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Pre-E3-itis, Second Verse

As the convention draws near, it's interesting to note the state of the industry. We look forward to getting a glimpse of a new Zelda, wonder how many more lackluster Sonic games we must persevere, and look forward to devouring Bacon-wrapped Hot Dogs.

It is so funny to watch the game websites and forums in the week following up to E3.  All the big studios drop all their big plans in the weeks (and final days) before the actual show itself, seems to be the trend - isn't this one of the big reasons why the show's format got altered in the first place, supposedly (competing with one another for attention in the midst of overstimulation?)  With that in mind, it's notable that there doesn't seem to be a lot of hubbub for anyone to be raving about. Sega and EA both have (relatively) lackluster showings. Nintendo seems pretty tight-lipped, I guess we can expect to see some semi-interesting Wii titles from them next week but I doubt anyone's expectations are so high (as noted in my last blog post, "things are rather quiet these days..")  Unusual to hear about High Voltages upcoming games (it's been awhile since they made some noise?) Activision dribbled out a couple of early tracklisting morsels for their Guitar Hero franchise, but really is anyone THAT thrilled about some new tracks (in this age of DLC) - as well, the new Tony Hawk game's been getting a little press, though it's more of a lot of "what? they're thinking wa-what?" when considering their new balance-board remniscient peripheral and lofty (rumored) price-tag.  The new DJ Hero Turntable popped up as well recently, no surprise there, I think a lot of folks are waiting to get their hands on it at E3 (any chance?) before it gets written-off as "too late to the Beatmania party.." Well, we will see.. Anyway, they got Call of Duty, which will sell no matter what..

But, yeah, all is quiet. I don't think anyone expects to see much noteworthy out of DS or PSP, and I doubt there's much more expectation for Sony to come strong with (potentially powerful) hype for MAG (I love that name!)  XBox is getting long inthe tooth now, if anyone's got a chance of showing up with somthing crazy I guess it would be them - but they always leak their stuff notoriously early.  All we got in our sights is the HD Zune - which is a lot, mind you, but it's still gonna play second fiddle to iPhone if you ask me, unless they do something particularly clever and outrageous.

Yeah, I may be full of a lot of hot air, but I have been watching these markets for awhile now. Again, it's a tight economy and the release slate for this year is scant - also lots of previous big players (like THQ and Midway) are getting spanked badly, while guys like Microsoft, Sony and even the all-powerful EA have been closing shops and letting people go quite a bit in the past years' time - include the already-wilting Sega in that list (and I am a Sega fanboy, mind you!), it's a telling sign if there's not a few more half-assed Sonic games showing on this years roster (yeah, there's a Winter Games one, but otherwise..). And does anybody remember a company called Atari??

So I am declaring this, the E3 where it supposedly returns to it's former glory, the Year of the Casuals. The year of the Stifled Development.  Expect to see a lot of gusts of smoke and disappointment. So hilarious that they pulled in the reigns for E3 just as the whole industry was getting incendiary, Wii and PS3 and 360 were raging in their freshness and youth and money was being poured full-bore into development everywhere, studios were overambitiously augmenting their team sizes ("why make 2 hits when we can just as easily churn out four?!!")

Well, we'll see some interesting iPhone stuff. Anyway don't fret, as the economy buttons up (I hope!) we'll see better conventions in the future. For now, just enjoy the love-in.. Hopefully, I will be able to find a still-existing Kentia Hall, where I can play Paperboy and Galaga (and Scramble on the Vectrex!) while listening to 8-Bit Weapon. Sounds good enough to me.

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