Another E3 has passed us by. The E3 event, the one time a year that video gaming takes center stage! Developers and publishers come together to show off everything that they have been working on so hard since last year's showing. Some companies show off new hardware (see the Wii U), and like Microsoft did with Kinnect last year, some show off new peripherals for existing hardware (see the Wii U...?). This isn't new phenomena, or even a new gaming reveal convention. For many years before E3 came around, many got their big reveal news from another Electronics Expo. It was called CES, or Consumer Electronics Show. If anyone was coming out with a new console or a new video game, it was sure to be teased or early versions of the game would be on hand for thousands of eager consumers to take for a test drive.
So how has the E3 we know today differ from the CES show years ago? The CES was a convention that showed off anything and everything having to do with electronics. E3 is just focused on video gaming for one. The CES today is still alive and well. It is a jam packed show full of everything having to do with electronics. This includes phones, games, computers, and other electronics. So the difference could be the focus. But what is a video game nowadays?
Are we to consider Facebook and iPhone apps video games? They are featured at events like E3 and CES, so I would assume this is the case. There are more people playing Facebook apps then there are people on Sony's Playstation network in the US. So is Facebook a direct competitor with Sony? I think the big picture here is that the video game industry as a whole is much broader then it was in years past. People are finding new ways to play games. More people than ever are playing digital electronic games. Almost everyone in some way is a gamer! Is all of this a good thing?
? I'm not really sure all of this is a good thing actually.
Looking at the evolution of gaming; I just cannot see what people are excited about in video gaming these days. What is so epic that is coming for the Wii, the PS3, or the 360? What has happened over the past 5 or 10 years while we're at it? How have video games evolved in this generation? As far as I can tell video games have actually de-evolved with the rebirth of 2D gaming and 10 year old concepts being called 'revolutionary' and different. People got so used to playing these glorified motion video games where they are basically hand held during the entire game process that they've forgotten what a video game is supposed to play like! Unless of course you’re a fan of FPS games, as those seem like the only games out on the market that actually take some skill. Unfortunate for me, I've never been a fan of FPS ever since Wolfenstien. I mean I don't hate 'em, but I would rather play anything else.
Here's a thought, look at the evolution of gaming from 2001 to 2011. What? Now we've got a console that looks like Dreamcast graphics with a waggle controller, and two other consoles with albeit pretty effects, has virtually the same library as the last generation. Guitar games? Check. Madden? Check. Tom Clancy? Check. Mario... etc etc.
Halo 2001 ---> Halo 2011
It's really just a question that needs to be asked as to why the hell we are sitting here with the SAME thing we were 10 years ago! Yes, I get that there are better graphics, well at least for the PS3 and the 360. Some Wii games look identical to Dreamcast games that were released in 1999. Games should look so amazing right now, that when we go back to the games we played in 2001, we should say 'Crap, that looks SO old!’ not 'Oh man, what is this? Shenmue? That looks amazing!'
Innovation!?! We've got innovation in current gen? Lemme see, you've got a revved up powerglove console, a bluray movie player that has some 3D games, and the 360 with at least a decent library, and oh what’s this? Kinect..... Ok, Powerglove was introduced in the 80's, the Wii Mote was initially a SEGA idea that they used in the Sega Bass Fishing games in 1999. 3D games? Holy cats, what is this NES with Radracer, or the SEGA Master System?
Really the industry needs a developer to jump up and say 'Look, we're willing to risk some bad press and try something truly innovative!' Not just feed into the money monster sequels/ movie licensed/ Insert game engine here model. I would say our savior could be Nintendo. At least they try to do innovative things. Look at Super Mario Galaxy. That was new and put an entirely new spin on its 3D brand of Mario games... but then of course even Nintendo is guilty of keeping the almighty dollar high on its priority list as a nearly identical Super Mario Galaxy 2 was released a year later! It was like if Nintendo would have released a sequel to Super Mario 3 back in 1991 and it would have been all the same music and characters with altered level designs. Kind of like all the NES romhacks you see on the net or altered (some brilliantly BTW) Super Mario Games.
This all just flows with my theory that video gaming as a whole seems to be headed toward a glorified chatroom setting. Before you play games on your 360 or PS3, you have to log into your username to keep track of your achievements, just like logging onto AOL 15 years ago to check your emails. Unless you play Wii, then you just play games. If only you didn't have to dig through the piles of shovel ware that currently rests on top of the Wii's video game library.
E3 sucked. 2011-2012 looks like crap, and I don’t give a damn. I don't mean to be so negative about the current state of the video game industry; I just don't see what the consumers are excited for. Now leave me alone while I get back to my TurboGrafx 16 and Order of the Griffon!
You read it. You cannot un-read it.