Thursday, July 12, 2007

New Diet E3, Tastes Like Crap

[Two posts in quick succession! Don't miss the pre-E3 post below this one. If you read them a week apart, you can create the illusion that I'm actually updating! Don't expect this pace to last.]

Yesterday morning, I was excited. Although Microsoft's press conference was fairly forgettable, I had high hopes that Nintendo was going to wow me. Needless to say, they did not, and I'm starting to feel a bit differently about them as a company. To quote Homer: "After the event, even a fool is wise." That is to say, the real Homer. You, know, the one that's not a cartoon character? Nevermind, screw it, here's a quote from my preferred Homer: "Life is just one crushing defeat after another until you just wish Flanders was dead."

I'm going to be quoting a lot. It's a coping mechanism.

The Nintendo presser was awful. I took similar notes to the ones I used in my pseudo live-blog of the Microsoft conference, but when I looked at them afterwards I got pissed off and tossed them in the trash. Here's the Coles' Notes summary: Reggie Fils-Aime masturbated for an hour over how great Nintendo is doing. He spun sales and demographic numbers for half an hour and hit us with repeated media barrages to show how great their products are, from website screen-grabs to YouTube clips and that episode of South Park where Cartman wants a Wii. Also, he introduced some over-priced hunks of plastic and gave a couple of upcoming games some firm release dates (Mario Galaxy on November 12th, Smash Bros. on December 3rd). Oh, and they announced a new Wii Mario Kart for next year, but that was as expected.

I think the whole press conference can be best summed-up by this quote from Family Guy, where Brian narrates The Blair Witch Project for a blind man: "Nothing’s happening... Nothing’s happening... Something about a map... It’s over. A lot of people look pissed."

However, dangled in front of us mid-way through was the promise that Shigeru Miyamoto, god of gaming, would be out later to unveil his new game! And then he did so, and I died a little inside. Miyamoto-san's new "game", if it can rightly be called that, might appeal to masses--hell, it might even take them by storm--but it's not for me. I am clearly not its target audience, nor were any of the press in room, and you could almost sense the disappointment in the air.

WiiFit is a Wii fitness suite that uses a new wireless plastic board that you stand on which senses your weight and how it's balanced/distributed. They trotted out a bunch of Greek gods and goddesses to demonstrate, but I can tell you right now that they didn't get to look like that by wobbling around on a plastic board. It tasks you with a number of stretches and exercises and uses the board's sensors to decide if you're doing it right. It tracks your Body Mass Index over time, and offers some other modes, like a step-dancing mode where you have to step on and off the board in time to music and a mini-game where you head soccer balls.

I think Jeremy Parish says it better than I ever could: "I invented video games. Here is an exercise mat."

All of the above may sound unusually harsh and jaded, but I can't shake the feeling that I've somehow been fundamentally betrayed. I haven't been, though. This is exactly what Nintendo's been promising all along, and I've just been too blinded by love to see it for what it is. Nintendo's always spoken of their "Revolution", and I feel as if I've finally seen a hint of just what that revolution will entail, and been terrified by the sight. It's like I'm sitting in the Galactic Senate and leaning over to the guy next to me: "Hey, is it just me, or is Senator Palpatine acting a bit different?"

At least Metroid Prime 3 is good.

So that was the Nintendo press conference. I didn't get a chance to watch Sony's yet, as I couldn't find a timely recording anywhere last night, and by the time I did I had better things to do (like watch a live stage demo of Mass Effect on Gamespot). Really, though, at this point Sony could just have a big robotic Ken Kutaragi on stage saying "Buy my grill. Buy my grill." (video reference for the ignorant) and they'd walk away with best press conference of show. I doubt I'll watch it at all now, as I haven't been able to cut myself off from all news for a second day. There were a couple of announcements, but nothing huge, and I'm too depressed to talk about it beyond that. I really wanted them to convince me to buy a PS3.

Chris Kohler said it best: "Typically, it's been the 'battle of the press conferences' to see who 'wins E3.' This year, everybody surrendered."

There was one neat press conference so far this year, actually, but it wasn't any of the big 3. Konami send out a cryptic poem before their presser, warning of a big announcement. It was the best press conference ever, as it essentially went like this: "Here's our awesome games, here's our big announcement (Silent Hill 5), we hate the new E3, don't let the door hit your ass on the way out." Fifteen minutes, and they were done. Some of the press thought it was a joke at first when they said it was over. Wham, bam, thank you ma'am.

So, that's been the new E3 thus far. I am not impressed, as it looks like everyone has decided to save their big announcements for later events. It's got a day left to win me over, but things aren't looking good. If we're lucky, maybe they'll stick with my titular analogy and bring it back next year as "E3 Classic". Until then, though, I've got a year to sample some competing soft drinks.


Anonymous Vern said...

New Jordan-doesn't-like-to-post-at-all-and-has-stopped-considering-posting-anything-intellectual iis actually playing through his video games. Boo.

Saturday, October 27, 2007 7:12:00 PM  
Anonymous vern said...

Damned linux labs. Please parse the post properly for me?

Saturday, October 27, 2007 7:12:00 PM  

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