Welcome to E3, they say. All the best stuff is at E3, they say. But I ask you; friends, families, colleagues, what does E3 stand for anymore? While companies clamor to get their goods into the venue, while individuals get left out, (unless they are of some celebrity status, of course) why should anyone care about E3 anymore? Read carefully, as I indiscriminately destroy most, if not all of E3’s points of purpose, and prove to the general public that E3 is to the laymen, and even most companies, a total waste; a useless facade which the true gamer and consumer should pay little attention to.
The Hype is a Lie
How many times have you heard about that game you want to play at E3, the one which looks flawless when the game devs (who have no doubt trained for countless hours) play it on the big screen in their auditorium. The one with sparkling clean graphics as if someone generously took a bottle of Windex and a squeegee, and carefully cleaned up all those fuzzy spots so that everything was nice and clear. Watch Dogs is a great example of this sort of misleading culture which has begun to fester within the pits of E3. If you saw it when I did, during the 2012 showcase of E3, you would understand my gamer pangs as well. A beautiful looking game was shown, a GTA clone generic no doubt, but with additional elements thrown into it as well, to help sell it as the new benchmark for next-generation gaming. But that was a part of the over hype, the general misinformation which lead to the eventual downfall of the game. Imagine with me for a moment if a game developer came out onto the stage, and said what a game developer should say about the game they are making; the truth. So again, lets imagine they were to come out, stroll across the giant stage, they stop, the spotlights drop onto them, encircled in the brilliant white light which draws all attention. You see them, dressed in their custom embroidered shirt, the small mic in their ear so they might take directions from the person offstage, and say, “We are working as hard as possible on this game, and while we want it to become everything we have imagined, we have been met with a few setbacks which do not enable us to meet the full expectations we wanted, and may have talked about in the past. Even then, we will strive to create the best game possible with the new goals we have. We hope our fans will still support us in our cause, because we always support you.” Well, that sounds far fetched I know, but whatever happened to the truth in our gaming industry?
It seems now like the only people who we as gamer’s can consistently rely on to give us any true benchmark of what their game truly is, is the indie developer market, and even of course, you may now and then have human greed shine through. But it is no longer so much about the joys of creating a game as it is how fast you can put your game out to market, and especially in the case of free-to-play games, how much money you can then take from consumers before they realize they’ve just purchased a bucket of tumbling feces. Now, you could say that my above statements are partially due to the fact that a majority of consumers have little to no self respect, buying name brand games and systems like people buy the next generation of iPods. But you can ask any seasoned gamer or tech junkie and they will tell you the benefits of waiting for your product. Better versions provide smoother game play and overall usage, better system parts provide less console deaths, and more reliability. The list is not endless, but it is major, and should be influential in your choice of when and which consoles or games to purchase.
I won’t knock those who want their technology as quickly as possible, but the sad truth to that brand of consumer is that they suffer more for it, and end up being the unofficial, unpaid, beta testers of, more often then naught, faulted products. And what is their pay out? One sentence,
“I have the _______.”
Let’s take every MMO in existence as an example. If you have ever had the misfortune to be a part of an MMO during it’s first few months, you and I can both speak to how much of a pain in the ass they are to play, and therefore enjoy. They are usually plagued with multitudes of bugs, patches, restarts, and ignored, or overlooked oversights which can effect a gamer’s perspective to the point of never wanting to touch said game again, or often times just putting it off until the developers get their shit together. And this is one of the hugest problems with today’s games being internet connected. Companies by and large don’t have to complete their games if they don’t want to, or should I say NEED to, which is a highly offensive phrasing in my book. And why should they, when they can patch their games to the point of near perfection, relying on the often misinformed gamer masses for their continuous revenue. Now I am in no way stating that patching a game is useless, and should never be used, but this ability has wholly defeated the entire purpose of making a game in the first place. You don’t make a game with the intention to patch it, you make a game which for all intensive purposes should be perfect. Anything after that should be minor tweaks and nudges, usually based on customer review, or balancing issues. This concept should hold especially true for MMO’s which by and large suffer the largest from this flaw.
The Elder Scrolls Online is the most recent example I can think of, where large portions of the game were mostly unfinished, suffering from quest lines which you couldn’t beat, duplicated items, farm-able bosses, entire sections of the chat which didn’t perform properly, or at all, and that is just one game, one MMO!
