ME3

13 07 2016

E3 Logo

“On my business card, I’m a Corporate President. In my mind, I’m a Game Developer. But in my heart, I am a Gamer”

Satoru Iwata.

It’s one of the biggest events of the year on the video gaming calendar. Many people travel many hundreds if not thousands of miles to be a part of it, and witness the colossal event that is simply known as E3. Every year the Los Angeles Convention Center becomes a hot bed for video game companies, developers, websites, magazines, fans and corporate personal all traveling in from all corners of the earth to discover and show off what they see and believe to be the next step and future of Video Gaming. Since the first Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in 1995, E3 has grown to become the major event that it is today, and is synonymous with all the above. Say the name E3 to any video game fan, and they will instantly know what you are talking about. It has become the location and event where some of the biggest moments and announcements in the history of Video Games have come to pass, from the reveals of new consoles, to the launch sites of new games and content. If you want to know what the next big thing in gaming is, there is a good shot that the ideal time and place of where to at least find a hint, is none other than E3.

E3 Expo

Over 10 years ago, I got my first taster and understanding of E3 from the magazines I read at the time. The main magazine I had access to was CUBE Magazine. CUBE, was entirely dedicated to Nintendo Games, and every year like all other major video game magazines, they would include a spread on what happened at E3. As the years went by and as magazines such as CUBE disappeared, my knowledge and desire to keep up to date with the events of E3 continued, and eventually I would look into topics and details on my own. Being a kid with little pocket money it was never really going to be the case that I would get to go to E3 but the dream was there, that must count for something. I was a dedicated follower of E3, and loved to watch the Press Conferences, in fact, that became a staple viewing of mine every May-July (whenever it was on). But slowly over time, I just sort of stopped looking into E3. I had no more magazines to look at, and as my interest in most current video gaming sort of side-lined, I just completely forgot about E3. Recently of course E3 returned, and all the news pouring in brought it all running back to me. I did not watch any of the press conferences, but I did feel a run of nostalgia, and thought I would write a post on me and E3 (or rather corny: ME3).

GameCube

Back at the dawn of the Millennium, I did not really have much in the way as a gamer other than a Game Boy Pocket (which was actually a replacement as the much bigger Yellow Game Boy was stolen). A few months later though that changed with my first real home games console (rather than a hand-held), that in the form of a Nintendo 64. I had a lot of fun playing on that machine, playing on games like Goldeneye 007, F-Zero X and Pokémon Stadium. A few years later I received a Nintendo GameCube for Christmas, and I still have it. It still works brilliantly and I still have many of the games I used to play on it originally such as Mario Kart: Double Dash!!, James Bond 007: Nightfire, and my all time (GC) favourite; F-Zero GX. It was at this time I started getting CUBE magazine and first heard about E3. Originally I thought nothing of it; that was until about 2005. CUBE used to supply little GC sized discs with their magazines. These had two format’s, one they could be used for game cheat codes for the Game Cube, while the other disc was a DVD’s showing off trailers for upcoming games as well as sales ads for Action Replay. Anyway, in 2005 on of the DVD’s I got included video footage of Nintendo’s E3 conference for that year. It was not the best quality I have to admit, but it certainly was entertaining. It was my first real taste of E3, and would develop into me wanting more. I can remember it quite fondly, it had appearances from future regular Reggie Fils-Aime, it talked about games such as Nintendogs and Electroplankton, it revealed details of the Game Boy Micro and even featured appearances from both Shigeru Miyamoto and Satoru Iwata. Mr Iwata’s appearance though gave me one of the most memorable moments of E3 to date. Mr. Iwata stood up on stage and took out of his pocket a small black box; a small black box that would become a main feature of a great many homes worldwide in just a few years.

At the time it was called the Nintendo Revolution; but in just a year’s time at the next E3, it would become known as the Nintendo Wii. The reaction from the audience, plus the way it was revealed remains for me one of the truly great moments in E3’s history. It would not be until E3 2006 that things would really take off. For the most part, E3 and I was all Nintendo. I had a Nintendo console and read the appropriate magazines. For me and gaming at the time, it was either Nintendo or PC. So for the first few years, me and E3 was all about Nintendo. As I was not able to physically attend, most of the news and E3 experience I got came down to watching the press conferences, but I didn’t mind, the Press conferences for me then and since have always been the highlight, and even when I would look at other companies Press conferences, for me Nintendo’s was always the highlight. My E3 experience took off a little more in 2006 at, well; Guess Who’s Press conference. I received a sort of cut and trimmed DVD presentation copy off Official Nintendo Magazine (no more CUBE, they just stopped producing, no farewell, no nothing). The show was no more than about 10 minutes long but still opened with Reggie, and featured appearances from Miyamoto and Iwata as well as a few others. It would not be until the personal discovery of YouTube and still a few years before I would get a good watch of it. For me, the 2006 conference remains (possibly) my favourite. It’s been a while since I watched it fully, but the things I do remember I do fondly. The stage, the opening doors, choices of music, the reveals of games and hardware as well as the important discussion notes regarding the main star: The Wii. For me though, the major thing I remember most is the opening. Miyamoto dressed like a conductor, brandishing a Wii controller and directing a digital orchestra. This was followed by some more music and on stage demos by a couple of guys (probably display models from The Price is Right), presenting live play footage of two of the consoles early and premium titles: Red Steel and Excite Truck; such an awesome sight.

