E3 2012 Big Three Retrospective (Or, What Do Gamers Want From Games?)

After sitting in two chatrooms, a few threads, and my Twitter feed during these last two days of E3 (and pre-E3) conferences and seeing 90% hatred for everything, I’m starting to wonder what the gaming community expects from the console manufacturers these days.

Sony and Microsoft show hardware and apps: everyone wanted more games. Nintendo shows games: they’re boring Mario and casual games, show more hardcore games. But wait, didn’t the earlier conferences show some games typically touted as AAA or hardcore? Oh no, those are brown shooting games, we don’t want those, show other games. Sports? Nope. I think the biggest cheers I saw were for Rayman Legends (which got flak for having gimmicks with that one Bit.Trip Runner-esque stage).

So what the hell do gamers want? Maybe the expectations are too high these days, but do people really expect a Mario AND a Zelda AND a Metroid AND something new at a Nintendo system launch? What more can you squeeze out of the PS3 and 360 at this point in the lifecycle? And it’s expected that companies will play it safe with sequels to proven franchises. Those Call of Duty games are gonna be bought by the fans no matter how much everyone else hates them.

Maybe the communities I’m in skew too niche in terms of the kinds of games we play. But JRPGs typically don’t rear their heads at E3, especially at the video conferences, unless Square-Enix has something major (Atlus did email out a few good announcements, though). Even then, you probably won’t be seeing any new titles from the smaller Japanese companies revealed here.

Do gamers want to be pleased by everything shown at the conferences? I’d assume so, since as soon as the Wii Fit U and other “casual gimmick” games showed on the stream, the chat exploded in “NOOOO”s. I’ll have to say when my mom played Wii Fit, she loved it to the point where she considered buying a second system for herself. Another friend of mine loved playing Just Dance with her classmates. Nintendo tapped into a market that helped them with the Wii, and it’d be stupid if they completely abandoned it. And after all, we can’t predict the future. We don’t know the price of the Wii U or its games, or even a solid launch date. We can’t see a year from now what games will be out.

Where does that leave Sony and Microsoft? My personal belief is they’re in a weird spot right now. There’s some more high-selling sequels due out, but even if they claim a ten year lifecycle, they’re obviously getting ready to reveal their next consoles sometime in 2013. Until then, seeing them keep carrying the games their main users play is just fine. The social integration I honestly don’t care about, but it seems EVERY device, not just game consoles, is heading in that direction.

After all of this, is the question in the post title answered? No, not at all, because I still don’t know what gamers want these days. The platforming kings that dominated the 90s are said to be too casual and played out now, but the shooters that are dominating the 00s and 10s are getting old and are more of a war to who can make the most realistic textures and models. Sports games are for sports fans, exercise and singing games are for grandma, and RPGs are for weeaboos and people are sick of their numbers invading other games.

So then tell me, what do you want? What else can they give you?

Early Opinions on Mass Effect 3

Why yes, I have been playing this all day. Thank you for noticing.

-Man this game is pretty. Prettier than ME2, even, and I stared at those graphics sometimes.
-However, the facial animations aren’t that good, especially on humans (or human-likes). There’s some low res textures and animation bugs too.
-Speaking of bugs, goddamn with the DLC mission crashing. There’s a workaround, but that better be patched eventually.
-And speaking of the DLC, Mr. DLC character’s voice isn’t as bad as everyone said it was. I…haven’t used him in battle yet.
-It feels a lot…slower of a game than the last one did. Like I’m in a JRPG and taking my time with sidequests even though the world is ending, and no one cares.
-Sidequests are harder to find and complete. The quest log is too barren. I’d like it to be more like an MMO quest log with lots of detail and pointers.
-Vanguard is fun, except when you Charge+Nova into a group of enemies and don’t kill them. Then you die.

Now for more spoilery stuff considering locations and characters and scenes, blacked out to be nice. I tried to label it with what it talks about, but obviously if you’re avoiding all spoilers then don’t read any of it.
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Beatsome: A Minor Success

So just like in 2009 when I set out to beat more games and succeeded, I set out this summer to beat some games.

And then I got a job.

And then I got freelance work.

And all the games I beat happened in the first month.

Offical Summer of Beatsome Games Beaten (2):
Final Fantasy V Advance (GBA)
Bayonetta (PS3)

Offical Summer of Beatsome Games Left Unfinished (1):
Digimon World 2 (PS1)

Additional Games Beaten (1):
Ar tonelico Qoga (PS3)

Additional Games Left Unfinished (1):
Metroid Prime (Wii)

When will the next challenge be? God knows with the lack of time I have now!

Best of 2010: Anime

Because why not? Qualifying shows are based on this list because it didn’t mean I had to think of what qualified myself. And ADTRW uses the same list so yeah.

Now presenting Kari’s Best of 2010 list for all anime related things without pictures because she’s lazy but there’s some description to fill space! PS: Don’t bitch cause there’s only like, six shows mentioned.
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30 Days of Gaming: Day 30

Day 30: Your favorite game of all time.

Well, we made it. 30 days, 30 blog posts, 30 gaming-related questions answered. “Favorite game” is always one of those tough questions to answer, having to rate on enjoyment at the time you played it, but also taking into consideration the want to replay the game, or graphics and music, or characters and story…Anyway, I have 31 top rated games on my Backloggery, and picking just one of those is pretty tough. So, after some deliberation (read: 5 minutes) here’s what I think is my favorite game of all time.

Suikoden V! Barely edging out Suikoden II, mainly because of plot pacing and number of characters I liked. Even though I’ve only been through the game 1.5 times, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time spent on the game. I’m not one to replay games much anyway.

I’ll give some shout outs to other games, though.
-Star Fox 64 is a very good adventure/railshooter, and very much a game I’ll always come back to for a run through.
-Knights in the Nightmare still wins for strangest mechanics and gameplay
-Ever 17 is the best mindfuck
-Growlanser II is the most breakable RPG I’ve played
-Earthbound definitely has its charm as a quirky RPG. Not many go the real-world route, after all.
-And for all it has popped up in this list, it’d be a shame not to put Valkyria Chronicles here for having awesome graphics and story

Thanks all for reading! We’ll be back to no blog posts for a while -3-

30 Days of Gaming: Day 29

Day 29: A game you thought you wouldn’t like, but ended up loving.

Y’know, I hated the Sakura Wars franchise for…oh, 7 years all because of the horrid TV anime. So when SLML was announced, I had a very lukewarm reaction. I knew the history of the series, how no games had crossed the pond yet there was a little fanbase crying out for it. As with many NISA or Atlus releases, it came with swag, and I planned to get it for the swag and maybe to resell when it got rare.

I didn’t really expect to fall in love with the franchise, eventually watching the rest of the anime OVAs (which ranged from good to utter trash) and importing the PSP ports of the first two games. I’m not as hardcore as other new fans, but I do like the series now.