Quick Thoughts. Not by Jack Handy.

Let's do this, fools!  
 
--You know why I like the Starcraft 2 coverage last week, even if I never pick up that game?  It was fantastic to see some genuine enthusiasm and good spirits about a game around these parts again.  In a time when all I see (and feel) is cynicism, Brad's happiness over a game gone terrifically right is a breath of fresh air.  We should all be so lucky to have a game in the near future that gives us all that feeling.  Me, I'm hoping Fallout New Vegas is the ticket.  Man, do I love me some Fallout.   Seriously, Internet compadres, take a break from the cynicism and the hate for a while.  After about ten years of seeing the Internet become the home of callous douches, I don't want to see Giant Bomb turn into that place too. 
 
--No review will be forthcoming on Wolfenstein.  After the mission to save the resistance leader, my loaded games now won't let me fire a weapon.  Great.  I liked the game for its relatively fun (if slightly generic) campaign and excellent weapon upgrade system, but honestly, I'd never pay more than $20 for this game.  And don't even bother with multiplayer.  Yet another example of a game passed by others doing it bigger and better, which is too bad - some of these weapons and abilities could have been a blast in multiplayer. 
 
--Finished Sam and Max Season 2.  As a whole, I liked it a lot better than the first season.  I've started season 3, and I've got mixed feelings about it.  I don't like the new menus or the click-and-drag walking, but I like the variations in the environment and basic gameplay from the first two seasons. 
 
--I lost my slap bet to my brother on my Gamerscore bet, though I ultimately came within about 600 points of matching his.  I made up a hell of a lot of ground, thanks mostly to Lego Star Wars and Banjo and Kazooie.  I'll still overtake his score, perhaps in the coming month as I've borrowed a few games from him (including the afore-mentioned Wolfenstein).  I'm going to start Red Dead Redemption soon.  Hopefully I can play it without having to read the text or be able to see the map, though I'm a little doubtful.  After that is Left 4 Dead 2. 
 
And that's it.  What are all of you playing?  Up to anything fun in these crazy summer days?

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Friends don't let friends (or family) impulsively buy games

People, if you're on this site and reading this, no Vegas bookie would take the odds that you don't do your homework on games, be that a review, preview, demo, or a variant on Giant Bomb's own Quick Looks.  You're also probably smart enough to tell people, "Hey, you really should check that game out before you buy it, you know?"  Friends, I made a horrible mistake today by not emphasizing that point again and again to someone who should know better.  
 
You know the type of guy.  He knows just enough about computers and eBay to make purchases, and despite the fact that this person has been burned on a dozen different used purchases, still makes the same goddamn rookie mistakes.  He's the guy that opens every forward because he knows who sent it to him, and "that guy wouldn't send me a virus!"  He's the guy with a computer always loaded with viruses, bugs, spyware, and a metric ton of shitty bargain bin games, save for the ones you've purchased for him.  He's the guy with a console, with one or two good games and twenty copies of shit similar to Cabela's Big Game Hunting and Raving Rabbids.  Yep, he's That Guy. 
 
Well, today, I had a chance to stop That Guy from making one hell of a dumb mistake.  We were at That Big Superstore Run By Satan's Minions, and I was doing my thing, buying up stock in Axe, cheese, and chimichangas (oohhh, chimis - I'm gonna write you an epic later.  No, an ode.  Something.), when That Guy comes at me with a cart full of his junk and a big shiny copy of... you know, I have no goddamned clue what the name of this heap of steaming shit is.  I think it's called X5 Fishing, but I can't find anything about it on the wide, wide world of the 'net.  That should give you your first clue as to the high quality of this priceless gem.  It was bundled with an entire Wii fishing rod, which is far too cheaply made to be even a product of some Chinese sweatshop (by the way, Bai Xing, get your ass back to work and make daddy some money). 
 
I should have held up the hand and stopped this foolishness right then and there.  I should have just said no.  I should have asked politely if That Guy had ever heard of this game, the product, or hell, even any of the developers.  I should have punched him out, stolen his wallet, and ran before he could have spent his admittedly hard-earned money on this gaming equivalent to being the recipient of a Cleveland Steamer.  But no, ladies and gents.  I was tired, and I really, really, really hate That Gigantic Clusterfuck of a Superstore Run By Satan and His Minions, so instead of saying anything, I grunted a noncommital response to his orgiastic enthusiasm for the game, and we got the hell out of Dodge. 
 
