Gameological At E3Podcast

The Eurogameological E3 Podcast: Day 2

The Eurogameological E3 Podcast: Day 2

What if they held an E3 and nobody showed up?

By John Teti • June 6, 2012

The Gameological Society is joining forces with Eurogamer this year for a daily podcast from the Electronic Entertainment Expo, which we have deemed the Eurogameological E3 Podcast. Today, Eurogamer reviews editor Oli Welsh and I are joined by Eurogamer senior staff writer Bertie Purchese.

The topic of the day is, of course, Nintendo. All the stars seemed to be aligned for Nintendo to make its mark this week, with Sony putting on a fairly tame showing and Microsoft making such an underwhelming effort that it made people forget what “whelmed” even looks like. While it got off to a promising start, Nintendo’s big E3 show failed to capitalize on the opportunity, bogging down in tedious over-explanation. There were some diamonds in the rough, so the three of us make an effort to accentuate the positive. It’s hard, though.

Also: Bertie met a celebrity, and Oli found a joystick with 40 buttons on it!

If you enjoy the Gameological podcast, you can subscribe via the podcast RSS feed or on iTunes.

Share this with your friends and enemies

Write a scintillating comment

224 Responses to “The Eurogameological E3 Podcast: Day 2”

  1. GhaleonQ says:

    Gosh, when did the video game industry become a war of attrition?  “Reinforce the hardware, send out the A- and AA-studios to the frontlines’ slaughter, and, damn it, MORE MEN WITH CHAINSAW GUNS!”  I’ve never been less excited coming out of the expo than I was going into it, but here we are.

    Now that the handheld space has had most of the creativity crushed out of it, I guess I’m going back to PC?  Of what was here, GameArts’ latest was charming (natch), Luigi’s Mansion 2’s regrettable-but-inevitable mission structure appears to have made each room’s puzzles more focused, Paper Mario is actually a creative, new thing, and Toybox seems like a worthy comeback company.

    I don’t know.  Does anyone just want to play Virtua Fighter 5 with me?

    • Destroy Him My Robots says:

      You’re talking about Wada’s shopkeeper game? It breaks my heart, or rather fractures it further, Asteroids-style, but I’m not really sold on it yet. There’s still the seperate 3DS presentation coming up, but I’m not really expecting much except for Animal Crossing release dates and stuff, and it sounds like I’m in good company with that stance.

    • Shain Eighmey says:

      I agree with you Ghaleon. It makes me feel a little sad because E3 used to be exciting because of all of the truly new things we would see, but now it is just interesting for the fanfare. It seems like they’re leaving almost all of the innovating to the tiny developers. 

      • Electric Dragon says:

        It reminds me of a comment made on the AVClub Hatercast last week – that as the Cannes film festival grew bigger and more mainstream, so a niche opened up for indies to go to, for example, Sundance. But then as Sundance became the place to go, it too became “gentrified” and the process starts again.

        • GhaleonQ says:

          @google-75b01ca07f65fad60c1abd1c21d655b2:disqus Yep.  The problem, Electric, is that game demonstrations are far less transportable than movies or music festivals.  They can rely on artists to travel to Istanbul, Sao Paulo, or Hiroshima.  The industry can hardly support Tokyo at this point, and Koln might as well be E3-2.

    • Effigy_Power says:

       I suppose that a cynical mind could make the point that “excitement” as a factor shrinks the bigger the industry gets from a fiscal standpoint.
      The cancellation of the “Indie-games showroom” is a fairly good indicator that the playfulness is all but gone from playing games, which is now, to use a regretful meme, “serious business.”
      While that has some very gloomy connotations for the big 3 console companies, it might just mean good times for PC-users, since gaming there isn’t necessarily dictated by any one controlling power. More importantly, when it comes to PC games, nobody really cares about periphery, short of flight-sim enthusiasts. The money for upgrades is eaten up by nVidia, Intel, AMD/ATI and a few smaller suppliers, who have a pretty small hand in gaming itself.
      As such game-devs can concentrate on making actual games without worrying if we want to wave our hands in front of the screen, shout at our printer or stick unsavory parts into the CPU cooler. With console gaming so obsessed with selling us expensive addons to games nobody really cares about, the PC-hardware race looks perfectly benevolent.
      Also, indie-gaming has made some pretty great strides in the last few years, and while there’s a good chance that the increased capital in it will eventually lead to the same dull fate the big 3 seem to have agreed on, for the moment it’s a great time to enjoy things like Trine or Torchlight, which I can’t see coming from MS, Sony or Nintendo at this point.
      Sure, the money will keep coming as long as people are only too happy to slap down $60 for Halo 9, CoD12:BO5 and Super Mario Laundry Day Slam, which means there’s little incentive to change the status quo, but the … let’s say “gamer of distinction” (preteeeeeentious) will search for something new and exciting, which at the moment is found mostly on Steam and tablet-marketplaces as well as the great number of Flash-game outlets.
      That’s where my money is going these days anyways. If the big 3 don’t want to challenge me with something worthwhile for $60, I am sure smaller game-developers are just too happy to take my $10 and deliver something I can sink my teeth in.

      • GhaleonQ says:

        I guess I haven’t seen the willingness for small-PC developers to scale up to mid-budget games.  I want something substantial but sane.  Where there is growth, people already support them (say, Amanita Design).  I see just as many going back to primitivism or crowdfunding (arguably just as flawed a long-term strategy as blockbusters).

        I suppose I’d ask whether the research and playtime of _ small games has equaled your experience with 1 “regular” game, console, handheld, PC, whatever.  I don’t mind substituting 1 for the other; I just haven’t gotten them to parity of enjoyment yet.

