E3 2015 – Day 1, and the mad ravings of an old man

I may end up blogging more of E3 than I have in the past. We’ll see if I have time for it this year, but as I sit at my hotel loading up on coffee, I figured I’d spit out some early impressions. I’ve known for years that a lot of news happens on Day 0 (Monday) and even Day -1 (Sunday) of E3. That’s when a lot of the big press conferences for Microsoft, EA, and other companies happen. But rarely do they offer anything that interesting.

As a matter of fact, they are practically crafted from the same boring, scripted, predictable template, usually read and acted by nervous folks that would rather do just about anything else. (It’s even worse when they try to inject awkwardly scripted humor — especially you, Nintendo.)

I was actually a bit saddened to see Oculus adopt this stodgy, plodding, predictable template for their recent press event. They were once a young fiery startup consisting of little more than a few over-caffeinated kids barely out of college, showing off a duct-taped prototype in a backroom at PAX Prime several years ago.(That was my first exposure to the Oculus).

I guess they’ve ‘grown up’ now — and fast.

For that matter, so have I. And so here I am at E3, watching rolling news reports and feeds about a lot of news that, for the most part, really isn’t that interesting.

The cool stuff

VR is definitely the big thing this year at the show, and it will soon become commercial reality. The news about Oculus Rift, which took place last week, definitely was interesting. Microsoft Hololens and Minecraft demo (embedded below) was incredible to behold.

This technology could spawn a whole new genre of god game, and do amazing things for RTS and turn-based strategy games. Of course, VR / holographic technology is already poised to change the nature of gaming as we know it/ We’re on the cusp of a whole new era of gaming, and it will be exciting to see how it plays out. It will be especially interesting to see how my kids (ages 9 and 11) react this technology, which should only continue to get better in the years to come.

When I was their age, I grew up with Atari, ColecoVision, Commodor 64’s, etc. They get the ground floor for VR and holographic technology — not to mention numerous platforms (tablets,smartphones, etc.) and delivery methods to play a vast array of games on. (“In my day we had a joystick with one button! And we liked it!!!”)

And I’m definitely looking forward to Bethesda’s Dishonored 2, a game that has largely replaced Thief for me since the last Thief game wasn’t very good.

And the rest of it…

As for the rest? I’m not much of a console gamer, nor am I into Japanese games. Sorry, but the next Solid Snake game and Final Fantasy VII remake — I don’t care much about you. Or for all the Sony exclusives that have been (to the surprise of no one) announced this year, such as Uncharted 4. And I’ve never cared much about what Nintendo is doing. I will be curious to see what my kids gravitate towards as they grow up, however.

This might be why I’ve always tended to gravitate more towards technology than games, even though I’m still an avid PC gamer. But year after year of console exclusives and yet-another-sequel-everyone-knew-was-coming have worn thin. My thoughts so far on just a few:

  • Fallout 4 — Probably a good RPG when it ships.
  • Doom — We’ll see. ID makes great looking games. They haven’t made any great games for a long time though.
  • Hitman — I only played some of this series over the years. I liked it, but can’t say I was ever “into” it.
  • Dishonored 2 — Definitely looking forward to this overdue sequel.
  • Assassin’s Creed (anything) — Always liked the game, but year after year of sequels and last year’s flopped release have made me largely immune to any excitement for the franchise.

I’m sure I’ll discover some cool stuff on the show floor this year. VR is definitely here in a big way, and I’ll be seeing plenty of smaller and mid-sized games that may spark some excitement. And as always, I’ll be trying to see all the keyboards, mice, audio, and general PC tech that I can.

For now I’m still caffeinating for E3 Day 1, which (officially) starts at noon today.

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