Wednesday, May 20, 2009

E3 Has Lost Its Mystique

Maybe I’m a bad nerd. I’ve always thought myself to be a loyal video gamer. But I really couldn’t care less about E3 anymore. It wasn’t always that way… I remember actually looking forward to E3 when I was younger. There used to be SO much to look forward to every year. But after disappointment upon disappointment and LOADS of hyped up crap, E3 isn’t even worth it for me anymore. Who’s got the time for previews and sneak peeks that won’t amount to anything short of the "$5.00 Bin"? Who’s got the money to keep up with the hype anymore? With systems that you can EASILY drop $400 - $500 upon purchase, we’re not talking casual gaming anymore… we’re talking investments. Let’s face it brothers and sisters, the gaming industry is worse then Hollywood anymore!

Anyone remember the game Red Ninja, End of Honor? I know… one from the vaults. When E3 highlighted this game, my buddies and I all went, "Whoa… now that looks cool!" Who wouldn’t want to run around as some sexy ninja chick, killing evil enemy ninjas with razor wire and sheer cunning? We waited and waited for the game to be released and hit Electronics Boutique (now GameStop of course) when the big day finally came around. We eagerly waited to check out, reading the game’s box over and over again. The second the clerk handed us the receipt, we shot out the door and practically ran the two blocks back to my house. When we tore through the plastic and threw the game in, we expected an evening of exciting gaming with a kick butt ninja chick (…with short skirt and nice rack for the heterosexuals in the crowd).What we got was about two hours of shock and disbelief. E3 had promised a kick ass ninja game, with cool perspectives, neat weaponry, and new ways to kill said enemy ninjas. It was none of these things. The game was TOTALLY bugged out, the camera was impossible to control, and the enemy ninjas appeared to have x-ray vision. Quite the opposite of what we had been led to believe. The game was promptly panned by most critics and it can now be found in the $5.00 bin at most GameStops.

Want a better example? Two words: Project Ego. This was the code name for the first Fable game. Holy Hell-ish hype, Batman! Before you start mail bombing my apartment, hear me out. This game got SOOO much coverage that it was near impossible to have missed it. You can age in game? You can marry women *AND* men? At the same time? COMPLETE open ended game play? Do whatever you want? Now cue the flashy ads and commercials. And what did gamers get when the game was delivered? Features that didn’t end up living up to how they’d been advertised… a game with no real ending… and a main character who townspeople called "Chicken Chaser" (WTF??). Yes… I know… they re-released the game with more content and even released a sequel that is doing well. But rewind and ask yourself: was that first game worth the hype? Did you buy the game straight out when it was released? Would you have gotten your money’s worth if they hadn’t released more content? Oh wait… that content wasn’t free… you had to BUY the freaking game all over again… Game, set, match methinks.

These are merely two examples of the biggest E3 tradition: HYPE. The second biggest tradition being, of course, back patting. More examples, you say? Too Human, Daikatana, and Duke Nukem Forever! It doesn’t matter how pretty your presentation is, and how many flashing lights you get… some of us still see what’s really happening. You can’t fool me anymore! OOOOHHH! Look! Kameo is finally coming out! KISS MY BOOTY! How about you spend a little bit more money on a team of people who really can make a video game, and a little less time on half naked women, cheesy booths have been done already, and flashy presentations?

My point, if you hadn’t gotten it yet, is that E3 has lost a lot of its mystique. They still make interesting announcements from time to time… and 1 or 2 sneak peeks that actually look promising. But otherwise, it’s not worth getting excited over like it used to be. Years of disappointments on top of systems and games that cost way too much make E3 less and less entertaining every year. Why spend the time? Why not just wait for the user reviews to decide on a game? At least then you get the opinion of someone NOT getting paid by the company who made the shlock! In the end, E3 is just one big sham, and I for one refuse to be dragged in anymore than I already have!


msunyata said...

An astute counterpoint to my slavishly pro-E3 pieces.

But I'm still excited as all get-out.


Ande DuLac said...

You would be. :-P