Well E3 has come and gone, and even though I didn’t get to go this year, I thought I’d still write a blog about the E3 news stories that interested me most. But first, you’ll have to put up with a little rant from me on WHY I didn’t get to go to E3 this year. Sorry.
I’ve been writing game reviews semi-professionally for a little over 15 years now. And whether it was for The Dallas Morning News or the GamerDad.com site, I’ve been able to get a press pass to E3 every year I’ve gone with little to no problems. But not this past year. I was denied a press pass because they said the numbers on the GamerDad.com site were too low. Now, I know that GamerDad is a small site, and I like it that way, but I’m sure we have more readers now than what we did last year when I COULD go to E3! Why the change?
In a way, I’m glad that E3 is very selective about who gets into the convention. Pretty much anyone can make a gaming Web site nowadays, so the E3 folks need to be picky so the show doesn’t get overcrowded (I don’t think it was too crowded last year however). But I think they should look at other factors, too. Like experience. E3 press staff KNOWS I’ve been going to E3 for a long time, and I know they have me on file. I didn’t just poop out a game review on the Internet yesterday and expect to be let into E3.
I even sent in a second appeal to be approved for a press pass this year and was denied again. But after talking with a few PR professionals that I know, it seems that a LOT of other sites and writers got the same treatment as I did. So I’m not the only one. While I understand why the E3 staff needs to be this way, I think they are shooting themselves in the foot. Not only does it hurt me as a game reviewer to be denied a pass into E3, but I also think it hurts the publishers and developers, too. I think the gaming industry NEEDS smaller, enthusiast game sites as well as the big ones.
When I go to E3 I cover the show a little bit differently. I mostly look at family friendly games instead of just all the titles like most sites do. Of course, that has a lot to do with the site I write for, but those are the games I like best anyway so it’s OK. Last year, when most gaming site writers went to 2K’s booth, they probably looked at Borderlands 2. But not me! I checked out 2K Play’s Nick Jr. games. I don’t think that IGN even covered those, and if they did, they probably just slapped a press release up there and that’s it. So I bet a lot of games won’t be covered this year since less site writers will be allowed into E3.
Some may argue that E3 isn’t necessary anymore because of all the technology we have now. And some of that is true. Nintendo didn’t need a press conference this year because they have Nintendo Direct, which is probably cheaper for them to do. They were still at the show. But I don’t think anything can replace being able to talk to the PR reps in person and getting hands-on time with the games. Speaking of PR professionals, a lot of them automatically sent me E3 meeting invites even though I wasn’t going this year. I think they just assumed I would be since I’ve gone so much in the past. When I told them why I wouldn’t be going this year, many of them were equally surprised and appalled. I really appreciate all the help and support that the PR people have given me through this and in the past, too. I think one of my favorite things about going to E3 is getting to meet and talk with those folks up close and personal.
Of course, the worst part of not going to E3 is that all those pretty booth ladies are going to miss seeing me this year. JUST JOKING! JUST JOKING! Sorry, I had to be a little bit silly there. Just trying to lighten the mood.
But seriously, you know what the worst part of not being able to go to E3 is? You see, I’ve been blind in my left eye since birth and can’t drive a car. So when I go to E3, I bring my dad along to help me get around LA. So E3 has always been a great way for us to spend some time together. So I’m a bit sad we didn’t get that opportunity this year. I’m glad we took the opportunity to go a day earlier last year so we could see Universal Studios. Although in a way it may have been a blessing in disguise that I wasn’t able to go to E3 this year. Because instead, I went to Alabama a couple of weeks ago to visit relatives because my grandmother isn’t doing as well. Family is more important.
