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AJ LaSaracina's blog

3:50 PM on 05.31.2011

E3 Approaches: No More Gimmicks

Iím fairly excited for E3 this year. Partly because Iím home bored out of my skull recovering from back surgery, but mainly because I feel like I've invested so much lately in all the industriesí gimmicky shit that Iím owed something. Something to bring me peace of mind that the last couple of dollars that Iíve thrown down is actually worth something to them, something that proves theyíre looking to evolve.

Let me say that growing up I fell for a gaming gimmick twice. The first was Sega 32X. What a machine that was... two decent games? maybe? I played the shit out of Star Wars, that was awesome. I wanted a Sega CD but my parents said ďNOĒ when I was little, although I swore they were the spawn of Satan, I praise them now for actually seeing the light. I wised up and never had the misfortune of doing the add-on thing until the Nintendo 64ís memory expansion pack that ďenhancedĒ Rogue Squadron. Remember that? ya, so do I. It upped the on screen textures from twelve to thirteen. FUCKING GENIUS!. I could complain about the PS2ís HDD but since Final Fantasy XI sucked five or so years out of my life, Iíll go out on a limb and say I got my moneyís worth on that one.

Now that I'm older, wiser, and balder It all started again so innocently with Kinect. Amazing premise! Like every other sap, I saw the demos from last year and quickly told all my friends about it! Shit! the FUCKING FUTURE RIGHT?! Launch day came, invited some people over, had a blast! Ever since? zero execution. This year at E3 I'm expecting to actually get something of substance from Microsoft when it comes to their latest addition to the consoles. I was the first to purchase the add-on to the console, got some great games like Dance Central, Kinect sports and obviously Kinectimals (leave me alone, the Kitties are cute) but seriously, where has been the titles for the past 6+ months? Iím hungry to give you money Microsoft, I'm hungry to eat up the crap you wanna spoon feed me, but myself as well as the entire gaming community has been waiting for that sustenance and youíve given me jack and shit. When new titles are released, theyíre rehashed gimmicky games that weíve already seen. How many fitness games can we release? or better yet, how about ANOTHER game thatís just mini games like darts and bowling, YES! THATíS WHAT PEOPLE WANT! FUCK YA!

Sony has done a decent job keeping up with Move. I recently jumped on that bandwagon when Socom 4 had the bundle that put Move in package I just couldnít resist. There has been a steady stream of titles for Move ranging from good (Tiger Woods) to everything else and I think Sony has done a significantly better job than Microsoft has done with utilizing their technology and getting different titles into peopleís hand. Ya, a lot of the games seem to have Move support tacked on. Heavy Rain is probably the exception. The developers went out of their way to release an update that ADDED something to their original game when using move. Holy shit, someone, somewhere is actually TRYING to move units.

But hereís the thing...I donít think people want to be ďWOWedĒ with these ďnew and innovativeĒ ways to play a game, I really donít. I think they want their games they know and feel comfortable with via their traditional means of play, but perhaps with new technology as a way to enhance that. So I think the companies need to take a step back and help change they way they interact with their software...but that doesnít mean abandoning everything familiar. Why canít Microsoft make a new Squad based FPS that is as familiar as Rainbow Six Vegas, or Ghost Recon that uses Kinect AND a controller. Why canít I be blasting bad guys, fling out my right hand and make two signals to tell my squad to move forward and cover me? Why is it either a controller to play my traditional games or me flailing my arms around like a jackass hitting a volley ball?

Donít get me started with Wii. I hope we NEVER see this vitality senor thatís been ďteasedĒ (I use that word yet cringe as I write it, to tease something you need to actually WANT it or have a desire to own it...vitality sensor...really?) I donít want to see the three titles that are introduced then have the peripheral gather dust. I learned my lesson with Wii Speak and Monster Hunter. What a great investment that setup was...used once, less than half a dozen games supporting it. Rockband 63 will probably be in attendance too, showing even more plastic instruments that barely expand the platform. I get this is semi different since itís a platform and not so much as an add-on to a console but it still waste my money. Last time I purchased plastic instruments was the DJ Hero 2 double pack. Was great fun to have friends over, enjoy some adult soda and spin beats...NOW ITíS FUCKING USELESS.

Regardless, Iím going way off topic but , perhaps itís my fault for expecting these game manufactures and publisher to think outside the box, or to actually TALK to gamers and other people who would buy their products. I want these add-ons to not just be last minute attempts to make money with an aging consolse. I want them to succeed and to change the consoles they are a part of, but nothing right now is driving that forward in the software space. Perhaps itís a sign that when the Kinectís best software implementation is what some MIT student thought up in-between taking a mid term, than what our current industry is giving us; Carnival Games: Monkey See, Monkey Do.   read

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