E3 2015: another expo, another sequel

The banners are up all over the Staples Center for E3, and boy is it sequel-esque. Every banner up there, massive and looming over the streets, is for a sequel of some kind. Call of Duty, Assassin’s Creed, Uncharted.

The Xbox live show this morning – Halo 5.

Personally, I’m tired of all the sequels. I want to be amazed, excited, shown something new. Sure, the last time I got excited about a new IP, it turned out to be Watch Dogs, but so what?

Where’s the new stuff? Maybe it’s inside. UPDATE: Nope.

E3 2015 – Worth it?

E3-2015-620x372

I’m headed to the 2015 edition of the Electronic Entertainment Expo, better known as E3, and I’m wondering, as I sit in the airport waiting on my Jet Blue plane from Anchorage to Long Beach (then a train ride up to Los Angeles proper), will this trip be worth it?

What’s E3 but a loud, cacophonous trip into the heart of the video gaming industry? The folks at E3 want to impress three sets of people – the people who buy and distribute retail video games, the press that write about video games (that’s me!), and the folks that ultimately buy video games (consumers!).

I’m traveling freelance this year – that means I’m gonna write about mobile games over at 148Apps (hi Rob Rich!) and I’m going to find stories for a small handful of other sites that pay me for wording from time to time (Hi Maeghan!).

I’m also going to put the rest of my impressions here, for you. I hope you enjoy them.

  • Monument Valley >

    Monument Valley

  • KQ-Rock-aa-Hard-Place-O

    King's Quest

  • Battleborn-Rendain-O

    Battleborn

  • Destiny-Graveyard-O

    Destiny

  • Wolf-Trip-Trap-O

    The Wolf Among Us

  • Never-Alone-Adrift-O

    Never Alone

  • Ori-and-Naru-O

    Ori and the Blind Forest

  • Never-Alone-Adrift-L
  • MV-Labyrinth-O

    Monument Valley

Get Into the Pixel at E3 2015

One of my favorite exhibits at E3 each year is Into the Pixel, a celebration and exploration of the art in games. It’s beautiful landscapes and unique portraits produced on museum-quality paper hanging in huge frames on the first floor of the (west? east? south?) hall in the Staples Center.

The exhibit has released the featured pieces for this year’s exhibit, and boy are they beautiful. Check out the full list at the 2015 ITP website, and get an eyeful at E3 this year.

Shout out to ‘The Brainysphere’ on BoingBoing

Photo stolen from BoingBoing.

Photo stolen from BoingBoing.

Gosh, I miss the brainygamer vibe. Critical Distance came out of it, Leigh was a big part of it, I even attended a couple of dinners with Michael Abbott and the smart, dynamic folks he encouraged and inspired.

It’s nice to see Leigh, successful as the editor of Offworld on Boing Boing, give a call out to the way it used to be five years or so ago, even as a part of this lovely piece on fatigue among female writers and game developers.

At that time there was no Twitter. There was no “the community.” We had no forum for conversations about the supposed injustice of a labor economy whereby people write blogs and others benefit from them without paying money. The sphere of games criticism I was part of when younger — the “Brainysphere”, we often called it, after web ringleader Michael Abbott of the Brainy Gamer — was imbued with a gentle awe. There was a brightness and a newness to what we were doing, it felt like, and while of course none of us invented games criticism it’s fair to say we were all part of the invention of a kind of conversation in our field, where we were exploring with and investing in one another. I never wrote good articles then, but I must have had good ideas, like the others who participated in this exchange with me.

Source: BoingBoing

Too many goddamn games

Yeah, this one, too. Pretty disappointing. Photo: Ubisoft

Yeah, this one, too. Pretty disappointing. Photo: Ubisoft

When I was a kid, I used to buy albums on cassette. They were precious; each $12 – $16 item (when new) was an entire night of experience. I’d lie on my bed letting the music (with my mono-speakered cassette player from RadioShack at first, then my Sony yellow Sports Walkman, then an actual stereo I bought from Sears) flow over me, and I’d stay very still. Listening to the music. Hearing all the lyrics, even the ones I had to make up in my own head.

When I started playing video games for real, back in, say, 2006 or 2007, I had a similar experience. Each tiny Game Cube disc was a watershed moment. I could only buy one at a time, at varying intervals.

As I moved into the Xbox 360 era and then purchased a PlayStation 3 (“It’s for my website, I promise! Tax-deductible!”), new games were still fairly far and in-between, downloadable and on-disc. Gears of War. Flower. Final Fantasy XIII. Each a unique, special moment.

Not so anymore.

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Goodbye Cara Ellison, we hardly knew ye

So long, farewell... Photo: Alan Levine, FlickrCC

So long, farewell… Photo: Alan Levine, FlickrCC

Writing about games isn’t a great way to make a living, and — as with talented writers like Cara Ellison — may not even be the best thing to write about.

Ellison and her big goodbye, right here:

Nordic Game asked me to do a talk on ‘New Wave games criticism’. I didn’t know what that was really, and if it’s anything we are probably in the middle of it and I can’t really see what it is yet. But anyway, since I’m leaving, I guess this is my goodbye.

Via: Cara Ellison

Gaming criticism is important, and it doesn’t mean being negative

Photo: WB Games

Photo: WB Games

Girls on Games’ Catherine Ashley has a lot of good things to say about the
over the top reaction to Arthur Gies’ (Polygon) critical (not negative!) look at The Witcher 3, a game I really can’t be bothered to want to play.

Critical thought simply means to be reflective, and engage in independent thought, rather than passively consume what is thrown at us on a daily basis. In spite of its negative connotation, being critical when reviewing a game is crucial; not only for those who read the review and decide whether or not to purchase it, but also for the video game industry in general.

Oh, and the Polygon review? It’s been taken down, apparently.

Via: GirlsOnGames