As you can probably tell, by now I was a committed fan of E3 for several years, especially for Nintendo. The following year in 2007, I was able to watch the conference properly on a laptop, not a live stream of Nintendo’s conference, but a pre-recorded one. It was still a big one, with the main topic being the Wii’s success and the show talked in detail about new exciting games such as Mario Kart Wii and Wii Fit. From 2007 onwards, I became a fan of a TV show on the now deceased UK channel Bravo called Gamer.TV. Gamer.TV, or simply Gamer TV to me, gave me a route into the rest of E3.

Reggie Fils-Aimé

In 2008, what should have been yet another great year for Nintendo at E3 was sort of ruined. It was not a good presentation, it was very low-key and was blotted by a new presenter, that of Cammie Dunaway. Reggie had always been the main presenter for Nintendo at E3, but in 2008 for some reason he was sort of replaced by Dunaway. Now no offence intended to somebody who is supposedly a corporate whizz, but in Gaming terms, and especially E3 terms, Dunaway was not a good presenter. She presented herself as something of a Mum like character, spent a lot of time bending over backwards and her suit was just flying all over the place. She was very distracting. There are many people on a corporate level who have presented at E3 in the past, many of whom could be considered not just good but naturally gifted presenters. Some on a corporate professional level such as Reggie, Iwata, Jack Tretton, Peter Moore, Phil Harrison and Kazuo Hirai are able to present in a very methodical, understandable yet also very entertaining way. After that you also have characters like Kevin Butler and Tim Schafer, maybe not a corporate presenter, but generally as good as the above if not better. In comparison Dunaway was just annoying. If it was not in a video game context I bet she is pretty good as a presenter, but in this instance, she was just really bad. It put a sour note on the year. Thanks to Gamer TV though, I got my first proper taste of the Competitions presentations. Don’t remember much about Microsoft at E3 in 2008, but, Sony put on an incredible show and revealed exciting new games presenting them in trailers. Games of memorable note include both God of War 3 and of course, MAG.

From 2009 onwards it was a big change for E3 and me. From this point forward, I decided to watch the other press conferences too not just Nintendo. Well, what I actually mean is that I also watched Sony ad Microsoft as well as Nintendo, as for anyone else I just gave those a miss. 2009 saw some improvements from Nintendo, yes Dunaway was till presenting, but her presentation style was updated and improved. The stage was very small and surrounded by Televisions, but it was still a major improvement. The first one I watched though was Microsoft. Big announcements and some games but overall (and setting the mood quite well for themselves for the next several years) it was like some kind of ‘coffee klatch’ presentation with a 5 minute break in between each section. It did however present a memorable moment when a producer from Harmonix danced away on Dance Central. I think Sony’s was generally alright, I just don’t remember all that much about it.

Then the years went on from there really. Nintendo improved gradually from their 2008 shambles; revealing details about new big games, and of course details and presentations of the Nintendo 3DS, Microsoft did not improve at all, except to allow Tim Schafer to have a spot for one of his games; and continue to prove my theory that the X-Box is nothing more than a glorified set-top box, While Sony began to show off how much of a powerhouse they truly were. Sony really began to shine for me, and their presentation style really began to glow, especially in 2010, with a much longer press conference than the other 2 and the introduction and constant inclusion of Kevin Butler, as well as an awesome trailer for Twisted Metal. And from there, E3 for me just kept on keeping on. I did take an occasional look at other press conferences, Ubisoft once stood out for me with their reveal of Far Cry 3.

