When I was done reading the thousands of words I had written to savage Microsoft’s 2011 E3 Press Conference, I asked myself a question: “Have I become too jaded for modern video games?” You know, “Have I become nostalgic for the old days?” You know, “I’m no longer eight years old so video games suck now”? It was possible. Then I took a visit to Reddit, the web site whose users mistake an open content submission process and a purely democratic rating system as an excuse to ask “DID ANYONE PLAY THIS GAEM WHEN THEY WERE YOUNGER?” and then post a picture of the box art for Super Mario Bros. Yeah, Reddit is the same web site that swore a pox upon Portal 2 because Valve made them want the game so badly. But if that web site’s community feedback is our barometer or standard for measuring the quality of E3 Press Conferences, then I am being downright pleasant when I call Microsoft’s 2011 outing one of the most dreadful in the history of the convention. “Was it really that bad, Mikey Lowellz?” Oh, it was bad. Really bad.
Monday, June 6, 2011, 12:30 p.m. EST – The 2011 Microsoft E3 Press Conference is a ninety-minute infomercial that is supposed to establish why I should choose Microsoft video game products over competing choices. To do this, they are opening their press conference with a trailer of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, a game that will get cross-platform releases on the Nintendo Wii, Sony PlayStation 3, Nintendo DS, and ThePirateBay Entertainment System. This leads us to one of two possibilities. The first is that Microsoft has absolutely no idea what they’re doing. This can be backed by corporate documents indicating the name of the company is Microsoft. The second is that the coveted nine-to-fifteen demographic actually believes Modern Warfare 3 is an Xbox 360 exclusive. Knowing full well that Twilight, Justin Bieber, and Harry Potter are the apex of today’s youth culture, this is a possibility.
12:31 – Some dude is on-stage. He’s like, “I got this shit. Y’all hear me? I got my Xbox 360 controller in my hands. See my collar? I pop this shit like I pop bitches. Y’all can’t touch…’Please reconnect controller’? Why it showing that, bruh? How white boy gonna show his moves now?” Fortunately, this controller snafu only amounted to ten seconds of delay rather than the three to six weeks that it takes Microsoft to repair a broken console. Unfortunately for any and all savvy gamers with a keen eye, they’re quick to realize that this interruption interrupted nothing. Collar Champion™ is a minute into the opening level of Modern Warfare 3 and he has yet to register a single button press.
12:34 – Absolutely nothing going on. Seriously. In this demonstration of the video game franchise that captures the brutality and grit of “What happens if nine-year-olds developed our military strategy and tactics?”, we have currently watched three minutes of swimming followed by ten seconds of planting a bomb on the fin of a submarine. If there’s one thing that’s more boring than a swimming level, it’s “Watching someone else play the swimming level.”
12:35 – Wait, that actually just happened? The screen fades to black, flashes the phrase “In the interest of time…” and resumes at a later point in the mission. Think about that: We just sat through three minutes of amateur swim lessons and Infinity Ward decided another part of the mission wasn’t entertaining enough to be demonstrated in front of an audience. Simple lesson of single-player campaigns: If you can’t hook me in the first ten minutes, it’s probably a terrible single-player campaign. Your own developers just stated “We can drink to that!”
12:36 – Remember that bomb I was talking about earlier? The one the player attaches to a submarine? This thing was the size of a manhole and probably as heavy. Now? The player has just attached a different bomb onto a security door. This thing is larger than a manhole. It’s roughly the size of an original Xbox. Call of Duty is a video game that limits the player to two firearms and a handful of grenades, a design decision placed into stone when Halo hit it big ten years ago. While these game mechanics were implemented in the name of “Console gamers suck ass!”, it has been sold to audiences as “Carrying half-a-dozen weapons is simply unrealistic!” I guess we’re done with any pretense that our modern military games are supposed to make any sense at all?
12:36 – Prior to the release of 2011’s Bulletstorm, that game was promoted with a game demo titled Duty Calls. One of the sequences involved a Russian soldier in a jeep running down an allied soldier and saying “Ha, ha, ha. You cannot stop me unless the game goes into slow motion for some reason and I become easy to shoot.” Upon which Duty Calls went into slow motion. Seconds after your original Xbox explodes and blows out the security door, the game goes into slow motion for some reason and people become easy to shoot. Two-to-one odds that the suits at Activision corporate played Duty Calls and said “This game plays better than ours! What can we copy?”
