E3 2011 – A little town of video games.

E3 is done and dusted for this year but that doesn’t mean I can’t still talk a bit about it, does it? Being the ‘mecca’ of all video games, I figured I’d share a little insight into this little town of video games that everyone seems to love, E3.

My E3 experience started Monday when I woke up to watch the Microsoft media briefing that morning. Being that I did not receive an invite to this event and my flight was not scheduled until later that day, watching it on TV seemed like the best plan available. Unfortunately, the only channel showing it was Spike which is not broadcast in HD in my area.

The briefing showed off many new games but the two I’m most excited about are Halo Anniversary and Halo 4. Yes, I’m not afraid to admit that I like Halo a lot more than I probably should and can’t wait for more. Master Chief appears to be back in top form as the protagonist in Halo 4 and it’s looking to continue the harsh events that transpired in Halo 3.

As the Microsoft conference winded down, I had to start getting ready go head to the airport. WWDC was happening at the same time and had just as interesting announcements but there was no live video of the presentation so I was left with no real option to see what was happening there, just hear it. I won’t go too far into my thoughts about iOS 5, I’ll just tell you that I think it and iButt are going to be awesome when they release to everyone.

Moving on to the airport, I was able to catch parts of the EA conference that was live at the time. I haven’t seen much from it, but what I was able to piece together is: Mass Effect, The Old Republic, Sports games and The Sims Social. I haven’t seen anything about Mass Effect 3 and I intend to keep it that way. The Old Republic has potential but I still don’t think a Star Wars MMO Is going go end up working that well. If I remember correctly, Galaxies also had a lot of hype leading up to it’s release too.

At about the time that FIFA was being shown, I had to board a plane and couldn’t hear any other announcements. As I boarded, the only thing on my mind was making it to LA in time for the Sony conference. The flight was scheduled to land in LA at 3:40 PM with the event starting at 5:00 which didn’t leave much room for error or a stop at the hotel.

Getting off the plane, the rush I had planned on quickly turned into a lot of sitting and waiting as the shuttle driver was not on time. We were given an excuse about baggage retrieval time but we were in quite a rush and had no way to get to where we needed to be at that time. By the time we got into the Shuttle we had maybe 40 minutes until the Sony conference. After seeing that our hotel was in a not-so-nice neighborhood of LA, we immediately knew that we’d likely be taking cabs everywhere and spending as little time as possible at the hotel.

After checking in, we hailed a cab to take us to the event. Upon arrival at the event, we were told the stadium was at maximum capacity and that we would have to wait until the after event to go in. About 15 minutes later, a Sony representative showed up and promptly let everyone in that was waiting. For reference, we walked into the arena at about the time that they announced the PSVita. As you likely know from an earlier blog, I have been rather skeptical and down on the entire idea.

I can’t say that my mind changed _entirely_ on it, I can say that Uncharted and the price are both impressive offerings if nothing else. The idea of transferring seems almost a bit passé now with the Wii U but more on that later. The after party at Sony was at least good, had plenty of demo stations to play games and an open bar or twelve.

Okay, I’ll skip the filler crap and move on to Nintendo (the main event) which managed to capture my imagination and interest again. Back in 2006 when the Wii was first unveiled, I was skeptical. Turns out, my skepticism pulled true there as the system turned out to not cater to my liking as much as originally hoped. Will the Wii U change that? Well, the important thing I have to ask myself is whether or not this new system is built for me. Let’s go over a quick checklist to see.

– HD graphics: Check. Reggie announced after the show that the Wii U can run up to 1080p and is at least comparable to the other consoles in power.

– Minimal motion control: Check, partially. The Wii U itself has an accelerometer (or gyroscope) but seemed to be used sparingly in the demos shown. Most games used either the D-Pad, Analog nub or the touch screen for play. With minimal motion control, that means minimal error when it comes to playing, I like that.

– Capacitive, multi-touch screen: Negative. This is being picky, I know but I am used to using screens that are meant for fingers, and meant for multiples of them. My iPad (which I am typing this blog with) has multi-touch and it works wonders with games. Hey, the DS didn’t have that right? Yeah, and that’s why the DS sucks when it comes to touch screen games.

– New exciting experiences: Check. Actually, this point is the most important of all when you think about it. Why have a new console if it doesn’t offer anything new? Luckily, it appears to have new experiences all over. As seen in the demonstration, you could spin ninja stars off of the screen into enemies in your TV, or use it as a private screen while others are watching TV. Or even as a personal scale so that the entire room doesn’t have to see how much weight you gained during the endless food binge during the holidays. Whichever the case, this is something that only Nintendo has attempted before. (Remember the GBA Gamecube connector cable?)

So, yes. Wii U I am mostly on board with. Will I pick one up at launch? Probably, but I don’t like being definitive just yet. We’ll see what happens when the system gets closer to launch.

I realize this blog is a bit all over the place. Blame that on writing it in several spurts of inspiration. I’ll have a blog with specific impressions coming soon.


About the author

Talor Berthelson

Talor Berthelson is an established games writer who uses TheWesker.com to share other interests with the internet.

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