Anthony: We're back from E3, and I'm inputting all the games I found interesting into my google calendar.
Ashley: I don't know how we're going to afford all this stuff. Are you for sure buying all these?
Anthony: I fucking hope not. I'll probably rent Bayonetta, The Conduit, and most of the other crap. I'm only for-sure buying Scribblenauts, Arkham, and Ghostbusters.
And Wii Sports Resort.
Ashley: This E3 was really quite good, as you can probably tell.
Anthony: And Brutal Legend.
Ashley: Really really quite good.
Anthony: And this was your first.
Ashley: Yeah. I was very surpised. After witnessing the goings-on last year from home, I did not expect the sudden bounce back. I am bad about keeping up with news, so there were a lot of things new to me that I am now completetly enamored by, in addition to the few games I was already looking forward to.
Anthony: Yeah. I went last year, and though I enjoyed myself (mostly because it was my first E3 and I had no basis for comparison), it didn't feel like what people described to me as "the true E3." When Microsoft announced Project Natal that first day, I thought -- "Well, with that one announcement, E3 2009 is now more interesting than everything that happened in E3 2008."
As ludicrously creepy as Natal is.
Ashley: I don't think there could have been many better announcements made than what we got this year. Within reason, of course.
Anthony: "Microsoft will deliver a Felicia Day to every customer who experienced a red-ring failure"
Ashley: Unfortunately, we're only catching up with a lot of the news now. Things were too nuts at the show to keep up.
We actually saw her going into the convention.
Anthony: We did. And that was, like, six hours after I told you that it was a good thing that she'd probably left the convention, because if I met her we'd run away together.
And then we saw her, and I didn't run away with her.
Ashley: You were more enamored with the breakfast we had about ten minutes afterward.
Was Felicia Day your biggest disappointment at E3?
Anthony: When I saw Reggie standing next to the Tony Hawk: Ride booth, Jim wasn't around to take a huge bite out of his meaty exterior.
That was my biggest disappointment. Felicia Day was probably number two on that list.
Or, that I saw Badger from Firefly (Mark Sheppard) and wanted to take a picture with him, and -- for the only time during the entire conference -- you had borrowed it and were across the convention center taking shots of the Into the Pixel exhibits.
Ashley: And I ended up not even needing those pictures! Hahah.
Anthony: Laugh while you can still breathe.
Ashley: Though it's not really funny, cause I would have liked that picture too.
Anthony: We still got a picture of you next to the actual Ecto-1 used in Ghostbusters 1: Bustin' Makes Me Feel Good.
Ashley: At the time, we didn't know it was the original car. The next day, they put the sign out revealing it as such. We had thought it was just a very well done replica beforehand. We subsequently freaked out.
Anthony: Especially because it was blaring the Ghostbusters theme nonstop for the entire day.
We also met Carlos Ferro, the guy who played Dom from Gears of War, at a party.
Ashley: He was pretty cool. We kept bumping into each other many times after that.
Anthony: Oh, and we went back to Scribblenauts on the last day.
Ashley: Determined to put the word bank to the test!
We went back to the whale level to try to pull him back into the water. First, we typed "helicopter", but before we could connect the rope to it, the whale raised its head and destroyed it because we dragged it to close to him, and I assume he was pretty angry to be in his situation.
Anthony: Then he destroyed a space shuttle, a plane, and a rocket. Scribblenauts has this unfortunate thing where if you touch your item more than once -- like, if you try to place it somewhere but then decide you might want to place it somewhere else before activating it -- it automatically activates it the second time. So I kept trying to move it away from the whale, but the shuttle/plane/whatever would just plummet to the ground and the whale would kick its ass.
Ashley: And we were playing a sort of challenge mode, where you can't use the same word twice. So we had to keep coming up with new flying machines. But it inadvertently helped us with our test. After going through several other types of flying machines, we finally got a blimp to carry the whale to the water.
