The Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) is a bit like the louder flashier sister to the Game Developers Conference. It’s an opportunity to check out new titles and display new hardware. It’s also an opportunity for top executives in the industry to get together, make deals, and woo distributors. Navigating through the Expo floor put me through sensory overload as I was herded with many others in a sea of flashing lights, bizarre sounds, and scantily clad women clamoring for attention.
Despite the distractions, I found a few titles and items that caught my eye for being different than your normal tried and tested blockbuster games. Sure, I could sit here and write to you about the new Soul Calibur III fighting game, how I kicked boy butt, this new move, and that new character, but there are other sites out there for that kind of coverage, and they do a wonderful job of it.
I found a few things from Atari and Nintendo that were quite interesting. In the game The Matrix: Path of Neo, you play as Neo and go through the side stories and major scenes from the three motion pictures. Although I'm not a huge fan of games based off of movies, the reason I mention this one in particular is the opening training program. It's completely in black and white. The player learns all the beginning moves in this training program that takes place in an enclosed Japanese garden where it's snowing. The rest of the game and training programs are in color.
Although I'm still not really sold on the mobile version, Ecko's urban culture console game, Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure, is pretty interesting. It follows the course of the character Trane from a low level graffiti vandal to legendary artist. They used 70 renowned graffiti artists, such as Futura, Shepard Fairey, and Bansky, from around the world to design the Trane's tags and teach him new skills as he moves up in the world.
Indigo Prophecy is bit like solving a mystery. You play both the villain and the detective. The villain wakes up with no memory of the crime that has been just committed. It is up to you to explore the environment in order to figure out what happened and move on. It's kind of like those old choose your own adventure stories, but in this case there isn't an either or choice, but many different choices or paths you can take. The game doesn't take it easy on you either. There are no glowing items telling you pick this or that up. With at least 7 alternate endings, this game should be interesting in regards to how game structure lends itself to the formation of narrative.
Animal Crossing DS takes the console version of the game to a whole new level. In this game, you play a character that lives in a virtual town that functions on real time parallel to your own. It has seasons, days, and events. This multiplayer version allows for players to interact with one another's characters at the same time. Played on the Nintendo DS, players are able to connect to each others towns through a local connection with other DSs in the area or through a WiFi connection.
Not only are new game titles displayed but also new hardware. Smaller devices are highly preferred in this day and age. Nintendo has put out a reiteration of their Game Boy handheld, entitled the Game Boy Min-uh, Micro. As you can see, it fits in the palm of your hand. There isn't anything really new about it in regards to hardware. It has the same specs as that of the Game Boy Advanced SP, but will support headphones. It's 4 inches wide, 2 inches tall, and 0.7 inches deep. Although no metallic pastel versions were displayed, it has a removable face plate for customization.