Ever wonder how much American TV gets released internationally? Answer: A ton. But that shouldn't mean it's entierly intact. Sometimes changes are necessary for cultural reasons. Or something.

Example #1: German Teenage Mutant... Hero... Turtles

Apparently Ninjas are evil in Deutschland? Maybe? Either way, they're Hero turtles overseas. I'd probably find this more offensive if that German intro wasn't totally awesome.

Example #2: X-Men Gone Anime

I always liked the regular X-Men intro and theme, but I guess it was too American for a Japanese audience, so they just ripped off every anime convention possible and threw this together. Stereotypes aside, I kinda like it, I have to admit.

Example #3: This is Where Things Go Wrong

Yes this is real. No, it does not make sense. Yes, it is a crime against mankind.

Example #4: Some Things Need No Change

It's comforting to know that, no matter where it airs, The Super Mario Super Show is still absolutely insane.

When I put up some thoughts on E3 last week, something about it seemed a bit... familiar. Turns out I did the same thing on my old 1up blog (which I will not link) back in 2006, albeit with a little more... passion. For fun, let's take a look back and see how well I predicted the future.

Just for clarification sake: Back in 2006, the 360 had launched, but the Wii and PS3 had not. In a lot of ways, it was the latter two's "coming out party", while the former was eager to prove itself.

I definitely felt the Wii really performed the best at the show, and it did a lot to get me very excited about the system... they completely deliever[ed] on content for the system... I have a hard time making notable comments about Wii games; there is literally too much I am excited for."

Jesus, too much content for the Wii? Alright, well, I was justified to be excited about the Wii - back then it was a very exciting product with limitless potential. And I'm not the only one who bought into that - it's the number 1 selling console this generation for a reason. But I think we can all agree my enthusiasm was a bit too... overzealous. Nintendo Kool-aid was in no short supply back in 2006. But how about the 360?

[T]he 360... did an awesome job in it's approach to E3 by plugging up Xbox Live users with tons of E3 content, some of it as it was happening. Really looking forward to Enchanted Arms and Nintey-Nine-Nights which look great, and the Fable 2 trailer was really nifty and got me excited.

That was the first time any console really put up trailers concurrently with E3 and it was exciting for the time mostly because it was new... whereas nowadays I generally watch things on my computer. But it's still a neat feature. That being said Enchanted Arms was okay and I never actually bought Ninety Nine Nights, or N3 as was eventually called. However...

[B]ut what impressed me the most, of any game, was most certainly Bioware's Mass Effect... it just sounds... incredibe...
I am uber-psyched.

Mass Effect went on to become one of my favorite games ever, elevators be damned. So that's justified at least. As for Sony...

PS3, on the other hand, depressed the hell out of me. I mean, the 500-600 price thing was something we all saw coming, but that doesn't make it any less lame... Sony has completely failed to prove how superior the PS3 is to the 360 like they did with the PS2 against the Dreamcast... The whole new controller with no vibaration but motion sensitivity comes off... cheap... It's just pretty terrible.

Wow! Ouch! Calm down there bud, you're going to buy one of those overpriced paperweights one year later. Not to say I was really offbase - price has been the constant issue for the PS3, and that whole vibration business was a blunder they've corrected and tried to forget rather than excuse. Back then I basically called out the machine as being deadset for third placedom. To date, I haven't been proven wrong. So what else do we got?

On a similar note, Final Fantasy XIII has got to be the biggest disappointment I have ever seen in the series... We've all done some whining about FF12, but I still believe it will be an enjoyable game, and nothing FF12 has done compares to what FF13 is looking to do. When I first saw it, I declared the series dead to me... and in the coming days, that has not changed.

Man, chill out fanboy. I was actually pretty surprised by that. I remembered not thinking much of it, but man - I guess I was pissed. I think it's mostly because, at the time...

The "real" FF13 really does just look like a Devil-May-Cry-esque Final Fantasy...

Which it's totally not. Ironically it's probably more traditional than FF12 was. So, first impressions aren't always everything. But that's not the only thing I was upset about...

[T]he game is PS3 exclusive, which is really the nail on the coffin. I mean, despite all of the above, if this game was multi-console, I'd probably give it a shot. But, it's PS3-only, and I don't really want a PS3, and I don't really want this game, so I'm not gonna get either.

But of course you'll get both, dear boy, and you should never have fooled yourself into thinking otherwise. Plus, you got your wish - the game is multi-console now, thanks to the PS3 failing with Western markets. Any more predictions before we close?

Quite frankly, with Sakaguchi and Uematsu gone and now working on Blue Dragon and Lost Odyssey, I consider those two games much more Final Fantasy then FF13 ever will be.

Uh, definitely no on Blue Dragon. Sorry about that. But actually, Lost Odyssey was very reminiscent of a Final Fantasy game from the FF7-FF9 era. Had Sakaguchi had more control back then, it might very well have been Final Fantasy 10.

