Photo-heavy entry. You have been warned, if you hit the following jump. For the pictures, click the small pictures to enlarge.
So I returned from E3 in one piece, though with ears ringing from all the new-game face-melting explosive hotness. Of course, as everyone knows, there is only really one important thing to discuss after E3, that singular important question which has plagued all of the video game generation, nay, all of mankind, for a thousand years. That is, who WON?
You may see this as a great debate, but to me, there was really no question. The winner is obviously
Jimmy Buffet's Maragritaville Online!
Specifically, they are the winner of the E3 Award for Largest Display Inexplicably Advertising a Facebook Game. Complete with blaring music, and booth babes handing out leis (not pictured).
The ironic thing about Magaritaville is they serve pretty mediocre margaritas.
...Other winners at this year's E3, by my personal reckoning:
The E3 Award for Game Character Most Likely to Make Annoying Young Men Bust Out the Old "If I'm Gonna Stare At An Ass It May As Well Be A Hot Ass" Cliche
Catwoman, from Batman: Arkham City
The E3 Award for Game Boss That Looks The Most Like He Wandered Out of a Sailor Moon Episode
The effete swordsman from Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
You know, I thought that I wanted this game, but now that I've actually gotten to play it I'm not really sure. I kind of miss the traditional Zeldas and I feel awkward flapping the controller around to slash my sword when I could just be going on an adventure and letting Link do the athletic stuff. Then again, my favorite Zelda is still "Link to the Past," before it got all 3D and stuff.
The E3 Award for Game You Thought You Wanted, Until You Actually Saw It, and Now You Aren't So Sure I Don't Think
Kinect Star Wars
I know getting to wave around your hands and pretend you're using a lightsaber is a fantasy that many had, or, at least, thought they had, but I think there is a key component of that fantasy which Kinect Star Wars the Video Game cannot capitalize on. The actual fantasy is: you dream about having a lightsaber, and that you look cool using it.
Whereas you do not look cool playing Kinect Star Wars. Right after this game was announced, I saw the hosts of X-Play kind of half-heartedly explain that this still didn't quite look like the Kinect Star Wars game that their hearts wanted. I don't actually think that particular game can be made to exist. Your avatar looks cool dueling with a lightsaber, which is why controllers work so well. But when you fake-duel with a lightsaber, you just look like the Star Wars Kid.
The E3 Award for Being A Major Wussy Pants
Everyone who stood in line to play Street Fighter X Tekken, but then when they got up to actually play it, just picked Ken and Ryu. By the way, this was almost everybody. My blurry photo here depicts a thrilling Ken/Ryu versus Ryu/Sagat match, the likes of which I have never seen since on my X-box yesterday.
The emcees, of course, encouraged this stupid behavior by handing out prizes to people who had winning streaks, thus ensuring no one would pick an unfamiliar character and risk the chance of, you know, losing or showing off new features of the game.
By the way, internet, the game is called Street Fighter X Tekken - the X is pronounced "Cross." Yeah, that's silly, but so are a lot of other game names, particularly Street Fighter ones. It is not Street Fighter Versus Tekken.
The E3 Award for Hardest Workers
It's a tie! Between
The Gamespot Employees
The Dance Central 2 Demonstrators
So, did you watch that Microsoft press conference, where they did the Dance Central 2 demo, and it was joyous and wonderful and looked like the most fun ever? Imagine that you have to do it, all day, for three days in a row. It starts to seem a lot less like fun and a lot more like one of those "ironic punishments" Homer Simpson had to endure in Hell. So, you like dancing and video games? Have all the dancing and video games in the world!! Dance DANCE like it's the last LAST night of your LIFE!
Meanwhile, here is the crew from Gamespot cramped in their little booth. I took a picture just because I found it a bit like a zoo display. It needed a sign that read "Don't Feed the Game Journalists." They were so busy in there hunched over their little computers typing furiously that it was like there wasn't even a show going on all around them. Please forgive how badly my camera flash mucked up this photo. I sort of felt as if I should be covert while photographing this.
The E3 Award for Best Gimmick to Make People View Your Demo When They Didn't Really Care About Viewing Your Demo
Nyko, who invented a device that allows you to operate a Kinect slightly closer to your TV than otherwise normal. The game they were using to demonstrate this was Kinect Adventures, which no hardcore gamer even cared about when it was new. But they were handing out these bright red wigs if you stood in line to play it, and the wigs were pretty cool, so they still had a respectable line.
Yeah, I got a wig too, what of it?
The E3 Award for Most Anticipated Game
Who cares? That is such a silly award and I often fear it does damage to our industry that we value it so highly.
The E3 Award for Most Improbable Anime Breasts
Busty Hearts? I mean is that what we're going with? I guess it's honest but it's also a little on the nose... oh, I'm sorry, it says Rusty, my mistake. Ha ha.
