Welcome to “Carbonated News,” the column where I get you up-to-date on all the latest gaming news while making a bunch of snarky comments about everything. This month, I’m giving you a recap of all the crazy stuff that went down at E3. Because, let’s face it, learning about videogame news is better than learning about real news. If you don’t believe me, check out some newspaper headlines from this month:
“Economic Recovery Imminent,” Says President Obama
White House Says “Economy is Definitely Improving”
General Motors Files for Bankruptcy
“My Bad,” Says Obama
Yeah, real news is a downer. Fortunately, videogame news is somewhat better. Nota bene that I don’t have a PS360, so I asked GameCola’s head editor, Paul Franzen, for some help on what to talk about in this column.
Nintendo had lots to shout about during E3 this year, by jingo.
The biggest surprise was New Super Mario Bros. Wii, which is a remake of the DS game that shows off the fancy 2D graphics the Wii is designed for. And while a new 2D Mario platformer is greatly desired, the buzz about this game is the fact that it allows four people to play the game, all at the same time. “I’ve been trying to get multiplayer in every Mario game for the past twenty years, by jingo,” said Shigeru Miyamoto. “I am proud to say that this game will remain totally unfaithful to the multiplayer in the original Super Mario Bros. games.”
Since this is a four-player game, people (okay, maybe just me) have been wondering, “Will this be the first game to star Toad as a playable character since Super Mario Bros. 2?” Sorry, but the answer is NO. Mario and Luigi will be adventuring with Toads, but they are unnamed yellow and blue Toads, and most definitely not the Toad.
Super Mario Galaxy 2 had a fancy-looking trailer, in which Nintendo revealed that Yoshi is going to be in the game, and besides from that, it looks identical to Super Mario Galaxy. The gameplay is going to be more difficult this time around (“for hardcore gamers”) and—
Hold on a second, folks. I just got some breaking news! Nintendo thinks this game will be too hard for Americans, so they’re going to release a sprite-swap of Doki Doki Panic Wii here instead. Awesome!
Fans of Zelda are getting worked up over the preview for Zelda Wii that was released, which consisted of playable demos AND a ten-minute trailer. In this game, Link will tramp around the inside of a volcano and swim across rivers (again), but the most exciting parts of the preview were the glimpses of a character who looks like Saria and a boss that looks suspiciously like Tingle.
I’m joking, of course. All Nintendo did was release a picture. Not a screenshot, mind you—just a piece of concept art. However, Shigeru Miyamoto had some words of encouragement about the relative lack of progress on this title, coming from a series that used to release a game for home console every two years. “The game is being worked on by the same development team behind128 Marios and Duke Nukem Forever,” Miyamoto said. “So we’re pretty sure it’ll be out next year.”
Fun challenge: Try to guess which one is fanart, and which one is the real preview!1
There’s also a trailer for the new Metroid: Operation M. It looks better in full quality, of course (darn you, YouTube!), but it seems to show off more footage of Zero Suit Samus (which was one of the many low points of that lame-o Super Smash Bros. game) and more third-person point-of-view play. They are also releasing the Metroid Prime Trilogy for the Wii, with the first two (GameCube) games running on the same controls as the third (Wii) game.
And, of course, no one could forget Wii Sports Resort, sequel to the glorified minigame collection, Wii Sports. This time, you can play all new sports, like archery, bowling, golf, frisbee and bike riding. This game does not work with the Wii Fit board, because “that would actually make sense,” said Ninteno’s Reggie Mantle, in between his attempts to steal Veronica away from Archie. “Instead, we’re going to force everyone to buy the $20 Motion Plus accessory that lets your Wii’s motion controls actually work.”2
I think Zach Rich summed it up best when he said, “I’m not sure I want to shell out more money to buy what the Wii was already supposed to do in the first place.”3
Sony was rocking some socks at E3 too, by jingo. Believe it or not, GameCola actually had a special correspondent on the scene at E3. That’s right—I asked Marianne‘s twin sister Ennairam to cover Sony’s press conference, because she was in LA at the time. Here’s her report:
Yeah, videogames are for losers. You think I’m going to spend my time in LA with gamer nerds? No, thank you. I went to Zac Efron’s place instead. He wasn’t there, though, so I ended up going to the beach with Robert Pattinson. You’d think he’d be a good kisser from all those romance scenes he’s been in, but I taught him a thing or two about making out that day.