Okay so it turns out I'm a little 50/50, but cut me some slack - I was a little more passionate back then, still had a few things I had a tendency for fanboyism about. It's all part of the maturing process. For the most part, there's good lessons to learn here - avoid getting sucked into the hype, try to keep an open mind with new products, and rest comfortably knowing that a $600 price tag is always bullshit.

In another news, expect my E3 2009 retrospective sometime in 2015, where I'll comment on our naiveté in believing motion controls to be the future when in fact the Virtual Boy 2 would prove that VR brain simulators were the only games worth playing.... That is, until the discovery of Holodeck technology in 2020, which would ultimately lead to the destruction of the human race. Until then!

After spending the last 2 years buried in a grave, E3 is back this year in traditional form, for which I'm quite grateful. I'm not as grateful for the rise of fanboy infighting this week, but I've already commented on that, and there's no need to return to the topic. What I do want to do is try to take a non-biased look at some of the announcements and events of this year's E3.

I should note that I'm at a slight disadvantage here, because while I did get to watch both the Microsoft and Nintendo briefings live, I didn't get to see the Sony one, which has probably colored me a little unfairly. I'll try to remain neutral regardless.

I probably enjoyed the Microsoft briefing the most, if only because it resembled more of a party and less of a business meeting. There were no charts and graphs, just a lot of games and gameplay footage. That's really what E3 is all about, and they definitely nailed the right tone. Nintendo had a mix of great announcements and... vitality sensors. So, you know, a mix bag, not helped by the fact that it came off as business meeting. And Sony, well... I don't have anything against them, but there wasn't a whole lot they had to offer me, personally. [1]That being said, it wasn't really about the games this year. Something else took front stage: motion controls.

For better or for worse, all three have declared this to beway of the future. Having been a Wii owner from launch, I can safely say that the future may be slightly overrated, but still - motion controls have potential, are selling a lot of Wiis, and bad use of waggle aside, probably are where things are headed. So let's take a look at three very different directions for a far sweatier video game future.

Nintendo is the original proponent of motion controls, having made them a cornerstone of the Wii experience. Now they're here to give you an upgrade in the form of Wii Motion Plus. I'm seriously doubt this'll bea whole lot better than what we already have with the Wii, but you know what? I'm still gonna buy it, because Wii Sports was a ton of fun, and it's sequel is probably just as enjoyable. And it'll be here this summer, so we'll see if it's any better soon enough. That being said, the presentation didn't really sell me on this being some sort of miraculous step forward - seems more a tip-toe forward.

Microsoft revealed Natal, which is essentially going towards a no-controller future in the form of using full-body "controls" via use of a camera-like device. People calling it a "M$ eyetoy" don't really understand the product's potential, but it does propose interesting questions, like how conventional games would work with it. Using an invisible steering wheel is impressive, but I'm not sure how I'd move forward in an FPS. That being said, it would allow me to move menus with my hands, and that is exactly the sort of control scheme I've been waiting for ever since I saw Minority Report.

However, what impressed me the most about the tech was the voice commands - players would answer a trivia question out loud or tell a movie to start playing rather then pressing a button. I am all about that. Voice controls are the future as described by nearly every sci-fi story I love, and I want it right now. Ultimately, I think this one has a ton of potential, but at the same time I'm cautious. I want to see it and use it before making a decision. One thing that is encouraging, however, is that it was on the floor at E3 and available for use - meaning it might not be as far away from commercial release as you'd think. Plus, Wii Magician Johnny Lee is working on it, and if that's not exciting, I don't know what is.

Not to be left behind though, Sony also showcased some impressive motion tech. Using both the Playstation Eye and motion controllers with giant ping pong balls on top, Sony presented an accessible set of motion controls that would work well with many conventional games. I can already see how it'd be used, and looking at the tech demo, the controls seem much more responsive and accurate than the Wii. That being said... it came across as much more "tech demo" than Natal, and wasn't available on the floor for others to use. I worry that it might still be quite some time until we see any sort of implementation of it, and there's been no word on whether or not any developers have even had a chance to work with it.

All in all, without a doubt an entertaining E3. A lot of talk has been going on about how this would be a longer console cycle, which I gladly welcome. No one seems eager to talk about new hardware, instead focusing on improving the current experience for consoles already on the market. It's a unique position, but I'm glad all three are embracing it in some form or another - what remains to be seen is who will deliver best on their promises.

  1. As for FFXIV, well... to say I'm disappointed that the next FF game they're announcing is another online MMORPG doesn't really cover it. The fact that it's "exclusive" to the PS3 (and PCs and, oh, probably the 360 as well...) is kind of irrelevant - at the moment, I'm just not interested in the product.

Posted by Kevin on 12:41 PM