Dog and Yoshi Show

Yoshi's Wooly World

Theoretically I should loathe E3. It is nothing more than a marketing blitz designed to appeal to shareholders and the broadest audience possible, delivering nothing but safe, vertical slices intended to trick you into believing this is how the game plays. Sure, when it actually releases it will see constant drops in framerate, questionable A.I., tearing, clipping, and repetitive combat arenas scattered from one level to the next.

Let's also not forget each game's disappointing and rushed five-second "conclusion" that messily wraps everything up in a chaotic knot before scrolling you through forty-five minutes of credits.

If anything, E3 is the games industry at its most oblivious. Fingers are firmly plugged into ears as publishers ignore the many complaints of the consumer, all whilst hand-picking a couple of memes to pretend they listen to their fans. "Hey, you guys love zombies? Of course you do! That's how we're justifying a trailer for a new Dead Island on stage, at least."

I should hate E3. Every little thing about it should cause me to cringe, cry and bellow in rage. We line up our plates before the publishers, they distribute gruel, and we smile and call it steak.

But dammit, man, I can't help it. I just love this stupid dog and pony show.

I view E3 in much the same way I view Christmas. It's a time to forget about how crappy real life is, about how terrible human beings are to each other on a daily basis, or how game publishers are plotting which new franchise needs to be annualized this year. For just a few days you drop the cynicism, the constant disappointment, the inevitability of a deeply flawed yet highly hyped product. You just release yourself to the fantasy that these games are going to be exactly what the publisher promises, just as you accept the idea that you always get along with your family as well as you do on Christmas.

Ideally, at least. Just as every Christmas falls into the family bickering and complaining, E3 will gradually crumble into debates about who won, which platform owner had the best line-up, and which key franchise Nintendo has forgotten to mention this time.

Yet despite how bland this E3 has been to me in some ways, it's also been the most enjoyable for me on the whole. I've had very few complaints about most of what I've seen of every press conference, and was, in fact, ready to start putting money aside to finally get a Playstation 4. I thought I was ready to join the next-generation, to be ready to play games like Destiny in full 1080p or snag next-gen exclusives like the newly announced Rainbow Six: Siege.

I had allowed myself to fall into the illusion that these games were exactly as presented. Sunset Overdrive looked so much like the most interesting blend of shooting mechanics and Tony Hawk's Pro Skater-style trickery that I couldn't help but be curious. Fable Legends looks like the four-player fantasy co-op I've been wanting for years. Even if it won't be out for a while, the new Mirror's Edge looks like the perfect idealization of the first game's promise. I cannot explain why, but Battlefield: Hardline had me as giddy as a cat with some nip as I watched the perfectly scripted combat and chaos play out before me.

I was ready for all of this. The dog and pony show was trotting out what it claimed was the best of the best, and I was buying into it wholesale.

Then Tuesday happened. Or, more specifically, Nintendo happened.

This isn't the first year that companies have been streaming gameplay live from the show floor during all of E3, but it's the first year that I've really jumped in and paid attention. I've tried to watch Sony's stream, but for some reason it did little for me. Perhaps it's how "hip" and "cool" the hosts look with their bleached hair and pierced ears, looking fit to host a show for MTV, almost coaxing me to scream "Get off me lawn, ya darn hoodlums!" Or maybe it's the focus away from gameplay, where most of the screen time is shifted away from the actual game and seems to be showcasing the host and developer instead.

Something about Nintendo's stream has just grabbed me, though, and now I'm convinced that I don't need a "proper" next-gen console. My Wii-U and 3DS are providing me games that I cannot get on PS3 and Xbox 360. Even when Nintendo does team-deathmatch, it not only feels new and fresh, but it is cute and family-friendly. Or perhaps that newness and freshness was simply that it felt more like friends gathered together, all playing a game — focusing strictly on the gameplay on screen, giving me a sense of what the game looks, feels, and plays like.

Yet no matter where my preference lies, the face of E3 has changed for me. It's not just about the marketing blitz of the press conferences. It's about sitting down, watching these games being played, getting the minute details, and then discussing them with friends.

E3 is now more like PAX, where it's about experiencing games together instead of being pummeled with a marketing message.

Of course, that doesn't change that it's all marketing, or that I'm not witnessing vertical slices. What's different in 2014 is that everyone is busy talking about all of these games that were announced in greater detail rather than complaining about what wasn't announced. Yes, there's the occasional complaint about Fallout 4 or the next inevitable Metroid not being announced, but, on the GamersWithJobs forum at least, we're all basking in the wonder of possibility.

Which is what E3 is really about. It's about the possibility of new games. A time to be optimistic for the future and see what direction, for the next 364 days at least, each company is planning to go.

Comments

Funny. My friend was just complaining about them not coming out with a new Metroid.

For just a few days you drop the cynicism

I'm the opposite. It's fun to be ultra cynical and snarky during E3.

Just watch Microsoft and Sony both clone Nintendo's approach to a degree at next years E3

Predict lots of couch Halo 5 MP on display

@PRG013
Probably looking for more Phoenix Down before reviving that corpse after "Other M".

On a general note; I was only mildly interested in the WiiU anyway before and now I'm only interested in the WiiU period. Damn Nintendo had some good stuff showing.

Let's also not forget each game's disappointing and rushed five-second "conclusion" that messily wraps everything up in a chaotic knot before scrolling you through forty-five minutes of credits.

Every. Game. Ever.