Two hours later, and That Guy is powering up his Wii, putting together the fishing rod, and practically bouncing out of his chair.  Me, I was cringing and waiting for the inevitable "What the fuck?"  I wasn't disappointed.  After about five minutes of near apoplexy from winging his arm at the screen trying to get the broken game to read his movements, That Guy finally delivered that fabled cheap-ass game discovery phrase.  And I, dear Reader, was left with that horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach - and no, it wasn't from the ridiculous amount of Little Caesar's pizza I had scarfed earlier.  This was guilt.  Because of my laziness and abhorrence of That Huge Hellish Superstore, That Guy wound up with a shitty fishing game and obscenities stuck in his craw. 
 
Don't be a tool.  Never, ever let your friends implusively buy shitty games.  The more you know...

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Blog! It's what's for supper!

-The Book of Eli was a fantastic movie.  I just watched it today, finally, and I'm incredibly pleased by it.  The cinematography was excellent, and it had a surprising amount of inspiration to its story, especially in its final moments.  The only part I didn't like was the George and Martha sequence, which felt a bit too zany and not creepy enough.  It really could have been inserted much earlier into the film in a non-related sequence as a world-building element, and I would have been fine with it.  As it stands, it was a strange break and was the only jarring moment in an otherwise spectacular bit of film-making.  
 
-Enchanted Arms is cliched in just about every possible way it can be for a JRPG, and yet I'm still incredibly hooked on it.  I'm trying to finish it as quickly as possible in order to get to my achievement score goal of around 16500 by the end of the month, but I suspect I'll be returning to it at some point in the next few years.  The characters, story, and settings are awful, but the core mechanics and the Pokemon-like "catch them all" golems are a riot.  It's weird to say, but I'm enjoying the romp much more than I enjoyed Final Fantasy XIII.  That's not to say it's the better game, but the mechanics are definitely a hell of a lot more fun and I'm finding myself more drawn into the gaming aspect as opposed to the "let's just get to the next checkpoint" feel of FFXIII. 
 
-Monkey Island 2 is still illogical and the worst in the series, but regardless of that, it's a hell of a fun game and its sense of humor holds up remarkably well.  Give it a go if you're looking for an adventure game to play. 
 
-Look for a blog on The Boondocks soon.  I have a real love/hate relationship with this show.  I think it's intelligent, witty at times, and has some of the best animation of any TV show since the 90's, but I do take affront at some of the show's stereotyped whites as being people who don't give a shit about the condition of blacks or just acting like ignorant dipwads.  Give some of us credit, Boondocks, and you'll go a long ways towards making me a more permanent fan.  Also, look for more thoughts on The Big Bang Theory, which I'm just starting to get into. 
 
-Fuck Aegis Wing.  I downloaded it for achievements, and can't even make it past the first level.  That shit got deleted after ten minutes.  I hate side-scrolling shooters.

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Slap bet over my achievement score

My brother and I agreed upon a bet last night.  I have until the end of July to beat his Gamerscore (about 2,000 more points than mine).  It should be easy for me to make up the initial 2,000 points, but here's the kicker.  He lives in a town with game rental stores, whereas I live in the buttcrack of nowhere.  But I've got several advantages of my own, in that I have a few "rainy day" games I've had around and never really played all that much, as well as a huge amount of free time.  We'll see who can win out!

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It's time to set aside Nuts and Bolts

Banjo & Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts is a bit of a strange game to play.  In a lot of ways, it's easily one of the most brilliantly designed games I've ever played.  If game development theory is a topic in any college classes, this should be a prime example of how wonderful the idea of "do it yourself" gaming can be.  However, it doesn't come without a great many flaws, most of which appear to have been lifted straight out of its predecessors (problematic camera angles, some poor platforming elements when on foot), while introducing a few new ones (most notably, combat before you receive any auto-aim weapons).  It's not that Nuts and Bolts is a terrible game - as a matter of fact, if you enjoy games, you should pick this up without hesitation - but it definitely could have used more time to fix what's under the hood.  It's got a wonderful foundation, but the slapdash trailer house set on that foundation is shaky as hell.  
 
