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E3 2009 - Day One

Hit the convention Center today!! So - what was good, what was not so good?

9PM, sitting at home for a couple of hours now, here's the wrap-up.

It's been 2 years since I've attended E3 (since many have!) so I was kinda looking forward to the Return of the Spectacle. Well, long story short - it was really meh, is all I have to tell you. Yeah, there were some interesting announcements, take your pick (Team Ninja doing a new Metroid, all the fancy new Xbox 360 and PS3 peripherals, Mario Galaxy 2 announcement, etc). But overall, just kind of a feeling that "man this would have been a lot more exhilarating a couple of years earlier!" 

I am sure there's a few things to it (not to get all into it, but yeah like I said it's not the same mood when you are job-hunting at E3 as opposed to just taking it in and relaxing, catching up with friends, and so forth) - really I was surprised that the attendance was much smaller than I had expected, you could actually get through the halls fairly easily and there weren't insane lines all over the place to see things from my POV. 

I guess it's sort of what I'd called in my previous post - things are pulled back these days, you're not really seeing a lot of impressive innovation, everyone's just trying to put out tried-and-true product that will ensure money coming in. But damn, so dull. Hey look ANOTHER Need for Speed! Sure it looks nice but who cares? PGR looked amazing 4 years ago! Another Shaun White. More cooking games. Yawny McYawnerstein.

Anyway, what did I actually look at?

-GI JOE - as was evident from the screens released months ago, this looked like a poor (very) last-gen game. The action and such didn't look so bad, but not noteworthy and the visuals were just very blase. Come on, we have Unreal Tech, why show us this?

-Need for Speed - see above.

-TMNT Smash - I didn't really look at it or play it but it looks like they are trying to follow the Smash Bros blueprint. Is that license still viable though? Stuff gets old.

-New Super Mario Bros. Wii - This sounded interesting to me. I could still sit down and play through a round of good old SMB. Unfortunately, the game was not exactly captivating. I never played New Super Mario Bros. (on DS) but I imagine it felt like this. This was not what I want Mario to feel like, to play like!

It's all floaty now with the LBP-3D feeling, but not in a good way. Honestly I would much rather stick with the fanmade levels on LBP at this point. I am not a naysayer against new Mario (Galaxy etc) but something about this just didn't feel like I could wrap myself around it.  I ran out of caring after beating a round. I don't like how it handles the 2P simultaneous mode, feels like an afterthought/frustrating.

-Zombie Apocalypse (PSN) - played excatly how I thought it would. Yawn.

-Pixeljunk Shooter - I knew this would be fun. These guys have that certain something that makes weird little titles fun. I would download this. Maybe just demo, but ya know.

-Wii Sports Resort - I wanted to try the new MotionPlus, but got bored watching the guy in front of me shoot hoops.  I think the fencing might be alright. It's hard to get psyced about Mii stuff at a scene like E3.

-Transformers - they showed vids of it on the big Activision screen. I can't say much for the gameplay but they really nailed the visuals - it looks like what you'd want a Michael Bay Transformers game to look like. Hopefully they can put the pieces back together following the previous rushjob installment.

-Tony Hawk Ride - I was pretty tempted to try this out, with the new skateboard peripheral. I actually got pretty far in the (admittedly short) line but got bored waiting for the guy ahead of me to practice the simple maneuvers - also the screens they were showing didn't look very appealing at all, graphically.  I will say this though, I can see why they decided to make a new board rather than use the Wii Fit board - skaters can grab the deck in their hands and get more of a "skater feeling" if that makes sense.

-DJ Hero - this is so tough to tell. They had a big demo where they really broke it all down and showed the nuts and bolts of the game - the thing is, with these types of games it's really hard to tell how it feels just by watching someone play it. It could be really fun or just very complicated and confusing. I applaud them for going out on a limb and at least, trying something a little unorthodox (such as it is). I will reserve judgement, it's definitely going to be a harder sell than Guitar Hero in some ways..

-Lego Rock band - saw this there, it was exactly as you'd expect. Rock band, with Legos, yawn. I make fun of it, but I think we'll probably pick this up cause Rock Band doesn't seem to age that badly. I don't like looking at the Lego avatars though, I wish they had a reskin with the current Rock Band? Or just release all the same tracks for us, same price? Please?

-Rock Band Unplugged (PSP) - this reviewed fairly well on IGN recently. I don't think there's anyway to say it's good or not after playing it at E3, it's reduced down to it's simplest formula (watching bars and hitting buttons) - and you can't hear the audio at all! So, don't ask me.

-Motorstorm PSP - looked alright, a little crunchier like PS1. I just donnnn't like PSP, what can I say.

What else did I see? Um.. Steve Wiebe was there playing Donkey Kong (OG) to try and recapture the world record, that was funny. People would cheer as he cleared rounds - it was odd. A little hypnotic to watch for awhile, but it was getting late and we had to move on. I wish Billy Mitchell was there!!

There was a little "indie area," actually I wished this section was bigger. It was fairly anemic, but kudos to them for representing. Not much to really yell home about, but a couple of the games were actually pretty impressive! They mentioned there's some indie game fest due up in... October, I believe, I wanna say it was gonna be in Culver City. I'll check back on that, definitely would like to check that out.

It's hard to judge E3 by the same standard I usually would. It's one of those strange things that really seems to pop up in the more unusual times of my life, and now is not really any different. I can't say it's really the ideal time for me to be indulging in that madness, so I can't expect to have such a great time as I often do (and sometimes it's just been REALLY GOOD DAMNED TIMES!)

I blame that on circumstances of life more than just some convention however (and not like my life is even bad, at all, it's just not as... innocent and rambunctious as it'd been in the past). There's obviously something to attending the show when you are a bigshot dev on a cool project vs when you are just a scrub lookin' for work.. hahaha. Ah well, time to hit the bar...

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