Thursday, 4 June 2009

E3 Fever (the geekiest i have ever shown myself to be)

Swept Up By: tech-festival mood of the ultramodern age
Sweeping Up: ultramodern gadget packaging. it's everywhere.

woo boy, i have really enjoyed soaking up the feeling of carnival this week from the E3 buzz. my sense gamery-ness has been really inflated over the last few months (thanks to trusty old PSP) and i've been a lot more interested in the games press, the industry and the hype surrounding some of the franchises featured at E3. so i've been well-primed for it all.

for those not in the know, E3 is a veritable adult playground of a games press-convention-event-thingy. but then, if you don't know what E3 is, this whole post will probably be pretty boring and you can skim the metaphorical bullet-points safe in the knowledge that you haven't missed much, really.

earlier in the week, i scoured the net for some podcasts to grab on my PSP (trusty, old) and came up with surprisingly little ( aside, thanks twitter!) - i'm a bit hitty-missy with games sites. see, i hit for zero punctuation and often stick around to read their editorials1, but i don't check any of the major sites (ign, gamespot) regularly enough to know about their podcasts. so i was pretty disappointed really, as i wanted a plethora and i barely got a pleth. but the folks seem cool - they snabbled me on twitter when i appealed to the higher collective for podcast leads and they seem to be sort of... internet-based gonzo game journalists. which is a phrase that i think i'll hide away and cherish.

the microsoft conference hit GMT at 5.25pm although i can't say for sure if it did, as the technical difficulties at prevented me from seeing it until 5:45pm. durr, microsoft seems to say. what dis? thank god i missed paul mccartney though. ugh.

i'm not going to great-detail it about the conferences, as it's old hat, yesterdays news, and better writers than me are detailing it; i just want to sketch out my impressions of My Very First E3... for, you know, posterity.

Microsoft Conference
technical difficulties snickersomely aside, i must admit even my general british hostility at showy american enthusiasm wore off with some of the titles mentioned and also that nice girl who was in buffy really helped with this too. and remember, sony hadn't shown us their magic dildo at this point, so i must admit i goggled - positively goggled - at project natal and the level of depth with which it seems to implement nintendo's undignified stumblings in motion control. note also the touch of pride at peter molyneux in this mix, too, folks. i can't help it, he's a bit of a hero of mine.

Nintendo Conference
multiplayer mario and a heartbeat sensor thingy. no. no, no, no.
i did, however, like the forced chumminess on-stage of the really big guy who looks like he sells things for a living with the really skinny guy that looked like he codes in a darkened room for a living. and i enjoyed seeing the real-life incarnation of the simpsons' Lindsay Naegle being all feisty businesswoman. moderately interested in golden sun DS. as a previous owner of a GBA, 2xDS, a gamecube and an N64, i feel i have the right to say "nintendo should branch out a little, game-wise". i used to love nintendo's imagination, but now they seem to just add numbers to old games2.

Sony Conference
that jack tretton lad. he's a card, eh? self-referential shtick. much chortling. much waggling of eyebrows. good stuff. good stuff. tech-wise, i was mightily excited for a umd-less psp. until i considered the logistics. the taking-away of my buying games in-store. the being forced to use my own bandwidth to download content. keeping my droves of data on an increasingly-filled wodge of memory3. but then he said they weren't replacing the proper psp, so i didn't feel pressured any more, and could just revel in a new gizmo. i still don't like the slidey top overbalance, but i think it would be perfect from someone such as my mother, who really should stop stealing my psp and get her own. so in four years time, when it's affordable, that's what she's getting for christmas. either that or a ps2, which i felt vaguely compelled to buy after all that spiel. by this point, i was gimmicked off and yet another motion control wasn't going to find it easy to grab my attention, especially as i was devoting a lot of my energy to eating a sausage roll at the time, but the PS3 hardware looks fucking awesome. if a little baby-steps, baby-steps.

those were my vague impressions of all these streaming webcasts that occupied my teatimes all this week.

  • free racing games on the xbox. i'm impressed microsoft could wrestle with the notion of free
  • twitter on xblive - sad but true
  • project natal & the ps3's magic dildo - not for me personally(!), but for such a seamless implementation of console hardware/software engineering.
  • alan wake - looks a bit like "John Carpenter's The Fog - The Game!" and i'll probably be too scared to play it.
  • splinter cell - the new demo made me interested in the franchise. i'm pretty gullible
  • metal gear solid rising puns. not the game, just the puns.
  • hideo kojima - who looks like a nice young man in need of a square meal
  • milo demo - yes, interesting, but with a multitude of ethical considerations (see the film AI)
  • uncharted female sidekick - a goldeneye natalya for this new generation. i hope you can shoot her in the bum.
  • little big planet on the psp - squee!
  • mass effect 2 - thank god i'm not dead. i had seriously invested in this character
  • assassin's creed 2. i hope i bond with this new chappie as much as i did with Altair. i know they're the same person, but i'm fickle.
  • assassin's creed on the PSP woooooooooo - i know, i know. old news. but still
  • soul calibur psp
  • tekken on the xbox. ouch, sony. ouch.
  • the thing with the dragon
  • star wars mmorpg - i'm even considering getting a gold xblive account. yes, i'm going to part with my freaking cash. again. for more games stuff

  • halo
  • the beatles (i'm a musician, i can say this, and no, no i won't back down, no.)
  • forza. bleh. such hype, for this?
  • more mario sequels.
  • lilac
  • hannah montana
  • no price cuts for wii. bastards.

  • games industry secretly conspiring against gamers with motion control to make us all look like twats.

so that's it. my first E3 practically over, although i can't wait to dig into all the post-e3 reports and important bits that i've missed while work got in the way - podcasts in the mornings, webcasts in the evenings.

boy this took a lot of writing-up. i didn't realise i'd paid so much attention. well, i'm off to bugger my firmware on my psp. games sure are hard work. (note to self - too trite? this is extremely important i feel)


1 actually, i find the escapist articles often hook me in with their titles but let me down when it comes to their content - i've been reading games journalism since the c64 age and we're still using cliches like "a [blank] all it's own" and "it's own particular brand of [blank]" - see harold bloom's comments on cliches of the "stretched his legs" variety if you want to pinpoint what i'm trying to say, but haven't the language to express it.

2 i'm still going to buy a wii though. and eventually sell it, like alllll the rest of my nintendo consoles. but i'll probably just end up playing gamecube games on it.

3 i love the solid feel of umds, i just can't help it - having a bunch of them clatter around my desk, i feel so - so - dystopian futurey, so kathryn bigelow. (or i just relive the glory days of minidiscs. i miss minidiscs. sigh.)

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