My frustration and admiration of the game have led me to decide to shelve it, for now.  There are still some minor achievements I want, and I've yet to beat Gruntilda (sitting on about seventy-ish Jiggies, maybe closer to eighty), so I'll be picking it up again.  But for now, it's time I move on to different games. 
 
I've been playing The Sims 3 lately, when it works.  I get some odd crashes that I attribute to my laptop's strain in playing this game.  It makes it frustrating, but if I carefully plan on saving every fifteen to twenty minutes, it's not so bad.  I'm planning on playing Enchanted Arms next on the 360, a game given as a gift to me a while back and one I've sadly yet to crack open.  Now's as good of a time as any, I suppose.  Besides that, I'll be playing a bit of everything on the laptop, including Sam and Max season 2, Max Payne 2, Star Wars: Empire at War, and as much Civ 4 as I can fit into the nooks and crannies.  Whew, that's a lot.  And on the 360 side, I've got some demos I want to try out, as well as more Puzzle Quest 2.  I'm really, really liking that game, though it's a shame they've dropped some of the awesome RPG elements.  Netted the OMGHAX achievement within about four battles, which is one I figured I'd never get.  Nice!   I'm also playing Super Mario Galaxy 2 when I can.  I loaned my Wii to my brother for next few months, so I'm having to play that on my parents' TV which limits the amount of time I get to play it.  It's a superb game, definitely worth all the praise it's received, and so far, it's my game of 2010.
 
So yeah, that's all for right now.  Hopefully should be able to pick up Monkey Island 2 somewhere down the line, but for now, it's back to writing and finding a job.  And since I watched Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure this morning for the first time in nearly ten years... 
 
Be excellent to each other!
 
EDIT: Apparently, no Sims 3 for me.  I don't know why (I suspect my video card), but I get a consistent crash when I switch from Buy to Live modes.  Sucks, but oh well - got tons of other shit to play.

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My favorite moment in Nuts and Bolts

I really like Nuts and Bolts, but several little issues keep it from being a perfect game.  One of those issues is combat, especially of the vehicular manslaughter kind.  Aiming is damn near impossible, especially when moving.  That's why I normally hate combat missions with a passion.  But last night, I was a man on a quest for Jiggies, and I was not to be denied by anything in my way.  Yes, I was probably slightly drunk.  
 
The Jiggy in question comes from the farm area.  Basically, you have to defend a farm's statue from Gruntilda's bombers.  At first, I tried an aerial attack using my baby, a giant helicopter-looking thing I call Thumper.  Didn't work.  Added a grenade turret to Thumper, and did some plane killin' from there.  Still ultimately failing the mission, I was growing frustrated until I thought of an insane solution.  Why not build something that could protect the statue? 
 
I proceeded to visit the handy dandy ol' workshop.  I started with a flat top of heavy bricks, adding a few rows of lighter ones around the heavies for extra width.  From there, I added four support columns of light bricks, each about seven bricks high.  With a few light bricks left, I added some horizonatl bars to the mix for added protection from the sides.  On the top, I added propellers and Banjo's seat.  Under the top, I loaded it with engines and fuel.  When I took the bad boy out on the track, sure enough, it flew - maybe not straight as an arrow (OK, it looked like a bumblebee had dipped into grandpa's cough medicine), but the sucker flew! 
 
I took the flying tower to the mission, and lo and behold, it worked.  It was too slow to nab the TT trophy, but I got the Jiggy, which is damn well good enough for me.

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Companies similar to Dell and Alienware?

Yahoo News has an interesting article on the downfall of Dell.  In a way, their faulty craptacular parts affected me last year, when my video card decided to blow its own brains out.  It has me thinking, though - what companies, if any, offer similar custom PC's you can adjust and buy as a whole?  Or is this a dying trend?  If so, I'm not enthused.  I hate trying to put together parts in PC's due to my vision problems, and I sure as hell don't want to buy some cheap piece of shit from Sam's Club.  It's nice to have a company where you can pick your parts and go with it. 
 
Any ideas?

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Top franchises I want to see Lego-fied

After playing LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga (which, if you're still out there, GamerGeek360, has some awesomely easy achievements), I've decided to chime in on my top franchises that deserve a LEGO video game.  Yes, I know, property rights will make practically all of these impossible - this blog is merely for fun and speculation.  
 
