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E3 2012

E3 2012 was probably one of the most underwhelming installments of the annual video game industry event.  Bad enough to make you wonder if its worth continuing to have them.

Sony and Microsoft Conferences

It was a show bereft of any genuine surprises or new ideas for the industry.  With Sony and Microsoft both content to wait another year before unveiling a look at their new consoles, both treaded water with an unimaginative barrage of homgenized, mindlessly violent games that the live audience clapped and whooped for.  It made for awkward and depressing viewing.

When Naughty Dog took to the stage at the Sony Conference and demoed their new game The Last Of Us , it involved a scene in which a teenage girl Ellie throws a brick at a man’s face and another moment where the protagonist Joel shoots someone in the face from point blank range with a shotgun.  This is all presented in a grim apocalyptic planet where scarcity of food and shelter have reduced humanity to its basest instincts.  What we got was a live audience cheering like someone scored a touch down.  It was like watching the crowd at the Cannes film festival during the screening of The Road or No Country For Old Men but having the audience reaction from The Avengers piped in.

Both Microsoft and Sony invested plenty of time in showing off military shooters in which heavily armed American soldiers using billion dollar technology fight minorities around the world.  The latest versions of Medal of Honor, Battlefield and Call of Duty are all video game adaptations of Team America but without the self-awareness.

What if you don’t like shooting games?  Do you prefer adventure games like Tomb Raider?  Maybe a stealth action game like Splinter Cell?  A survival horror game like Resident Evil or Dead Space?  Well too bad because all of these once very unique and different games have now been melded into third person action/shooter games.

If E3 is any kind of representation of the video game industry, it showed that they are creatively bankrupt and worship at the altar of Michael Bay.  There was a couple of promising looking titles amongst the noise of the gunfire but the overall picture was a bleak one to say the least.  Even if next year finally offers a glimpse at the future hardware technology, at this rate, all we’ll be doing is playing the latest version of Shoot Minority Terrorist Guy in an even higher resolution.  Yawn.

Nintendo Conference

This was the second year in a row that Nintendo showed off their new upcoming console at E3 and once again, the collective feeling of gamers after the show is one of confusion.  We still don’t know when its coming out, how much it costs, what the online infrastructure will be like and what the control scheme will be like for a system that is compatible with five different controllers on launch day (Gamepad, Wii Remote, Wii Remote Plus, Wii Nunchuck, Will U Pro Controller).  Just like E3 2011 when Sony unveiled the Playstation Vita in a design brief that seemed oblivious to the changes in player behaviour thanks to smart phones and digital games, the Wii U seems to be a weird halfbaked successor to the Wii that completely jettisons the reason why it made Nintendo popular again.  It was supposed to be simple, cheap and accessible to a wider audience.  How is a game console with five different controllers accesible.  Why did they give it such a similar name to the original product which will likely cause confusion with the mass market (should’ve been Wii HD).

The launch games are nothing to write home about.  A new Pikmin and a new Mario game that has the exact same graphical style as the previous three or four.  If ever there was a time for Nintendo to shine, it was after Sony and Microsoft’s awful and soulless presentations.  They blew it.

Playstation Vita

…got completely ignored by Sony 🙁  I love my Vita but goddamn, this thing is only four months and has less than thirty games on its release schedule.  There is currently a gap between June and August where no new games are due for release.  Don’t let it die Sony.

Games That Actually Look Interesting

There was about four good games at E3.

Watch Dogs by Ubisoft

The Last of Us by Naughty Dog

Unfinished Swan by Giant Sparrow

Tokyo Jungle by Playstation C.A.M.P

About Edo

Edo currently lives in Australia where he spends his time playing video games and enjoying his wife's cooking.

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