When E3 2014 comes to a close late on Thursday evening, as our final live show cuts to black, I'll have been attending the gaming expo for roughly half my life. I started attending at 14-years-old, and I turned 29-years-old earlier this year.
What does one take away from E3?
I just want to sit on the couch and watch it like you!
But more seriously, it's difficult to parse how much E3 has changed since my first attendance in Atlanta, Georgia in 1998. It was a bombastic, loudmouthed show back then, and it's a bombastic, loudmouthed show in 2014. The big game that sticks out in my mind in 1998, though, was Metal Gear Solid. I remember stacks and stacks of crates in Konami's booth, and I watched the MGS trailer loop over and over again, as my dad wondered when we'd finally leave this speaker-filled nightmare.
The biggest difference, to be honest, is my role at the show. This year has been especially interesting, since I put together our nightly live shows. We have roughly 51 guests showing up across the four live shows, which sounds crazy when you add it all up. Assuming everyone shows up--knock on wood--we should have something pretty special for all of you. It was an honor putting together those shows with Ryan the past few years, and I can only hope we have something that lives up to that legacy.
You'll have to tell me, though. I'll see you all next week.
Hey, You Should Play This
And You Should Read These, Too
If we are what we eat, we are what we play, too. It should come as little surprise that a generation of consumers growing up shooters would, then, want to make more shooters. That's not the only reason gaming sometimes finds itself in a creative rut with its largest productions, but it's one element, and what's happening at the NYU Game Center might be one element that helps turn that tide. When you realize Journey and The Unfinished Swan both came from designers who spent time learning about game development in an academic environment, the idea of going to school to learn about games isn't so crazy.
"Jenova Chen was a graduate student at U.S.C. when he designed Flow, a video game that was released for the PlayStation 3 in 2007. Five years later, his independent studio, thatgamecompany, captured several Game of the Year awards for Journey, a mesmerizing downloadable game that yields a sensation of personal, even religious, transformation. Its success has instilled a new respect for formal schooling in game design.
“Historically, I’ve always been aware of these programs,” said Alex Lee, an executive producer at Sony’s studio in San Mateo, Calif. “It’s only in recent years that they’ve become meaningful.”
It turns out we can have a lengthy discussion about the state of our world through the lens of Mario Kart's infamous blue shell. In Mario Kart 8, Nintendo's finally given players an option to dismantle the blue shell, albeit with some scarcity. Nonetheless, in an equally earnest and sarcastic fashion, Ian Bogost walks us through the state of technology and culture, using the constant that is Mario Kart, and its dastardly blue shell, as a touchstone. Nintendo might not have ascribed this much meaning to its powerful, game-altering item, but I certainly found myself nodding through the whole piece.
"'The Blue Shell is everything that's wrong with America.'
Ok, nobody said that, but you can imagine someone having done. The Blue Shell steals progress from a rightfully earned win on behalf of the lazy and the incompetent. The Blue Shell wrests spoils from leaders' fingers just as they reach for the laurel. The Blue Shell is the cruel tax of gaming, the welfare queen of kart racing. God damn you kids today. We used to have to win a race to win it."
If You Click It, It Will Play
These Crowdfunding Projects Look Pretty Cool
- A Song for Viggo wants to tell the sad story of a parent who accidentally kills his child.
- Tormentum hopes to bring horror to the point 'n click adventure genre.
- Kickstarter has simplified its rules for bringing projects to life on its service.
Tweets That Make You Go "Hmmmmmm"
I feel bad for people who can't program because they're captive to what other people think they should be able to do on a computer.— Chris Hecker (@checker) May 30, 2014
High on ecstasy, we play dodgeball with Phil Fish against a team of his internet haters while discussing games as geometry.— ViceGamesMag (@ViceGamesMag) October 22, 2013
Friends don't let friends design mission-critical turret sequences— Chris Remo (@chrisremo) June 3, 2014
Game idea: you're a lady constantly fending off assassins trying to fridge you to motivate your bf's revenge— Aevee Bee (@MammonMachine) May 28, 2014
Being a designer is having one moment of genius, then spending the rest of your career chasing that feeling you had, but never finding it.— Manveer Heir (@manveerheir) June 4, 2014
TowerFall Just Launched on Mac 'n Linux, Here's Some Steam Codes
Oh, And This Other Stuff
- Peter Howell files an exhaustive postmortem on Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs.
- Emily Dreyfuss profiles a man who turned his bedroom into an arcade, and it changed his life.
- Leigh Alexander has written a fictional account of the Atari dig with plenty of non-fictional reflection.
- Lindsey Weedson explores the growing conversation about mental health and video games.
- Mark Jacbos reflects on his time as the head of the now-dead Mythic Entertainment.
- Brendan Keogh tries to figure out why AAA games are often bad at big themes.
- Merritt Kopas explains why Saints Row is great at dismantling heteronormative romance culture.
- Andy McNamara speaks with Naughty Dog about the studio's recent employee departures.
- Richard Moss finds out who's keeping the old, ancient machines of the past relevant in 2014.
- Kirk Hamilton performs a critical takedown of Watch Dogs, defusing my interest in the process.
- Jon Bois manages to kill basketball in his latest column. RIP, basketball.
- Brian Shea talks to Turtle Rock's fired community manager about why he was ousted.
- Ian Willliams tries to understand why CCP was unable to make World of Darkness work.
- Tim Colwill reviews Ubisoft Game, a scathing critique of Ubisoft's approach to open world.