EDIT - Thanks to bigandtasty for pointing out that the developer was Traveller's Tales, not Telltale.  Again, my talent for confusing simple names shows itself.  My name's Forrest Gump.  Most people around here call me Forrest Gump.
 
1.  Pirates of the Caribbean 
 
It's an action-comedy-drama with a ton of heart, and it should translate well into the LEGO world Traveller's Tales has created.  The only problem might be the lack of characters to draw from for bonuses, but maybe Traveller's Tales could draw upon real-life pirates and people of the pirate era.   
 
2.  King Arthur 
 
Continuing with that idea from Lego PotC, let's assume that Traveller's Tales doesn't strictly draw characters from Arthurian legend (though there are many), but also upon Anglo-Saxon, French, and Germanic mythology and legend.  There's a ton of possibilities there story-wise, and who knows?  Maybe we'd even get a Holy Hand Grenade. 
 
3.  Lord of the Rings 
 
Now here are some works with plenty of characters, battles, and areas to use.  Of all the ideas I've hemmed and hawed about on this list, this one is probably my favorite, simply because of the potential for silliness and great gameplay.  Throw in the incredible score from the movies, and you'd be set. 
 
4.  Film Classics 
 
This one is wide open to interpretation, but I'd love to see a Lego game built around one-off films and classic cinema moments.  Utilizing a movie cinema as the gaming hub, you could jump into any movie poster and reenact that movie with Legos.  Action classics off the top of my head I'd love to see make the cut - King Kong, Magnificent Seven, Saving Private Ryan, and Rambo.  Or you could go non-traditional movies, like sports (Rocky), romance (Casablanca), noir (Maltese Falcon), sci-fi (Blade Runner), or comedy (Young Frankenstein?).  It would make for a nice break from the normal Traveller's Tales Lego set-up to do less-action oriented games, but some deep care and thought would have to be made as to how to do it right without losing both younger and older audiences.
 
5.  The Simpsons 
 
This makes a lot of sense, but I'm not too sure as to how a comedy-oriented franchise would translate into the already goofy Lego world.  Done right though, this could be a hilarious way to recreate classic episodes of the Simpsons, or to create an entirely new Simpsons game similar to the last excellent Simpsons action game.   
 
6.  Ghostbusters 
 
It would be hard to create a typical Traveller's Tales game around the Ghostbusters franchise, but if they ditched all the notions of their prior games, I think they could come up with some ingenius ways to translate the films to games.  It would have to be less action heavy, and interaction between the team would be have to be done without speech, meaning the movie's biggest draw (the dialogue) is out the window.  Still... it has possibilities.

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E3 Awards

I'm back from vacation, so here are my belated E3 awards, fresh out of the oven and ready for your consumption.  Play on, players! 

Most Disappointing Use of a Franchise Name

  
  
XCOM 
 
It's not so much that XCOM looks like a terrible game (it does).  It's not even so much that it's ripping its style directly from Bioshock (it is).  It's the fact that they've turned a goddamned turn-based strategy game into an abortion of a first-person shooter with only glancing nods towards the venerable series's roots.  Take Fallout 3 - at its core, Fallout 3 is essentially still Fallout, despite its first-person trappings.  The VATS system is still intact, the world still feels the same, and the core gameplay feels rooted and steeped in its predecessors despite the option to play the game as you would a modern first-person shooter.  It's a stellar way to modernize a favorite franchise.  But this abortion of a premise for X-Com (excuse me - XCOM) feels like these guys have simply looked at the bullet points of what made the original great, threw out most of them, and kept only enough to piss off fans who don't want to see yet another franchise raped by bad development decisions. 
 
This is one where I want to be proven wrong.  I hope this game turns out to be the slam-dunk that Fallout 3 became.  But I really doubt it.  I mean... ink aliens?  Really?
 
Runner-up: Medal of Honor 

Most Surprising Announcement

 
 
 Valve-PS3 Support 
 
It wasn't an E3 chock full of surprises, but most of the announcements were pleasant surprises.  It was hard for me to pick between the various Nintendo announcements or this, but ultimately, I think this will probably have the largest effect on the industry as a whole.  I say this not because of the games that'll be hitting the PS3 soon from Valve, but because of the Steam support and slow integration into the PS3.  Will we see it really affect this current generation?  I don't know, but I doubt it'll have any serious impact for at least a year.  That being said, I love Steam, and if it replaces the dismal PSN store, all the better. 
 