So what happened, how did an annual event that was just as important to me as it was for others suddenly not have a place in me anymore? I don’t actually know is the short answer, but I bet I got a pretty good clue. The year was 2012, and after waiting a considerable length of time, the 2 games I bought in 2012 that were actually brand new were finally released, Twisted Metal and Far Cry 3. In 2013, I bought another game I had been looking forward too, a bit too long for actually; Beyond: Two Souls, which was released at the very end of the year. I don’t think I actually watched anything of the 2013 press conferences, I think the last time I took any attention to E3 was with the announcement of the Wii U. What happened? I just lost a little interest in games, as the times were moving on, and some of the stuff at the time did not apply to me. In 2012 I got back into books and started playing Board Games more frequently. I guess it was just the case that as my long time love of Video Games waned and began to be replaced by other things more strongly, I just forgot about E3. To be honest, since 2012, I don’t think I have really thought about E3 other than when announcements are made on the trending part of Facebook. It’s kind of sad when I think about it really; I used to have so much excitement, and used to experience so much fun just watching a few press conferences, now for it to be almost nothing but a memory for me. Will I ever get back into it, I don’t know. I could try to watch this year’s conferences on YouTube sometime if I get round to it, or I could try double hard for next year, but I really don’t know. Sorry if it seems so anti-climactic but I don’t really have an answer of why or even why not?

Wii U

The thing is though, that even if I do get back into it, there is something vitally important missing from the conferences now. About this time last year, the industry lost one of its truly great and unique people; a man who was certainly still in his prime and still had many more years to give to the industry. He was a corporate president, and the CEO of the world’s largest video game company. He passed away just as the company was beginning to take its next step into a bright new future. For me, this man has been the main highlight for not just E3 but many other conferences I have been fortunate enough to see him present at. At E3 he made the press conferences fun and enjoyable no matter how terrible or mediocre the outcome. Someone whose presentation style was a wonder to behold and who spoke with a personal passion on the things he adored; whether it be games, technology or even chopping onions; he gave me some of the most interesting, intriguing and informative moments of my Video Game life and made E3 a magical moment. Sadly he is gone now, but his name; like E3 will remain synonymous with not just gamers, but with the entire video game industry, and the memories he has produced over the years will remain with us forever. I never met him, never saw him live, but I wish I had. He was a great inspiration to me, he was someone whose presentation style but also career was something to aspire too when I wanted to be a video games designer many years ago. He influenced me greatly when I was studying in that field, and even when I stopped viewing E3 regularly, every now and then I would go online and look up one of his press conferences, just for my own entertainment. More than anyone else, for me; E3 was a moment not just to hear about games and consoles, but a moment to hear from the great man that was: Satoru Iwata (miss you).

Satoru Iwata

GENEPOOL

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Talking About My Generation

16 10 2013

GameCube

This past week, I reached what was possibly a sad milestone in terms of my love and interest of Video Games. I bought Beyond: Two Souls for the PlayStation 3. I have been looking forward to the release of this game for a long time, even before it had been announced or known about. Why?, it was produced by Quantic Dream who back in 2010 released Heavy Rain which remains one of my favourite games on the PS3. But you may be asking, why am I sad about a game I have been excited so much about. While my love of Video Games has flourished over the last 7/8 years, I am reaching a major stage in my life. For about the last couple of years I have begun to play less and less video games and do more things of different kinds. If you were to look at me in 2010/2011, Video Games were my main hobby and had been that way since 2001. But now, due to new interests, it no longer is my main. While I continue to love Video Games, I don’t have as much passion as I used to, new interests such as Board Games which I have loved since being a boy as well as my new-found interest in books again which was something that had laid dormant in me for a number of years now, has begun to flourish.

Beyond: Two Souls (Quantic Dream - 2013)

Purchasing Beyond: Two Souls is sad for another reason also, it represents the end of lifespan as one of the main consoles. The 8th generation has already begun, but it will enter full swing in a few months’ time and the PS3 will no longer be one of the main consoles on the market, and for me that feels sad. The enjoyment I have received out of it and will continue to receive will begin to die out as the new consoles take centre stage. But for me, this is not the first time this has happened.

PS3 Controller

Since being a boy I have loved playing games. Games are fun, exciting, enjoyable experiences. During my early youth I have played on many game consoles belonging to friends and family members including Sega Master System II and Sega Mega Drive. My first personal console was a Game Boy, an original one and it was big and yellow and I had a couple of Mario Games for it. However this got stolen (along with my copy of Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins) when the house was ransacked by a bunch of thieving burglars which is pretty self-explanatory but several weeks later I got a replacement in the form of a Game Boy Pocket which was Red and a lot smaller than my nice chunky Yellow Game Boy. But I still had a great time playing games with it. I loved making movies with my Game Boy Camera, took on pirates in search of a treasure in an attempt to build my own private castle in Wario Land and I hunted, caught and trained several pocket-sized monsters in Pokémon Yellow. I even got to smash-up boulders and punch monsters with a Godzilla Game Boy Game. Those were great times when I could lose myself in a personal game and go on adventures and even have little projects to myself with my Camera. Those were great days and while other Game Boys were released such as the Game Boy Colour, Advance and Advance SP. I was pretty much content with my little handheld.

