It's a tradition every year…

I hate G4. Up to recently, I kept the station on my programming grid so I could tune in once a year and DVR the E3 press conferences. Then I would skip all of the games I don’t care about and commentary by the G4 hosts, turning three different 3-hour press conferences into about an hour of information television for me.

This year however, I did my own Dish Network installation, purchased AT&T DSL, and dumped Comcast in the river where they belong. As a consequence, I lost G4 (is that really a consequence?) Anyway, I began to download the press conferences from Giganews, but soon realized that they’d all been made available as downloadable content on their respective systems! God bless modern technology! So I was able to watch the Nintendo press conference on my Wii, The Sony press conference on my PS3, in HD! And I’m sure the Microsoft conference was available on Xbox 360, but I refuse to wade through the sea of content to find it via that horrible screen flipping interface, so I did end up downloading the Microsoft conference via Giganews.

And as is my tradition every year, I started with Nintendo, and waited eagerly for Reggie Fils-Aime (I challenge you to properly pronounce his name), president of Nintendo America to wow me. At first, I wasn’t wowed. In fact, the press conference started with a re-hash of a bunch of stuff from last year’s E3 that had failed to reach the shelves on time, most notably, Wii Motion Plus (again), and Wii Sports Resort (again). Looks like a lot of fun! WHEN DO I GET TO PLAY IT? Then Reggie cleared the way for Satoru Iwata, the Japanese Nintendo President. He showed me the Wii Vitality Sensor. A new peripheral that you connect to your finger so the Wii can monitor your vitals. Presumably this would have an application in exercise games, or perhaps a high speed action game could monitor your heart rate to know when you’re pumped up and alter its difficulty level. Iwata-san had no in-game applications to show, only the device itself. So far, still not impressed.

Then Reggie came back out and assaulted me with some content I actually cared about. The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks for DS. In the cartoony Wind Waker style, this time Link rides a train instead of sailing the seas. Could be interesting.

Then he busted out New Super Mario Bros. for Wii. It’s a brand new, 2D side scrolling Super Mario Bros. game. A lot like the DS version, this one adds a twist. Four player simultaneous co-op. WOW! Now that’s pretty neat. Playing Super Mario Bros with someone else on the screen with you could be fun. Can’t wait to see it. Nintendo hasn’t released two major Mario games on the same platform since the NES days so this news was surprising as they had already released Super Mario Galaxy on Wii last year.

But Reggie wasn’t done kicking my ass yet, as he proceeded to bust out the granddaddy of the show for me, Super Mario Galaxy 2. That’s right, TWO major Mario releases this year. I’m a fan if you couldn’t tell. Mario games have always been fun and challenging for me, I love platformers. And Super Mario Galaxy ranks among my top 10 of ALL TIME. I think it’s that good, and very innovative.

Now that Reggie had me on the ropes he decided to give me a final swift kick in the face by showing me a secret project Nintendo has been working on with Team Ninja, the folks behind Ninja Gaiden and Dead or Alive (and Dead or Alive Extreme Beach Volleyball… YEAHHHH!). It begins in space and looks a bit mature for a Wii game. The main character seems to be a familiar blonde haired girl… Could she be…? Yep it was Samus, Nintendo and Team Ninja are making a new Metroid game. It’s called Metroid: Other M, and seems to be in the traditional Metroid style, THIRD person! Finally. I’m just not a fan of first person shooters. The Metroid Prime series was okay, but would’ve been so much better as third person titles. I finally get the modern Metroid game I’ve wished for. It seems to reveal more of Samus’ past and looks amazing. I don’t know much more than that because I passed out from excitement.

Overall I think my feelings about the Nintendo conference were summed up well by Gabe and Tycho on Penny Arcade:

And then we get to the other two... Sony and Microsoft. Who both had "Wii-rip off" accessories to show off. Everyone wants to jump on the motion bandwagon. Microsoft seems a lot further along with their Project Natal. A Wii-Sensor Bar add on for the Xbox, that you set on top of your TV, except it's called Project Natal instead of Wii Sensor bar. I'm interested to see what my TV rig is gonna look like with all these sensor bar add-ons for every system. It's starting to get a little crowded up there.

Sony's Jack Tretton, (who looks and sounds he's on the verge of a nervous breakdown every year) showed the PSP Go, a new PlayStation Portable without a UMD drive and a bit smaller with a cell phone like slide to reveal the D-pad and buttons. Jack also revealed that Sony was in the early stages of THEIR motion add on for PS3, that would be even better than Microsoft or Nintendo's... *Yawn* We'll see.

The highlight of the Microsoft and Sony shows were of course the appearance of Hideo Kojima with two new Metal Gear Games. TWO! The first, he appeared at the Sony booth with Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker for PSP. Takes place after Metal Gear Solid 3 and Portable Ops in the 1970's. More Big Boss stuff, pretty cool!

Kojima-san then appeared at the Microsoft booth with an early trailer for Metal Gear Solid: Rising. Seems to star Raiden. We shall see!

As for my current gaming endeavors, right now I'm playing Ghostbusters for PS3. All of the original actors voice their respective characters in the game, Including Bill Murray as Peter Venkman, Dan Aykroyd as Ray Stantz, Harold Ramis as Egon Spengler, Ernie Hudson as Winston Zeddemore, Annie Potts as Janine Melnitz and William Atherton returns as Walter Peck. The game's story and dialogue was also written by Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis. Pretty good so far!

I've also become addicted to Portal on Olaf's recommendation. I normally hate first person games, but this is a puzzler rather than a shooter, so I'm enjoying it. If you've played it, then I'm sure you know by now... The cake is a lie. Play this game. The ending theme is well worth the effort. Makes me want to get Gaming FM going again just to broadcast it. I won't spoil it for you. It's a short game and it's fun.

And yes, I'm STILL playing Burnout Paradise. The best driving game ever. The Big Surf Island add-on just came out, and man it's just a blast!

That's all for this year... See you next!

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