12:38 – It only took eight minutes to convince me that the remaining employees of Infinity Ward are now planning to sabotage the series by creating a video game so absurd that Call of Duty can never be taken seriously again. Michael Bay would slam this game for its excess. The sad thing? I have a serious character flaw where I give the human race too much credit for its intellect. My assumption is that Infinity Ward is creating a parody of their games. The truth is that this is what Call of Duty fans want. That is a sad face. The day after the first Modern Warfare 3 trailer was released to the public, the bimonthly academic magazine “GameFAQs Forums” engaged in a serious discussion as to whether Russia was capable of attacking four separate world powers with a simultaneous ground-and-sea invasion.* Fifty years from now, this thread will be studied in Chinese and European history classes in order to understand where America went wrong.
12:39 – Oh, that explains the smug face on Collar Champion™. That’s Robert Bowling. He’s the community manager for Infinity Ward. If you are not sure who Robert Bowling is, he is best described as the Pope Benedict XVI of the Call of Duty community. By that, I mean he is often escorted behind six inches of bulletproof glass. In the greater Call of Duty community (the one that includes computer gamers and fans of older Call of Duty games), cancer is more popular than Robert Bowling. In order to win a community election, all cancer would have to do is declare war on Robert Bowling.
12:40 – Up next is Don Mattrick, referenced in Wikipedia as “the President of the Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft”. This is not to be confused with his current roles of “President of Awkward Public Speaking at Microsoft” or “President of Cannot Read Lines off a Teleprompter at Microsoft”. Highlights include “This is an incredible time of growth and innovation”, and “the world’s greatest storytellers [at Infinity Ward] are redefining our industry”.
12:41 – “Interactive entertainment.” I guess this must be the new catchphrase at Microsoft corporate. Because see, “video games” are for the nerds who scrutinize and dissect industry press conferences on poorly-designed web sites. “Interactive entertainment” isn’t about video games. It’s about an experience! And that experience appeals to a wider audience than a nerd hobby! Much like World Wrestling Entertainment has failed to rebrand professional wrestling as “sports entertainment”, I expect “interactive entertainment” to attain wet fart status.
12:42 – The second game of the night? Tomb Raider. That is, the new one. It has always been my fear that the video game industry would become similar to movies, where the attention span of the casual consumer (combined with an idiotic-but-very-real consumer perception that entertainment products made “like twenty years ago” sucked) would allow companies to continue selling the same video game once a decade and profit indefinitely, destroying the need to create interesting video games and interesting video game worlds. At least Call of Duty comes packaged with a new name every twelve months. But fifteen years after Tomb Raider, here we are…Tomb Raider. That is, “another game that will be released on seven consoles”. Are you even fucking trying, Microsoft? Why are you shilling games that will be on competing consoles? Did you fall into a coma for the first eight months of school and find out your science fair project is due tomorrow?
12:43-12:48 – Well, this is disconcerting. As you know, the main issue with female video game characters is that they’re often designed to court a specific demographic. Namely, thirteen-to-eighteen-year-old males and their most bizarre fantasies. Nobody’s saying that female leads can’t be attractive. They just need to, you know, look and act like women. Cate Archer from No One Lives Forever, Alyx Vance from the Half-Life series, ninety-five-percent of the female leads in point-and-click adventure video games, they seem to have gotten it right. And to Crystal Dynamics’ credit, they’ve taken the poster child for video game sexuality and toned it down a bit. Lara Croft is portrayed as attractive and athletic, but the setting (and her lack of experience in the setting) has her predictably scared out of her mind. That sounds reasonable. That’s good. So what’s wrong? I feel uncomfortable watching this game but I just haven’t decided why yet. I haven’t decided whether this is just a polished and visceral-looking video game that pushes back against the leaps taken by the Uncharted franchise (albeit improvements that, like most of today’s “teh realismz” games, that will look dated and sloppy in a decade) or the day that video game torture porn went mainstream. Yeah, adventure games have always been known for their unconventional and sometimes-ridiculous death scenes. Those games never took “see how many ways you can cripple or maim a good-looking young woman” and made it the primary selling point.
