Day one at E3 has come and gone and the press conferences have left me wondering one major question: What happened to video games? For a long time, third parties have produced games in varying degrees of terrible. EA and Ubisoft gave their presentation at the major gaming event and I’m half sure that they were making fun of us. Do they actually think that those of us who play games are only attracted to various types of waggle controls and first person shooters? When did gaming move from immersive stories and interesting characters to games based on heart rate monitors and dancing? Through all of this, I can’t help but think it’s partially our fault, so let’s review Monday’s third party press conferences and try to figure out what we did to deserve this.
Oh, what is there to say about EA? Sports games and downloadable content were abundant during this presentation. EA really hit big when they scored the contracts to a slew of games that can be easily produced on a regular basis. They showed off Madden 11 with an innovative casual mode that helps football games take less time. I know I’ve always wished those games were shorter and I’m glad the industry has finally taken notice.
If you are against the rampart plague known as in-game preorder gifts and special downloads then you’ll love Gun Club. EA has decided to take the “only certain people get junk” mentality and bring it to the next level. Now, you can register all those FPS’s you’re buying (because apparently there is nothing else on the market) and use the points you gather to get guns already in games earlier in those very games! That’s cool right? Don’t fret though, if that kind of online isn’t interactive enough for you, you can get the new EA MMA game and pretend to be important on their new online system that proves to the world exactly how sad a human you are. Just register and film yourself being a tool and you might be selected to complete on television. Don’t worry though, no real human’s life is boring enough to watch you so your shame will remain your own.
Personally, I thought Ubisoft was the most offensive display I’ve ever witnessed. They started out with a lackluster demonstration of a REZ-style polygon-music shooter that worked off of the Kinetic system called Children of Eden. What started as interesting quickly devolved into repetitive arm waving after the first two minutes. Then, we were given some rays of hope with Assasin’s Creed Brotherhood and Shaun White Skateboarding which is a combination of Tony Hawk and De BLOB. Hope had risen in my heart and even though Joel Mchale’s dry banter I was happy. That is until Ubisoft revealed the monstrosity that almost left me in tears.
Lazer tag. That’s right; Ubisoft took a time machine back to 1994 and brought lazer tag with them. You may not be able to tell but I am typing as angrily as I can. Didn’t we get rid of this? What could we possibly have done to deserve it being dug up from the animal cemetery and unleashed upon us like a zombie Parisian shorthair? At least there was no way to top it. I mean, they would have to have some kind of breathing game to top laser tag, right? If you didn’t catch the dry sarcasm, yes, they unveiled their new heart rate peripheral for the video game Innerjoy which is a game about, I kid you not, breathing. AAH! These aren’t even games! There’s no conflict, no content and no redeemable value. Please, Ubisoft, calm me down by showing me more FPS’s and please, please supply me a new Rabbids game. Whew, that was a close one.
So what did we do to deserve this? FPS’s have become the most accessible genre on the market. Since Goldeneye we have gathered with Cheeto’s and alcohol and enjoyed the company of our best friends and a good frag. Well, after 400 incarnations of the same game I think we might have tapped out the genre for the most part. Still, I can’t help but think Ubisoft might hate us all. A breathing game? Dancing? LAZER TAG!? Why, why would they do it to us? Has our acceptance of the Nintendo Wii really opened up this Pandora’s Box of shovelware? I am so tired of “non-games” being featured at E3. I’m sure there is a market for these titles, but the core audience doesn’t pay attention to large trade shows like this. We need to eject this kind of junk from the event and focus on some of the great things like Crisis, Rayman Origins and Star Wars: Old Republic. Well, maybe Nintendo and Sony will paint a less damning picture, but if this is any foreshadowing of things to come, we might be doomed to mediocrity for the rest of time. Mark this time, friends, this could be the end of days.
Editor’s Note: The Opinions of this post are strictly of Trevor Faulkner.