Now, I know you may be thinking at this point, “Ingredients…” as you wave a heavy hand back and forth in front of my face, “aren’t you a bit off topic here? You’re talking about the Over Hype within E3.” But, my friend, I must confess, this is a part of the over hype of E3, Elder Scrolls Online was a game in which they hyped up the fact that it would be Fucking Elder Fucking Scrolls Fucking Online! Play with your Shit Kicking friends, they said, enjoy immersive Scrotum Straddling worlds, they promised, but what they did deliver to us was a normal MMO, with better then average graphics, and little to no immersion. That is the problem with the hype, especially when 90% of games know they can’t deliver, but refuse to acknowledge as much for the well known fact that after companies make such promises, and obviously don’t deliver the goods, consumers buy less of their product, and since money makes the world go around, they can’t be having any of that happening. But everyone get’s their due, and I laughed when Elder Scrolls Online went free to play, because I called it the month after they got started.
My next form of rant which also ties into the market of the over hype, are the oh-so-insidious Cinematic trailers.
These fully rendered, beautifully inspired works of art, are the most misleading pieces of cinematic glory one can come by. Always, infinitely always, they never have anything to do with the actual game itself. Maybe they might show the races within the game itself, or some new weapon, or enemy, but I can say with no thumb up my ass that the games never play as well as the cinematic’s look, and nor should they, since that experience never has any relevance to the game besides aesthetic value. So next time E3 comes around, remember not to listen to what chunks of flying putrid pickle juice come seething from the mouths of well paid CEO’s or Official Speakers, and instead focus on the game play; the actual ten or so minutes of game play which the game devs have carefully chosen, as it is the most telling piece of information you will receive during the entire conference.
With the price of next years E3 Ticket going for nearly one thousand dollars, it would be silly to believe that you or I will be going to next years expo, and ridiculous to believe we would go to each and every one, every year, at least without some sort of official sponsorship, or representation. No doubt the event gives them much needed advertising for their product, but… wait… people are paying to be advertised to? That doesn’t make any sense to me! Since when is it logical that in order for you to try to sell me something, especially something that either isn’t released yet, incomplete, or just something you want me to pay for in the future, why should I, or anyone for that matter, be required to pay an obscene amount of money to view them. THEY ARE TRYING TO CONVINCE YOU! (Remember this fact the next time you pine to go to E3) This is the equivalent of going to see a speaker, paying the fee to the speaker, and then the speaker spending the entire conference telling you why you should buy their next book. It’s just crazy. Yet, year after year, people and reviewers shell out their cash in order to see the next big releases, with every intent of wondering what it is they should be purchasing next. Does the guy or gal at the tasting booth at your local convenience store ask you to put down two hundred percent of the purchase price of their latest item before you get to try it, or any money for that matter? Why should these game developers be exempt from this, it’s not the responsibility of the advertising market to fund the high tech designs of the stage, and huge overheads of running the convention.
The pay out is the good or bad words which will be spread by the aforementioned advertisers on their articles and papers. So remember that price tag, and chuckle the day after E3, it cost those folks almost a grand to get their butts to the conference. Unless you are writing game reviews for a living, or a potential purchaser on a grand scale of some sort of tech, then you really shouldn’t sweat the fact that you can’t be there to play the first moments of that game, because you and I will only be charged a measly sixty dollars for the whole, mostly completed full version. And there will be no lines, no one trying to stuff the shit of bulls into your ears for thirty minutes before you actually get to see the game, and, most importantly, you and I get a full refund of our money if we don’t like what we get.
So what should we pay attention to when it comes to new games? This answer is far more simple than anyone is willing to let on. From the dawn of the Atari sun, gamer’s have listened to one true consistent source of truth, and that is other gamers. Reviewers often tread that line of careful ambiguity, and after a certain point their reputation may become tarnished, or even bought by the fact that they may receive so many free games that they no longer remember the hurt sixty to hundred dollars may make to their cash flow. Of course, there are reviewers I myself like and respect, and whom I feel still keep to their moral gamer codes. But, fortunately for you and I, I still have yet to receive a single free game, so as of now I remain untarnished by the whims of a society of free things. (Though I pray to the goddess of games that she may grant me free titles at some point in the future.)
But don’t let that stop you from sending me cake! Unless of course that turns out to be a lie…. but even then, the promise of pastries is something I will gladly accept with an open heart. So send me some cake, and I swear if I get lolicon porn spamming into my inbox from saying that, I will be having words with certain subsections of the internet. But never the less, I say it as I see it, and take it as it comes. As always my dearest readers, I love you as much as one can love another across these ethereal lines of code. I hope to hear or see you soon.
(I take no credit for the pictures used above. All credit goes to their original owners, whomever they may be.)