E3 Teaches Gamers Three Lessons and Births an Indigo Child
The Electronic Entertainment Expo is the gaming superbowl if the superbowl was just a giant tailgate party where everyone high fives for a week.
The event peaked in the 90s when the internet was not the primary method of obtaining gaming news. Writers and industry insiders would flock to the LA Convention Center to sing praises upon the latest and greatest in gaming. Now, however, the only reason to get excited about E3 is console announcements and to see how ridiculous Electronic Arts can take their rah-rahs.
In case you haven't had the chance to check out the latest in gaming news, here are three undeniable truths that E3 reignites every time it comes around.
3. EA is still never going to figure out what fun is Originality has never been EA's strong suit, and this year the compay's marketing department appeared to have taken even more control over the company's creativity. The newest iteration of Madden will feature a fake Twitter feed on the right that discusses your plays, Medal of Honor feels like a vastly inferior Call of Duty, and Star Wars: The Old Republic will still sit, forlorn, in World of Warcraft's gargantuan shadow. Dead Space is going to be the third sequel to a franchise that was pitched as a ripoff of Resident Evil 4, an celebrities are well-paid to scream the company's praises.
EA is a testament to what happens when gaming is homogenized. The behemoth company has a hand in every genre, and the result is samey. With franchises like Madden, the company's investment in an exclusivity contract with the NFL allows it to be the sole distributor of football games, and removes all competition from the sports market. Innovation is at a minimum, because the amount of capital required to make something fun is too big a risk for some folks to take.
2. Kinect and Playstation Move will never be fun sober Any visit to a pawn shop reveals a much larger proportion of Wii's than any other game console. It's a false promise of the future that ends with Craigslist. Microsoft and Sony have tried their hands at motion-based gaming with pricy peripherals, and Sony's Harry Potter: Book of Spells showing is an inadvertent case study in why motion gaming is pretty whack. The "let's get kids even more invested in reading" concept is enticing, even revolutionary before the mind digests a much blander reality.
Images of whimsical spells and tactile wand-snaps are quickly dashed as the presenter flails limply with a spell midway through the presentation. The reality of motion gaming is that the technology is not quite there, but our imagination wishes it was.
1. Every industry has its ups and downs E3 will always be the biggest event of the year, but the ability to watch it live kills the closed-door mystique of the past. When gamers were glued to the latest copy of whatever trade magazine they could get their mitts on, they were also granted the removal of all the boring parts. E3 has always acted as a combination tradeshow and shareholder meeting, and a company can't just roll their eyes and say, "Same as last year" to all of the individuals throwing money at them.
And finally, E3's heaven-sent Indigo Child: Watch Dogs
Ubisoft's presentation was a standout, and Watch Dogs was the crown jewel of this year's E3. The gameplay trailer combined elements from Deus Ex, Grand Theft Auto, and the Matrix into a chemically sound formula for good times. The heavily-scripted trailer's atmosphere hearkened to Gibson-era cyberpunk, and reminded gamers everywhere that E3 is about getting excited. Thanks to Watch Dogs, gamers can get giddy all over again.
(Trailer contains strong language)
Get the Arts & Culture Newsletter
Find out about upcoming performances, exhibitions, openings and special events happening in the Phoenix art and theater scene.