I haven't been paying much attention to E3 as it was happening. Did Microsoft continue it's XBone business plan of making every single mistake Sony made with the PS3 (late launch? Check. High price tag that isn't really higher but requires more than 10 seconds to explain why it's not higher and thus a marketing loser? Check. Marketing it as everything BUT a game system? Check. Removing the only features that differentiate it from the competition to lower the price? Check. Playing catch-up with online features? Checkeroo). Did Sony focus on how powerful and cool they are? Did Nintendo throw a few bones to the people who made them successful 20 years ago but that will ultimately disappoint? (Remember when Team Ninja did Metroid? Remember how we all thought it would be so amazing? Remember how we felt when it wasn't?)

I guess I went the cynical route.

I'm basically getting my E3 coverage entirely from the GWJ and Giant Bomb podcasts during my commute. I suppose I could go watch the youtubed press conferences, but I ain't got time fo dat.

TheGameguru wrote:

Just watch Microsoft and Sony both clone Nintendo's approach to a degree at next years E3

Predict lots of couch Halo 5 MP on display

If Microsoft streamed directly to YouTube like Sony and Nintendo did I'd be happy. I'd be even happier if they both actually had the staff and devs playing the games while discussing them as well, like Nintendo did.

For some reason I don't think they'll imitate Nintendo in that regard, but I'm sure people prefer Sony or MS's approach as well.

doubtingthomas396 wrote:

I haven't been paying much attention to E3 as it was happening. Did Microsoft continue it's XBone business plan of making every single mistake Sony made with the PS3 (late launch? Check. High price tag that isn't really higher but requires more than 10 seconds to explain why it's not higher and thus a marketing loser? Check. Marketing it as everything BUT a game system? Check. Removing the only features that differentiate it from the competition to lower the price? Check. Playing catch-up with online features? Checkeroo). Did Sony focus on how powerful and cool they are? Did Nintendo throw a few bones to the people who made them successful 20 years ago but that will ultimately disappoint?

Basically none of the above.

(Remember when Team Ninja did Metroid? Remember how we all thought it would be so amazing? Remember how we felt when it wasn't?)

Terrible story or no, I still liked how that game turned out, so screw all y'all haters.

ccesarano wrote:

Terrible story or no, I still liked how that game turned out, so screw all y'all haters.

To be fair, I personally have no strong opinions of Team Ninja or Metroid. I just remember sites that basically wet themselves over the promise of the game turn to full hate when it was actually released.

Which, I've noticed, seems to be modus operandi for game news sites that cover previews. Every preview write up is fawning and slavering, but when the actual game gets reviewed it gets raked over the coals.

I've never fully understood that.

It's the difference between being shown a vertical slice and then getting the full product into your hands, realizing that small bit of gameplay didn't represent the entire experience.

Perhaps it's because I came to the game a bit late, but the changes to Other M didn't bother me too much. Then again, while I certainly hated what they did to Samus and her story, I enjoyed the gameplay enough to beat it a second time right after the first.

Oh you don't have to talk to me about loving the gameplay in "bad" games. Remember, I'm the guy who spent half a page defending Duke Nukem Forever in the comments from your last article.

If my Wii had been anything other than a way for my daughter to play Pokpark games I might have given Other M a shot. (In case nobody's noticed I have a sort of a thing for underdogs and anything vehemently maligned on the internet.). But at the time I was too busy being a Sony fanboy and trying to defend some of that companies more glaring missteps to myself so I wouldn't feel like an idiot for picking the PS3 as my flagship system for that generation.

Incidentally, what are we calling the PS4/XBone/WiiU generation? The last generation was called Next Gen for so long that it earned Proper Noun status.

We've just shifted "Next-Gen" over to PS4 and XOne, with debates on whether WiiU should count or not.

ccesarano wrote:

We've just shifted "Next-Gen" over to PS4 and XOne, with debates on whether WiiU should count or not.

"Next-gen"? That's the PSFive/XboxTwo/WiiThree.

WiiU counts. It's closer to the PS4/XB1 than it is to the PS3. 1.3ghz 3-core processor compared to 1.6ghz 8 core on the other two, it's graphics card is about half as powerful as the Xbox One's card and one generation older compared to the 5+ generation old cards on the prior gen consoles. It's an anemic entry into the "current gen" but it's not a last gen console.

(In the long term, it may be a more expensive console to make than the PS4 and Xbox One though.)

TheGameguru wrote:

Just watch Microsoft and Sony both clone Nintendo's approach to a degree at next years E3

Predict lots of couch Halo 5 MP on display

Meant to respond to this the other day. But yeah, basically they will copy Nintendo, as they always have. 3D platforming? Check. Analog controls? Check. Motion controls? Check. Tablet-like device to pair with home console? Check. Kart racing game? Check. Smash Bros. Clone? Check.

Nintendo innovates. Sony and Microsoft iterate. Not saying they don't make good things, and I very much enjoy my PS3. But if they ever did anything completely original that Nintendo (or PC gaming) didn't do first, I'd probably die of shock.

I'm not sure why I didn't see this. This is really good and made me really happy to read. I'm shocked more people haven't talked about how different Nintendo's showing was.

I'm a bit late to reading this as well. Great article!

DSGamer wrote:

I'm shocked more people haven't talked about how different Nintendo's showing was.

Most of the game news placed I read did talk a bit about it. The general reaction on Twitter from gaming journalists was really positive too.