[Here's Discarded Couch Sandwich's E3 09 blog for the Regarding E3 theme. Along with this promotion, DCS is going to be getting some random swag we collected at E3! -- CTZ]
“This isn't a game where you just end up on the sofa using pre-set waggle commands,” says Kudo Tsunoda. Following that, a vast “ooooh” sweeps over the audience, with faint laughs heard dotted around some individuals. Is it me or is it really getting hot in here. “Aw naw he di'nt” shouts some fat old lady in the background, finally marring that resounding echo. And before he's even been on stage five minutes, we've already established a new main character for this show. The writers certainly knew what they were doing for this one.
E3 has the feel of an annual sitcom for gamers. It has the love, the laughs, the bad jokes, those awkward real-life situations that leave you cringing with despair from Ricky Gervais' The Office. And it has it all for five days straight, once a year, delivered direct, live to your computer. That's not to say that it has become just one big industry joke, not at all. But certainly, conventions of the traditional sitcom are present throughout, with a massive cast of likable characters, whose main task is to deliver their product to an audience, and overall, to entertain.
Heck, maybe they can even get us excited about some new games in the process!
As a kid gamer, E3 is always a highlight of the year. You're clambering in anticipation to find out all the new games you're going to be playing, and ingesting all the hype as if it were a week long sugar high. It’s a kind of arduous bliss; so many things to think about, but it'll still be a while before you get to enter the magical worlds that you've cruelly been exposed to. Worse still, if you're parents are especially well off to afford you two consoles, that's two companies you'll have to be watching closely, and twice as many videogames to spend the next year salivating over, before the hands-on time can begin. The only refuge to take is that at least there's at least one console you can laugh at over that time, which showed nothing but rubbish at the conference, and is infinitely worse than anything which you'll eventually get to play. This one of course is always the console, or consoles, which you don't own.
As times change, so does the ability to regularly afford new releases. Those days of having a game twice a year on birthdays and Christmas are gone, and regular gaming entertainment is coming in, giving the opportunity to take a more lax approach to the whole E3 process. Yes, the games coming at the press event look amazing, but I still have last year’s excitement to entertain me now. And if they aren't coming at the press event, at least I have a hilarious show to watch, complete with the painfully embarrassing conference itself, the outrageous reactions to said conference, and possibly I'll even get a chuckle from some sped up ones scattered about the Internet to Yakety Sax. E3 from this perspective certainly makes things more fun when things go wrong, and as a domino effect, also removes the need to post about the Internet in all capitals, threaten to quit gaming forever, burn my tiny mind out attempting to come up with some incredibly creative takes on swear words, and wherever possible advocate Reggie Fils-Amie's death.
Well at least those guys were enjoying themselves! Unlike the hundereds kids, screaming their faces off after being exposed to this image. And I thought Cammie said more smiles!
Now, apart from the part about making up swears which is always fun, I find that viewing the nature of the gaming trade-show as an opera for those higher-ups to strut their stuff. It's ultimately more satisfying than taking every little aspect far too seriously. I begin to wonder if the people losing their minds over this stuff even remember that gaming is supposed to be all about enjoyment. But some people have so much hate in them after these things that I don't even think the ability to enjoy is even possible for them. The idea of Just Playing Games is never more apparent, especially after the storm of an E3 has passed.
Following gaming in the media is almost as fun as actually playing games, and E3 is really the spotlight for the people that make this statement true. Once a year, they make their way on stage into the adorning yet critical sight of their public, and give them a show to prove the world what they can do. And it’s fantastic to view, to read, to listen. This is mainly to do with the strength and diversity of the cast we are regularly exposed to. For example, where would the gaming world be without wonderful characters like Keita Takahashi, Peter Molyneux, Aaron Greenberg, Denis Dyack, Miyamoto, Reggie, Kojima, that one who wears the sunglasses, and the many, many more of whom we find interesting to follow in gaming news each day. It would be a lot more boring place, I tell you. Now not to sift too close to invoking the image of fifty pence gossip magazines with the analogy, but embracing these characters actions and lightly poking at their faults and misfortunes is just another part of the laughter involved with this industry. It’s a laughter which we all should enjoy.
It’s nice to see the men in suits talking about videogames having a sense of humour. They can put on a powerful presentation, taking swipes at the competition with the weight of their words, only to face the force of an equally well dictated retaliation later on. It’s brilliant to watch. “We have Metal Gear” says Microsoft, “and now our console is truly complete.” “But we don't need that,” Sony says, “As we have the next real step of the Metal Gear series right here, in our hands,” Kojima even said so himself, even if he is making the game of which that lines subtext was trying to detract. “By the way, have you seen this new Agent thing? You don't know a thing about it, but we guarantee it’s the best thing ever made.” Even Nintendo came through as engaging viewing, with their faux-apology for last year's mishap. “Check us out, you stick your finger in this thing and it measures ... something. Oh, and before you leave, here are these trailers for a couple of Mario games, and a new Metroid we're making with Team Ninja, if you're interested.” The charisma flowing within these halls is electric. You can’t help but take some positive feeling from the experience.