Er…thank you for the update, Ennairam.
The biggest news is Final Fantasy XIV, which is a surprise because Final Fantasy XIII has yet to be released. It will contain state-of-the-art graphics and link up to Final Fantasy XI, which is a very bold move to take, because that might make it more obvious that every single Final Fantasygame is exactly the same. It will also contain some sort of online play.
We also saw a trailer for God of War III. God of War III pits pits Kratos—who isn’t the Greek god of war, by the way—on a quest to defeat the Ancient Greek Gods, because they have wronged him (and, let’s face it, pretty much everyone else they have ever come into contact with). It’s an epic single-player adventure with improved graphics, because every PS3 sequel has improved graphics. I’m more interested in the dramatic conclusions of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians AND the Chronus Chronicles series, but this game certainly does make it seem like Kratos is living up to his reputation of αἰεί γε δὴ νηλὴς σὺ καὶ θράσους πλέως (Prometheus Bound,42).
A bunch of new installments of secure series were featured, such as Gran Turismo 5, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, Assassin’s Creed 2, Lost Planet 2, Little Big Planet PSP, Modern Warfare 2, and BioShock 2. Fun fact, though: I still don’t own a PS3, so I know nothing about these famous series. I’m sure their fans are very happy, though.
Paul “Dobby is a Bad Elf” Franzen is excited that Lego Harry Potter is being released for all platforms, by jingo. Like the other games in the Lego series, it is targeted for six-year-olds, and Paul’s girlfriend Lizo says that it is “perfect for his maturity level.”
- The biggest news for Sony (besides the other biggest news I talked about) is actually NOT a game, but a new controller. Like Microsoft and Nintendo, Sony was showing off a new motion sensor controller. It’s shaped like a taser with a big fluffy ball on the end, and you can see the demo here:
The fuzzy ball changes colors, too!
Microsoft was the big winner at this year’s E3, if by “winner,” you mean, “company that brought out a bunch of celebrities.” Except for Robert Pattinson, who was at the beach making out with Ennairam.
First up was Steven Spielberg, who was there to announce Project Natal, Microsoft’s 3D Motion Sensor Camera. He assured everyone that the product was much cooler than its name, and he was right. The camera, which connects to the Xbox 360, can sense all the movements your body makes with great accuracy, whether it’s moving your hand to the left or lowering your right foot down to press an imaginary gas pedal. Knowing the kind of people who use Xbox Live, I already know that one particular hand gesture is going to see a lot of use.
Next were The Beatles, who reunited onstage to promote The Beatles: Rock Band, even though they can presumably play all the Beatles songs on real instruments. They sang an inspired rendition of “Little Bunny Foo Foo.”4
LucasArts is releasing The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition for the PC and Xbox Live Arcade. George Lucas says that it will be “just like the special edition of Star Wars,” in that it will feature some updated graphics and new material that is literally going be placed over the original game. Everyone loved the special edition of the Star Wars trilogy, ergo, everyone will love the new Monkey Island. After all, when George Lucas is involved, remakes can’t go wrong.
Left 4 Dead 2 is being released this November, which is a big surprise, seeing as they haven’t finished with the updates to the first Left 4 Dead game. Fans started worrying that this means the first game will be completely abandoned, so Reggie from Nintendo came over, punched the head developer of Left 4 Dead in the face, and shouted, “Nintendo’s policy of not updating games online post-release is looking pretty damn good now, huh?”
Facebook and Twitter are coming to Xbox Live! That’s a bold move for Twitter, because it’s basically nothing but Facebook status updates, except even more useless.5 There’s a reason “tweet” sounds like “twit,” you know.
