I don’t know about you folks but I find it hard to believe that we’re now so close to E3 2011. For me it’s an event where for a small handful of days I go all-out nuts and spend the large majority of my free time immersed in the hours of coverage, the flashy press conferences, and the reams of news which pour forth from the internet. While the industry seems to be getting better at spacing out their game releases over the year, for obvious reasons a huge amount of the gaming news is still precision-focused on this one tiny part of the year and it makes for a thrilling, if not slightly overwhelming week of games journalism.
Me and E3
I latched onto E3 back in my early teens around the same time I first discovered Gamespot, the site which became my first real hub for everything video games. Back when I first encountered it I was fairly detached from the industry and had little idea what any of the games they were showcasing were, let alone the nature of the expo itself, but I remember a distinct feeling of excitement and right now I find few things quite as enthralling and joyous as E3. For the past few years the Giant Bomb coverage has certainly helped enhance the experience as well; I think the atmosphere of their podcast and videos has been at some of its best when set against the backdrop of those four days of interactive entertainment insanity. Props to the GB crew and all the other hard-working journalists out there foregoing sleep in the coming week to bring us coverage of the event.
Unfortunately, I’ve also found that E3 has been a time for the console fanboys to make themselves known... I mean more than usual. Luckily we’re not plagued with such things here on Giant Bomb but elsewhere and most memorably for me, at Gamespot, E3 would whip some users into a frenzy of immaturity, insults, and delusion in their “my box of circuit boards is better than your box of circuit boards” squabble. I know, I should just avoid those sites, but it seems a rather sad state of affairs when we have to seclude ourselves completely from some of the most prominent gaming communities because they have been overtaken by a surge of misguided fourteen year olds and grown men acting like misguided fourteen year olds, but as we know this is all part of a larger issue which it’s not worth getting into right now.
What I’m Looking Forward Too
So, what am I interested most in this year? Well, not that I’m really aiming to purchase them, but purely from the standpoint of curiosity I’m interested to see what kind of a presence 3D technology makes at the show this year, what non-gaming services (if any) the big three will be adding to or modifying on their consoles, and where “casual gaming” goes from here. I just don’t know what Sony’s next step will be after the disappointing sales of the Move and it’ll be interesting to see how Microsoft plan to build on the success of the Kinect. That’s before we even start thinking about Nintendo who, according to various different rumours have built a console with HD capability, a Blu-Ray player, a DVD player, a hard-drive, motion controls, a conventional controller, a touch screen, a camera, and an outdoor patio. It’ll be worth tuning in just to see what rumours are true.
As for products I may actually plan to exchange money for, the first three games that jump to mind are Mass Effect 3, Batman: Arkham City and Bioshock Infinite, but I’m sure there’ll be plenty more to ogle in the coming days. One of the things I always look forward to most in E3 though is the surprises, those big announcements that you weren’t expecting, and the press conferences are chock full of them. In fact speaking of surprises and press conferences I often feel that there’s a wonderful underlying bizarreness to E3 which is never fully acknowledged by most journalism outlets. Perhaps it’s a side-product of something to do with the games industry as a whole, but taking last year alone as an example, even ignoring the still baffling Konami spectacle, we had Cirque du Soleil doing a performance based around the Kinect, a Microsoft rep taking an Xbox out of another Xbox, GLaDOS assuming control of the Sony press conference, Nintendo showcasing a video where an evil Reggie trapped Miyamoto and Iwata inside a 3DS, the Ubisoft press conference featuring a laser gun battle, the Ubisoft press conference spontaneously breaking into dance at the end, Skittles, and much more. While I’m really following the event for the games and console announcements I also can’t wait to see more of the almost unintentional madness that comes along with E3 this year.
They Mean Business
Oh, and not to end on too much of a downer here but one thing has fairly consistently come up at each E3, which has been a bit of an issue among even us Giant Bombers. With presentations of games being shown in more than one press conference, companies worrying about demographics we’re not a part of and a whole host of other issues, the press conferences can occasionally fall into pockets of boredom. If you find parts of the press conferences or even stuff on the show floor a little bland and uninteresting there’s nothing wrong with voicing your opinion (I know I will), but remember that it’s not necessarily a mistake on the manufacturer’s/producer’s/developer’s part. E3 is a fantastic chance for us to see some of the most exciting gaming software and hardware in development, but it is primarily a business event, and as such the main goal of the companies there is to show their business partners and investors what they need to see. Just something to keep in mind.
Duder, It’s Over
Anyway, I shall keep you no longer, we have all a very interesting week ahead of ourselves. Thanks for reading, good luck, and get hype.