Some folks have told me things like, “Oh you’re lucky you won’t have to go to E3 this year and deal with all the crowds and work.” To that I say, NO! I actually LIKE going to E3. Sure it’s a lot of work, but it’s also a lot of fun. People who get to write game reviews for a living have no right to complain. If I ever catch a game journalist complaining about having to go to E3, I swear I will rip them a new one. With that said, I apologize for ranting so much about not being able to go to E3. I don’t have a right to complain either, so I guess this might make me sound like a bit of a hypocrite. I hope my rant didn’t make me sound like I was some kind of God’s gift to gaming journalism. I just had to get some things off my chest. I’ll try to get a press pass to E3 next year, though, because I’m stubborn and bullheaded and maybe just a little stupid. OK enough of that, onto the E3 gaming news!
Xbox One vs. PS4
A lot of gamers have been expressing their grief over the Xbox One ever since it was announced, and for good reason. I’ve kept mostly quiet about it, but even I’m a bit concerned. Having it be connected online every 24 hours doesn’t sound like a problem for me at first, because I’m lucky enough to have a really good Internet connection. But sure as the world as soon as I plop down 500 bucks on an Xbox One, we would have a big storm that would cause a 24 hour power outage. Can you not use the Xbox One after that? And what if I wanted to go on vacation and unplug all my electronics when I’m gone to save electricity? And Kinect didn’t work very well on the 360, so I don’t like the fact that it’s included with this new console. Lots of other problems, too. I wonder why Microsoft is doing all this stuff. Is it to make sure the publishers get the most of their money? That’s a good thing, but NOT if it’s at the expense of the consumer.
But look at it this way. How different is the 360 now as compared to when it first came out? At first it just had a paltry dashboard and a promise of Xbox LIVE games in the future. And now we have avatars and Netflix and Xbox LIVE Arcade is huge! Maybe over the years and through dashboard updates and such, maybe the Xbox One could change for the better, too? Also, the Xbox One will need some more good games before I’m interested in one anyway. I was hoping that Rare’s new game would be Banjo Kazooie 3, but I’m glad that it’s Killer Instinct so that I don’t have this dilemma of wanting to play B-K 3 but not wanting to get an Xbox One. As a Twisted Pixel fan, I’m kinda sad that LocoCycle’s on Xbox One, though.
The PS4 looks to tackle the problems that the Xbox One has, plus the announcement of Kingdom Hearts 3 has me leaning towards getting a PS4 first. But I’ll probably still wait a bit before getting any of them. Which I kind of hate, because as a game reviewer, it’s important for me to stay on top of the new systems as to not miss out on any game reviewing opportunities. So hopefully I’ll still be OK to wait a little while.
Nintendo tends to have games that mirror my tastes, so I was happy to see their E3 lineup. I liked Super Mario 3D Land quite a bit, so I was happy to see Super Mario 3D World on Wii U. The fact that you can play as Mario, Luigi, Toad, and Princess Peach hearkens back to the Mario 2 days. Since I like Mario 2 better than Mario 3 (bold statement I know), the four players’ return made me happy. And the new cat power-up looks like fun. Mario Kart 8 looks like a mix of the Wii and 3DS games. I’m sure it’ll be fun and I’ll enjoy it, but I think it would also be neat to have arcade to home ports of Mario Kart Arcade GP 1 & 2. Or maybe I’m just weird.
Speaking of me being weird, I thought the new Nintendogs-like mode in the upcoming Pokemon X & Y games was adorable. Just hope you don’t have to pet a cactus Pokemon! Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze looks to be a fun 2-D romp (just hope it’s not too hard), but the 2-D platformer I’m really looking forward to is Yoshi’s New Island, as the original was a very special game to me. The new Zelda games, Wind Waker HD and A Link Between Worlds will be must-haves for me, too. And I hope I can make time for Mario & Luigi: Dream Team as well. And am I the only one excited about Art Academy for Wii U?
Of course the most talked about Nintendo news was probably the new Super Smash Bros. games for Wii U and 3DS. As an Animal Crossing fan, I was happy to see the kid Villager in it, and the Wii Fit Trainer lady looks like she’d be silly fun, too. And like most everybody else, I’m super stoked to see classic Mega Man in the lineup now! If they would put Pac-Man in the new Smash Bros. game, it would have pretty much all my major favorite video game characters in it! I can’t help but wonder, though, if Mega Man and Kirby fought each other, would either one acquire the ability to…steal other people’s powers?!?
