Much Belated Thoughts on: E3 2017 & Modern Gaming In General

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Back in the middle part of June the annual Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) took place to both the delight and anger of millions of gamers around the world. And like with every year there were good showing, bad showings, and a dash of controversy.  So how did this years E3 go and what does it say about the state of modern gaming and its community?

 

 

 

As I have said before I have never really considered myself a “Gamer”.  While it is true that like most millennials I grew up playing video games through the various Nintendo, SEGA & Sony systems over the years, outside of my undying love and admiration for the Big N I have never really obsessed over video games to quite the same degree I have comic books.   That said like everyone else I do enjoy tuning in to E3 this year to see what’s up, and I always find at least a few surprises to enjoy.  So here is my take on this years presentations.

 

Microsoft

I will be honest, I like Microsoft’s computers but I have never cared for their video game systems.  The XBOX and the culture around it has always felt off to be, ranging from juvenile frat boy to techie elitists, XBOX has always seemed from both a corporate and community perspective to be the brand equivalent to that jerky kid in high school that claimed to be your friend but still treated you like crap.  The fact  that the main selling point of their overpriced XBOX-ONE X is just simply “how powerful it is” doesn’t help things much in this regard either.  Xbox also like to tout the “Exclusive” title to many games that will also end up on Sony systems, albeit on a later date, but still, a timed exclusive arguably isn’t really an exclusive as it will eventually be playable on other consoles and outlets.  Microsoft is a tech giant so I understand them focusing on how advanced or powerful their hardware is, but for me a video game should be about fun above all.  What can I say, I’m just old fashioned like that.

 

I will give Microsoft some positive progressive points though for being cool and adding more diversity to their avatar creation with the ability to make your avatar have a wheelchair or prosthetic.  It is important to make players of all types feel welcome and included in your community.

 

Nintendo

Nintendo has had a rough couple of years. The WiiU despite being a solid system didn’t do as well as they had hoped and took a bit to long to get a solid software lineup.  And despite the continued success of the 3DS they needed something big to help them get back on top.  Thankfully with the advent of the Nintendo Switch the company seems to be on their way back to the top of the mountain.  The system launched with the highly anticipated  Legend of Zelda: Breath of The Wild and has had a nice steady trickle of enjoyable 1st and 3rd party games like Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and PuyoPuyo Tetris since its release and March.  And with he release of games like Splatoon2 & Mario+Rabbids right around the corner and Mario Odyssey coming this Fall the system seems like it will have an excellent first year overall.  As for Nintendo’s E3 showing, it was a pretty solid one, we got what we expected as well as a few surprises with the announcement of new Metroid games for 3DS & Switch as well as some more info on things like Fire Emblem Warriors and confirmation on  Kirby , Yoshi and main series Pokémon games coming to The Switch in the near future.

 

Nintendo is also doing a great job improving on the diversity in their properties.  Gen 7 of Pokémon has many new characters that are their world’s equivalent to native Hawaiian/Polynesian,  BOTW gave a more bigger role to the Gerudo by making one of their own, Urbosa a great hero, ARMS gave us Twintelle, though there was some arguably justified minor controversy surrounding her hair and her sexualized character design.  And most recently Splatoon gave us Marina who is not only a woman of color but also an Octling who is bandmate and friends with the white mouse-like Inkling Pearl showing that even fictional rifts like the ones between the inklings & octlings can heal over time.  Nintendo’s new stance to widen its audience and promote more diversity in its titles is a good one and one that I hope people will support so we can get more diverse and creative characters and titles in the future.

 

Though on the downside I will say it stinks the Big N didn’t hire actual women of color to voice Twintelle & Urbosa.

 

Sony

 

Honestly, not much to say here. They gave a solid conference, sure I may have found it pretty boring myself as very few of the games were of personal interest to me, but overall I am glad that like Nintendo they made the big focus the actual games as opposed to just bragging about how strong their hardware was.

 

Though I will say at this point I am starting to believe the human race will go extinct before Kingdom Hearts III or the Final Fantasy VII remake actually get around to coming out.

 

 

The Controversy

So apparently some people got mad that Wolfenstein, a game about killing Nazis is about well, killing Nazis…. There really are no words to describe how ridiculous this is or how equally ridiculous being offended that backwoods evangelical rednecks are the villains for FarCry 5.  And lets not forget people are still mad you can play as a woman in Star Wars: Battlefront II.

 

Overall the thing that bothers me the most about all this is it shows how completely insane/sexist/racist/etc so many people in the gaming community are.  Yet another reason I am only into games to have fun and not get super serious about something that is meant to be interactive art & storytelling for fun, frolic, & fantasy

 

At the end of the day, gaming has its fair share of problems but we have seen the industry is willing to move forward not just in technological advancement but also while admitingly slower than many would like in accepting a more diverse audience for its products.  And well if that makes some people angry, then maybe its fine for the industry to leave you behind.

Thoughts On: The Nintendo Switch

 

 

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Nintendo has been a household name in video games for over 30 years, throughout the company has its highs and lows and dealt with competition from SEGA, Sony, Microsoft and more.  Despite this they have endured and continued to create new, fun and innovative ways to play.  Today we take a look at Nintend0’s latest video game system, the Nintendo Switch.

 

In truth I am not much of a gamer, while I have been playing video games since I was a kid and clocked in a fair share of hours on my Nintendo 64 back in the day, I have never spent as much time on video games as I have things like cartoons and comics.  Because of this I have become arguably become fairly critical of which systems I even consider buying.   Microsoft and Sony systems don’t have much of anything that appeals to me personally, and my interest in virtual reality is fairly minimal, so for me Nintendo has been my go to avenue for most video games throughout my life.   They however are not without flaws, The Gamecube had some decent titles but compared to past systems it didn’t really stand out, The Wii while fun was plagued with shovelware and the WiiU while a decent console in its own right, and the generation that brought us such great games as Super Mario Maker & Splatoon just hadn’t hit with audiences the way prior systems had.  Thankfully Nintendo’s latest outing the Switch seems to solve the problems of these past systems by having a useful gimmick that can appeal to a wide array of fans.  The switch is both a console and a handheld, you now can take the same Legend of Zelda, Mario, Splatoon, etc adventures you play on your big screen on your small screen.   The only thing I am not to fond of is that as others have stated taking the Switch in and out of the dock it can scratch the screen!   Other then that the system is pretty sleek.

 

In terms of games, Legend of Zelda: Breath of The Wild alone is a massive game and a worthy launch title, as slow as some people, such as myself are at video games many could very well get years of entertainment value out of it.  Other then that popular titles like Mario Kart and Splatoon are coming to the console in the coming months, as well as new IPs like ARMS.   Third party and indie support seems decent with popular titles like Shovel Knight and The Binding of Isaac being available for the system and games from series like Sonic, Street Fighter and PuyoPuyo/Tetris will be coming soon, and more titles are slated to be announced released as the year goes on.

 

Overall the Switch is a solid System, its not perfect and like with any new console it may take awhile to get games for every genre and type of gamer out, but overall I would say it is a worthwhile investment.  Though I do agree with those who are a bit disappointed it didn’t come with apps like Netflix at launch.