12:48-12:49 – It’s the President of E.A. Sports, Peter Moore! He’s here to tell us how we will be able to play E.A. Sports video games using the imperfect controls on the Microsoft Kinect! Let’s ask a simple question: Under optimal play and optimal circumstances, what control scheme allows for a greater level of depth? That is, “What device allows for a greater separation of skill between the best player and the worst player?” When you answered “controller”, you doomed the Microsoft Kinect’s current applications to “gimmick status”. Congratulations! You passed this portion of the exam.
12:49-12:50 – Peter Moore mentions that you will be able to use your Microsoft Kinect to employ game mechanics and use features present in both Sims 3: Pets and Family Game Night 4, much to the absolute delight of the audience. This dude knows what he’s doing. He’s a veteran of the video game industry. He asked that those announcements be the final segment for his portion of the presentation. That way, he could say “Goodbye!” and hand off the hardcore gamer rage to the next poor fool that walks on-stage.
12:51 – BioWare co-founder Ray Muzyka: “Mass Effect 3 is all about kick-ass action, choices with consequence and immersion in an epic, sci-fi universe.” Geez. You could field an army of lumberjacks with the number of buzz words Muzyka is handing out. Maybe I’m being too hard on the guy. After all, this company has demonstrated that they know all about “choice with consequence”. Like the time that BioWare employees created accounts on MetaCritic to pad the Dragon Age II user review section!* Or the time that Electronic Arts invested hundreds of millions of dollars in the studio to create an MMORPG version of Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and the game became a colossal failure! Wait, that hasn’t happened yet? Eh. Give it time.
12:52 – So, Mass Effect 3 allows players to use Microsoft Kinect in order to issue voice-activated commands? Okay, credit to BioWare for properly using the hardware. These are mechanics that not only make sense, but actually add something to the games. They introduce another form of multitasking, where you can issue commands while controlling your player with the standard input device. That’s good. I like that. As a bonus, those “Let’s Play!” videos on YouTube (featuring dudes performing their awful FemShep impersonations) just got about five times better.
12:55 – The third “core game” in this presentation? Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Future Soldier. Wikipedia indicates that “The game will be a futuristic take on the Ghost Recon series”, which I guess is like saying that the next Zelda game will be “like Link with a sword”. This game will be available for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Nintendo Wii, and ThePirateBay Entertainment System. Remember when the Tom Clancy video games used to be tough-as-nails simulation tactical-shooting affairs? Remember when video games released for different systems had noticeable differences beyond how much money Microsoft or Sony paid to plaster their company’s console all over the game commercials? Yeah, me neither.
12:58-1:00 – See, this is all wonderful. This is great. They’re giving us the ability to customize our weapons using Kinect. We’re able to test them at the shooting range using Kinect. It’s baby steps. This will all have fantastic application in the future of video games, whatever form they may assume fifty years from now. But see, you didn’t show us any live-game footage featuring live combat. That’s what your game will be judged by. You made no effort to demonstrate these because the Microsoft Kinect cannot handle it. Here’s my litmus test: The day that motion controls can go toe-to-toe with the controller or the mouse-and-keyboard or the fightstick and prove itself in a competitive environment, I am interested and willing to pour my money into this product. Show me live combat against other humans and show me admirable results. All Microsoft Kinect has shown me is the same reasons that I laugh at console first-person shooters (and their thumbsticks) while I’m playing Unreal Tournament 2004 with hot babes from around my area.
1:01 – I don’t know if Microsoft’s press conference is supposed to be some fantastic metaphor for the state of American fitness, but I am now thirty minutes into my blind date with Microsoft Kinect and I’m already exhausted from throwing my hands in the air. Microsoft’s on-stage demonstrator is feeding voice commands into Kinect. Each of these voice commands takes seconds to be performed, register with the device, and then execute. You are doing nothing that cannot be accomplished faster with buttons. And I’m sure by now, you’re probably saying “Be nice, Mikey Lowell! Not everybody has been playing video games as long as you! This is supposed to appeal to people who don’t play video games!” For that, I will quote the words of George Washington: “If you are purchasing a video game console to watch television and movies, you are fucking stupid.”
