Game reviews and news

News from the E3 2010 gaming conference



The Games Guru travels to the 2010 Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles, Calif., to give you reports on the latest and greatest that’s happening in the gaming world.

BOYS’ LIFE E3 AWARDS

At this year’s E3, game developers got serious about kids games. You see, they think you’re as important as adult gamers. Looks like it’s going to be a very, very interesting year for games.

Here are the Boys’ Life E3 Awards. Drum roll, please!

Best New Hardware, Maybe Ever: Nintendo 3DS

Usually when you hear the phrase “marvel of modern technology,” it’s a cliche. But the 3DS gives you Mario, Zelda, Kirby, Kid Icarus and all your favorite Nintendo pals in a brand new dimension. Beyond playing games and movies in 3-D, it has a 3-D camera to take pictures of yourself. We want to have the 3DS now — right now.

Best Hardware for Active Kids and Parents: Kinect (Microsoft, Xbox 360)

Microsoft’s Kinect device will debut with more than a dozen games this fall. Most of them ask you to get up off the couch and jump around while playing. So if you’re into a bit of a workout while, say, whitewater rafting or playing football, Kinect is for you. Best games so far: Kinect Adventures and Child of Eden.

Best Game of the Show: Epic Mickey (Disney, Wii)

Epic Mickey will be one of the finest games ever made for the Wii. It will rival the best of Nintendo games, and you parents will love it, too. It’s so deep and beautiful you’ll want to play it over again. Plus, renowned gamemaker Warren Spector’s favorite magazine growing up was — you guessed it – Boys’ Life.

Best Kids MMO Ever: LEGO Universe (WBIE)

Speaking of deep, this is one deep game. You can make any world you want to with LEGO blocks, and every block ever made is in the game. It’s going to be updated every month with new quests and minigames. You won’t want to leave this game, but you probably should eventually, especially if you have homework to do.

Best Deal for Kids: Little Big Planet 2 (Sony, PS3)

Sackboy returns triumphantly. You’ll be able to make so many kinds of games with the tools inside, you’ll want to share them with all your friends. The game just may just might make you want to be a videogame developer when you grow up.

Best Sports Game: NHL Slapshot (EA, Wii)

This seemingly simple hockey game is so addicting, you won’t want to put down the hockey stick attachment that comes with the game. It takes you from PeeWee League to the NHL in a hilarious but oh-so-real career mode. Look for tips in an upcoming issue of Boys’ Life!

Best Puzzle Game: Guilty Party (Disney, Wii)

Just when you think they’ve run out of ideas for the Wii, out comes Guilty Party, which lets you solve what seems to be an endless array of mysteries. You’ll love interrogating the fascinating suspects, too. Keep your eyes out for this one in August.

Best Wii Game: Donkey Kong Country Returns (Nintendo)

Bang those tribal drums. Donkey Kong is back with a classic sidescroller that’s sure to have you playing in this lush universe for hours and hours. The story is fun, too. The animals have turned on Donkey Kong because they’re under a devious spell. Diddy Kong and Donkey Kong team up to restore order.


DAY 3: SURPRISES

The best thing about E3 is the surprises. You never quite know what’s going to happen.

Take Konami’s press conference. First, it was great to see hip-hop legend Russell Simmons talk about Def Jam Rapstar. But when Karaoke Revolution: Glee, a singing game, was introduced, the Powerhouse Choir of about 60 high school kids came on to belt out Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

They brought down the house. The crowd of journalists went wild. It was such an emotional, riveting performance, I now want to play Glee (based on the TV show), which I otherwise might have overlooked. (That’s because I sing like a dying chicken.)

More 3D and Some Disney

In the Sony booth, I had a hands-on demo of the EyePet in 3D. Sure, you can virtually pet the little monkey-like creature. But you can also draw things and make them come alive. The developer drew a Batman logo with the PlayStation Move controller. It transformed into a 3D flying batwing, and the little guy hopped on to fly up into the stars.

At the Disney booth, Epic Mickey looked awesome. This reinvention of Mickey Mouse in a crazy cartoon world pays homage to the 80-year history of the mouse, all the way back to “Steamboat Willie” (Mickey’s debut movie). It’s beautifully detailed, and the gameplay is unique. You don’t fight anything. You just use paint or paint thinner to cover up or erase your enemies.

Disney seems to be on a roll as far as quality games go. Take Guilty Party for the Wii. Guilty Party lets you play detective and interrogate a large cast of wacky characters to see who committed a crime. It’s humorous, but it really makes you think. And the puzzles always change. The developer told me that you’ll never really repeat a puzzle. So the replay value here is immense.