Runner-ups:  Donkey Kong Country Returns, GoldenEye, Kirby, Kid Icarus

Game I'm Ashamed to Admit I Want to Play

 
 
 Epic Mickey 
 
It looks amazing.  Shaddup. 
 

Top Tech Device

  
 
Nintendo's 3DS 
 
This is maybe the only pick from last week's thoughts that I had any second doubts about.  I reviewed the videos again yesterday of all the games being demonstrated on the Kinect, Move, and the 3DS, and ultimately, I decided that my initial reaction was correct.  Ultimately, it boils down to the lack of awesome games on MS's part (other than that exercise game, nothing drew me in) and a sense of "mii too" from Sony.  That's not to say that the respective companies don't have some amazing technology on their hands - they do.  But in order to succeed, Microsoft and Sony both need to develop games that will attract core lifetime gamers, and right now, I'm just not seeing it.  The 3DS, however, demonstrated a total backing by Nintendo, with one of the most incredible lineups of games I've ever seen.  Kid Icarus, Kingdom Hearts, Resident Evil, Metal Gear, Animal Crossing, and Star Fox, just to name a few?  Oh hell yeah.  See, technology alone is awesome.  Support that technology with drive, determination, 3rd party support on an unrivaled scale, and individuality, and you've got a winner in this category.
  
Runner-ups: Kinect, Move, Shaun White's hair styling tools

Best Presentation of a Game  

 
Twisted Metal 
 
There wasn't a question in my mind about this one.  Twisted Metal's announcement exemplifies what I love about E3.  The big, flashy introduction combined with lots of great gameplay footage had me hooked from the get-go.  Throwing the truck on the stage along with the Sweet Tooth actor was just icing on one freakin' delicious cake.  I think the most important part to me was the confidence shown by demonstrating so much of the gameplay.  It was ballsy to show the game in this early of a stage, especially with some of the rougher visuals, but damn it, that's exactly what I want to see out of developers and publishers.  Don't just give us a trailer - give us a minute of footage, something we can digest and chew on for a good long while until more information can be released.  This is E3 at it's cheesiest best, and I loved every second of the announcement. 
 
Runner-ups: Call of Duty: Black Ops, NeverDead
 

Best Gameplay

 
 
Call of Duty: Black Ops 
 
I know I'm not the biggest advocate of the Call of Duty series here on Giant Bomb, but I do have respect for the series, and I think the various demonstrations of Call of Duty: Black Ops exemplify what makes the series so exciting and appealing.   The helicopter level shown is intense, action-packed, and looks like a blast to play.  It doesn't hurt that the graphics are seriously awesome, too.  While I doubt I'll be picking up the game on its release, I think Black Ops is shaping up to be the game where Treyarch finally shows us what they can do. 
 
Runner-ups: Twisted Metal, Killzone 3, Shaun White Skateboarding

Best Trailer

   
 
Swarm 
 
I don't have a clue what the game is about, but I'll be damned if the trailer didn't charm the hell out of me.  Looking like a cross between Lemmings and Monsters, Inc., they've put out a heck of a cinematic trailer for an almost unknown game.  You've got me curious - now show us the goods! 
 
Runner-up: Fable 3  
 

Best Head Shake of Doom 

 
Jeff Gerstmann 
 
Seriously.  The dude's head shake on day zero's livecast destroyed my mind.
 

Best Leaked Game

 
 
Mortal Kombat 
 
I'm a huge fan of the original Mortal Kombat and its sequel, and seeing the game take such a back-to-basics route makes me all warm and fuzzy inside with thoughts of true fatalities and blood galore.  It really doesn't hurt that the gameplay looks smooth and fluid, with a great cast of announced characters.  If the end game is anything like what we've seen, I'm sure Mortal Kombat will turn out to be one hell of a reboot.  
 
Please note that I don't consider Twisted Metal to have been "leaked," only rumored with strong educated guesses as to its reality.

