E3 2009: Overall Impressions
For the first time in 3 years, The Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) trade show returned to its former glory at the Los Angeles Convention Center in downtown LA. Given the fact that we’re in an economic recession, the show was fairly impressive. It was a chance to reunite with old friends while meeting some new ones. Familiar franchises such as God of War, Final Fantasy, Silent Hill, Ratchet and Clank, and Uncharted took gaming to a whole new level thanks to the new high definition era of blu-ray technology while many new games made their debut. Fun family entertainment mingled with hard-core intense adult games, so there was a little bit of something for everyone. Overall, the show was a success and I look forward to the next year of gaming.
Back in 2006, the Nintendo Wii made a breakthrough with its interactive controller. Now, three years later, Sony and Microsoft are pushing the envelope of how we play games even farther. Sony has boldly claimed that their new controller will make the PlayStation 3 the “ultimate sandbox” while Microsoft wishes to eliminate the controller all together by making the gamer the ultimate controller. However, in the race to provide more and more advanced technology, gaming in general seems to have fallen farther behind.
First and foremost, Microsoft is forgetting what the gaming experience means to a great many of us. By making gaming more physically challenging, I feel they have forgotten that some people are either unable or unwilling to make this transition. What about those with physical disabilities who cannot jump, twist, run, jump, and do other physically demanding activities? What about people who live in smaller apartments and do not have the floor space? What about people who work physically demanding jobs and want to simply relax on their bed or couch and just have a nice quiet gaming experience?
Having said that, I feel that Nintendo offers the perfect balance to the overall gaming experience. There is the Nintendo DS Lite and new Dsi for gamers on the go, the Nintendo Wii Fit for those who like to sweat during gameplay and the Nintendo Wii next gen console for those who can sit but also play with a controller that is not so limited in its movement. I think the current wireless motion censored PS3 controller offers a nice balance to gameplay as well. I find the new Sony PSPGo a “no-go” as Sony has specifically aimed their handheld at the male 18-to-28-age range market, leaving out a wide audience of both females and older gamers. Nintendo again hits the mark, complete with huge images of older gamers enjoying the wide range of Nintendo gaming platforms.
Although gaming has taken technological leaps and bounds over the last decade, becoming both more realistic and more complicated, there is something missing in gameplay. So many of today’s games are becoming nothing more than well-crafted killing simulations and gone are many of the original gaming mascots such as Crash Bandicoot, Sly Cooper, and Spyro the Dragon. Where are the games such as Chocobo’s Mysterious Dungeon for the younger gamers? Where are the immersive memorable stories of the past? Although Square-Enix promises us a good old fantasy role-playing game with the upcoming Final Fantasy XIII, there was no playable footage and not enough information from the trailer to ascertain if this next installment will live up to previous games from its franchise. Mini-Ninjas, Lego’s Harry Potter, Where The Wild Things Are, and Nintendo’s DS Zelda offers a relief from some of the violence, but overall as a company, I give the highest recognition to Natsume for not only coming out with more Harvest Moon animal and farming sims, but for their new PS3 game, Afrika.
In their National Geographic approved game, Natsume allows the player to go on a photographic safari, taking photos that can be sold to buy upgraded camera equipment that will allow the player to take even more professional photos. There are a variety of animals that live and act in their natural African environment while providing the player with numerous opportunities to hone their skills as a professional photographer. I think that more video game companies should consider offering innovative non-violent family entertainment such as this.
So, keep coming back to Phoenix Genesis as we try to give you more in-depth coverage of E3 2009 with articles, photographs, and video footage. We look forward to the next decade of gaming and hope that you come along on our amazing journey.
– Des Manttari, Editor-in-Chief, Phoenix Genesis
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