Well, E3 this year is over and done with again, leaving us with naught to do until all the promised new titles are released but discuss which ones we want and replay our old games again and again (something I've never had a problem with). However, there is still one thing to do. I've talked about the Keynote presentations, I've talked about the games that caught my attention the most, now there is just one thing left to do: sum it all up.
The Conference Keynotes
There is no doubt that can be had after this years E3, Nintendo dominated the course of the show, an impressive feat considering that they held the second, shorter keynote presentation of E3 putting them directly behind Microsoft's massive Kinect show. The reason they had the best is plain and simple: Nintendo gave everyone what they wanted when they announced and showed off a feast of gaming goodness. First wowing the audience with new Zelda, Kirby and Donkey Kong games, Nintendo kept the momentum going (and turned it up) when they not only presented the new 3-dimensional 3DS, but brought out hundreds of demo units for the audience to play with, presenting an impressive list of powerful launch titles that included a second Zelda title, Starfox, Kid Icarus, even Metal Gear Solid. The best part was, Nintendo once again showed how well they understand the purpose of E3. There was little fanfare (although there were the usual clever hijinks), the stage was simple, with three viewing screens and little else, and Nintendo used the presentation to talk about games, games and more games. Which is exactly what we wanted.
Microsoft's performance at this year's E3 was alright, if a little showy. While Nintendo just showed off what everyone wanted to see, Microsoft did take up quite a bit of time with marketing doubletalk and a very show stage and lots of pop music. But on the other hand, Microsoft did have some fun stuff to show off, devoting a fairly large portion of their show to the Kinect with a lot of impressive game demos that crowds were later able to play on their own. Microsoft also dropped a fairly good sized bomb on the crowd with their revealing of the new X-box 360 S, which much like the Controller S for the original box, redesigns the 360 into a smaller, quieter and more efficient package. Combined with their demos of Halo: Reach and Gears of War 3 as well as other well anticipated titles, Microsoft had a fairly strong showing, although not on level with Nintendo's.
Sony's performance however, was less then exemplary, it was downright insulting, immature, and quite possibly one of the worst E3 showings in general memory, apart from what is widely regarded as the worst E3 showing of all time in 2006 (which was also done by Sony, so there is a trend here). What made it so terrible? Well, for starters, I mentioned earlier in this article that Nintendo grasps the true intent of E3 and the keynotes: Games, games and more games. Microsoft is a little less indulging in that regard, usually being incredibly showy and making a good bit of doubletalk, but still making the primary purpose to show off a lot of new games. Sony still doesn't seem to grasp this idea all that well. While about half of their show was about games, much of it was for games that were either A) already out or B) launching on multiple systems. While Sony may have been fine had they simply showed that and the several impressive exclusives they had, instead they opted to spend a decent portion of their presentation mocking the other systems and players of those other systems. As I said, it all struck me as fairly immature. It's one thing for the people that play those consoles to reduce themselves to foolish name calling, but when a Sony rep tells everyone at E3 that everyone not playing a Sony system is a casual, kiddy gamer, you feel a bit like you did as a kid when the neighborhood bully's Dad turned out to be worse then his kid. Also, I know that they were reciting a script and all, but they could have at least done a little tweaking to avoid sounding so high and mighty. Claiming that your system is the only one that offers 3D gaming seems a little precocious mere minutes after the audience has just been playing demo units of the 3DS. I watch E3 to learn about games, not to hear insults and mockery thrown around, and in that regard, Sony's display was the most disappointing of the entire set.
So what about the games? Well, you've already seen much of what caught my eye at this years E3. However, despite the large amount of great titles, I still went away feeling as if this E3 was not as good as prior E3 showings. My reasoning for this is that despite the large amount of first party games shown off at E3, the third party titles were surprisingly sparse. Sure, there were some good ones, such as Reach or Little Big Planet 2, but by and far, I felt like there were less third party games to go around this year. And what happened to the PC games? This years E3 felt like a dearth of content for the PC, with the majority of it's titles being cross platformed, and nothing to specific being shouted that caught my eye.
Still, this years E3 did have some good stuff to show and some great reasons to be excited for the Holiday season. Christmas comes early and keeps on giving for gamers this year.