The following blog is set for One Fall! Introducing first, he is the Hylian Champion! Winner of the Seven-Year Slam, making the Hylian Ring safer, one Powerbomb of Courage at a time!
Started gaming on an Atari 2600, grew into the gamer I am now with Nintendo, playing on an NES and SNES. Became more aware of the wider scope of gaming through the Playstation and Xbox. Now I'm loving the PC gaming life.
My favorite games include A Link to the Past, Terranigma, Guilty Gear X2, Viewtiful Joe, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, and DotA 2.
Huge comic book reader, and currently keeping up with Saga and Hawkeye.
My favorites are The Sandman Vol 4, Batman - Court of Owls, and V for Vendetta.
Lover of wrestling, although not so much of the infamous Attitude Era. Much of more a CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, and Dolph Ziggler kinda guy.
Life-long reader of books of the fictional and non-fictional variety. Love Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman, Robin Hobb, Kurt Vonnegut, Chuck Wendig and Haruki Murakami.
My biggest dream is that one day Quintet returns and makes a current generation Terranigma.
Every year at E3, we're reminded of how important this is for the gaming industry. This is the key event during which the big developers and publishers show off what they are capable of. It's the event that shows the mainstream non-gaming media what we are capable of. It's the signal flare to the rest of the world, showing that gaming is a big accepted media format. It should be a big celebration of gaming, by gamers.
Every year at E3, I am reminded that I am not the target audience for this event. That I never was the target audience for this event. In all probability, I never will be.
This year a massive Mountain Dew and Doritos campaign was launched to play into the marketing for the Xbox One. No other combination could make it more clear what the driving force was behind this, research must have been done to find a target demographic to aim this show at. In just one announcement, I felt cut off from the rest of the intended audience.
No offense to anyone who drinks Mountain Dew and/or eats Doritos. I bet you're a swell person. But you have to be aware of the stereotype. The fat loner loser gamer with unhealthy nutritional habits. Chances are you've made one or two off-hand self-depricative jokes about the connection every now and again. That's okay, you own it. The combination of certain brands creates an image, and sometimes it's impossible to shake that.
When I think Mountain Dew and Doritos together with the Xbox, the first thing that comes to my mind is Johnny Halo. Johnny Halo is wearing a white tank top, an army pattern baseball cap, and never parts with his dogtags. Johnny Halo spends his nights partying up in Halo, trying his best to raise his Skill Rank to a higher value and takes this very seriously. When not in the mood for Halo, Johnny Halo uploads his totally awesome "360 noscope" videos to YouTube. The unironic dubstep layered kind.
I just googled Johnny Halo, and Google gave me this in return:
Johnny Halo's one of those people who sounds incredibly fatigued when he talks over the microphone. He's sacrificed a lot of sleep in order to spend more time with the game he loves. You've probably played a few rounds with him if you've ever played an online session of Halo.
When the sponsors bring that kind of image to my mind, it's clear to me that this show is not gear towards me. Still, I have to give it to Microsoft, at least they brought games this time around.
Unfortunately outside of a new Panzer Dragoon title, nothing really interested me during their presentation. There were a lot of games that looked really interesting the moment they showed up, but almost instantly crushed any of my hopes as we headed towards the gameplay.
A bunch of roman soldiers interacting with each other brought hopes of an Eternal Darkness styled game. An adventure exploring the psyche of the human condition while creeping the player out wi... Oh, it's an endless cycle of quick time events. Pass.
It always bothers me when games use historic settings as a backdrop for uninspired gameplay mechanics. Here we have this rich setting filled with things you could create something interesting with. Wasted potentional. Doubly so since modern games have grown so much more complicated, intricate, and full of possibilities.
A cloaked figure walks through the desert. Slowly, carefully. He seems to be looking at something. Maybe he's thinking back to something important to him. Maybe he's found something full of meaning. Maybe, just maybe, we've hit a profound and deep game here. Maybe... It's... Master Chief.
Actual footage from the event.
Why is Master Chief even wearing a cloak? Why would a guy in a gigantic space suit wear a cloak? Can you imagine an austronaut, wearing one of those big clunky suits, just suddenly deciding to wear a cape? This is anime levels of stylistic idiocy here. It's especially frustrating because for a moment it felt like it was a slow-paced ponderous game that would go further than the usual hordes of monsters we'd seen during the entire event so far.
Actually, moments before there was another game that really grabbed my attention quite strongly. It looked like a Mirror's Edge type deal, but following a more cartoonized stylistic choice. I dug it. Everything about it looked great... And then thousands of identical monster appeared and the characters started shooting shit up.
There was also that Dead Rising demo that showed off the lack of quirkiness and weirdness that had made the series familiar with a higher number of generic looking zombies in a big open world setting. Another huge world to shoot thousands of identical enemies in.
I don't mind violence in games. I love a lot of violent games. One of my recent favorite games was Hotline Miami. And yet so many times during Microsoft's E3 I was disappointed the moment the game turned violent.
There's been this debate about what violence does to us as gamers, asking if maybe we've become too desensitized towards it. I think we need to turn this question around to the developers. They seem much more desensitized than us. While gamers as a whole can still freak out over games like Insomnia, developers seem to think a few encounters against a superior foe won't cut it anymore. Even a large amount of somewhat-strong enemies doesn't seem to hold their interest anymore. Instead we need hordes upon hordes of easy monsters to fight.
Anita Sarkeesian was right in her last Tropes vs Women video. The problem with a lot of the games she was talking about was that they were games based on violence. Because of that, violence becomes the only meaningful way to interact with the surrounding world. It's a weird thought to come back to while watching an E3 press conference, but when that giant enemy robot appeared and crushed my expectancy of an intelligent and deep game to reveal itself as a next Halo title, that is the one thing that came to my mind.
After Microsoft's press conference was over, I decided to play a round of Skyward Collapse. Sure, Skyward Collapse is essentially a strategy game where two groups wage war against each other. But it's also a narrative in which you're trying to create a balance by caring for two tribes that are trying to destroy each other. Creating balance admits chaos. Seeking purpose amongst a world that only wants blood.
It's amazing how far gaming narratives have come to do that much with the simplest of settings.
And it's good to have a reminder that there are still games being made that hold my interest. That it's not gaming that moved on from the part of the audience I have found myself in. And that it's not me who has moved on from gaming. That it's just this specific part of gaming that I no can no longer find myself in.
Maybe that's why I always want to see Nintendo's conference last, no matter when they're scheduled. Even if I don't agree with a lot of the choices they make, they at least show off games that still interest me. They might not change their game structures that much, but their games never really needed restructuring. Besides, any moment that Mega Man takes the spotlight is a good moment for me.