Paul Franzen is psyched about the Alan Wake footage. It is being billed as a psychological thriller that takes place in the Pacific Northwest (THE place for psychological fun!), where our hero Alan will try to solve a mystery that becomes increasingly intense/dramatic as it progresses. If you’re into that sort of thing, you can check out the trailer. Personally, I’m holding out for the next psychological thriller that the people who made Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem are working on now.
The biggest games for the Xbox 360 were Metal Gear Solid: Rising, Mass Effect 2 and Halo 3: ODST. More Metal Gear Solid, more Mass Effect and more Halo. Oh, and a new Splinter Cell game, too. The only way things could get better for Xbox owners is if Microsoft made a sequel to the greatest game ever, the only game that Paul Franzen has given a perfect 10 out of 10 rating for. That’s right…Quest 64 2, your time has come!
And here are all the things I should have mentioned earlier in this column, but did not:
There was more footage of Toon Zelda: Choo-choo Grand Fun Time Tingle-Tingle-Kalolimpah Explosion! [Name in Progress]. It looks identical to Phantom Hourglass.
A release date for the English translation of Professor Layton 2 was announced! Well, notannounced as much as “was a completely ignored bullet point on a super-long list on the company’s Web site,” but who cares? New Professor Layton! Now Lani Minella can afford to feed her family again!
Rather than make the super-long Monkey Island/Day of the Tentacle crossover I predicted last month, LucasArts is dividing their new Monkey Island game into five segments that will be released monthly. I was going to get excited, but then I remembered that Paul Franzen has told everyone that remaking a 2D series with 1996-era graphics is a bad idea. So we should all respect Paul’s wishes and stay away from this game. Oh well. It’s just a glorified licensed game, anyway.
For some reason, Perfect Dark is on my list of games to talk about—I suspect Zach Rich may be behind this. In any case, Perfect Dark is coming to Xbox Live Arcade this winter.
Kid Icarus Wii was not mentioned, but there IS an upcoming remake of an NES game/series—the Japan-only game Glory of Hercules. No, seriously. That’s the NES-era game they decided to remake. If I had to pick a Japan-only game series to restart, I would have gone with Dream Penguin Adventure or Wagyan Land before that.
Fire Emblem was not mentioned at E3. Dang. I want to see what’s next in the Fire Emblemseries, but more than that, I want to see an English version of Fire Emblem Gaiden (AKA Fire Emblem 2) for the NES. Seriously, Nintendo. You release that on the Virtual Console, and I will buy it.
Our Japanese friends have released the mugshots of all the characters in the upcoming Miles Edgeworth: Ace Attorney: Investigations game for the DS. We already knew that Detective Gumshoe and Franziska von Karma would be in the game, but now we know that the other recurring characters will be Maggey Byrde, Ema Skye, Mike Meekins (seriously, why? Does anybody like this guy?), Manfred von Karma, Wendy Oldbag, the Judge, and Larry Butz. Not on the list is Phoenix Wright, because Hobo Phoenix is the way of the future.
Ugh, I can’t end on a depressing note about Hobo Phoenix Wright, can I? No, I can’t, by jingo! There are plenty of movie-based games coming out, like Up!, G.I. Joe: Rise of the Cobra, andTwilight, which is targeted for teenage girls and includes makeout challenges. Ennairam assures me that she is all over this game.
So that was E3 2009. Everyone showcased new devices with extremely precise motion controls. Everyone had a lot of sequels to secure franchises, and fans were very happy. So they all lived happily ever after. The end.
1. The one on the left is the real preview.
2. You don’t need Captain Eric’s psychic thumbs to know that, ten years from now, we’ll be laughing at how bad the Wii Motion Plus’ controls were.
3. Speaking of “The GameCola Interview,” I tried looking for the Kirby game that was going to be announced at E3, but I didn’t see it anywhere. Sorry about that, Kirby fans.
4. Re-read the lyrics to “Little Bunny Foo Foo”:
Little bunny Foo Foo
Hopping through the forest
Scooping up the field mice
And bopping them on the head
Down came the Good Fairy, and she said
“Little bunny Foo Foo
I don’t want to see you
Scooping up the field mice
And bopping them on the head.”
So that’s what she said. I finally figured it out!