Other Excitement

On the show floor, the IndieCade is a place where people in college show off the games they’re experimenting with. One game, Maum, had you wearing a headset with sensors on it. It would actually read your brainwaves. Your “good vibes” let you make friends with Jack-O-Lantern people you encountered.

E3 is also about people meeting their videogame heroes. One guy lugged around his heavy PlayStation 3 and stood in line for a really long time, just to have it autographed. That’s a true fanboy!


DAY 2: THE LATEST FROM NINTENDO AND SONY

Forget what you know about video games because Nintendo just changed everything. And I mean everything.

Yesterday, Nintendo premiered their new 3DS, a handheld portable gaming machine that lets you play games in 3D—without the glasses.

I’ve seen it. I’ve played it. And it’s probably the most astounding piece of videogame hardware I’ve ever seen—and that includes the Wii and the original PlayStation. It’s looks like a true game changer.

It was so cool, director Steven Spielberg was in the Nintendo booth checking it out in a room full of hundreds of the new marvel. Outside, as many as 500 people waited in line to get their hands on it for a few minutes.

While there’s no release date for the mighty little machine, I don’t think it’ll be cheap. So start saving your nickels and dimes.

The 3DS scoop

Here’s what it is: The machine still has a touchscreen on the bottom. But the top screen is where the magic happens. There’s a 3.5-inch-wide screen that displays 3D games—and movies, too. I saw the trailer of “How to Train Your Dragon,” and it had real depth.

You can adjust the level of 3D to suit your taste with a slider control to the right of the screen. Or you can turn it off completely.

There was a version of Paper Mario in 3D that showed off the effect really well. Mario, his enemies and the blocks Mario jumped on and over were clearly in the foreground. In the upcoming PilotWings Resort game, I flew high in the sky and over a small town. I felt I could reach out and touch the clouds. And when I flew, it was slowly, so I never got dizzy from the 3D.

You have to look at the screen straight on, however. You won’t get the 3D from an angle. Some of my colleagues said they got a little dizzy when playing. But I’m sure Nintendo will deal with this as they ready the system for release.

In the coming months, I’ll see more gameplay and give you the complete scoop on how the 3DS stacks up to everyone else’s machines. Will there be a 3D PSP in your future, too? Stay tuned.

Sony stuff

Speaking of the PSP, Sony showed us a camera for the device with a game called Invisimals. It’s a game in which you take the PSP around your real-life world and discover invisible creatures in places like your kitchen.

Sony was quite proud of its PlayStation Move controller, which will sell this fall for about $50. It does seem to be very precise and cool, but perhaps not as precise as Microsoft’s Kinect.

Sony had an update last week for the PS3 to make it 3D ready. But you have to buy a new TV and glasses to make it work. It looks very good, however. They’re going to collect all the old Sly Cooper games, put them on a disk and make it 3D.

Also, Little Big Planet 2 is going to rock your world. With the new tools on the disk, you’ll be able to make any kind of game—sports games, role-playing games, even real-time strategy games—all starring Sackboy and his cool pals.

And, if you have a PS3, check out Home, Sony’s virtual world. They’ve re-created their E3 booth in home and have added a lot of cool trailers and surprises. And it’s free, too.


DAY 1: INTRODUCING KINECT

E3 started on Sunday with Microsoft’s party for Kinect. For the intriguing Xbox 360 attachment that lets you control games with your hands, Microsoft spent millions on a very big show. They hired Cirque de Soleil to transform a basketball arena into something out of “Avatar.” And they made those of us in the audience wear these crazy white robes, too. It was really a cast of thousands.

Fun for the entire family

High above was a living room in a giant box. The room could spin all the way around, and inside was a family playing games from Kinect.

These games seem like graphically intense versions of the Wii minigames you’ve come to know and love. There were sports games, racing games, dancing games, virtual pet games and a kind of amusement park game, too. The family of four played together, running, jumping and giving each other high fives after every short game. “Fun for the entire family” was the phrase of the night.

The next morning, Microsoft’s honcho Don Mattrick said that Kinect would be released on Nov. 4 with 15 games available for it. Unfortunately, Microsoft wouldn’t say what the price would be, for the games or the device.

Aside from the casual games, Microsoft showed off how the big-time racing game Forza Motorsport would work with Kinect. You can walk around a sports car and check it out closely. And you can drive the car without a wheel just by placing your hands at 10 o’clock and 2 o’clock. Then all you have to do is steer.

Kinect Adventures, Sports, Dance, Kinectimals

One of the cool casual games was Kinect Adventures. The minigame shown was a kind of roller coaster in which you had to jump in real life over obstacles in the game. It looks like quite a workout.

Kinect Sports has six games, kind of like Wii Sports. You have javelin throwing in which the javelin seems to go as high in an arc as a pass thrown by Peyton Manning. There’s soccer, too, and the very detailed crowd goes wild when you score a goal. It looks like you’ll be able to play all of these games on Xbox Live if you have a gold account.

