How better to placate a room full of bored games journalists than by giving them all a free new 360 each, eh? After enduring a tedious conference that spent too much time on Kinect and trying to convince said reporters that not using a controller ‘is the future’, Microsoft head-honcho Don Mattrick announced the new Xbox 360 and that every person in the hall could have one gratis. Cue: A standing ovation that we’re sure was as much because the conference was over as it was to be receiving a free console.
Runner-up: Sony’s sagging press conference
Sony started off proceedings with a bang then soon descended into monotony with chatter about PS2 and PSP. Then, just as the lull kicked in, they wheeled out the charming Kevin Butler to pick things up again. Saved from winning this award.
According to Ubisoft, Battle Tag is the first “live shooter.” So it’s a videogame, only in real life! Or it’s just laser tag that interfaces with a laptop, and isn’t a videogame at all. Oh, and by the way, the first “live shooter” probably occurred in the 1200s, and ended with a bunch of dead Mongolians.
Above: The actual announcement here isn’t Battle Tag, it’s that Ubisoft has figured out how to make children in a laboratory
But go for it, Ubisoft, there’s nothing that says you have to publish videogames. We’re skeptical that kids will actually run around their houses saying things like “yeah, eat it” and “party time,” but the dusty closets of the world will thank you for your contribution, because that’s where every laser tag game ever has been thrown after one day of mild amusement.
Runner up: Ubisoft’s Innergy
Nintendo’s Wii Vitality Sensor was a total no-show this year, but that didn’t stop Ubi from unveiling their own version of the peripheral, complete with Innergy, a breathing-focused non-game aimed at FORCING PLAYERS TO RELAX! AAAA!!! RELAX MORE, DAMMIT! AAAAAAAAAAA!!!
The crew over at publisher/manufacturer Power Gig are some of the nicest guys we’ve ever met. That’s what makes it so hard to tell them the thing they most remind us of at the moment is a litter of puppies being shoved into a burlap sack by a guy in a rowboat.
Strike One: The actual game, Power Gig: Rise of the Six-String, is playing catch-up. Yes, it will be the first music game to feature Kid Rock, Eric Clapton, and the Dave Matthews Band, but the Rock Band and Guitar Hero games have hundreds of additional downloadable songs, more modes, and much more polished gameplay.
Strike Two: In our playtest, the Power Gig drum kit was a disaster. The guitar controller may be all about realism, but the drum kit is practically imaginary. It’s a hunk of plastic about the size of an Xbox that sits either on the floor or on little 12-inch legs. There are four colored circles on it, but you don’t actually hit anything at all. Instead, you “drum” the air with specially-designed drumsticks in a vain attempt to wave your sticks over each circle’s sensor, which appears to be about the size of a thumbnail. We desperately hope the drums are still in development because the kit we played just did not work, plain and simple.
Strike Three: This is the final curb-stomp. The Power Gig guitar, which is both a game controller and a fully-featured guitar that you can actually learn to play for real, is the whole selling point of PG:RotSS. Trouble is, the Rock Band 3 crew just announced its own real guitar/controller, and it’s better. It’s a full-sized (the PG guitar is ¾ scale), consumer-model Fender Stratocaster with a few modifications. So it’s seriously legit. And in our experience, it’s more responsive than the PG guitar. At this point, it’s really hard to imagine Power Gig becoming anything other than the next Rock Revolution.
Runner up: PSP / PSPgo
As if the DS hasn’t been bitch-slapping PSP hard enough for the last half-decade, Sony countered Nintendo’s megaton announcement of the game-changing, industry-disrupting 3DS with: a new ad campaign. Yeah. That’s what’s been missing all these years.
At the Microsoft conference in 2009, Lionhead’s Peter Molyneux introduced the world to boy-trapped-in-a-television, Milo. The human Tamagotchi highlighted the power and possibilities of Kinect (néé Natal) and while it was super creepy, it was more interesting than the Wii Sports rip-offs also on show. Fast forward to 2010 and Milo is nowhere to be seen at the conference. Maybe he was sent to a borstal for being naughty. Or perhaps he was caught smoking Molyneux’s cigarettes and beaten within a digital inch of his life? Either way, he was AWOL from Microsoft’s 2010 conference.
Runner-up: Wii Vitality Sensor
Nintendo’s clothes peg peripheral that senses your pulse and other crap you couldn’t care less about wasn’t even hinted at during their press conference. Good.
There were rumors of a remake of Rare's classic N64 Bond adventure floating about as far back as October 2009, when the game appeared on an animator's resume. Suspicions were raised. The rumor went quiet, although gamers always believed. Then, in April of this year, Activision registered the domain name GoldenEyeGame.com. Which was not very covert of them. Finally, just as E3 2010 was approaching, complete details about the game appeared from an anonymous source. Probably a Russian spy. GoldenEye's cover was well and truly blown.
Runner-up: PlayStation Plus
Sony are about as good at keeping secrets as Microsoft are at convincing gamers that controller-less gaming is actually awesome.
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