Don't grope our statue, you pervs.
(Note: if you or your friends actually managed to catch a photograph of yourselves groping this statue, as god clearly intended, please make me aware of the existence of said photo. I was not quite brave enough.)
The E3 Award for Loudest Display
The E3 Award for Oddest Request Not to Take Pictures of a Game
Also EA, for Sims 3 Pets. (Not pictured.)
The E3 Award for Dumbest Idea
Whoever it was in the Silent Hill universe that thought it was a bright idea to drive a prison bus full of prisoners toward Silent Hill
The E3 Award for Game That Makes You Wish You Had a Kid
Sesame Street: Once Upon a Monster
The 3E Award for Most Fun I've Had Getting My Ass Handed To Me
The 3E Award for Chinese Achievement in Excellence in the Field of Being From China
These guys (they're from China)
The E3 Award for Most Confusing Press Conference
The confusion in the air was palpable. Is it a console? Is it just a controller? What is this mysterious device? Journalists all walked out scratching their heads. As the conference elucidated little, there was a lot of misinformation floating around the internet in the hours to follow. Video game outlets are a lot more interested sometimes in getting information out quickly than getting it out accurately, and the actual best place to find out what the heck Nintendo is making is to look at the web site that they made for it instead of watching their press conference.
I have touched the device. I shall attempt to explain.
There is a new console, and a controller. The console is capable of HD output, though the only demos that displayed this were non-interactive demos. If you have seen footage of a new "HD Zelda" floating around the net, that was not a game. It was a video, though you can change the lighting in it from daytime to nighttime lighting, and somewhat adjust the camera angles on Link. Let me be clear: it was beautiful, spectacular, but not a game.
The games they do have for the Wii U device are tech demos, for the most part. They are operated with either one Wii-screen-controller, or one Wii-screen-controller and multiple Wii-motes. The device only seems to be compatible with one of the screen controllers at a time right now.
You will need the new console to operate the new controller; the new controller is not its own thing. But the new console will also apparently also use all your old controllers, save Gamecube which no longer seems to be supported.
You might now know all this already now that the info has "shaken out," but since people still can't get "Street Fighter X Tekken" right I figured another explanation was going to be okay.
The 3E Award for More Specific Cluelessness About A Game Product
The guy in front of me who apparently represented a major gaming web site and was furiously scribbling words like "Big Mistake" and "Hoop" in to his smartphone while the Atari rep demoed
I get it. You're young. You don't know what Gamma World is. I am sorry that I am so old and crusty. Major Game News Outlets: I promise you that if you decide to hire me to cover this event in the future, I know what Gamma World is.
The E3 Award for Best-Hidden Demo
Atlus, with Catherine
The Catherine advertising blitz was kind of strange. In that everyone who attended the con got a full-color, double-sided Catherine ad shoved in to their lanyard. Clearly some money was spent on promotion. But in order to actually find the game, you had to go off in to a side room off the beaten path from the main convention, in a room that looked for all the world like you wouldn't be allowed in there with an expo-only pass. It's like, they definitely wanted you to know about this game, but weren't sure if they wanted you to play it. I guess I can see why this might be a smart strategy. The game looks super-pretty, but the actual play of the thing might not be everyone's cuppa tea in this shooter-heavy environment.
The E3 Award for Mysterious Lack of Appeal
Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City
I thought this sounded pretty cool, so I tried to stand and watch people play it for a while. But strangely enough, I had a hard time looking directly at this demo. It was as if it was some kind of fun-sponge from which fun could not escape, and my eyes kept wandering somewhere, anywhere else. Even my camera got a better shot of some other person's camcorder than the demo. I tried to photograph the demo again later, and
Man what? Oh hey I love Mega 64!
There is a Resident Evil game coming out for the 3DS and it's pretty solid. It goes back to the standard 'you're in a mysterious mansion' setup with some light puzzle solving and exploration. This game meanwhile - at least the multiplayer - I guess the best way I could describe it is "textureless." Some zombies come out, and you shoot the zombies and then some more zombies come out and you shoot at them and oh lordy! Sometimes for variety you throw a grenade at the zombies.
I remember with fondness when Resident Evil walked this line between highly campy and genuinely scary. Like, remember in Resident Evil 2 where you were just surrounded by zombies, more zombies than you could handle, and your only option was to run in fear and cower? This is like that, except you just kill the zombies and then when they are dead kill more of them, with guns which are loud. Perhaps that is an activity that you will enjoy. Who can say. Though, if so, you might want to consider spending a dollar on the already-available X-Box Live Indie Games version of this which has pretty good music.
If you got so far, thank you for reading my E3 photogallery. For another photoessay about the event, please also view this tumblr of a man who had the genius idea to "plank" the expo. That gallery contains many more pictures of booth babes than this one.