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FuzzyGuy84 Blog

The End of E3 as we know it (and I feel fine)

 So I've been sitting on this for I guess about a day now. I have come to the conclusion that, all things considered, this is extremely good news for game developers and gamers alike. I do feel bad for the revenues that will (at least temporarily) be lost by the ESA and the city of Los Angeles, but I'll be honest here - I like to play video games, and I think this decision will work to improve that experience in the long run.

From the perspective of someone who’s never actually been, I've never really liked E3. There is just too much information coming in too small and amount of time. This year, I spent many hours at my computer the Monday and Tuesday prior to E3, working to consume the huge amount of news from the big 3 press conferences, writing about it, podcasting about it, and talking about it, that when the actual convention arrived I felt pretty burned out. I feel like I missed so much. When I go to a video game website and you see a link coverage of 200+ new games from E3, I can’t help but marvel at the stupidity of this marketing and news coverage. I did what I'm pretty sure most people did, I checked out the games I knew I would be interested in: MGS4, Super Mario Galaxy, etc. I heard about very few new games, or small developers, and I don't think that's because they weren't there. Most games simply get lost in the huge glut of news coming out of the convention.

Let's play the compare-gaming-to-another-industry game. I think if the movie industry had an E3 equivalent, it would be one weekend in mid-May when every single film company got together and showed trailers for all of the movies coming out over the next year or so. Sure, maybe a few trailers would come out during the rest of the year, but 90% of all movies would be announced this weekend. In a world where this fictitious event happened, film crews would be forced to rush to film exciting scenes that would look good in a trailer, potentially at the expense of the quality of the film, or of the film being completed on time. With so many trailers coming out, a few huge budget films of varying quality will rise to the top, your Star Wars and Spider-Mans and what not, but most will get lost, as people accessing these 3-5 minute productions at home don't have time to watch and digest but a handful. Also, because a near-complete version of each film is required to make a decent showing at this early-summer event, the vast majority of films will come out in the last three months of the year. Meaning, even fewer people than saw the trailers will actually be able to find the money and time to go and watch these movies, all coming out one on top of each other. By the time the movies are out on DVD and people have time/money to watch what they weren't able to see, buzz for a new film-E3 has started up again and the films of last year are nearly forgotten.

I don't think that E3 is designed to be crippling, nor am I convinced that whatever replaces it will be this amazingly great thing for the industry. However, it does seem to me that having a big press event is good for no one - it's impossible to effectively market your games, particularly considering the tremendous monetary cost of presenting at E3. It's crippling for game developers who have to rush to get playable demos on the floor, and try to make up concrete release dates for the game press and public who supposedly "demand" it. Valve and id software both got a lot of flack for sticking to their "when it's done" release date mantra, but I don't think it's any coincidence that Half-Life 2 and Doom 3 turned out as excellent as they are. When you have talented people putting a lot of time into a game, the chance of it being a good game goes up rather dramatically. I understand that release dates are important for game retailers, who are trying to calculate, predict, and increase their earnings, but it's more important for me as a game player that the product turns out to be good. Not that reliable release dates necessarily equate to reliable earnings, either. A game that is mediocre but comes out on time isn't going to generate as much money as an excellent game that comes out weeks or months late.

E3 generates some mainstream press, yes. The press it generates is pretty embarrassing though. You hear about booth babes, you hear speeches from Jay Allard and Tony Hawk, and the entire convention comes off as juvenile as it seems. E3 is a spectacle, it's Disneyland for gamers, and from a fan perspective I would kill to be able to go. In terms of presenting video games to the public, to non-gamers, it's embarrassing. More intimate, controlled, professional, and evenly spaced through the year press conferences mean more news more often, and news that is easily summed up and presented to the public. Because let's be honest, the "mainstream coverage" that E3 gets isn't the NY Times writing about how the medium is evolving, it's MTV putting pictures on their website of Chun-Li and Lara Croft making out.

Snarky comments aside, I'm genuinely very interested to see what happens. This is big big big news, industry changing news, things that are going to effect video games from both a business and an entertainment standpoint. Hopefully, it will be for the better, hopefully it will be dramatic, and hopefully, everybody will end up happy when the dust settles a few years from now.

Gamers Club Podcast!

So my good friend Bobby and I started up our own shiny new podcast, the Gamers Club Podcast. It grew out of the video game club we started at the University of Virginia, and we wanted to take the spirit and attitude of the club and squish it down into podcast form. Each week we talk about cool and off-beat news, new game releases, our favorite games, and lots of stuff from the world of gaming.

Check us out at or subscribe to the podcast feed directly at . I hope you all will check it out and let me know what you think!

God of War and Polarium reviews for my school's newspaper

So I go to the University of Virginia, and this semester I've written two reviews for our school newspaper, The Cavalier Daily. I thought I would share them here:

God of War (PS2):

Polarium (DS):

Let me know what you think of them.