E3 2008: My Opinions

Pardon the geekiness of the post, but... if you know me then you know that as far as my hobbies go they are wrapped up in video games and comic books.  So, for me, E3 is one of the most important "entertainment" events of the year for me.  Basically, it's the week where all the big publishers trot out their upcoming releases for the remainder of the year and a little beyond.

The biggest news usually always comes out of the big three press conferences: Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony.  The nature of the video game marketplace is very competitive, with people investing their time and money into usually one system or another and wanting their chosen system to have the best showing and "win."  However, since my dad was a 'gamer' before there ever was the term 'gamer,' we've usually always had all the systems in any given generation (Atari and Intellivision, Sega Master System and NES, etc etc).

Now that I'm older anad on my own, well... that hasn't changed.  I won the 360 through a contest, the Wii was bought on day one, and we got a PS3 because it was the cheapest blu-ray player... and anticipation of LittleBigPlanet.  So, for me, seeing what was presented at the press conferences basically sets up what I'm going to be playing for the next 6-8 months or so. 


Microsoft's Xbox Press Conference was, imho, the 'winner' this year.  For me, the most important part of gaming is having new experiences.  I've literally been gaming my whole life, so innovation is important.  This fall, Microsoft is recreating the Xbox software, changing the dashboard and adding new features.  What's the real innovation?

Xbox Primetime

Appearantly, there's going to be set gaming times where people can come together to play a game show like 1vs100.  The idea is that one person will get picked to actually be the contestant... and actually win stuff for real.  Instead of just watching 1vs100, you literally get to be a part of the mob.  Color me impressed.  Basically, Microsoft just created an entirely new genre of games, and redefined what we will come to call "episodic gaming."

What else did the announce to take up my time?  Fable 2 is going to rock my world.  In this game, everything effects everything.  You can buy any house, save - or kill - any character, etc etc.  Viva Pinata 2 will likely do a repeat of 2006 and manage to literally steal 3 full days of my life.  They also announced "You're in the Movies" which seems... interesting.  Basically, you play mini-games with the camera, and then the game pulls out the video of you playing the game and makes a movie out of it.  Could be a blast... could be a bomb.  I'm interested enough that I'll give it a look... if I can buy it w/o buying another camera.


Oh, Nintendo.  How you wound me.  I bought the Wii with such high expectations.  I dreamt of wonderful gaming, new experiences and pure, unadulterated fun.  You delivered akward gameplay and Dreamcast/Gamecube graphics.  Zelda was fun.  Thanks for that.

So this year, I had high hopes.  The Wii has been around for awhile.  Animal Crossing was due to be revealed, and surely they had some suprises.  And then... you bombed.  You failed.  It was almost embarrassing.

Wii Sports 2 was announced, with a new add-on to the controller that makes it do what the Wii should have always done: let you have sword fights.  This does look good... but doesn't come out until the Spring.  And you've burned me enough already... so you'll need more than swordfighting in Wii Sports 2 to interst me.  (I say that now... but c'mon.  It's sword fighting.  I'm buying it.)

Animal Crossing for the Wii is starting to show the limitations of the Wii.  Their online service is just way too lackluster.  It's almost painful, guys.  No central server, only 4 (i think) people in a town at a time.  And you need to let me do more than go fishing with my friends. 

Sigh.  That's it for the highlights that interested me.  You guys fumbled big time.


Sony had a very strong showing this year.  Resistance 2 almost has me more interested than Gears of War 2 (for the Xbox) does... I'll only be buying on this fall.  I might actually have to take reviews into consideration.

LittleBigPlanet is, hands down, the gaming reason I bought a PS3.  They used it in the conference to show off their numbers and data.  I cannot wait until the first time I get to make a presentation at work on "interactive media" and end up using LittleBigPlanet to do it.

Sony also showed a preview of what could have made them win the show for me... but they didn't announce any kind of release for it.  DC Universe Online is going to pick up where Microsoft fumbled (they cancelled their Marvel online game).  It's going to steal my life when it comes out.  Jim Lee on stage sealed the deal for me.  DC Universe, by itself, could make Sony the winner at next year's E3.


So...  I now get to sort out what I will be playing the next few months (outside of Rock Band 2).  It looks like Microsoft will be getting the most of my time and money, with Sony coming in  strong second.  Nintendo?  Step up your game, please.  I want to like you again.