Time passes rather quickly. Already my writing an entry on E3 may already come off as ancient history, but while the event was taking place, two major events captured my attention: the madness of pre-ordering an iPhone 4, and the madness of the 2010 FIFA World Cup and the vuvuzelas that come with it.
I say this time, let’s cut to the chase so we can get back to our soccer/football/futbol, shall we?
Nintendo’s approach to appease its ‘hardcore’ fan base, the folks who enjoy jumping on Koopa Troopas and launching fireballs as the company’s mascot plumber Mario over a shooting gallery at a virtual carnival starring their Mii characters, used to offend me. Their only answer to this ‘problem’ was to just throw another Mario game at them, but folks ate them up. Games developed by third-party developers that aim to a less casual audience tend to flop and appear dead on arrival (Sega’s The Conduit and MadWorld, and EA’s Dead Space: Extraction are two examples). This year, Nintendo brought in the big guns, and while I won’t be playing some of their future titles right away, it brings me a sense of relief that they will be there. We have a new Legend of Zelda game, titled Skyward Sword, for the Wii. I have yet to play Twilight Princess, released in 2006, and during that period I had considered myself “retired” from the franchise. In 2007, I had attempted to play the Phantom Hourglass game on the DS, but gave up on it for a number of reasons. Skyward Sword boasts a visual mixture of Twilight Princess, and the love-it-or-hate-it Wind Waker (Gamecube, 2003). It has an extra flavor of an oil painting/illustrated storybook look that drew me in despite series creator Shigeru Miyamoto’s awkward demonstration of the game at the Nintendo presentation last week.
Nintendo spent a lot of the presentation discussing the capabilities of the Nintendo 3DS, and with games like a new Golden Sun (the first since The Lost Age, the second episode, released for the Game Boy Advance in 2003). I had to actually look up the title of the second Golden Sun game. I hadn’t played it since 2004. In addition to the first-party games (a potential new Star Fox and a Kid Icarus game after all these years), there is a lot of third-party support from the big names, including a Resident Evil game from Capcom, a Splinter Cell game from Ubisoft, and a Metal Gear Solid title from Konami. Color me sold.
I regret that I don’t have a whole lot to express about Sony’s time on the stage because, as I remember it, I was physically tired having been awake for a lot of the previous night. Sony discussed their premium service, of which I have no interest in. They managed to show up the Kinect with Move, their take on motion control, by showing a demonstration of a wizard-ing game called Harry Pott– I mean Sorcery. It can be generically described as “interesting,” and absolutely nothing to get excited over. I will stick with my Wii, that I have even decided to touch for the first time in over a year (thanks, Super Mario Galaxy 2!). One of the stronger highlights was the appearance by Gabe Newell, co-founder of Valve, and his promotion of the much anticipated Portal 2. That wasn’t the big deal. We all knew that. The extra added punch came in the announcement of Steamworks, which allows Mac and Windows users to play multiplayer games on the same servers with one another, and its compatibility on the PlayStation 3. That about topped off the sundae, chock full of Kevin Butler and his motivational “We’re gamers!” speech that provided some genuine humor, with the cherry on top that was the development of a Twisted Metal game, the first since Twisted Metal: Black (PlayStation 2, 2001).
That about does it for this year’s E3, among other things. I need to dock points here, though, or maybe throw a yellow flag on the field.
Microsoft — 5-yard penalty for that creepy Kinectimals segment.
Nintendo — 5-yard penalty for the awkward Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword demonstration. An addition 10-yard penalty for the GoldenEye remake and failure to understand why it was the monster that it was in 1997. They announce the 3DS and its lineup. The penalty is declined. First down.
Sony — 10-yard penalty for an uninteresting presentation. Kevin Butler speech and PS3 Steamworks. That penalty is declined. There is an additional 5-yard penalty for the inability to sell me on a PSP after five years, as well as the failure to sell Move.
Next time: I talk about the iPhone 4.