If you liked Nintendogs, Microsoft has a graphically richer game called Kinectimals. They showed off a very cute tiger cub. You could pet it, call it (Kinect has a microphone) and make it roll over. There also looks to be a Sonic game coming this fall for Kinect as a launch title. But it wasn’t demo’d by Microsoft.

Later in the day, Electronic Arts showed off Kinect Dance Central, a dancing game that looks as if it lets uncoordinated nerds like me move like a hip-hop star—with practice. It also looks like quite a workout. (In non-Kinect news, EA also brought out Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana to talk about how intense the new Madden is. You’ll read more about Madden in BL soon.)

Kinect or not?

So should you buy Kinect? While it’s cool, I couldn’t help thinking I’ve played a lot of these games before on the Wii. Kinect refines the experience and lets you lose the controller. But you also wish Microsoft had come up with a completely new game that would cement Kinect’s place in the videogame world—and make you want to run out and buy it immediately.

You’ll want to consider Kinect, of course. (And you’ll read more about it in the magazine very soon.) But how much will it cost? That’s the big question. If it costs much more than $100, you might want to wait until there’s a sale. I’ll keep you posted.

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Comments about “News from the E3 2010 gaming conference”

  1. Supermario says:

    This Nintendo 3DS definitely surpasses anything Sony and Microsoft have. I hope Nintendo ups the Wii also.

  2. Dander P. Donderdink says:

    the best wii game should have been the legend of zelda: skyward sword! it was the main part of the show, and i know because i watched it online!

  3. dude101 says:

    I cant wait for the nintendo 3ds to come out. But most of the games comming out in 2011 will be for the 3ds. I wonder if you can play ds games on there.LOLOL

  4. guitar freak says:

    The 3DS will be awesome!

  5. NintendoFreak says:

    The Nintendo 3DS is probably going for $200 dollars and up. If you own DSi I would think that selling it NOW would yield a decent sum of cash that could be used for 3DS that does what the Dsi does and more and in 3D. I’m going to sell my DSi for the 3DS, definitley.

  6. NintendoFreak says:

    I think this guy writing the E3 review mustve been blind and didnt see legend of zelda skyward sword because i saw it and it was easily the best game at the show and the best on wii.

  7. nintendo rocks says:

    don’t bother to get the 3ds cause the next thing you know nintendo will make another ds maybe one in hd

  8. some guy says:

    i want the 3 ds but its not coming till 2011

  9. Anonymous says:

    i want the 3ds

  10. sneezy says:

    3ds is awesome! but why didn’t he say anything about super scribblenautts?

    • J says:

      I CAN NOT WAIT FOR PAPER MARIO 4!!! THE PAPER MARIO SERIES IS THE BEST! If you have a wii you should buy the first paper mario game on the virtual console. It is the best one in the series!

  11. Peril Man says:

    Those things must be expensive! I’m happy with my Iphone games.

  12. O RLY? O_O says:

    Cant wait for the 3DS!!! i don’t even want the dsi anymore…lol
    no its true!!! :D

  13. PokeGameGuide says:

    I am going to easily get the Nintendo 3DS because I am going to easily make over a thousand dollars at my uncle’s haunted house Plantation Blood. I hope that the Nintendo 3DS has the same interface as the Nintendo DSi and the Nintendo DSi XL because it had a Wii feel to it. Also I am looking forward to seeing how this 3D is implemented into past and future 3D games.

  14. poke master says:

    The EDS sounds so cool. I want one!

  15. J freek says:

    @corky:
    Playstation DID NOT rip off the Wii, but I do agree that Kinect is gonna fail.
    Actually, the Playstation Move is AMAZINGLY accurate.

  16. Midbus says:

    The new starter pokemon are sweet.
    (well the “water otter looks like a messed up Piplup with a sea shell jammed into it chest, but it 2nd evolution looks better…) New cool legendary pokemon like yin pokemon Reshiram a dragon/fire type and yang pokemon Zekrom a dragon/electric type.
    (I don’t know if the two dark type pokemon Zorark and Zorua are legendary, because I stopped watching the show a while ago…)

    • Samus the Maurth hunter says:

      Yes, the legendary are impressive. I do agree that the new water starter poke’mon looks a bit odd. (But, I’ve seen its evolution, and I must admit, it looks a lot better.) Keep catching your bounty!

  17. corky says:

    the games i’m excited about are Donkey Kong Country Returns, Epic Mickey and the Legend of Zelda. Playstation Move ripped off the Wii, and Kinect is gonna fail.

