Cary at E3 2021

Hey folks, guess what?  After many years of being denied a press pass into E3, I finally got in again!  But then, this year’s show was only virtual, so I think pretty much ANYONE with a gaming site should’ve gotten a press pass.  But I’ll make the best of the situation and write an article about it anyway!  So here it is!

But before I start, I just wanted to say that I really hope we can get back to ACTUAL shows like E3 in LA and PAX in Seattle again.  I know some may say shows like this are things of the past, but nothing can replace the personal interactions that these shows have.  I can’t stress that enough.  I really hate the term “New Normal” because none of the things we’ve had to do during this pandemic are ‘normal.’ So I hope we can get back to “True Normal” with stuff like this soon.

And I just also wanted to say that even though I’m sounding like I’m complaining a lot, I’m truly thankful I was able to get a media pass this year, even if it may not mean much.  I’m also extremely thankful I’ve been able to go to more than ten actual E3 shows in the past and experienced them in their heyday.  Going to E3 is one of the favorite things I’ve been able to do in my life, and I have many fond memories of doing things like having lunch with Humongous, getting to know the team who made Pac-Man World, and being flirted on (like, a lot) by a lady dressed as Ulala at SEGA’s booth.

So since E3 was virtual, they had a little app you could download to follow the show.  You could create your own little profile, complete with a Mii-like character creation.  You could also follow companies virtual ‘booths,’ but it was just pages that had information on the games they had.  So I followed SEGA, Square-Enix, Capcom, XSEED, Ubisoft, Arcade1up, Bandai Namco, and Nintendo.  You could also drop off a virtual business card, which is something I do at the shows, so that was cute.  Not sure if my contact info actually goes through or not, but at least I got to do it.

One of the things I’m really good at doing at E3 is tracking down games that nobody would know about by watching the mainstream show videos.  So we’ll do that now.  I checked out a game called Moo Lander where you pilot UFOs in a 2-D world while watching out for evil monster cows!  I liked the fast action and hand-drawn cartoony graphics.  Another cool sounding game to me was Arcade Paradise.  You run a laundromat, which sounds boring, but you also get to buy arcade machines and play them!  These fictional machines are based on ideas found in arcade classics, so I can’t wait to see what they come up with!  Freedom Games had a couple of neat simulators, like Cat Café Manger and To the Rescue!, where you get to run a dog rescue shelter!  Very cute!  And finally, TinyBuild had Tinykin, where you are a tiny alien exploring a very big Earth.  It kind of had a Katamari vibe to it.

Bigger companies had videos of upcoming games, too, so I’ll go over some of those now.  There are SO many games, though, that I’m only going to focus on the ones that interested me. I don’t have an Xbox One, so I didn’t watch their presentation.  But I hear they announced a release date for Psychonauts 2, so I’m glad it’s coming out at the end of August.  The first title was my GOTY back in 2005, and watching it again recently as a refreshers (it’s been 15 years), I have to say it still holds up very well.

Capcom had a bunch of Monster Hunter stuff. Stories 2 sounds cool, and I’d play it if I had enough time.  But for now, I just want the amiibo from it!  They also had more to say about The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles.  It makes me wonder if since this year’s E3 was just kind of thrown together, if Capcom wished they should’ve waited to announce that here.  But either way I’m happy it’s coming out, as a big Phoenix Wright fan.  You’d think I’d be more interested in Ubisoft’s Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope.  But I gave the first game a try and lost interest about halfway through, so I think I’ll skip out on the sequel.  But if you want me to try out a tactical shooter game, putting Mario in it as well as crossing over the Rabbids is a good way to do it!

Square-Enix had a 3-D action game called Strangers of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin and while I liked the references to classic FF games, the game itself just looks way too serious and violent for me.  Koei-Tecmo helped make it, so with all the other stuff they’ve been doing, they haven’t let COVID slow them down.  Way to go, guys!  I only wish Square would’ve shown more of Final Fantasy Pixel Remasters, although it may only be a PC and mobile thing.  Namco didn’t really have anything in their video I was interested in, but they did just release Pac-Man 99 so I’m OK for now.

OK, now I’ll talk about what everyone was waiting for: Nintendo’s E3 Direct video.  Again, now I’m not going to talk about everything they showed, just the stuff that interested me.  So the first thing they did was announce the new Smash character, a guy from Tekken.  Not really a surprise, seeing how Namco helped make the new Smash Bros. game.  I do like how they showed him throwing off defeated Smash characters off a cliff (poor Min-Min), but when he threw Kirby off, he looked down to see where he went and Kirby just flew off behind him!  Yeah, take that, mean ol’ Tekken Man!  You can’t beat Kirby!

SEGA has a couple of games I am interested in.  The Nintendo Direct showed off Super Monkey Ball: Banana Mania, which is a collection of the first few Monkey Ball games, which were the best ones.  Also I never had a chance to play Sonic Colors on the Wii, so I’m glad it’s being remastered on the Switch.  I’ll have to give it a try now.  Speaking of collections, Mario Party Superstars takes the best boards and mini-games from past Mario Parties.  Looks fun, but I may skip out on it since once you’ve played one Mario Party, you’ve pretty much played them all.

OK, the next thing that Nintendo announced was probably bigger than Breath of the Wild 2.  Yeah I went there.  Metroid…freaking…Dread!  Finally, a new 2-D Metroid game.  I love how they called it Metroid Dread since that was a rumor based on a scan from the first Metroid Prime game nearly 20 years ago!  Wow!  In this one you fight these really powerful robots that look like Portal’s turrets after eating a can of spinach!  Oh man, what if Samus had to go up against GlaDOS!  Or if GlaDOS teamed up with Mother Brain!  OK now I’m being silly!  But yeah, Metroid Dread was the best game Nintendo showed on their video.  Metroid is one of the few ‘mature’ game series I actually like!  And I want those Dread amiibo, too!

I think it’s interesting they’re putting the arcade racer Crusin’ Blast on Switch.  Now if we could only get a Mario Kart Arcade GP collection.  Probably my second favorite game shown on Nintendo’s video was up next: WarioWare: Get it Together.  You all know how much I love the WarioWare games, so I’m glad we’re finally getting one on Switch.  And speaking of mature games, one of my guilty pleasures is watching ghost shows, so I have a small interest in the Fatal Frame games where you take pictures of ghosts.  So I’m glad to see the Wii U title: Fatal Frame: Maiden of Dark Water being shown here.  I hope it gets a physical release this time or I ain’t playing it!

And finally they concluded with the Zelda stuff.  I love how they strung us along by first talking about Hyrule Warriors DLC and Zelda: Skyward Sword HD before getting to the good stuff.  I love the Zelda Game & Watch and hope to get it like how I did the Mario one last year.  And of course Breath of the Wild 2 looks cool.  Although, COVID or not, I don’t see how a game that probably uses all the assets from the first game could take this long to make.  Oh well, hopefully it’ll have actual dungeons this time.  I’ll just play it in 2022.  I may rag on Breath of the Wild, but I spent 65 hours on it and beat it, so I certainly liked it somewhat!

Anyway, that’s all I have to say about E3 2021.  Let me know in the comments section what your favorite announcements were, and also let me know of any games you think I’d like from the show that I might’ve missed!  OK, that’s all for now, later!  –Cary

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