        My opinion’s also that, as @google-75b01ca07f65fad60c1abd1c21d655b2:disqus mentions below, casual game dependency is a far smaller threat than the technology and content arms race.

      • Destroy Him My Robots says:

        You’re right, but generally speaking there’s also a downside to it. Joysticks, d-pads, analog sticks and the dual stick setup, light guns, touchscreen gaming and the occasional fun motion controls are all things we have because arcade or console manufacturers pushed them. All of those things opened doors for developers to get creative. While PCs do give developers all the options in the world, they rarely get to use them because no one’s aggressively pushing the technology to the consumer. If no one ever cared about periphery, we’d be buried under stacks of keyboard overlays that remind us that “p” is for retracting the periscope by now. Sure we can enjoy some respite with Introversion or Frictional while EA is busy shouting in our ears, but I think it’d be silly to fool ourselves into thinking they’ll create anything as important and lasting as, say, Super Mario 64. I don’t want to be in a situation where I have to play card games for the rest of my life because it would be commercially unsound to cater to the small install base of dice owners.

  2. Shain Eighmey says:

    I find it interesting that E3 seems to has shown that the major developers are sticking to “playing it safe”, but “safe” doesn’t seem to be very safe right now. As a matter of a fact, it seems that safe has been a financial disaster for many of the big publishers. 

    So, why are they sticking to “safe” even if it has proven to be so dangerous for them?

    • Binsbein says:

      No money for versus some money?  It’s why during that Watch Dogs gameplay demo it went from cool adventure game to boilerplate cover shooter in the blink of an eye, and it’s why Arkham City is being released on Wii U for $60 (despite almost being a year old game) with a glorified Easy Mode and cosmetic DLC. These are all safe bets because it’s not the wallets of people who comment on the AV Club that publishers care about.

      Despite any PR by major publishers, we’re being slowly edged out of a hobby a lot of us came up in and it’s just something you have to be okay with. I’m sure the people who grew up playing stuff pre-NES already had this moment.

      • Shain Eighmey says:

        The things is, many of the big publishers, specifically EA, are still missing earnings projections by playing it safe. One way or another, they’re seeming to be on the verge of failing, the question is why they’re trying the same thing over and over and expecting it to save them. 

        • Binsbein says:

          To their credit Nintendo was the only one who didn’t use smoke and mirrors to make us forget that the next generation of consoles is coming, but as stated by almost everybody, they really bungled the presentation.

          To speak to your comment about ‘doing the same thing over and over etc.’, I think that’s a hallmark of any entertainment industry that’s in a bit of a creative rut. A lot of the people we remember as innovators are either making mobile games or going to fans to finance their projects. It’s not a surprise to me that publishers want to lean to something they know rather than tumble off the edge and have a Last Guardian vaporware problem.

    • GhaleonQ says:

      I’ll cosign this 100 times.  I see only 2 options: there are benefits to living to win the jackpot (see: every other artistic industry) or they don’t want to/know how to do anything else (I’d say that’s the majority, but just as many from the 1980s to today have moved to small, casual, or social games; some certainly can do it).

  3. Girard says:

    I’m actually more curious/interested about the “Jesus for the Win” booth than about the Sony, Nintendo, or MS presentations. Were they shilling some kind of weird evangelical game or hardware? Or just handing out questionably designed USB drives?

  4. Jon Benson says:

    Traveler’s Tails! Traveler’s Tales!

  5. Alex says:

    Really funny podcast. Love the site!

  6. Lord Autumn-Bottom says:

    Such negativity!  If you folks are looking for massive originality at E3, then lots of luck to you.  Games at E3 are games with big budgets, and games with big budgets are games that generally play it safe, and just attempt to deliver excellent execution of proven formulas.  Luckily, E3 is not the be-all, end-all of gaming.  If you want originality, or to be surprised, then you should just ignore big publisher events like this and only pay attention to the indies.

    Personally, I think this has been an excellent E3, and I can’t remember an E3 that’s had so many appealing games shown.  Even if they’re not all particularly original or innovative, there have been probably a dozen games shown that look pretty enjoyable.  Rayman Legends, ZombiU, Pikmin 3, Watch Dogs, RE6, AC3, The Last Of Us, DS3, Lost Planet 3, MGRR, NintendoLand, and Star Wars 1313.  And Far Cry 3, even though it’s less new than most of that other stuff.

    Of the big three, I thought Sony won pretty handily, thanks to Beyond and The Last of Us (GoW:A and AC3 were less special but still looked pretty cool).  Including the major publishers, I thought Ubisoft easily put on the best show, between AC3, ZombiU, Rayman Legends, and Watch Dogs.

  7. Jamiesen says:

    What a disappoint from Nintendo in the end. Four presentations/events and so little was actually announced, or even new. All their big games were announced before the show, with many of them having appeared at least year’s E3. I was really hoping they would blow us away with a ton of new Wii U and 3DS games, but all they did was confirm games that were already in development. Sigh. At least there’s Pikmin 3 and Paper Mario: Sticker Stars. Both of those looked fantastic.

  8. Tom Sheldon says:

    I’m shocked that Nintendo hasn’t realised themselves how similar the Wii U is to the DS. If they’re afraid of people not understanding why not just say ‘its basically the same as the DS – two screens, the lower one does touch and … if you have a 3d tv … the upper screen can do 3d on some games’. After the fundamental appeal of the WiiU is made clear, then they can talk about asymmetric gameplay and all of these other, arguably gimmicky, uses for the GamePad.