    • corky says:

      forgot to mention, Lego Universe is gonna be AWESOME! plus, Pokemon Black and White versions are coming out in Japan (not US, Japan) in September. They’re expecting Pokemon B&L to be released in the US in early 2011

  18. love guns says:

    No portal 2!?! Why didn’t they show what valve released??!?!?!!!?

  19. seannmcyu says:

    X BOX 360

  20. Gamemaster says:

    Those 3d DS things will definItly be cool. I wonder if it still has a camera. Not being 3d at an angle will definitly keep my nosy sister from looking over my shoulder to see the game.

    • Anonymous says:

      the 3DS has two camras in the back and one in the front but the back camras work like you merge two pics that are the same but at diffrent angles. Your eyes work just like that (sorry cyclopses) making a three dimentional efect

    • nintendo says:

      no there is tow camara in the front for 3d afect

  21. Glowtmickey says:

    Why isn’t Zelda skyward sword mentioned once in this artical? In my opinion, it was the best wii game they showed at E3.

  22. Gamer101 says:

    Xbox 360 rules the universe

  23. mickey says:

    awesome.

  24. dezzo says:

    metroid other m and zelda skyward sword and kirby’s epic yarn all look so awesome!

  25. pokefreak6464 says:

    I already have a psp, so i am waiting for that invisimals camera thing. The 3ds sounds cool, but the 3d might hurt my eyes

  26. master sword says:

    Mr.Guru forgot a game to mention that I thought should have been best wii game. Legend of Zelda skyward sword. Back to other subjects. The 3ds will rock the house! The only reason reviewers complain is because they probably are older and play call of duty on every Sony and Microsoft system. I have a huge R2-D2 tin and I’m stuffing him with my allowance. 3DS here I come!

  27. pokemon409 says:

    they should make normal ds games since there’s nothing for the dsi. pokemon would be cool in 3-d, but it should be for the ds/dsi as well. i heard they’re making a legend of zelda: orcania of time remake for the 3ds, but its in 3-d

    • rock on says:

      what is it is it a 3d ds what next cordless phones?

    • gamesguru says:

      @pokemon 409: you’ll probably still be able to use new DS games on your DSi. my guess is that the same games made for the 3DS will be able to be used in previous DS devices. In fact, if you have a 3DS, you’ll be able to turn off the 3D if you don’t want to use it.

  28. Dubesahc says:

    I had all of the Nintendo DS types and I am totally getting the Nintendo 3DS

  29. Elijah says:

    i have a wii

  30. williepaul says:

    my dad was in la a few days before E3. Should have made him stay and try out the 3DS

  31. says: says: says:

    i have the very first ds now i want the 3DS

  32. nut says:

    asum 3D pokemon

  33. Max The Sax says:

    im getting the 3ds for christmas

  34. NintendoFan4Life says:

    I got a DSi not too long ago and it rocks. I am definitely trading it in for this. This article doesn’t state all the facts that were said at the Expo, I watched it. I will list them:
    -3D (obviously)
    -better graphics (finally)
    -3D Movies (Nintendo’s president said they’re considering it at the expo)
    -mini joystick for view right above arrow buttons
    -1 camera inside above top screen (Nintendo said they will use this for face recognition on the new Nintendogs+Cats when its released)
    -It will be released in sometime in March
    -It is awesome!!!!!

  35. Someone says:

    I want the Kinect!!!!!!!111

  36. scout man 124 says:

    I heard LEGO universe costs money to play after you buy the game because the front cover says “First thirty days Free”

  37. Hurricane1973 says:

    Kinect lokks AWESOME!!!

  38. lego guy says:

    I am a beta tester of lego universe.i can’t say too much, but it is ahsome

  39. Dream maker says:

    I hope the new pokemon games black and white aren’t for the 3Ds because I just got a DSi and it will take me years to save up.

  40. jumpingbin says:

    the 3ds 300 is the awesomeest in the world

  41. Self-Proclaimed Gaming Expert says:

    I have to get the 3DS!!!!!!!!! Its just wizard!!!!!!!

  42. reader says:

    the 3ds looks cool but nintendo or any blogs havent posted anyting about how the 3d cameares work.

    • natitonic says:

      theres 2 cameras, and they take a picture at the same time. tthen, the pictures combine, making it 3-D

  43. nintendoman says:

    did u know the 3ds can take 3d pictures?

  44. littlewill says:

    i hope i get the 3DS for christmas

  45. Spyeye says:

    I agree!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  46. motokid says:

    i agree with Da Boss

  47. Astronomer says:

    Sounds Awesome! But I bet it will be $219.99.

  48. Flame Boy says:

    3DS looks awsome!!!!

  49. Almost First Class says:

    I wanna try the 3DS. It sounds SOOOO COOL!!!!

  50. Da Boss says:

    Cool! I hope they post something about LEGO Universe!

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