I also hated missing out on Capcom’s E3 booth because it sounded really cool. A section was made to look like a courtroom for Phoenix Wright: Dual Destinies. I would’ve loved to have seen that. The Phoenix Wright series is my favorite on the DS, so I’m looking forward to this new installment. Too bad it’s download only, but I’ll still play it anyway! I also wish I could’ve played DuckTales Remastered. And surprisingly, I’m kind of sad that Dead Rising 3 is only going to be on Xbox One, because my brother Jeff loves those games. And I have fun watching him play them. They’re really more silly than scary anyway. Oh well.
Coming this fall is a new Pac-Man cartoon called Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures. It looks REALLY HORRIBLE, but you know I’ll watch it anyway since I’m such a huge Pac-Man fan. They’re making a 3-D platformer game based on the cartoon. I’m sure it’ll be just as bad, but I’ll play it anyway because I’m a freak. But it is nice to have some colorful and whimsical 3-D platformers coming out, we don’t see as many of those nowadays.
Even better Pac-Man news is that Namco is bringing out a collection called Pac-Man Museum. It’ll have Pac-Man games from the very first one to the newest: Pac-Man Battle Royale! Ah, I wish I could’ve seen Namco’s booth at E3. I wonder if it was all decked out with Pac-Man stuff. Namco also showed upcoming RPGs like Project X-Zone and Tales of Xillia. Plus a free-to-play Tekken fighter.
I’m not a big Sonic fan, but I’d be willing to give Sonic Lost World a try, because every now and then a Sonic game comes out that I actually like. Also looking forward to the remake of Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse.
For a couple of years now, I’ve been writing articles and reviewing the Skylanders games at GamerDad.com. I think they’re great games for kids, so I hate it that I missed out on seeing Skylanders SWAP Force at E3. I hear this time you can switch out parts of figures to make new ones that you can play in the game. It’s not made by Activision, but I’d also like to check out Disney Infinity as well, which looks very similar to Skylanders except with fun Disney characters!
This is another booth I hated missing out on because Natsume releases some very good games every year. I hear they showed off a new IP called Hometown Story, which sounds like Harvest Moon except you run a shop instead of a farm. I bet it’s pretty cool, though. Another thing I think was kind of neat is that Natsume is making new mobile games based on the Gabrielle’s Ghostly Groove characters! I thought the original game was very charming, and goes right along with the popularity of girl’s toys like Monster High. Although I think the Monster High dolls are ugly and I’d much rather kids play with the Gabrielle gang instead.
Ubisoft showed a ton of stuff, but one thing that caught my eye was some kind of Rayman TV cartoon they’re going to show on Xbox One or something. Reminds me of years ago when I went to E3 and they showed off Rayman 2, and they had a pilot for a CG animated Rayman show. I wonder if that’s related. Also, even though I’m not big into comic book super heroes, it looks like a couple of games of that ilk are coming out that look right up my alley: LEGO Marvel Super Heroes and Scribblenauts Unmasked. The Scribblenauts game uses DC characters. I hope I get to review both of them! And finally, some action RPGs I’ll be sure to get are Dragon’s Crown (guess who I’ll pick to play as), and a new Ys game that might make me buy a Vita. Although I thought I read it’s coming to PS3, too. Anyone know?
And that’s all for now! Sorry for my big rant. I was just kind of bummed because whenever I do go to E3 and I’m running around like a chicken with its head cut off, I feel like I’m doing what I was MEANT to do, strange as that sounds. But there is some good news I got at the end of this bummer of a week. I’ve been approved for a press pass to get into PAX Prime 2013! So I’ll be busy planning that trip in the coming months! Yay!
Now I need YOUR help! Since I didn’t go to E3, I’m afraid I might’ve missed some of the cool news announcements and stories out there. So if you read something about E3 that you think I would like, please let me know in the comments section. Also, let me know YOUR favorite E3 news stories and games as well! Thanks! –Cary