Pokémon Yellow

In late 200 when just starting at High School I received a Nintendo 64 from a friend of my Brothers. With it I got several games including Star Wars: Squadron and Goldeneye 007. My collection of games for it grew and grew with purchases of games including F-Zero X as well as presents at Christmas and Birthday’s with games including Pokémon Stadium 1 and Pokémon Stadium 2. I also was able to borrow games for the console from Blockbuster. It was a great multiplayer platform with a lot of fun crafted into the games produced. I went on a shooting spree in games like the Brilliant Goldeneye and The World Is Not Enough ( starring the unkillable Ape Face). I whizzed past my rivals in F-Zero and Mario Kart 64, and I battled Tooth, Nail and Electric Shocks as well as try powerful Sushi, learned how to dance, chopped logs and delivered Christmas presents in Pokémon Stadium 1 and 2.

It was during my play time on Nintendo 64 that rumours started appearing as to Nintendo’s Next Console, the Nintendo Dolphin. I had no idea what it was going to be like, but it was appearing at a time that other new consoles started to appear. In late 1999, Sega released what would be their last major console in the form of the Sega Dreamcast which while it was short-lived, has been regarded by many as one of the greatest game consoles and it introduced and pioneered many elements that would become standard with in the industry including online gameplay. Around about the same time as the release of the Dreamcast, the long-awaited PlayStation 2 was released which became the number one bestselling console of its generation. The Nintendo Dolphin eventually arrived in the form of the Nintendo GameCube in 2002. I asked for a copy for the following Christmas and received one with a copy of Godzilla: Destroy All Monsters Melee.

Dreamcast Logo

This was the point that Video Games would become my main hobby. I would come back from school wanting to play some more on it over and over again. Soon after getting one I got an extra pad, memory card and some shelves for games for about £25. My game collection for it grew over time with me acquiring copies of games like Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Sonic Adventure 2 Battle. I got to try out games from Blockbuster and sometimes bought those that I like a lot. Over the 4 years that I had the console my collection continued to grow more and more. My multiplayer experiences were very enjoyable with games like the amazing 007: Nightfire. I was whizzing around tight bends and almost crashing cars in Need For Speed: Underground, Mario Kart: Double Dash!! and F-Zero GX. I was going on adventures in Sonic Adventure 2 Battle and Sonic Heroes. I was battling to stay alive in Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance, I was fighting on the frontline in Battalion Wars, I wrestled to become World Champion in WWE Day of Reckoning 1 and WWE Day of Reckoning 2, I collected Stars and Coins in epic multiplayer duels in Mario Party and I was even milking Cows in Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life. While there were those at school who said it was stupid to have, I did not care; I was having fun, lots of fun. Not only that, but the GameCube did have some things over its rivals. The Memory Cards were small and cheap but had plenty of rooms for games and the pads had built in Rumble Packs meaning a cartridge did not have to be bought for them to feel like you were in the heat of the moment. And even after the Xbox was released and had built in memory and had games on it like HALO: Combat Evolved, I was still satisfied with my little GameCube. Others could play DVD’s on their consoles; I didn’t really have any DVD’s so I saw no point in having that feature. I remember a time when I played for hours on F-Zero GX (My Favourite GameCube Game) including not realising the passage of light or time as it was once 11:00pm when I finally stopped playing it, did I mind, no, I was happy.

F-Zero GX (Nintendo - 2003)

At the time of all this I used to collect CUBE Magazine which sadly ended in the blink of an eye in 2005. CUBE magazine offered many in-depth news of Games coming out in the near future and easy to understand reviews. It was when reading it in about 2004 that I heard about the Nintendo DS. What I thought was going to be the next home console turned out to be a hand-held that would take the world by storm. In mid-2005 I first heard about the Nintendo Revolution. This would become the next home console for Nintendo when released in late 2006.