Anthony: And then we saw some other dude play this round where you had to get past shark-infested waters.
And I thought, "Alright. He could create spears to kill the sharks, or just put them in cages, or maybe blow them up."
He typed in, "TV."
Dropped it in the water.
Electrocuted the fucking sharks.
Ashley: The game is brilliant. I think it's probably my best of show.
Anthony: The dude then typed the word "SUB," and the game asked him: do you mean a sandwich, or a submarine?
This is the single greatest choice I have ever been presented with in a videogame.
Ashley: Oh, and we also got to go to a great party put on by the guys behind The Misadventures of P.B. Winterbottom.
Anthony: They were incredibly cool, especially given the fact that the last article I wrote about them started with the words, "Fuck Matt Korba."
Ashley: I can sympathise with you now, because after discussing their work with them, I want to make a game of my own.
Anthony: They could run through a crowded room slapping people willy-nilly, and everyone they touched would probably leave with the desire to make a game.
It's some sort of superpower of theirs.
I'm going to use that to segue into my longtime love affair with Arkham Asylum.
I played that game no less than three separate times while on the show floor: first to try the Joker levels, next to try the Batman silent predator challenge room, and finally to actually beat the silent predator challenge room.
In my GDC preview I expressed a lot of worry that the stealth would be too easy and effectively optional, that you could just go through the entire game mindlessly pummelling people.
I was really, really pleased to see that wasn't the case. Batman dies after about a second and a half of sustained gunfire.
But I still felt kinda powerful and cool, picking off the goons one by one.
It's weird -- this year, I saw three different games (Arkham, Aliens vs Predator, and Splinter Cell Conviction) that are doing some really, really interesting stuff with stealth where you aren't just a completely weak sneaky mcsneakerson, but a relatively strong character in your own right who just happens to use stealth to your advantage.
Ashley: As a person that normally doesn't like what stealth games do, even I found all of this to be an interesting turnabout for the genre. Watching Anthony play through the Arkham Asylum stealth mission actually made me excited about the changes to come to stealth missions.
Anthony: Yeah, really. Up until now, the best mixture of stealth and action I'd seen came from MGS4, and I was really happy to see that those three games I mentioned seem to match or surpass MGS4 in that regard.
Ashley: The best thing about this E3 was finally getting to meet both my co-workers at Destructoid, and all of the community members who were there as well. I was a bit shy around everyone, but I was very comfortable around them at the same time.
I am thankful for the opportunity Niero gave me to be able to attend this event, and to be there alongside such a great group of people. It was good times.
I can't express these things enough.
Anthony: It's interesting, meeting people you've known online in person.
There's this slight moment of awkwardness that almost instantly gives way to familiarity, and it becomes an extension of whatever relationship you had with them online.
Literally the first thing Brad Nicholson said to me was, "You're a TWIG, man. JESUS."
And the rest of the time I made fun of his pecs.
It all worked out.
Ashley: It was like being a part of a live action merger of all of Destructoid's podcast. There were lots of "AAAMAAAAZINGGGG"s and groans whenever Samit talked about sports games.
Anthony: That's probably the best summary of meeting the Dtoid staff I could have heard.
Ashley: We saw a lot of things this year at E3, and now that I think about it, none of it was bad.
Anthony: Some of it was pretty stupid, but even the stupid stuff was interesting in its own way.
Ashley: All in all, I'd say it marks a good year for gaming. Would you agree with that?
Ashley: Well, that settles that, then.
Anthony: You wanna keep doing back-and-forth previews like this for subsequent events?
Maybe video versions.
Ashley: Most definitely. It's fun and the format allowed us to cover a lot more games.
Anthony: Take that, People Who Didn't Like the Format.
Ashley: Hopefully, we'll see you again come the next big event that needs to be doubleteamed by Burch 'n Davis.
Anthony: Draw a picture of us pulling an Eiffel Tower on the LA Convention Center.
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