The Electronics Gaming Expo is just around the corner and the entire gaming world is ready to be both Wowed and entirely let down by the future of gaming. Someone will show off a fancy new doo-dad that us future people will not care about, yet would make a 1983 version you have an aneurism. Someone will demo a game that we’re told is totally unique and original, yet looks like about 12 other games, just set IIIIINNNN SPAAACCCEEE-Ace-ace. And lots of superlatives will be used to describe hunks of plastic.
While what we just described can be easily applied to E3 as a whole, it most certainly describes the E3 press conferences to a T. Every year we eagerly await what some 50-year-old corporate dude has to say about video games as he’s aided by his trusty Powerpoint slides and interchangeable stable of game designers, and then, when the middle aged guy hits the stage, we are greeted with a presentation loaded with the same tropes we all could have sworn we’ve seen before. At that moment, we all realize that we hate these tropes and we hate the press conferences. Yet, we’ll watch again next year.
Stats, Facts, and Figures
This one goes out to all three of the major console companies, but mostly Nintendo, who, year after year, gives a presentation that’s more like a college level statistics and accounting course than a demonstration of cool new gaming tech. The real point of this portion of the press conference is to jerk off the fan boys and give them talking point ammunition to fire during forum board flamewars.
Of course, the second reason the console companies love to do this is one that we’re sure Freud would love: dick measuring. If you toss up some meaningless stat about how your console is in more houses then the other consoles, you’re basically saying, “My digital dick if bigger than your digital dick. So suck our 1’s and 0’s, bitches.” Its corporate dick measuring, which means it’s like real dick measuring, just a lot duller and there’s less of a chance of someone getting randomly nut slapped by a drunk passerby.
The Celebrity Guest
You know who cared about celebrity endorsements? Your grandfather when he was in his 20s trying to decide if he should go with Dr. Heathcliff’s Shiny Tooth Solution — which was sponsored by Clark Gable — or DentaShine, which was a toothpaste endorsed by Ronald J. Willicur, star of such radio programs as “Not Without My Horsey” and “The One Where The Native-Americans Are Always The Bad Guys.”
No one gives a shit if you roll out some A-list celeb to talk about how terrific your new video game or peripheral is. Take, for example, last year’s opening for Microsoft’s E3 press conference. The first thing we see is a video for The Beatles Rockband. It’s all going well and good, until Ringo Star and Paul McCartney show up looking like two Alzheimer’s patients that got lost in a Best Buy. In total, the two only spoke about 20 words, all ending with what basically amounted to a rousing, “Yeah, so, buy our game. It’s good.” Enlightening. They only possible way that could have been more useless is if two sock puppets with their faces on them mouthed along to a Paul and Ringo prerecorded audio message that was edited together from years and years of interviews and song samples. “GO! b-UY Our Gaaaaaaaaammmmmeeee! Walrus!”
We all hate it when the host of the press conference hands the reigns off to some poor, pasty-faced mole of a game designer. But you can’t hate on the game designer for getting up there and having the balls to speak in front of a huge live audience of journalists and viewers at home. They’re some brave men and women that, for one day, have to break themselves out of their shells and stutter and stammer their way through a live game demo. Honestly, we don’t know how they don’t drop the politeness act and just say, “Excuse me, but I just shit my pants as I was explaining the targeting mechanic. I apologize, and I will continue through the demo of my most excellent game as if I didn’t just tell you that I loaded my pants with poop.” They’ve got balls. So don’t hate them. Just hate the general idea of having nervous game designers up there talking as their flop sweat drains their body of precious fluids, live on TV.
But one thing that’s always great about these guys, is that you can always tell which ones are running out there, closing their eyes, and just muscling through it, and which ones spent the previous 15 minutes splashing water on to their faces in the bathroom and looking in the mirror while yelling self-motivational slogans to themselves like, “YOU OWN THEM, BILL! YOU F*CKING OWN THE SHIT OUT OF THESE NERDS! YOU’RE A LION, BILL! A VIDEO GAME PERIPHERAL-CREATING LION!”
That Thing You Won’t See For A Decade, But They’re Showing It To You Now
“Oooooohh! That. Was. Awesome!!” is what you’re going to think at least once when E3 rolls around next week. Come 2013, though, you’re going to be watching the same video on Youtube and you’re going to think, “If they can release it before my hereditary arthritis sets in and my prostate swells to the size of a grapefruit, I’ll die happy…which, realistically, will probably happen soon after the game’s release.”
You’ll know which game it will be this year when, after the trailer, no release date is given. Or, if this is the first anyone has ever heard or seen of the game, and the trailer ends with “Fall 2010,” or “Spring 2011.” The chances of that game actually being released at that time are depressingly low. There’s a better chance of Jimmy Hoffa springing up during an American Idol audition with his balls painted to look like Vince The Slap Chop guy, then of that game coming out when they told you it would.
The Game The Presenters Are Way More Excited About Than You Are
Every year, during at least one press conference, Microsoft, Nintendo, or Sony will present a game that they think will revolutionize (graphics/controllers/social interaction/online play] forever. The creators of this game will be onstage and they will have a whole 10 to 15 minutes to talk about how and why this [game/peripheral/online component/service] is so super-duper awesome, and why you should be so super-duper excited for it.
To all of this hype, you will respond with, “Wha? Sorry, I was entranced by the Cheeto dust in my beard. Seriously, look at it, people in my TV. I look like I just went down on the Nickelodeon logo.”
This thing is usually some kind of overly cartoony cart racer that only the 6-year-old cousins of hardcore gamers will like, and that’s only until the little cousin realizes that there are games with boobs, cursing and blood in them.
Another Damned Rockband/Guitar Hero Game
Seriously! Every time! The world doesn’t need more plastic guitars sitting around; making people’s houses look like a Guitar Center exploded and their gaming room took heavy shrapnel damage.