1:01-1:07 – Not that Xbox Live hasn’t admirably proven itself as the greatest video game scam of the last decade, but you have to give this company some credit. Yes, I can understand why the ability to stream television through your Xbox 360 would be appealing. It sounds reasonable. This is a pretty good time in the history of telecommunications to give up your cable and satellite television. It’s way too expensive. I can also understand why people would want to use their Xbox 360 to watch YouTube videos. Now people can watch ironic videos on their Xbox where various items are overheated to high temperatures and then fail. See, most people will not use their Xbox to stream television. Most people will not use their Xbox to watch cat videos. But by leveraging this bloat, they can continue to up the price of Xbox Live. This way, Microsoft corporate can justify rambling about “streaming television” and “Microsoft Bing” in front of an audience that has come to this convention to see what video games will be produced for their video game console. But they will get away with it. Why? Because their customers are pussies. They will have the following theoretical conversation with Microsoft:
“Why are you charging me more money for Xbox Live?”
“Because we just added great new content and need to pay for it! We’re a business, after all!”
“But yeah, I don’t want any of this. I never asked for it. Explain why I should pay for it.”
“Did you hear about the new Call of Duty game? Don’t hold us to this, but we hear it’s an Xbox 360 exclusive! Only on Xbox Live! To the best of our knowledge, we’re not lying about this!”
Pictured: Interactive entertainment and family fun combine to improve fourth-quarter operating profits.
1:07-1:09 – Bah gawd, it’s UFC President Dana White! What the hell is he doing here!? “There has never been a better time to be a UFC fan.” Oh, he’s here to bullshit us. He’s actually quite good at that. The dude is best described as the richest used car salesman in the world. He runs a company that claims every other UFC pay-per-view main event is the biggest fight in the history of the promotion. I can only imagine how “Watch UFC Fights on Your Xbox” is going over with the live audience. “Is this that sport where I relive my most horrible experiences from middle school?” You bet it is, you god damn nerds! GET IN THE TRASH CAN OR I WILL PUT YOU IN THERE.
1:10 – “But at our core, Xbox will always be about games; games you can’t find anywhere else…and from this point on, everything we show you, every single game, every single demo, every single experience, is available only on Xbox 360.” This would have been a much more useful statement if it had been made about forty minutes ago.
1:11 – Sorry, Mr. Cliff Bleszinski. No matter how much financial success you can assume by programming glitchy cover shooters on the Xbox 360, I will always remember you as the guy that took your venerable Unreal Tournament franchise, tried to build it around the inferior input of a controller, and then claimed the sales of the game bombed because of software piracy. I will keep bringing that up until this web site is the first search result for “Epic Games”. Hey, it worked for Battle.net 2.0!*
1:12-1:17 – Can’t really say much about Gears of War 3. It’s got gigantic setpiece monsters, creepy-crawlies, unrealistically-proportioned protagonists, and enough swearing to fill about five minutes of airtime in the next Tarantino movie. That is, everything that Epic Games attempted to parody when the company published Bulletstorm about four months ago. Ugh. I don’t have many nice things to say about this. Let me think of one. Uh…hmmm. In order to demonstrate Gears of War 3 to a live audience, Cliffy B. has secured the services of one of the best competitive video game players in the world. This way, we get to see Epic Games’ products when they’re being played at their optimal levels. High-skill, high-reward, lots of fun. Just kidding, it’s Ice T. “Saying something nice” isn’t working. God dammit so much. I don’t even get the opportunity to make fun of those terrible Coors Light commercials. “‘Cause see, ain’t nuthin’ colder, than an Ice Cube!” And then the Coors Light bottle blew snow in Ice Cube’s face and Ice Cube was like, “Did you just snow on me, brah?” Best commercial of the last fifty years. Book it. Done.
