The 4th Wall: The Missing L-E-NK

E3-the Electronic Entertainment Expo-2012 has come and gone.  The big 3 gave their spiels.  There were announcements, previews and hands-on fun.  I didn’t attend E3 and, only recently being “press,” I’ve never attended the press-only event.  As a gamer, I look forward to E3 every year.  It’s like Christmas for me, or at least a starting point for my Christmas list.  My eyes grow huge.  I start to salivate.  My wife panics and my wallet takes the next plane out of the country.  Year in and year out, E3 brings big things.  Yet, as I followed this year’s E3, I noticed it was missing something.  It didn’t have the usual spark.  There was a big “E” missing: excitement.

There was nothing earth-shattering about anything this year.  Most of what was shown was something we had already known about.  Microsoft’s presentation, for example, was focused on trumpeting the Xbox 360 as an all-purpose entertainment machine.  They showed Kinect, Usher, Kinect, Internet Explorer, and Kinect.  In addition, they showed off Kinect. I did enjoy the South Park bit with Trey Parker and Matt Stone as they made fun of Microsoft right in their collective faces,  but that was the sum total of my joy.  I felt like I’d seen this presentation before, from another of the Big 3, and was not pleased by the comparison. They resembled what Nintendo was doing when the Wii was released.  Microsoft, like Nintendo, wants to reach a wider audience and are leaving the gamers behind.

Luckily, it seems that Nintendo learned their lesson.  They had the biggest reveal this year, dropping detail after detail about the Wii U.  While I’m not a fan of the name of the system, I am excited at its possibilities.  I’m also glad they are not focusing so much on motion controls.  It initially worked for the Wii, but it’s a dying gimmick.  And while some people may be disillusioned with the company and feel that they’ve lost their way, I know better.  Nintendo has always been a gaming company first.  They’re going to deliver and it’s going to be sweet.  I was also happy to see the 3DS get some major love.  There are a truckload of awesome games coming out in the near future.

Sony took a more subdued path at E3 this year.  They just showered us with games.  There was no big reveal for them either.  To me, they weren’t as strong as Nintendo, but they sure outshined Microsoft.  I’m excited that they are giving Playstation Plus members a ton of incentives to stay with the program.  I did take issue with two things.  I’m skeptical about Playstation All-Stars.  From seeing the game in action, it reeks of Super Smash Bros.  I didn’t see anything that stood out, but we’ll see what it’s like when it’s released.  I was also troubled at the lack of any real PS Vita news.  The announcement that Playstation one games would be on the system was not a shock;  that’s a functionality that should have included in the system from the start.  But that said, one would think that since Sony didn’t reveal a new system, they would want to support their newest one.  I’m hoping the Vita starts picking up steam soon.

While there are those who like to crown a “winner” of E3 each year, I’d like to say that no company in the industry is a winner.  E3 is more or less a days-long sales pitch. The real winners of E3 are the gamers.  Even though there are some cool things on the horizon, I still feel like this year was missing that extra “E” that makes E3 such a huge event.  Perhaps, E3 in Chicago next year?  Just sayin…

-The 4th Wall is an imaginary barrier that separates a particular medium from its audience.  It is also a weekly column on Vagary.tv born from the Just In Bailey column, written by Joey Alesia.  Each week, Joey looks at video games and the industry as a whole and works to break the 4th Wall armed with over 25 years of gaming knowledge and a twisted sense of humor.  Be sure to follow Joey on Twitter (@wrkngclsswrtr) or email him at Joey.Alesia@Vagary.tv.

 

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Author: Joey Alesia View all posts by
Joey's adventure into the realm of video games began at 3 when Nintendo first hit the West. He grew up a Nintendo fan and ended up branching out to Playstation when FF7 hit and XBox when Oblivion hit the 360. He's not huge on first person shooters or sports games but definitely enjoys a good RPG or survival horror game. His all-time favorite series is definitely The Legend of Zelda, followed extremely closely by Metal Gear. Joey has a firm belief that games should be treated with respect when they are made and that the classics should never be overlooked.