Best of Microsoft

  
 
Fable III 
 
It wasn't a good year for Microsoft's E3 press conference.  The Kinect came across as little more than a gimmicky Wii variation with few games to seperate it from the horde of mini-games and sports activities out there.  Microsoft, I love ya, but you stank up the room this year in a big way.  That being said, a few quality titles were on display.  Fable III looks to continue the incredible gameplay of the 2nd, with a similar art style and focus.  The E3 trailer was great, but more gameplay would have gone a long ways towards making this my game of the show.  Instead, it'll have to be satisfied with my Best of Microsoft award.  Sadly, this year, that's not saying much. 
 
 Runner-ups: Gears of War III, announcement of partnership with Crytek

Best of Nintendo

  
  
3DS 

Holy shit, Nintendo brought the pain this year.  It's hard to decide on just one thing from their show that I loved the most, but in the end, I've gotta give it up to the 3DS in general.  Not only is the technology amazing, but the gigantic wall of text listing the games in the 3DS section should explain why any gamer should be excited for its release.  I've already detailed some of the highlihgts above, but go look at that list right now, and tell me you didn't just get a geek boner.   Nintendo knows what its core gamers want, and they're delivering.  It's amazing to see the 3rd party support as well.  But the big part for me is the fact that the 3d is optional.  I really doubt the tech will work with my particular vision problems, so having the 3D slider is a big thing to me.  Also, the support of the original DS's games will go a hell of a long ways towards its initial launch replayability. 
 
Runner-ups: Kid Icarus, Donkey Kong Country Returns, Goldeneye

Best of Sony

  
  
Twisted Metal 

Sony's conference was a bit slow to start, but it picked up a hell of a lot of Steam (heh heh), culminating with the biggest Sony announcement of the year - Twisted Metal.  We can safely say we all saw it coming eventually, but the way the game was revealed, along with the excellent amount of gameplay footage, made this one super special.  It's a return to a series I adore, with smart-looking gameplay, classic characters, and neat gameplay variants.  I'm going to be anticipating this one, that's for damn sure. 
 
Runners-up: Valve supports PS3, LittleBigPlanet 2 

Best Multiplatform Game

   
 
Mortal Kombat 
  
Not to keep gushing about Mortal Kombat, but seriously, this game looked rockin'.  I'm hoping for good things here, and I doubt I'll be disappointed (unless some bonehead decides to make it PG-13). 
 
Runner-up: Call of Duty: Black Ops

Best of Show (The Big Three)  

 
Nintendo 
 
My gut instinct was Nintendo, and a week later, my decision hasn't changed.  Nintendo's great game reveals combined with excellent technology on display definitely took me in.  The 3DS looks incredible, and it has a hell of a lot of good looking games lined up.  Of course, gameplay footage for those games will ultimately be the deciding factor in the long term success of the 3DS, but I think it's safe to say that there will be something for everyone.  GoldenEye looks good, Donkey Kong Country Returns looks amazing, and they even had me secretly wishing I was about ten so I wouldn't feel creepy about buying Epic Mickey and Kirby (thank you, anonymous Amazon deliveries!).  Had Sony come out the door swinging or shown more support for the Move with quality games, they might have been a contender.  But as it is, I think Nintendo swept this category.  
 

Best Hair

 
 
Shaun White 
 
Duh.

Best of Show (Individual Game)

 
 
Twisted Metal 
 
This was the most difficult category this year, thanks to two quality games on display.  Mortal Kombat could have easily taken the top spot as well, but I think in the end, Twisted Metal's clever, cheesy reveal won me over, along with the quality gameplay footage and genuine enthusiasm from its developers.  Twisted Metal looks to be returning in fine form, and I'm glad to say that in the end, it wins my Game of E3 2010 award.  Nice! 
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Knee jerk reactions to the Big Three's conferences


While I usually hold off on blogging about E3, I've decided to go ahead and post some quick thoughts on all three major conferences.  Next week, once I've come back from a short vacation to South Dakota, I'll have had time to read through most of the game announcements and details to give out some Sparky-flavored awards.  They'll taste of victory and tears.   Oh, and please bear in mind that I try not to favor any one particular company - I own all three consoles, a DS, and I'm a fan of each of them, as you can glean from prior blogs about games I love on each console.  However, I do hold a certain sort of bias, being an old-school gamer, and that will inevitably become a factor in all three conferences.
 
Microsoft 
 
I want to get this off my chest first - if you don't bring the "wow" factor to E3, you're not going to impress the core demographic of the conference, that being the gamers who care enough about games to actually read through media sites for news on the show.  For me, that "wow" factor comes from games, but in Microsoft's event, they tried to bring it via technology. 
 
