This is the (very belated) follow up to Part 1 of our E3 coverage from special correspondent Mike from LA. Thanks Mike, and sorry about the delay.
From my perspective, the video game industry seems to have become everything that I wish that the film industry was. There is a very good chance that sequels will be at least as good as originals, and there is no fear of innovation and creativity. I think it is obvious from the 2009 game list that creative people are responding quite well to this. The games look much more interesting than the summer movie list ever looked.
Video games have always been defined by the user effort required to fully enjoy them. The evolution of games has moved towards greater efforts for greater rewards in the form of better visuals and better stories. Rather than simple “The End” screens after defeating final guardians, video games now tell the devoted elaborate stories about grand mythologies (If you want to know what the next Lord of the Rings or Star Wars is going to be, believe me that it will be neither book nor film: tomorrow’s Tolkiens and Lucases [Lucii?] will be in video games).
On the other hand, the evolution of cinema in roughly the same period of time has been in the opposite direction. Though as always there are exceptions, the intellectual challenge and reward of cinema have been traded in in favor of popcorn whose user effort tends to amount to staying awake in a dark room.
So the sort of individual who would be naturally drawn to video games, who would like the idea of spending months of their spare change and time taking on the Hordes of Hell more than watching someone else do it, would naturally be also more open to big new ideas and adventures. The potential for a more passive enjoyment found in much of modern cinema, however, is designed to attract the Swing Cinephiles whose dollars differentiate a blockbuster success from a failure and who are eager to exchange the intellectual rewards of thoughtful escapism for the easier to come by pleasure of familiarity. The trend in video games may even be a reaction to this trend in cinema.
But back to E3. Photo gallery and gametrailers after the jump.
[Ed. Note: Game Tailers has taken down these videos, so these shorthand embed codes don’t work. Sorry!]
This game was actually in 3-D, but you need to buy a special television and wear 3-D glasses to get the full effect. When you have these things, it looks pretty awesome. James Cameron is also developing Avatar: The Game in 3-D, but you had to be a VIP like Steven Spielberg who bounced in with eight bodyguards (thus foiling my assassination plot which only had a seven bodyguard contingency) in order to get a look, so I have no idea whether it uses similar technology.
This was just a way cool idea, even more than Guitar Hero, in my opinion.
This game was described as The Legend of Zelda… in Hell. When I talk about big new mythologies, this is what I’m talking about.
Speaking of Hell, this seemed a little insane to me. Is the fact that it is based on the Inferno really going to push more copies than had it been about a man just going to hell to battle monsters? I wonder what Dante would have thought.
Looked fun. Not exactly Overthinking this one.
The series of Lego games continues to baffle me. What is the point of the Legos? Are more people interested in this game than would be a non-Lego Harry Potter game? Why are there glasses on a baby? Having never played a Lego game, my theory is that Lego wants to be in video games, but they know that they will push more games if they are attached to a property like Batman or Indiana Jones. Those franchises get licensed out because it must be pretty cheap to develop and render Lego worlds compared to the textures and physics of a world like in Batman: Arkham Asylum, so they turn mostly profit for little effort and money. But that’s purely a theory.
Once again, it just looked cool. They’re remastering the entire Beatles catalog in conjunction. If part of the goal, as it presumably is, is to reach the Guitar Hero crowd with Beatles music, they had better put it on iTunes.
This is actually a reboot of sorts, considering there is a whole series of these games. As with previous entries, you can be alien, human, or predator. I watched a British suit-wearing spokesman jump from tree to tree as a predator, lure humans away from their posts with sounds, impale them on the above-demonstrated wrist knives and rip their spine-dangling heads off.
This game looked awesome. I fought a turtle monster that was probably the best-looking thing I have ever seen in a video game.
I only saw the first Saw and am no fan of “torture porn” unless you count Japanese game shows. But this game is actually a pretty interesting idea: it is a puzzle game where you are one of the Jigsaw killer’s victims, trying to escape. I only got to play it for a little bit, but I would say there is potential that it could be better than the movies as it is less about the uncomfortable sadist voyeurism of the film series and more about the clever twists which may not bring me to the theater but I have at least read about on Wikipedia. Of course, it could suck, too.
I love me some Jables. Jack Black’s rock star schtick and its appeal could be the subject of an Overthinking It blog in and of itself.
That’s about it from me. I’m going to Comic Con in July so maybe I’ll have more for you then. [Ed. Note: Yes, please.]