Peace Walker: The true evolution of the Metal Gear franchise. Much better than that smelly Raiden game I'm also making that they're showing off over there, too. *Tear on Kojimas face edited out*
Reggie Fils-Amie. He’s a marmite kind of man, but I love that guy. In my sitcom, he would play the role of the big, dumb father of the family, who after nine seasons in view will eventually get his own spin off called “That’s Our Reggie” where each week he gets himself into various business-oriented struggles, with hilarious consequences. Possibly also with his own little jingle. And who better to play the necessary female counterpart to the show than Cammie Dunnaway, who was introduced last year with all the grace of a pedantic mid-thirties house wife that just doesn’t ‘get’ why the rest of her family believes her mind to be in the dark ages. Throw a couple of teenage kids into the mix now and you’ve got something that would probably put Two and a Half Men to shame. Heck, I’d watch that. Actually, I already kind of am. Some of Reggie’s statements already aren’t missing a laugh track, and he just has one of those large, interesting faces that are impossible to ignore. (I’ll allow you to substitute “interesting” for “stupid looking” yourself, if you like).
Animal Crossing? That's Our Reggie!!! Always up to his loveable old tricks, the little scamp!
One of my favourites to hear about is Uncle Molyneux, that scraggy old uncle of the family often accompanied by some mild, wavering mumbles from the audience as he charges his hat to the stand. And rightly so: pop your hand into this guy’s bag of tricks with the promise of candy and you’ll likely get an enema in place. But even with this, we still have a soft spot for him in our hearts. I mean, he’s not really a bad guy in the end. In fact, he comes up with some great material. It’s sitting on the edge of our couch each time he comes on though, where we silently hope that maybe this time, he’ll come through for us properly. And that is what makes him such a great person to watch, as well as a great person in general. Personally, right now I don’t think Milo has a snow cone’s chance in hell of having any lasting appeal, but I hope to high heaven that when I eventually get a hands on with this feature, I’ll feel the emotions, the attachment, and most of all, the intent that Peter Molyneux has desired to be realized in the gaming public, for the last few that gleefully excited months, waiting to show us his ambitious new project.
Sometimes though, you’ll just get a star with the magnitude to justify their erupting fanfare as they appear on stage. Miyamoto dressed in a casual 1up top, brandishing a replica Master Sword and Hylian Shield to announce Twilight Princess is just love, personified in motion. That kind of fan service is the gaming equivalent of Brad Pitt or George Clooney making a surprise appearance on your standard Friday night sitcom, because the writers had the money to burn. Then there are those like Hideo Kojima whose renown can cause a riot around anyone’s stage, due to their movie-like stardom. Certainly, putting his name on the front of the box has propelled his status as a director more than that of a game designer. Nevertheless, he continues to follow the rule that other scribes such as American McGee have seemingly forgotten: always have a classy product to deliver alongside the classy front cover. The man is as sharp as those glasses he wears, and we continue to respect, and trust the words he says. Well, apart from his tendency to give up on quitting his most successful game franchise, which we’ll joke about later. But only lightly.
The gaming world has many great characters to follow, so many in fact that it has been only possible to touch upon a fraction of them with this piece. I’d like to talk about how David Cage of Fahrenheit/Indigo Prophecy put Theory of a Deadman on my MP3, Luc Bernard’s famed Destructoid lashing, David Jaffe’s Internet rage, the amazing douchealocities of Sir Clifford “not-Cliffy-B” Blezinski, and even the entire Epic cast roll seen in the quite lovely to watch Gears of War end credits. There are too many to name, but through the good and the bad, I know that every single one of them will continue to share the same attribute. Passion.
Passion for gaming, and for what they do. It’s all to do with entertainment, and entertaining other people. In the end, isn’t that what we’re all here for?
E3 is just a show. It’s a stage for those people higher up, to astound, shock, and entertain us people interested in what they have to say. We will all have the games, and as long as there is character and passion filled in those halls, they will always have the enthusiasm to go on with them. I guess the last thing to say here, is let us all sit back, and enjoy E3 in all of its joyful, humorous, and occasionally cringe inducing glory.
This is it. This is my last ever Metal Gear Game. Uh, except for these three. And this one. Okay, this is just an excuse to post another sexy picture.