to this: For gamers, it feels like gaming companies don't really care about us as much any more. Of course, they still do. While we may be a smaller number than the general populace they're currently chasing, we are also far more frequent customers. We buy tons of games. So I guess they just know that we're always going to be around anyway, so why try to woo us? We already have PS3s and 360s (and even Wiis). We are already out there buying games, and we're online discovering new ones all the time without the help of big, fancy press conference.

    But that doesn't stop it from being a bit of a let down when they neglect us at a huge press conference event that is supposedly all about something that we're very passionate about: video games.

  3. You're absolutely right!
    You're the coolest guy I've ever read in a long time ;D

  4. all bout the skrilla, not about the love.

    they just aren't showing the new games, but they're still making them.

    i could make the argument that because this console generation has gone on for so long that these motion controls could be them trying to make a step up.

    don't worry about it too much though, E3 still gives us moments like these: