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E3 2013

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Nerd Rage - Update
E3 2013

June 14th, 2013

Now that all the big companies have had their chance to speak at E3, here are my thoughts.

It shouldn't be a surprise that fans are put off by the Xbox One. Microsoft might have some popular franchises, but they've focused too hard on things that aren't gaming related (TV, sports, TV, sports, everything with Kinect.) and everything about their new DRM protocol is frightening. No used games? Your console needs to phone-home via internet every 24 hours to authenticate your games? There was no conceivable way Microsoft could turn the ship around before E3 hit. If they're smart, they'll go back to the drawing board with some of these policies.

As I told my friend, they could've saved a lot of time by coming out on stage and saying "No DRM and we're cheaper than the Xbox. We out."

Microsoft gave Sony a big blank check with the Xbox One, and now Sony's biggest praise is that you can still sell used games and you don't need an internet connection to play games (you you always could). The lower price point ($399.99) is great news, especially after $599.99 US dollars.

Amongst this praise and cries of "winning E3", Sony neglected to emphasize you are now required to have a Playstation Plus membership for online multiplayer features. Oops, that's kind of important. Ya know, like the reason I never play my Xbox 360 anymore.

Sequels and remakes. Nintendo is playing it safe to the nth degree. One of the big Wii U games they keep showing off is just Wind Waker -- not a rehash in a in a franchise-y way, but literally Wind Waker with shaders. You've played this. You probably own this. On top of all that, Wind Waker is one of the very few old games that looks fantastic scaled up. The flat toon shading looks great! It didn't need shaders!

Everything else is so predictably Nintendo. Is anyone surprised when Nintendo says it's working on a new Mario Kart or multiplayer Mario title?

Some of this is the franchise-y nature of Nintendo. They own properties people recognize and people expect to play -- people want to play. People want to see new Zelda games and new Mario games. I just wish we could go back to innovating more between titles. Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros. 2, and Super Mario Bros. 3 are all Mario games, but they aren't that similar (yes, I'm well aware Mario 2 wasn't originally a Mario game. Maybe Super Mario World would've been a better example.). Even Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Sunshine have superficial similarities, but play entirely differently with different locations and different themes. Now Nintendo announces New Super Mario Bros, followed by New Super Mario Bros. Wii, followed by New Super Mario Bros. 2, followed by New Super Mario Bros. U, and now New Super Luigi U. The goal seems to be reusing as many assets as possible rather than creating new, distinct content. I think it's great Super Mario 3D World will be bringing in co-op and Mario 2 elements with 3D platformer gameplay -- I just wish it was visually distinct from Super Mario 3D Land!

But I gotta give 'em credit -- I'm still really psyched for Pokemon X & Y (and Pokemon is about as re-hashy as they come) and this reveal was one of my favorite parts of E3:


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