E3 Shenanigans Part 1 – The Microsoft Story

Sony SucksIt’s that wonderful time of the year again when a show, once dominated by the darling PC industry, sets out to impress, tease and demonstrate the latest and greatest upcoming booty the gaming industry has to offer. Joy!
First up is Microsoft and their feisty Xbox 360. As I’m sure you’re all aware consoles are a sin, and it’s akin to masturbation in the eyes of Jesus if you touch one. But, if you have to own a console, you’d better have an Xbox 360. After all, masturbation is better than catching aids from a Sony machine (or having your aids hacked and stolen, it’s the principle really.)
I should point out before I start, I wasn’t taking notes. This is from memory, deal with it, you’re probably not a doctor but the phrase still stands.

• Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 3
Blah blah blah blah boring, ear ache, eye ache, oh look it’s got a “follow me” HUD display. Ahh ain’t that cute you get to follow manly men around and do as you’re told, and if you don’t do as you’re told, well you just get dragged along for the ride. Oh wow, you can even take part in activities first introduced back in MW1 and MW2. Just with slightly different textures!
The cinematic like effects look good though. I guess it’s the perfect interactive movie, if that’s your kinda thing. Lazy gaming. New genre. You read it here first.

• Tomb Raider
Hmm, from memory, this didn’t make me angry. Nor did it really impress me too much. Perhaps it was the quick time events which automagically turned my brain from ‘Receive important gaming informationals’ mode to ‘Time for a cuppa, walk down those stairs you fat bastard’ mode.
That being said, it almost looked like it had some of the charm from the first game, but only if Laura Croft had been born today and not many years ago, in a cave, by furre lovers. I’ll be keeping an eye on you Tomb Raider, you might fill out nicely.

• Electronics Arts
Ahh EA. Once my favourite publisher in the old days, you know the Desert Strike, Dungeon Keeper, Theme Park/Hospital days, RoboCOD, to name but a few days. Then they turned Evil, I think the French were involved. Now they’re cleaning up their act… Not much to say here really, they showed off Mass Effect etc, and some kinect stuff. RPG’s aren’t my cuppa usually, so I wasn’t paying too much attention. I’m sure they’ll be showing off a lot more at their own conference. Like Battlefield 3. /licks.

• Ghost Recon: Future Soldier
I’ve enjoyed some of the Ghost Recon series, but generally speaking they don’t do much for me anymore. Future Soldier did grab my attention a little though as they appear to have mastered the art of gun porn in games. They were showing off some ‘Gun Smith’ mode which allows you to break down a gun to its various parts and replace them. I’m not just talking about the shit you hang off the rails gangsta styleeeee with a bling’in Argos gold chain. No no, I’m talking trigger mechanisms and chambers. All controlled with pretty nifty Kinect hand and voice controls very similar to those found in the minority report. I like this very much, so this is another game I’ll be watching. Particularly interested to see if I can use the same system with Kinect for the PC.

• Xbox Dashboard
Not much to say here, really. They’re updating it again going with the tiled approach, which isn’t surprising really given the way Windows 8 is shaping up. Oh yeah, they’re also including IPTV and some kinda music service or some such. I dunno, it’s nothing I can’t already do now so it wasn’t that impressive.

• Ultimate Fighting Championship
Eer, as much as I like UFC and getting into manly fights wearing nothing but my slouch hat and manly shorts of man-ness. But there’s some DLC for UFC on Xbox live or something. I don’t know.

• Gears of War 3
More like “Cover behind that Wall 3” : Extreme Walled edition with a dick that sold out. I’m sure it’s interesting to some people out there, but let’s face it, it’s going to be the same game as GoW1 and GoW2, but with better graphics and some more Broke Back Mountain moments.
Ahh you know what, that’s a bit harsh. Gears of War 1 was a very good game.

• Ryse
A hack’n’slash Kinect affair. Set in Russell Crow angry Roman times, looks interesting but I can’t see it engaging me for long. Still Crytek are behind it, so they might pull out some impressive tricks from that impressive bag of innovative design they have stashed.

• Halo Combat Evolved Anniversary
Still, as far as First Person Shooters went for consoles, this was pretty impressive in its day. Might be worth a look in for old time’s sake as I guess it did start the ball rolling when it came to showing off what modern consoles were capable of compared to the PC.

• Forza 4
Didn’t show off too much, apart from some fancy head tracking Kinecty stuff, but still looks impressive. I noticed they slipped in a slide which said something along the lines of “Monthly Downloads” or some such. I do hope they ain’t about to start an episodic thing which turns out to be quite costly.

• Fable: The Journey
I’ve never really been interested in RPG’s all that much, I have to say. But with the addition of Kinect, Fable suddenly appeals to me. It’s probably the fact I’ll be able to make hand gestures to carry out magicks. Which I’ve always wanted to do since I was a wee little nipper, it’ll be like having super powers for reals! Over enthusiasm aside, the hand gestures really did add something for me, they looked pretty intuitive and engaging.

