Well, E3 is upon us again. While a tsunami of new game info is pouring out of LA, I'm not sure that anyone will have time for this little old blog, but it's still business as usual for me until PAX later this year. The convention always falls on the first week of my son's summer visit, so I haven't gone to the last few. Family > E3, but I will be watching all the press briefings!
After a year of silence, Nintendo has its press conference where it was demonstrate to the world why it needed a Wii U and 3DS and why it should stay away from smartphones and tablets.
Judging by Twitter, the result was a wash. Nintendo did announce games for both the Wii U and 3DS. The Wii U got Pikmin 3, New Super Mario Bros. U, Wii U Fit, Batman Arkham City: Armored Edition, Darksiders II, Mass Effect 3 as well as support for video streaming services like Netflix, Hulu Plus, YouTube and Amazon Video announced. The 3DS got decent titles like New Super Mario Bros. 2, Paper Mario Sticker Star and Luigi's Mansion 2.
The thing is that show attendees, and those watching at home, were looking for more—especially from the Wii U. Why, after owning an Xbox 360 and/or PlayStation 3, should someone pick up a Wii U? That was the question that needed answering and it seemed Nintendo didn't do a very good job of doing so. All hope is not loss as E3 (as of this writing) is not over so there is time for more announcements. But after a year's wait, it looks like many are going home to be content with their 360s and PS3s until their successors show up.
On this episode we examine the state of Portable Games. Brad also brings Dragon's Dogma to the table, and Mike and Chi weigh in on Max Payne 3. This episode also features what is surely the greatest Thumbs up, thumbs down of all time! With Dylan Collins, Chi Kong Lui, Brad "Bromance" Gallaway, Mike Bracken and special guest Michael Cunningham.
Nintendo wanted to get the jump on everyone and release its "concept presentation" ahead of the big E3 press conferences. Perhaps it also wanted to get it out of the way so as to not cause any confusion—at last year's E3 Nintendo took some heat for not being clear that it was just announcing the system, its name and showing off conceptual game ideas. At any rate, you see the Wii U Gamepad, Mii Universe and some more conceptual game ideas. Hopefully, the games and more specific talk about the hardware will be at Tuesday's press conference.
Most who have dared venture online with a microphone and an ear-piece can attest to just how awful things are out there. Maybe it has always been that way, but is only noticeable now with the accessibility of the Internet and the explosion of online gaming. Whatever the reason, it is clear that we need a solution because it has gotten pretty ugly. It's not just dumb kids being dumb kids, its adults (mostly male) that believe an Internet connection gives them the right to be horrible human beings.
The guys at Extra Credit have suggested an interesting solution to the problem and one that I'd like to see implemented in some form by a Microsoft, Blizzard or whomever runs an online gaming service or game where all sorts of horrible interactions are known to occur. Kudos to Extra Credits for doing this episode.
Mortal Kombat and Portal 2 combined last April to move well over 1.5 million units. Compare the significance of those two games with Kinect Star Wars, and Prototype 2. You really can't. Even adding The Witcher 2 to the mix, these games simply don't have the same kind of selling power as last April's slate of game releases. Without prominent and captivating game releases, consumers aren't going to spend money on software… or hardware, for that matter.
The simple truth is that if you spend your time at PAX waiting around in line for a demo you'll play on Xbox Live in a few months anyway, you are a chump. There are so many awesome games from smaller publishers and indies on the floor that you might not get exposed to anywhere else. So, if you were being a linefool, here's some of what you missed.
The convention's stealthy aspect kicked off with a great panel on the subject featuring Nels Anderson, Andy Schatz, and Dan Silvers, chaired by Matthew Weise, also featuring the con's largest single-room concentration of guys in suits.
I don't know about you but the side-scrolling platformer wasn't just a genre, it was the genre for most of my childhood. The games that got it right were the ones that kept ushering you forward—to the right—even when it only seemed to be getting tougher.
There is probably some life lesson or allegory in there somewhere. This video with its nice editing and great music does a good job of highlighting that.
The guys at Extra Credits take a quick look at an idea that has been on the minds of game developers and publishers for years now. It's dubbed "transgaming" and it lets fans of different genres all play and exist within the same game world. There is a lot of potential there, so have a listen.
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