1:17-1:19 – Set in the heart of Ancient Rome, Crytek’s Ryse is a bloody and brutal take on the five-step process for selling motion-controlled combat games: 1) Developer announces hand-to-hand or sword-based combat game for the Microsoft Kinect or the PlayStation Move. 2) Game shows immense promise in trailers and demonstrations. Public relations representatives shill “one-to-one mapping” and “real martial arts techniques”. 3) The game is released and subsequently savaged by both reviewers and consumers, who quickly discover the issues with a full-motion combat game that features no force feedback and registers their uppercuts as shin kicks. 4) Game is completely forgotten by everybody who purchase it and the market for uncontrolled cage fury remains untapped. 5) Repeat step one!
1:19-1:20 – “The Campaign of the Decade, remade and remastered!” Remember what I said about sequels? That a company gets one chance to make the same game and tether it to online play, balance tweaks, or both? Halo: Combat Evolved: Championship Edition DX: The New Challengers Alpha. Enjoy paying sixty dollars for it. “Campaign of the Decade” my ass. Not as long as I continue to play the Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos single-player campaign once every two years. The only “decade” involved in Halo: Combat Evolved was the amount of time it took to complete that fucking library mission. Holy crap. When did “copy-paste” become a valid level design tactic? Oh, right. When Halo: Combat Evolved did it. “Campaign of the Decade”, indeed.
1:20 – Dan Greenawalt, Game Director for Forza Motorsport 4: “At Turn 10, we have a unique vision for the future of automotive entertainment.” Yup. “Automotive entertainment.” Remember kids: There’s more money in “entertainment” than “video games”. Video games are for six-year-old girls! So buy the Xbox 360 video game system!
1:23 – Prophet of the Video Game Apocalypse Peter Molyneux: “You know, in creating Fable, we imagined a living, breathing world full of humor and story.” Unfortunately, that humor and story was generally limited to the fantastic world of public relations bullshit you created in order to sell those games. As you may or may not know, I am not a fan of Peter Molyneux. Even his golden age of game development (Populous, Theme Park, Magic Carpet, Dungeon Keeper) is proof that revolutions aren’t built to stand the test of time. It is impossible for me to buy into the “video game genius” of a man who once stated that “I want a blind child to be able to win this game [Fable] with their feet.”* That’s a pretty fitting statement. Even blind children could see what was wrong with the Fable games.
1:23 – Molyneux: “And for the next iteration of Fable…how can we make you feel a hundred times more involved?” I’ll start: Shades-of-grey decision-making to supplant your hard-on for morality systems, interesting dialogue and actions to go with that decision-making, balanced item and weapon classes, challenge and difficulty to facilitate the use of those balanced weapons, and using the first hour of your action role-playing game for live combat rather than smashing insects in granaries or running errands to win over revolutionaries. Does anybody want to take a lesson from the God of War series? Those games got you hooked by placing the best action in the game in the first fucking level, and the rest of the action played well enough to cover for it. Oh, and Fable II happened to be the game in my Xbox 360 when it burned out, so I’m holding that against you as well. Piss off.
1:25-1:27 – So, what’s the gameplan for making us feel a hundred times more involved in the Fable universe? Well-designed game mechanics? Compelling story? Nope! Let’s turn Fable into a fucking rail shooter, a rail shooter that I am inclined to believe was inspired by 2007’s anti-classic Link’s Crossbow Training. Why do I believe that? The main character is fucking Link, alright? He’s got spiky hair and wears a green tunic. I don’t need a Master’s Degree to figure this one out. Of course, that poses a simple question: Who rips off Link’s Crossbow Training? Copycat corporate does! I have it on good word that Link’s Crossbow Training was commissioned a budget of fifty dollars and enough money was left over for pizza. And guess what? Link’s Crossbow Training sold more copies than StarCraft II. Hey, easy there. Calm down! It’s okay! The world isn’t ending! StarCraft II is the game being played in front of crowds! Link’s Crossbow Training is done and forgotten! Chill pill! Relax!
1:27 – “I’m thrilled to announce that Minecraft is making its console debut this winter exclusively on Xbox 360 and Kinect.” Yes! Now I can get home from work and play a motion-controlled version of the game built around manual labor. Oh, that’s right, I don’t have a job. Fuck you for causing the economic collapse, Peter Molyneux.