• Minecraft
Is coming to the Xbox and will be Kinect compatible. So eer.. yeah… :\

• Disney Adventures
Quite an interesting concept this, for reasons I’ll explain below.
Essentially though it’s a kids game, using Kinect and avatars. Reminded me a lot of Nights.

• Kinect Star Wars
The initial intro video looked really good, the graphics were awesome. However, when they started the game play demo, it just looked tacky as fuck. Sorry to say, but it did. It makes you look like star wars kid but yelling LIGHT SABRE ON! I mean, what the fuck? That’s not cool, man, that’s like walking down the street with a nonchalant aura, trying to impress the ladies, only to step in dog shit. Real smooth buddy. Real smooth.

• Sesame Street: Once Upon A Monster
As with the Disney Adventures, I thought this was a fantastic idea and pretty much opened my eyes to the true potential behind Kinect. More to follow at the end of this Summary.
Essentially this is another Kinect game centred around Elmo and the Cookie Monster. At least in the demonstration, I assume you could play as some other characters in the full game. Co-op play seems to be the main focus of this game, as it would seem with Disney Adventures.

• Kinect Fun Labs
This is like Google Labs. So all the cool shit you make for Kinect while using a PC you can upload to the Kinect Labs and let others try it out etc. This is a fantastic idea, especially if it is free and easy to use.

• Kinect Sports: Season 2
This is like Wii sports, but better and grown up. It does look pretty fun, a proper Kinect multiplayer type party game.

• Dance Central 2
Awesome. Just Awesome. It’s DDR but without a dance mat. It’s also got two player dancing, like in a club, but without fear of being slapped. I can even use it with Kinect while dressed in drag. We’ve clearly reached a paradigm shift when it comes to home entertainment… (Now let’s get Wii Dare on Kinect with an 18+ rating.)

• Halo 4
Apparently there’s a new HALO game coming out next year, Christmassy time. /Yawn. I hope they realise that the HALO players will probably have gone through puberty then so it’s not going to get many sales.
Still, that doesn’t matter. They’ve already put in all the work when it comes to art, story and design; they just need to jumble it around a bit. So dev costs will be low. That’s a good thing.

So there you have it. That was Microsoft’s E3 presentation summarised with my opinions. Nothing more to say on it really, except I think they could have done better. Sure there was a lot there that grabbed my attention span by the balls, but it’s mostly re-hashed rubbish. They seem to be pushing Kinect a massive amount, but that’s not a bad thing.

As promised above, a little more about my thoughts on Kinect when it came to ‘Disney Adventures’ and ‘Once Upon a Monster’. It’s impressive to see Kinect finally get used and abused this year. They’ve done a fantastic job of taking Nintendo’s innovation with the Wii and refining it to an impressive level of maturity. However, they’ve done more than just take Nintendo’s technology and improve it, they’ve taken the game play and spirit of why the Wii was created.
You see, I have no interest in having kids. However someone once asked me if I was to ever change my mind and have kids, or more than likely, get tricked into having kids, how would I incorporate my kids into my gaming lifestyle? I mean sure, I’ve got non-gaming activities that take place in that epic MMORPG called ‘Life’ but what about at home? Well, I’d certainly have no problem playing first person shooters and adventure games with them, but let’s face it, they would be frustratingly rubbish at Unreal Tournament/TF2/BRINK/Quake Wars etc. I’m sure they’d even manage to suck at command and conquer because they’d spend too much time making nice symmetrical and well thought out bases without actually building any kind of aggressive army. No, no, wait, that’s me actually, curse my suspected mild case of OCD. How to solve this problem? Say hello to Kinect.

You see, watching the kids play the Disney game, and some generic pretend dad and his kid acting like family play the Sesame Street game, it suddenly dawned on me just how accessible and fun Kinect would be to share with your children. You can engage them in co-op modes and take part in their playtime. The interaction really impressed me, and I’m being serials when I say that. I’ll be showing off the Kinect demo to my mate as I’m sure he would love to play those games with his Son.

And that about wraps it up for the Microsoft conference.

I’m now off to watch the EA conference just to witness some Battlefield 3 awesomeness which I’m being promised is primarily a PC game. The console port will come later after it has been scaled down. The way it’s supposed to be. I’ll hopefully be watching the Nintendo conference and Sony one (for a giggle.) Rumours are there’s a new Nintendo Console being announced which should be worth its weight in gold if they pull another Wii out from their sunny bum holes of innovation! As for Sony… well, I asked my mate the following:

“Nerf Dermer: I wonder what Sony will do for their E3 Conference”

And his reply:

“Hunter Jack: Harakiri I hope”


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