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E3 2009, a myopic postmortem

发布时间:2019-04-04 18:54

E3 2006 was a spectacle for me--the last great Electronic Entertainment Expo before the Entertainment Software Association entered its experimental adolescent phase and inadvertently stripped the show of its soul. There was glitz, there was glam--there were booth babes swallowing fire and a throng of questionably of-age males ogling them from an uncomfortable distance.

Brutal Legend takes the main stage.

There were products of the high-quality sort, such as Gears of War, BioShock, and Assassin's Creed. There were products of the not-so-high quality sort--those misguided failures relegated to the fabled bowels of the LA Convention Center (aka Kentia Hall) that invariably included hydraulics, VR headgear, and liberal doses of taurine. It was--to use parlance common to the easily excitable gaming industry--totally epic.

At least, that's what I've been told. See, instead of slaving away in the trenches alongside my GameSpot colleagues, I was back at my home base in San Francisco, scrubbing typo-riddled, near-incoherent write-ups posted during unconscionable hours by people who were clearly lopping days off their lifespan in great swaths. My thoughts then, and now still: I wants me a piece of that.

And a piece of that I got--three times over, at this point. Three long, often entertaining, often soul-melting affairs that reduce me to a state of listless despondence each time...but in a good way! It's interesting, though, because each has left me an essentially broken man in its own unique and wonderful way, thanks to the ESA's continued tinkering with the E3 formula.

E3 2008 was better, if only ever so slightly.

Or should I say, the E3 Media & Business Summit, an unnecessarily clunk moniker that well captured the spirit of the 2007 confab, which took place in mid-July. Nobody wanted that one. Gone was the massive hype, the sprawling conference halls of the LACC, and the undulating sea of humanity. Also gone was the prime May timeslot, that mortal sin which equated to most publishers holding their own events earlier in the year to make headline announcements.

2008 wasn't much better. True, the ESA opened up the show to more attendees with the ESA maintaining the show's unproductive mid-July timeslot but loosening attendance strictures from about 5,000 to about 10,000 attendees, a figure that still fell well short of the some 60,000 individuals that flooded the LACC in 2006. The response was much the same, with executives from ranking publishers publically trashing the event. ("E3 this year is terrible. The world used to come to E3. Now it's like a pipe fitters show in the basement."--Laurent Detoc, president of Ubisoft North America)

So here we are on the third and final day of E3 2009, and I'm in that moribund state of mind where writing an inane, rambling blog post just seems like a quality idea. Hot off the presses, there are more than 41,000 people here. Pardon me while I step out for a smoke--it'll only take a minute.

APB is gonna be dope, alright?

On Friday, GameSpot's inimitable previews editor Shaun McInnis made the rounds, asking various GameSpot-types what they were hoping to get out of this year's show. As is often the case, I was caught in a reverie of how awesome APB will be, so it was no wonder that Realtime World's shooter was the first thing to come out of my mouth. I also alluded to murder, which is unfortunate but on the Internet now, so what are you going to do? Thankfully, none of my colleagues met their gruesome and untimely end on this trip, so that one isn't likely to come back and haunt me. Bullet dodged, as it were.

Anyway, right, Shaun's gotcha journalism. APB may have been on my mind at the time (I totally met Dave Jones, by the way), but what I ought to have said was the cavalcade of press conferences from Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo, EA, Ubisoft, Square Enix, and Konami. Easily the biggest moment of E3 2008 for me was when Microsoft sprung its Final Fantasy XIII on the Xbox 360 announcement during its press conference last year, the way the roar of the audience building like a hurricane as shock transitioned to unbridled enthusiasm. Sure, I already knew that it was coming, but it's hard not to get caught up in all that emotion. More so than the unreleased games on the show floor, these are the moments that keep me pressing long after my wits have fled to the safety of some sheltered recess of my mind.

And boy, did the Big Three come heavy this year.

Belying its decidedly blase start, Microsoft's presser hit the gas and never looked back. The publisher all-but-casually dropped confirmations for Metal Gear Solid: Rising, Left 4 Dead 2, Crackdown 2, Halo Reach, and Forza 3. Plus, there was that motion-sensing camera everyone knew was coming, though Lionhead's little-boy simulator was a bit of a shock. Hi uncanny valley, how are you?

Samus, just before the curb-stomp.

Even after Sony's PSP Go got leaked early, the publisher still managed to draw shocked gasps from the crowd. Final Fantasy XIV Online is coming to the PlayStation 3 and PC next year (and possibly the Xbox 360), plus there was Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, Team Ico's The Last Guardian, Rockstar's PS3-exclusive Agent, and a new motion-sensing controller that may or may not double as an ice-cream-cone prop.

Nintendo's press event may have been by far the shortest, but it definitely had the most new Mario games. The aptly named New Super Mario Bros. 2 led the event, soon to be followed by Super Mario Galaxy 2, Mario vs. Donkey Kong, and Mario and Luigi RPG: Bowser's Inside Story. Nintendo also revealed its newest peripheral--the Wii Vitality Sensor--because playing around with medical equipment is never not a good idea. And, just as Nintendo fans were beginning to give up all hope of getting something truly exciting out of the publisher, the publisher dropped word of the Team Ninja-developed Metroid: Other M. And there was dancing in the streets.

Look, there's more on the site. A lot more. So please, check out GameSpot's soon-to-be-concluded cont

inuing coverage of E3 2009, AND HAVE YOUR GAMING FUTURE REVEALED™.

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