1:29 – Kinect Disneyland Adventures. Hoo boy, where to begin with this one. I haven’t decided if this is virtual reality in its baby steps, whether I’m going to hell for demanding a Grand Theft Auto comparison, or whether to claim the company did this over twenty years ago when they called it Disney’s Adventures in the Magic Kingdom.* Can anybody tell that I’m going to die a bitter and old man at the age of twenty-eight?
1:29-1:32 – “Look, it’s Peter [Pan]!” “Look at those mermaids!” “Duck, waterfall!” “Watch out for the columns!” “Get those coins!” “Get the special coin!” “Oh, we missed it, we were so close!” “Get the coins!” “Go through the door!” “Oh, we’ll get those other coins next time!” “Fist bump!” “This is so cool!” No, this is what happens when child actors are asked to play video games. You would think that Microsoft would have learned their lesson when last year’s demonstrator got all cute and cuddly with Kinectimals. You know, where the child demonstrator covered her face when the baby tiger began licking the camera. Apparently not. This is some Stepford Wives bullshit right here. Microsoft corporate actually believes this is how kids talk to each other when they play video games. Nope. They talk shit and they talk lots of it. That’s what they do. Of course, if they spent more than five minutes playing their own games on Xbox Live, they would know this. Oh, did I mention that this game received far more face time than Minecraft? I need a cigarette. Oh, no. I don’t smoke. Until now.
1:32-1:36 – Here we go again! Another Star Wars game with motion controls! Hey, nobody says the motion controls have to be any good! What, you think George Lucas commissions Star Wars products because he actually cares about his legacy? His legacy will involve building a solid gold Death Star and cackling in space while foolish men, women, and children keep buying his crap. I can already tell you this game is going to suck. I don’t have to think twice about it. Because all we know about this game is one thing: Microsoft Kinect has input latency. Don’t tell me how it works great. Look at Microsoft’s presentation. The input latency is obvious. Well, the mythos of Star Wars (and most Star Wars games) are built around the Jedi, who have assumed command and mastery of the Force in order to attain a variety of talents and abilities, including but not limited to superhuman reflexes. The game demonstrator is having far more trouble with the controls than the actual enemies. I expect this game will be terrible, it will sell millions, and we will never hear from it again.
*checks time* Oh boy. This is really dragging. Maybe Microsoft can introduce a Kinect application that will prevent this press conference from sucking ass.
1:37 – Really? Tim Schaffer? What the hell? You’re leading the development of a Sesame Street video game? You’re the Psychonauts dude! You’re the guy who called Bobby Kotick a “total prick”!* You’re too awesome to work on Sesame Street video games! Mr. Schaffer, I like your games, but I’m going to be blunt: I never needed Big Bird or Cookie Monster to help my video games teach me life lessons. The games I played as a kid did an admirable job. Most of them taught me two very valuable lessons: “Perform well, and you will be rewarded”, and “Don’t be afraid to be good at something.” I turned out okay. I’m almost beginning to wonder if the fact that I picked up Descent and Civilization (two of the most complex video games of all-time) at the age of nine makes me some sort of freak, like the thirteen-year-old that takes college classes.
1:37-1:39 – I cannot wait for the pissing matches when the initial batch of reviews is released for this game. Why mainstream outlets would review this game, I don’t know, but they will do it! There is not a single score that can be issued for a game like this that will not aggravate the hell out of somebody. Call it “cheap family fun”, you get eviscerated. Call it “video game with shallow mechanics”, you get eviscerated. And you know what drives me nuts about all of this? Psychonauts‘ art direction is stuck to this video game like fresh bubblegum. It’s all over the place. This game actually looks very good. I demand to know the man at Microsoft who is responsible for placing this man on C-level video game development! And then they will destroy my point of view by arguing this will probably be the best-selling video game Schaffer has ever made. Ouch. God dammit so much.
