Editor’s Note: The Games Guru is attending the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) this week in Los Angeles and will be sending a daily update to Boyslife.org. Check back every day for the latest news and rumors from the gaming industry.
DAY 4, JULY 17: BEST IN SHOW
|A screenshot of LittleBigPlanet.|
E3 is just about over. Overall, this was Sony’s year to shine (even though their press conference was underwhelming). In no particular order, here’s a look at some of the best games of E3 2008.
LittleBigPlanet (Sony, PS3) The game that lets you create your own levels and stars the very cool Sackboy just looks better every time I see it. (Check our October issue for tips!)
PixelJunk Eden (Sony, PS3) The downloadable game for the PlayStation Network has you playing as a little guy named Grimp, swinging through a flower garden to pollinate plants.
Fat Princess (Sony, PS3) Another great downloadable PSN game has you feeding the Fat Princess to make her weigh more. The more she weighs, the harder it is for your opponents to kidnap her.
|You can use the Wii Fit balance board in the Shaun White Snowboarding game.|
Major Minor’s Majestic March (Majesco, Wii) Remember PaRappa the Rapper? It was the first rhythm game. Major Minor is made by the same guys. You conduct a marching band with cute animals. (Check out our December issue for more!)
Spider-Man: Web of Shadows (Activision, Various formats) Even though there’s no new Spider-Man movie, this game rocks, especially the fighting that occurs up the sides of buildings.
Guitar Hero World Tour (Activision, Xbox 360, PS3) New peripherals, many new songs and the ability to make your own tunes make this game a standout.
|SimAnimals will let you make your own world full of cute animals.|
Lips (Microsoft, Xbox 360) Sing loud! You have to love a game that lets you use all the music on your iPod or Zune to sing karaoke.
SimAnimals (Electronic Arts, Wii) You’ll be able to make your own world full of cute animals, all with their own personalities, in a universe that’s kind of like a Pixar movie.
Shaun White Snowboarding (Ubisoft, Wii) You’ll really feel like you’re snowboarding with Olympic champ Shaun White. You can use the Wii Fit balance board or the Wiimote to play.
Wii Sports Resort (Nintendo) Next spring’s follow-up to Wii Sports has an island vacation theme. Play Frisbee on the beach, drive a Jet Ski in the sea and more.
— Harold Goldberg
DAY 3, JULY 16: ACTIVISION ON ITS GAME
|The Guitar Hero Band brought down the house. Photo by Harold Goldberg.|
Finally! After two days of no-so-exciting press conferences from Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony, Activision gave the media something to get stoked about. Nearly everything Activision showed shined. That’s why they’re currently the world’s biggest video game company.
First, Spider-Man: Web of Shadows looked awesome. The story is about Venom, who has infested New York with a kind of parasite. By getting together former foes and superhero pals, Spider-Man must stop it from hitting every human in the city.
The cool part? Much of the fighting is done on the sides of buildings and in the air with grand vistas of Manhattan.
|Paramore’s Hayley Williams loves Guitar Hero World Tour. Photo by Harold Goldberg.|
In Activision’s first James Bond offering, you’ll have a bunch of new gadgets to play around with. The graphics are excellent because of their realism. The look of actor Daniel Craig as Bond is spot on, but when Bond moves from side to side, it seems too quick, almost inhuman.
Then, there was Guitar Hero World Tour. When it comes out this fall, it will be the best of the Guitar Hero series. That’s because it will let you create your own music and upload it to a special GH Tunes site to be rated by other Guitar Hero fans. Who knows? Maybe you’ll become a real rock star if your song gets popular.
There are new peripherals like a guitar with a slide function that lets you play in a way much closer to the real thing. In Studio Mode, in which you make the songs, you can use the guitar to create drum and keyboard sounds, too.
Singer Hayley Williams from Paramore showed up on stage to talk about the game’s cool factor,
but nobody could top the Guitar Hero Band. These four game developers really rocked out with a Van Halen song. They were so good, a lot of the audience gave them a standing ovation.
— Harold Goldberg
DAY 2, JULY 15: NINTENDO AND SONY BATTLE IT OUT
The legendary Shigeru Miyamoto jams on stage with Wii Music. Photo by Harold Goldberg.
Nintendo and Sony held back-to-back press conferences at E3 today. Both companies showed off good games that you might have already seen trailers for on the Web. While there were some surprises, nothing made my jaw drop.