Don't get me wrong - I'm incredibly impressed with the way the Kinect works.  The innovations and science behind the tech are stunning, and I can't wait to see what it brings as far as games five years down the line.  But yesterday, Microsoft did not show anything that appeals to the gamer in me.  The workout program seemed neat (and believe me, when I get an apartment big enough for one, I'll definitely be picking it up).  But beyond that, the mini-games seem a little stale and nothing really drew me in. 
 
That being said, the few games on display not aimed at the Kinect audience were great.  Fable 2 is one of my favorite games of all time, so I eat up anything Fable 3 related.  The trailer looked good, but I'd have liked to have seen some gameplay mechanics and footage.  Gears of War has never been my cup of tea due to my vision problems, but the third looks as incredible as the rest of the series.  Halo Reach will inevitably draw me in for 100+ hours, time I should be using to write and do constructive things. 
 
I think honestly one of the highlights for Microsoft right now is XBLA, and I was sorely disappointed to not see it featured as it has been in the past.  Hydro Thunder looks incredible.  Stoked for a new Tomb Raider and Castlevania, too. 
 
Nintendo

 
Insofar as competitive conferencing goes, to me, Nintendo is the clear-cut winner here.  But here's why that's unfair for me to say - most of the sequels announced were for series that I adore.  I still own a Kid Icarus cartridge.  I played the holy hell out of Donkey Kong 64, and adore the Super Nintendo Country games.  GoldenEye was the first console shooter I really enjoyed, and I poured a ton of hours into its multiplayer along with my brother and our friends.  Kirby kinda drew a mixed reaction, as I'm not a huge fan of the series, but I loved what I saw.  Even Epic Mickey (Mickey Epic?) looked superb. 
 
So yes, judging on the excitement of games featured, Nintendo definitely won me over.  But even on the technological side, Nintendo managed to alleviate my doubts about the 3DS.  I still don't know if the technology will work for my vision, as almost all 3D tech doesn't (stupid depth perception and glasses destroy the illusion for me), but even if it doesn't, I applaud Nintendo for this.  If the tech doesn't work for me, I hope that there will at least be an option to play games in the regular "old-fashioned" way.  If so, I'll definitely think about picking it up - but probably during the inevitable second generation of the product.  Not making that mistake again like I did with the DS.  Damn you, heavy clunky DS! 
 
Sony 
 
I'm going to announce one E3 award today, and that's "The Comeback Kid" Award.  The beginning of Sony' press conference had me in a fit of boredom.  I hold no interest in Killzone (disliked both the predecessors), and the Move stuff practically screams copyright infringement.  With the added bonus of a dearth of excellent looking Move games, and I was throwing obscenities around left and right on the forums during their conference. 
 
But...

 
LBP 2's easy, charming presentation started to win me over.  There weren't any real surprises here or throughout most of Sony's conference, but what was shown was damned interesting.  I love the creative options in making new game types, and the game still has that charm from the first.  It's definitely shaping up to be a fantastic game, and it started to really turn things around for Sony's conference. 
 
Of course, the big shocker of the PS conference was Gabe Newell and Valve's new presence on the PS3.  Great stuff with the interruption, and it brings a lot to Sony's table.  Will we see more support from Valve?  Time will tell, but something tells me that yes, Valve wants a piece of the PS3 pie. 
 
Twisted Metal and Forz.... uhhh, Gran Turismo 5 are new entries in classic series, so it was great to see them get some lovin'.  I'll believe a Turismo 5 release date when that game is in my hands - until then, consider me doubtful.  Twisted Metal admittedly looked rough, but kudos to Sony for having the balls to show so much gameplay.  Given the right amount of polish and shine, I could easily see this becoming a future addiction. 
 
Other Stuff 
 
I'm not expecting a whole lot else.  It's been a good E3 so far, and I'm looking forward to being able to peruse and view videos throughout the next week and a half.  A part of me really wishes we'd see some new JRPG announcements, though that's a pipe dream at pretty much any E3.  If they happen, awesome.  If not, I'll get my fix at the Tokyo show, I'm sure.  But still... Sony, please, a new Suikoden?  Or just release Suikoden 2 on the PSN?  Come on, you know you want to!

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