The 40 Year Old E3 Journalist

E3 2012 confirmed something I have been rolling around in my head the past few shows but was afraid to confront.

I am a relic. A relic of E3′s long past. This show has simply passed me by. This struck me at an odd time; I was walking from one end of the Convention Center to the other with Todd, my intrepid colleague and friend, hobbling from one appointment to next on Thursday afternoon as neck pain shot down my arm with every step. In truth I was in no condition to tackle E3. I have an MRI scheduled for Monday and four days of walking was not ideal therapy.

I confided to Todd that there was a good chance that this would be my last E3. Was it the pain meds talking? Was it the incessant sound of Ray Lewis yelling at me from the EA booth or the marketing tool banging on his placard in the food court about how the end was near as he promoted Resident Evil 6? I do not know. But I know this.

This was a rough E3 for me.

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Death and the High Cost of Hammers

My reason for wanting to get in to the THQ booth so badly could be summed up with one word: Darksiders. I loved the original Darksiders, even if it borrowed so heavily from other games that Vigil should have paid licensing fees to Sony, Nintendo and Valve. Between THQ’s financial problems and the game’s recent two month delay from June to August, I needed to get my hands on the game and make sure it was still going to happen.

The Darksiders 2 showing was exactly what I wanted. There was no theater, no developer driven session, no “we’re not talking about that now” set of statements. They brought Bill and I into a room with the game, gave us some headphones and let us play, only popping over to offer help when we got stuck. It’s easy to find a number of reasons as to why publishers would show their game this way, but I can’t help but look at it as a sign of confidence in the property. That’s not to say that the confidence can’t be misplaced but with so many hands-off showings at E3, being able to play a game in peace and come to your own conclusions about it is a welcome change.

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Cracked LCD- Empires of the Void in Review

Ryan Laukat’s Empires of the Void is a very solid, very smartly considered but derivative space conquest-themed 4x game that’s been recently Kickstartered and released into the wild. It’s a handsome production with charming, cartoon illustrations that are very welcome in a genre that tends to go for stiff and sterile or grit and grime. It’s big on the table with tons of counters but not a whole lot of rules bulk or complication, and although it doesn’t have the scads of plastic miniatures these kinds of games usually feature, there’s still multiple ship classes to play with and lots of dice to roll at them. Continue Reading…

Jumping the Shark Podcast #128

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Image: Filomena Scalise / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

After another exciting day at E3, in which we sat through dinner praying to all that is holy (and unholy for tha matter) that the Kings didn’t hoist Lord Stanley’s Cup while we’re still within city limits, we ventured back to Bill’s hotel to record -you guessed it- our E3 Day 2 Podcast! Woo! With extra special guests, Jon Shafer and Troy Goodfellow, in tow we talk about the goings on at EA Sports, Metro Last Light, Sherlock Holmes, Splinter Cell, Star Wars 1313, and a bunch more. Oh, and you can hear all about how Bill and I got rick-rolled, quite literally, during our Assassin’s Creed 3 demo. It happened!

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B3 2012- Hark, a Trailer!

No, not for Assassin’s Creed III, you dummy. Don’t you know how B3 rolls? It’s for Wreck-It-Ralph, the upcoming Disney video games movie that isn’t Tron! Frankly, I think it looks awesome. When you’ve got riffs on everything from Street Fighter II to Halo to Q*Bert (hilarious!) in your trailer, you’re moving in the right comedic direction. It looks like it’ll be an affectionate, fun movie that celebrates video games in a way that’s not ever really been done in mainstream culture. I’ve got a two-and-a half year old boy that loves monsters and robots so we’ll be in seats on opening day in November. Fun stuff!

Without further ado, I give you John C. Reily…

SimCity? Yeah, It Looks Pretty Cool

I spent a solid three hours with Bill at the EA booth this morning and still didn’t see everything. Most likely I’ll head back tomorrow to see some of the other theater demos and I’m sure Bill will be on the spot with some EA Sports stuff. (They’re doing some crazy shit with Madden’s off-the-field game this year and hooray for anti-robo-DBs!) The title that I was most interested in, however, was SimCity…

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Play Deadlock to Preview Interstellar Marines

Interstellar Marines is one of the most ambitious indie games I have seen. Not only is Zero Point attempting to reach the level of content and polish expected of AAA, publisher-backed titles, but the developer is attempting this herculean feat with only a four-person team. You know, some people might call that delusional.

To drum up interest in pre-orders for Insterstellar Marines, Zero Point has released the latest build of Deadlock. It’s a multiplayer concept which you can play directly in your browser. I think Zero Point would have been better off waiting.

Deadlock has many great new features, including new lighting effects, impact effects, audio reverberations, and new recoil physics. But, the majority of us are not coders or animators, and we don’t get excited about these small victories. What we see is a barebones “tactical shooter” that doesn’t have so much as a crouch or reload button. With only one weapon, it makes Quake look like a revelation.

I realize that Deadlock is a proof-of-concept meant to show off features as they come, but perhaps this should be a lesson to Zero Point; wait until you can actually impress people before you show your game. Judging by the number of people entering and quickly exiting games, a lot of people have turned away from Deadlock and Interstellar Marines, and it’ll be much harder to lure them back.

B3 2012 Screenshot Gallery

 

How ’bout them E3 screenshots y’all? I am so STOKED about all of the eyecandy pouring out of Los Angeles like sweet love-nectar from the loins of our corporate overlords and their press agencies. Of course with B3 occuring in tandem with video gaming’s biggest marketing event, we have a screenshot gallery of our own. Step inside, walk this way, you and me baby, hey hey hey!

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One Piece: Pirate Warriors – Guilty Pleasure

Most of the games we cover are serious and mature. They dwell in dark worlds of murder and deceit. We talk a lot about game such as The Witcher 2, Batman, and Dark Souls, but I don’t want to be entrenched in angst every single time I play game. Sometimes, I want my games to be bright and irreverent.

Since One Piece: Pirate Warriors was developed by Omega Force, the developer behind Dynasty Warriors and Fist of the North: Ken’s Rage, the gameplay shouldn’t require much explanation – pound the living snot out of huge mobs of bad guys, pull off a bunch of flashy moves, head to the next area, and repeat. It’s the way we played games when we were growing up, and I like to let the kid in me have some fun every now and then.

Besides, One Piece is a surprisingly good series. Yes, it looks weird, and I still struggle to get past that sometimes. But, it’s both funny and exciting, and filled with superhuman pirates; a good recipe for a beat-’em-up if you ask me.

More screenshots after the break.

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Jumping the Shark Podcast #127

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Image: Filomena Scalise / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

It’s E3 Day 2, so that must mean it’s time for Jumping the Shark E3 Podcast Day 1. (Surprise!) Hear some Dishonored love, some Elder Scrolls Online hate, Arkham City Wii U surprises, and quite a bit more as Bill, Brandon, and I sum up our first day on the show floor.

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