Nintendo got rolling by bringing out Olympic gold medalist Shaun White to demonstrate Shaun White Snowboarding. Shaun said his game for the Wii, which uses the Wii Fit balance board, will be “just like real life.” (You can see more about the game in our November issue.)
Nintendo also unveiled Animal Crossing: City Folk, the follow-up to the simulation that first appeared on GameCube. It will come with Wii Speak, a special microphone attachment that lets you talk to friends online while playing. You can even makeover your avatar in a barbershop and give it the face of your Mii.
You’ll also soon be able to buy an attachment to the Wiimote called Wii Motion Plus. It will make everything from aiming to throwing far more accurate. Next spring, the attachment will be bundled with a new collection of mini games called Wii Sports Resort, which includes a really cool game in which you throw a Frisbee to a cute dog.
It looks like Wii Music is just about finished. Mario and Zelda creator Shigeru Miyamoto “played” saxophone with the Wiimote and Nunchuk on stage. He said the game will include 60 instruments for you and up to five pals to noodle around with. If you have the balance board, you can use it as the pedal for your drum kit.
Sony’s Pony Show
In front of over 60 monitors, Sony president Jack Tretton showed off LittleBigPlanet in which you can make your own levels starring the ultra-cool Sackboy. (Also to be seen in the November issue of BL.)
Also announced were the next versions of Buzz, Singstar, Patapon and LocoRoco. This fall, there’s going to be a LEGO Batman PS2 bundle that includes the Justice League: A New Frontier DVD movie for $149.
Even more interesting will be what’s downloadable on the PlayStation Network with your PS3. Next month, you’ll have a brand-new Ratchet and Clank game called Quest for Booty complete with funny, new weapons for $14.99.
Finally, comic-book great Jim Lee took the stage to announce the MMO DC Universe. In it, you’ll be able to play the villain and escape from the asylum to attack the Bat Cave. If you’re Superman or Batman, you can stop the Joker and his pals from wreaking havoc in the online world.
But there was no game shown in either Nintendo’s or Sony’s press conference that made the audience excited enough to shout out. Everyone wanted to be blown away by what was announced, but the games met with only mild applause. I hope they’ll be better once I get my hands on them and can tell you much more about them
— Harold Goldberg
DAY 1, JULY 14
Pop star Duffy performs at E3 to promote Microsoft’s new karaoke game Lips. Photo by Harold Goldberg.
The world’s gaming media is here in Los Angeles, Calif., this week for the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3). Today, Microsoft stepped up to the plate with lots of info on upcoming stuff.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t until 40 minutes into the press conference that any E-rated games were showcased. If Microsoft really cares about families like they say they do, wouldn’t they have shown more E-rated games earlier in the event?
While there was no amazing-ness in what was unveiled for the Xbox 360, there was indeed some pretty cool stuff.
First, there’s Family Game Night. This fall with Xbox Live, you’ll be able to create your own Mii-like avatars and chat with up to eight people in a room.
In the evening with Live Prime Time, you’ll be able to play an online version of the TV show “1 vs. 100” and win real prizes, too.
On the Xbox Live Arcade, fans of old-school games will be happy to learn that next month Microsoft will release Galaga 3, a bright-colored, brand-new version of the classic arcade game.
Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts is scheduled for a holiday release.
In the fall, the Arcade will see the release of Community Games, which are made by people like you and me using free software from Microsoft.
A couple of console games for the holidays that looked pretty neat:
- Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts, a platformer with super-colorful graphics in which you can make your own vehicles to fly through space.
- Viva Piñata: Trouble in Paradise, the follow-up to the 2006 game. You’ll be able to grow 100 new animals by scanning a card in front of the Xbox Live Vision camera. Just scan and presto: You’ve got a new creature to care for.
You’ll also use the camera with You’re in the Movies, a game that puts you in short scenes you create. One of the thrilling parts of the Microsoft event occurred when four of their executives were placed into a movie called “Cold Blooded,” in which a large lizard ran after them, Godzilla style.
When Microsoft unveiled the karaoke game Lips, the audience got a surprise live performance from top British R&B singer Duffy. What’s cool about Lips is that you can hook it up to an iPod or Zune MP3 player and sing along with your songs. The possibilities are endless. The microphones light up. They have a motion-sensitive quality that lets you use them as drums, too.
Overall, the ideas and games Microsoft talked about were occasionally exciting, but a rumored motion-sensitive Xbox 360 controller like the Wiimote never materialized.