My enjoyment of the GameCube still continued, but over time, its oncoming end was apparent. I could see it particularly with how hard it was to get new games. By June 2006 my concentration had now turned its eyes to the Nintendo Revolution, now known as the Nintendo Wii. As the excitement grew to this new console, the more and more I could not wait for its arrival. However, being a Nintendo Console, the criticism came in thick and fast before the consoles eventual release (which still happens to this day despite the company’s illustrious career). But most of everyone’s attention was more on the release of the Xbox 360 and the soon to be released PS3. How wrong they were when the Wii started breaking all records. Its appeal came from its more casual gaming approach allowing more people to play games, different groups of people too, older people, mums and dads. Whole families could play games together. The Wii became a must have toy for everyone. It became a party tool for when numerous people were round. Whole hosts of games were developed for it from Party Games for the whole family, to shooting games for the more hard-core gamer. And this came from the Wii’s pioneering Motion Control feature meaning that games were no longer about causing thumb seizures and more about being part of an experience. Nintendo opened up the Games Market to a whole new world, one that the competition did not even notice or think about.

Nintendo Wii

I was one of the people who felt the benefits of the Wii. I had a great time Boxing and Playing golf with friends in Wii Sports and Wii Sports Resort as well as drive around corners in Mario Kart Wii, take on the Yakuza in Red Steel, lead a Nation in Little King’s Story, take on Savage Rabbits in dancing contests and played with them in rock bands in Rayman Raving Rabbids and attempted to keep fit with Wii Fit. It was a great time to be a gamer.

But part of me wanted to play other games too, games that were not as available on the Wii, games like Motorstorm or the upcoming MAG. So in 2009 I bought a PS3 with Killzone 2 and Far Cry 2, eventually getting Motorstorm Pacific Rift for my Birthday. The PS3 would eventually become my main console as while the Wii was fun, it did not have much for a solo gamer. While I did not have much of a Multiplayer Experience with the PS3, it was like playing my GameCube all over again, getting lost in the game, in the story. While Shooting games like Killzone 2 and Killzone 3, Battlefield 3 and Far Cry 2 were mainly my favourites. I thoroughly enjoyed a range of other games too. Adventure Games like Brütal Legend and Fairytale Fights gave me new worlds to experience and Heavy Rain showed that games could be more than just games. But there was always some room for some racing with games like Motorstorm Pacific Rift, ModNation Racers and Test Drive Unlimited 2. It was still a great time to be a gamer.

So what changed, how did I go from being so incredibly happy playing games, to games no longer being my number 1 hobby? 2012, in March 2012 I saw The Hunger Games at the cinema, I loved it so much I bought the book and got back into reading, I got lost in an amazing world and over time I began to read more and more. At the moment I am reading the Incredible GONE series by Michael Grant. In turn I began to write more and recently entered some writing competitions. But it wasn’t just books and writing. I started to play Board Games more and more. Board Games was mainly a thing I did once, maybe twice a year at Christmas and on Holiday, but after finding a group at a local café in my home town, I started playing them week after week and still do. I spend less of my pocket-money on games, and more on Board Games. But another reason is that in 2012, there was hardly anything that I wanted to get. The Wii was on its last legs as there was hardly anything worth getting, particularly with more attention on the upcoming Wii U. I only bought 2 new releases in 2012, Twisted Metal and Far Cry 3. Even in 2013, there was hardly nothing I wanted with most of the games I bought for the PS3 being old second-hand games. Beyond: Two Souls was really the only new release I got. Most of my attention on Computer Games I want to play turn to the PC with Games on Steam. Nowadays, when I walk into a GAME Shop, I just look at old stuff that I could get cheap. I spend more time looking at Board Games, than I do at Video Games. When I was studying Video Games Development, I always assumed that Video Games would be my Major Hobby, but now, it isn’t. It still is a hobby, but not my major one. When you are young you don’t see how you change as you get older, it is only now I see this change.

Far Cry 3 (Ubisoft - 2012)

Video Games will always be a part of me, this blog started as a result of my Interest in Video Games. I look forward to games to be released on Steam and GOG. I play some games multiple times; I still look at Games I want to play and continue to look forward to and enjoy E3. I have a Nintendo 3DS which I play Pokémon SoulSilver on every now and again, I even want to give Ouya a go, as for any of the other consoles, well it depends on whether or not a game comes out on one that I really want to play, maybe a Wii U or a PlayStation 4, probably not an Xbox One though, unless I am extremely desperate to play Titanfall. For over 10 years, Video Games have been my interest, hobby and passion. While I feel like that this part of my life has now ended, I am thankful for experiencing it and having so much fun in the process. But this is not the ultimate end as I will continue to play Video Games, have fun with friends in multiplayer, experience stories and great characters while also getting involved in these amazing worlds and experience the escapism and involvement that they include. I love gaming, and a part of me always will.

GENEPOOL (Don’t forget to have a look at my article celebrating the 5 year Anniversary of the Nintendo Wii).








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