With E3 08 behind us by nearly a week, it's time to sit back, reflect and take stock of what we thought were the low-lights of the Electronic Entertainment Expo. The show as a whole was, IMO, pretty great, but not perfect, so please enjoy Epic Fail: E3 08, and add your own impressions in our comment section!
Little to no Booze or Booth Babes: E3 used to be a party. Every year I would take two days off work, take the subway down to the LA Convention Center, and start drinking at 10am. I would eat bad cafeteria food, play video games with my friends, and collect free swag all day long. To make things even more fun, there was always a large number of incredibly attractive women in very revealing outfits who were paid to be there. And in that sea of nerds, I look like Clive Owen by comparison. This was a yearly event of daytime drinking, video game playing, and out-of-my-league flirting. I was a king for a day, and nothing could bring me down from that thrown.
Now given I was working E3 this year instead of just attending it, but the vibe was lost. The front bar wasn’t open, the beer table was not outside the cafeteria, and I saw ONE booth babe. One. And it was just in passing. For shame, ESA; you have taken away the one event that made me feel cool and attractive. I’ll see you guys at Comic-Con.
Press Conference Applause: My epic fail at this year's E3 is personal, and maybe not so "Epic," but still, I'm going to tell you about it and you're going to listen. My bitch is with the gaming press--not their coverage (although I have problems with that too) but with their manners at press conferences.
Dear The Gaming Press: It's a press conference, not a pep rally, so please, in the name of all that is good and holy, hold your applause--like forever. Even if you're really psyched for some game, keep it inside, deep in your heart of hearts. You're supposed to be impartial reporters, not fanboys, so try to live up to the cynical, blasé attitude of great reporters of the past. I'll send you a badge that reads "Press" if you like and I'll even start calling you "Scoop" if it will get you to stop clapping like seals when EA announces another Madden sequel or Microsoft shows off You're in the Movies.
Not Playing Rock Band 2: The biggest Epic Fail of E3 ‘08 was having to walk by Rock Band 2 countless times and not being able to rock out. There was “work” to do and playing Rock Band 2 for 20 hours wasn’t my assignment. I also missed the party and The Who, even though D’Alonzo got to go!
On-Stage Charisma: What happened to public speaking prowess? Are there any executives that still understand the art of oratory? I'll admit, last year was my first E3, so maybe I'm spoiled. Last year, we had Peter Moore, Reggie Fils-Aime, and Phil Harrison. Perhaps none among them could claim to be a Cicero or Socrates, but none of them made me want to take a nap either. This year, we were treated to some guy, some soccer mom, and Jack Tretton. Yes, I believe it's a problem that not only can I not remember the names for of the three main presenters, but that among them, Jack Tretton has the most stage presence.
Let's fix this, guys! Take some classes, attend a college forensics tournament or two, hire George Plimpton, do whatever you have to do. Just, please, don't make next year's big three press conferences the big snooze they were this year.
DJ Ravi Drums and the Nintendo Epic Fail Band: Despite the fact of a growing number of weary hardcore Nintendo gamers fearing a growing rift between their Big "N" and the hardcore market, Nintendo went ahead with an already predicted abysmal lineup at their E3 conference. The smoke has cleared for a full week now and waking from a drunken E3 stupor what we're left with is an "official apology" from Nintendo, a follow-up memo of "that's all for this year folks" from MS. Smiley herself Cammie Dunaway, and terrible terrible imagery of a clueless band of suits and DJ Ravi Drums playing Wii Music. Sure, they've made a strategic industry decision to create a stranglehold on a large, growing part of the market. Sure, they have no "core" games to offer at this point... but to add insult to injury by grabbing a popular underground drummer and placing him in the middle of an E3 stage waving around Wii-Motes/nunchuks with Iwata and co. just screams "Oh @#$%! We don't have anything to show this year, um quick call up marketing!"
Look, spare us the douche-baggery and general false optimism Nintendo that you still care. Just write the Dear John letter and leave the mix-tape already. We know you've moved on, we'll continue to cheat on you anyways with third-party sweethearts (Sega's MadWorld, High Voltage's Sotfware's The Conduit, etc.) and when you're done making your fame and fortune gig and wanna make-up... Let us know... We'll call DJ Ravi Drums... Maybe he knows how to play the world's smallest violin.
You're in the Movies- Watching one of whom we consider a gaming ally in Shane Kim pretend to laugh and enjoy himself in front of a completely nonplussed gaming press audience while You're in the Movies was demoed by MSoft employees was really painful. Not only was this sad because it means Xbox is selling out its base by adding webcam-enabled mini-games to its offerings, the game looked terrible on its own. It looks like something your parents would have played at one of their weird parties after you had gone to bed at 8pm. You know, those weird parties where all those other couples showed up with booze and leather? Anyway, it signals the beginning of the end for hardcore games being untainted on the Xbox and in case you missed it, we have it here for you again in all its lame failure glory. TRAINWRECK Ahoy!
Bungie.net Announcement: There we were, ladies and gentlemen. Our eyes were piercing through our computer monitors. We set our alarms, told our significant others to call us for a reminder and clinched our cheeks as we waited for the countdown last week on Bungie.net to be over. What could it possibly be? All our nerd desires thought of only one man: Master Chief. Could Bungie be unveiling a new Halo game? Is he really ready for another fight? Will we see the return of Bill Gates? And what did we get from all of it? A brief letter that pretty much said, "Sorry....suckers." Apparently Bungie's publisher yanked the announcement out during the FINAL countdown. Letter F...for FAIL...and others.
Nintendo Developer’s Roundtable vs. The Who: Among the big news at the Nintendo Developer’s Roundtable? The fact that your bells will not transfer when Animal Crossing makes the jump from the Nintendo DS to the Wii. Meanwhile, across town, Harmonix and MTV were having their Rock Band Bash to celebrate the release of Rock Band 2. The special guests there, as we all know now, were The Who.
So, where do you think everyone at E3 wanted to be? You can bet your bottom dollar it wasn’t having a detailed conversation about Wii Sports Resort for the Wii. This is a classic fail of scheduling, since the people that had the choice chose The Who, and the people who didn’t will resent Nintendo for the rest of their natural born lives.