Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Thoughts on E3: We Are the Revolution

This started as a pretty standard review of what I saw while watching the E3 press conferences this year. I started typing in on tumblr and my thoughts just kinda poured out. Props to shoofle on the subtitle of this post. So here is and expanded version of my reaction to E3:

Microsoft shot themselves in the foot. And probably several more vital parts of the anatomy, but they have enough fanboys and people not plugged in enough to be worried about the used game stuff, internet connection, and potential spying that they’ll stay afloat. None of the new IP really managed to grab my interest, largely because there was little explanation of any of it. (How is Quantum Break also going to be a TV show or something?) And I just can't get over the Kinect being constantly on.

Sony laid a great smackdown on them, and their presenters were much more personal overall. Again, they drew me in with the IP more than MS ever has. I'm excited for Kingdom Hearts 3 and can't wait for Last of Us to hit finally and a host of indie titles (yay!). And with debuting their console $100 lower, it seems to me that Sony won this round. Mostly because they debuted a game console and told us all about how it lets us play games.

Nintendo came out with the game announcements they should have launched with last year. I’m still optimistic for the Wii U, as it’s an interesting controller setup that I want to see game devs play with more. But Nintendo botched the launch in many ways and this isn’t quite enough to put them on the map again. Diehard fans are ecstatic at the announcement of new games for Mario, Zelda, Pokemon and SSB, as well as an HD re-release of Wind Waker. Sure, it's safe. But the buzz around this low-key release proves that Nintendo sticks with what it knows because they do it so very well.


Overall, I was still underwhelmed. (Keep in mind I caught MS’s, most of EA’s, and the latter half of Sony’s. Missed Nintendo’s but read a quick recap.) I couldn't shake the feeling that I’m not the target audience. This is not a new feeling for me, by a long shot, but I guess I’m finally fed up with it. So many games were announced with grizzled white guys as the PC. The two notable exceptions were Mirror's Edge 2 and Bayonetta 2, both sequels. So many games (I’m looking at you, MS) were unimaginative FPS’s. Even the few that dared a spark of imagination still felt like a shiny new skin slapped on a CoD clone. Few of the performers and demo players were women, and one who was became the subject of an uncomfortable (though likely unintended) rape joke (which has been apologized for, but still).

It hit me yesterday that AAA titles, by and large, are not going to deliver the experience I want to have. They aren’t going to tell the meaningful stories with choices that have real impact, take a chance on female, PoC, and/or LGBTQ heroes, or provide new and refreshing gameplay. (Yes, you get the occasional standout, and feel free to point me to them.) This is not a new revelation, per se, merely the hardest it’s hit me. I’ve just come off of TAing a semester of Game Design, one of my fav classes from undergrad.

I can expect more from this industry.

The games I want to play are going to come from the indie community.

The games I want to play are going to be built by me.

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