1:42 – Yay, more Kinect. “Kinect Fun Labs”. Goody. More crap. Oh, wait. Kinect camera three-dimensional object scanning? Personalized avatar creation in two simple steps? This is the kind of stuff that the device should be used for. “Wait, why are you so worked up about this?” I’ll give you two words: Kinect Scribblenauts. I won’t have to draw the fucking diagram because I will scan it into the game and start shooting people with it. Oh, sure! That’s about thirty years down the road. This is all just prelude. And since it’s a free addition to the Xbox Dashboard™, it doesn’t have to ruin a sixty-dollar video game purchase to make its mark. Free for now, pay when you can turn it into a cool game. That’s how the technology should be approached. Nice work.
1:47 – It’s time for Kinect Sports Season Two! Featuring all of your favorite games! Tennis! Baseball! Golf! And this is why very few people take the “revolution” and “innovation” of Kinect seriously: The best-selling video game for the device is such a revolution that the sequel will feature the minigames present in 2006’s Wii Sports. And as long as people continue to buy terrible video games in order to satiate their fetish for terrible video games, these are the video games that will be made for Kinect.
1:50-1:51 – What’s to be said about this segment? It’s two guys playing football. One guy is playing quarterback and hurling out embarrassing playcalling at the line of scrimmage. The other man marks the first time a black man has been on the stage during Microsoft’s press conference. Predictably, he is playing as our wide receiver, a position that is currently dominated by blacks. Shit, Microsoft. You could have least had the black dude play quarterback. The biggest sin? The most important part of Kinect Sports Football does not feature any motion controls. There is no Kinect integration for the endzone celebration. Shame on somebody.
1:52 – Symbion Project lead band member Kasson Crooker: “With more than one-hundred songs available at launch, [Dance Central will have] more music than any other dance game.” One-hundred songs? Not to be picky or anything, but nearly every arcade release of the Dance Dance Revolution franchise since 5th Mix has featured more than a hundred songs. The Japanese console home release of Dance Dance Revolution Extreme featured 110. But oh, right. I’m a nerd for knowing that. I forgot. My bad.
1:54-1:56 – Alright, Microsoft, enough. We get it. You love Kinect so much that you would like all of us to marry it. You’re overstaying your welcome with this. You’ve actually made me feel indifferent about a Harmonix-developed music video game. How the hell is that possible? Alright, whatever. Microsoft, you have four minutes. Make your final announcement count. Give me something that I want to hear.
1:57 – Screw you, Microsoft! You lied to me, man! You said there wasn’t going to be any more Halo! You said Halo: Reach was the final game, man! And now there’s going to be a brand new trilogy? Dammit! Screw you! When Ric Flair retired for the seventh and final time, he meant it! After that, there was only one more match! I’m so angry right now that I’m only going to buy three copies of each new Halo game instead of the usual seven! Microsoft, you’re the worst video game company ever! And come release day, I’m logging into the multiplayer mode and telling everyone what I think about your games!
After this event had concluded, I was forwarded the following defense of Microsoft: “What exactly did the company not announce? You’re getting a new Gears of War game. You’re getting the optimal version of Modern Warfare 3. You’re getting a new trilogy of Halo games. The people who purchase Xbox 360 games got the games they wanted. What’s to bitch about?” And I guess that’s the problem: They didn’t surprise us. They played it conservatively. More sequels, blah, blah. And then they announced that these sequels would be packaged with motion-tracking technology that, to this point in its young history as a commercially-viable method of video game input, is still inferior to the controller. Yeah, the facial recognition and object creation tools for Kinect are actually quite interesting. The voice recognition present in Mass Effect 3 is quite interesting. Those are a step in the right direction. But let me put it this way: Imagine if Blizzard used their entire BlizzCon convention to herald the announcement that StarCraft II would be compatible with the Xbox 360 controller. That wouldn’t be interesting. It would be stupid. Why? Because the mouse and keyboard does real-time strategy games better than the controller and that has never changed. It would be a pointless announcement. And as of right now and for the foreseeable future, motion controls will not be superior to the controller. In the future? Yeah, they probably will be. Remember the holodeck on Star Trek? Motion controls, force feedback, voice recognition. The concept of a holodeck puts our video games to shame. But for now? Motion controls are not the holodeck. So if you take Kinect out of this presentation, nothing else happened. And that’s not good enough to sell your place in the market at the biggest video game convention of the year.
Screw you for ruining Microsoft Video Game Christmas, Peter Molyneux.