What’s the worst that can happen in video games? You die.
But then you get to start all over again until you don’t. And you continually ascend until reaching the pinnacle of success---the end of the game. And it feels good.
There was a lot of feeling good at E3, the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles last week.
The annual event is the premiere showcase for brand-new and not-yet released video games, and for the game industry in general. Compared to last year, there was evidence that the economy has taken its toll on the exhibitors. Many of the booths’ catered food and champagne offerings for VIP and press were excised --- or maybe more hidden. However, free swag seemed more plentiful this year—or maybe my eye was more attuned to that.
The best experience at a booth, by far, was a low-key one by Telltale Games. Tucked away in office spaces far from the exhibition halls, the company promoted Walking Dead the Game. There was little neon schmaltz but plenty of wry humor. Attendees dined on huge BBQ Turkey legs that were meant to be stuffed into severed limbs. Sometimes all it takes is food and crazy props to make people happy.
Since news broke of the mature-themed Star Wars game, Star Wars 1313 became the “It” game of E3. In the early stages, only some behind-the-scenes and game play clips were shown. But it was enough to entice those wanting to explore the Coruscant underworld as a lethal bounty hunter.
Star Wars 1313 photo provided by LucasArts.
Star Trek the Game also did not disappoint, revealing a lengthier sneak peek during in its long development process toward release. Due out next year, the big reveal was that the Gorn will be the game’s villain.
Many games are still in the development phase, and that amounts to only clips of the game screened. Yet there were plenty of demo opportunities available. I died repeatedly in about 25 seconds, competing with a Master Champion of Dead or Alive. The latest, Dead or Alive 5, imports Akira Yuki of Virtua Fighter. Fighters duel on a floating raft that slowly rips apart in the white-waters (athough I was never quite able to make it to this stage).
I also had a hard time surviving, believe it or not, Epic Mickey2 at the Disney Pavilion. I had a rotten time getting the hang of the camera and paintbrush -- which the player is supposed to use to paint a pathway. My Mickey frowned at me each time I made him fall off a cliff.
I was somewhat more successful at Majesco’s Zumba Fitness Core, the new version of the company’s hit title. After Bollywood and River Dancing, my avatar was not the only one that was not too happy. My heart protested quite a bit as did my clothes from the considerable sweat I worked up.
The longest line at E3 was not for a game. It was for free Oswald ears. The character, a precursor to Mickey, the longer-eared rabbit has been reacquired by Disney and makes his appearance in the game. Some were sold on eBay for $200.
I cry when I’m happy. I swear when I die in a video game. At E3, there are no conditions on whatever you prefer to do -- with the exception of moving along so someone else can have their chance at fun, which likely involves dying and crying.
The previous issue of Hyphen is available in its entirety for your perusing pleasure. Almost as good as having it right in your hands!