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E3 09: GamesRadar's E3 2009 awards

Okay, now Nintendo’s being ridiculous. We have a peripheral for you to do push-ups on, a peripheral that now does what the Wii Remote should have originally done 3 years ago and now we have the Wii vitality sensor, announced to the world at Nintendo’s press conference. Enough snark! What is this thing?

The small plastic doohickey plugs into the Wii Remote and attaches to the tip of the player’s finger, which then detects vital signs that will apparently assist in helping the player relax. Huh. During the Nintendo behind-closed-doors presser, Nintendo poobah Shigeru Miyamoto claimed the sensor would detect when the player would fall asleep. Okay. When asked what other uses the sensor would have, he was flippant and politely shrugged off the question. Great.

When did Nintendo become Ripley’s Believe It or Not? We can’t make this stuff up!

Enduring spoilers is just part of being a Games Journalologist. But nothing, NOTHING, can prepare you for what Mass Effect 2 has in store. We’re sure BioWare doesn’t mind you reading about what’s coming (otherwise they wouldn’t have showed everybody), but we WILL NOT be the type of site that’d spoil one this year’s most important narrative experiences for the sake of an ephemeral E3 scoop. *accepts Pulitzer*

Consider this:
1. Mass Effect 2 allows you to port over you save data from the previous game, thus making every play experience across the intended trilogy entirely unique unto the player’s choices.

2. Is Commander Shephard dead? And what if it was you and your several hours worth of crappy decision making that killed him?

Whether you played through Mass Effect 1 as a Samaritan Specter orThe Biggest Prick in the Galaxy, we’d recommend all experienced players head into Mass Effect 2 with multiple saves, and that all newbies consider their decisions with extreme caution.

Hey everyone, Sony secured a Rockstar exclusive! On the PS3! From the makers of Grand Theft Auto IV! And it’s on the PS3! And it’s exclusive! From Rockstar! They made Grand Theft Auto!

Excuse our repetition, but other than the fact that Agent takes place in the 1970s, we really don’t have anything else to say. We really don’t have anything else we can say. What, you want us to analyze the font and palette of the logo?We triedand we felt stupid. You want us to focus on that gun inside the “G”? To bullshit some in-depth analysis on the possible make and model, and what those possibly say about the possibly cop or possibly criminal protagonist? We won’t.

Look, guys, we desperately want to be excited about Agent, but it’s hard to work up too much anticipation for one word, two colors and some cliched Photoshop effects. Show us a screen, a piece of concept art, anything else and then we’ll get excited. We’re not being snarky there, either – that really is just about all it’ll take.

Avatar is the film that self-proclaimed King of the World James Cameron has been working on for a decade and is finally coming out this year. It sounds like it takes 3D films and film making itself into the future, but actual images from the film are scant. So when Ubisoft announced at their conference that they were making the game for it and James Cameron was there to talk about Avatar, we were excited. And then he talked and talked and talked, like an inebriated bud that just saw the Matrix.

"Dude so it's like the future, right? And people want to go to this planet but, like, the air is bad. It's like all smoky and people can't breathe it, ok? And, like, these blue furry people live there, and they seem really simple, but they have, like, secret magic crap. And then like the people that want to take the planet, like, make these half furry bodies to live in and breathe the grody air. Those are the Avatars, bro, like in the title? And then like a war starts and stuff blows up and then someone says, 'Shit just got real!' And you gotta keep watching to find out what happens next."

Now expand that over 40 minutes and it's like you were there.

We were excited to hear the announcement for Left 4 Dead 2. Thefirst trailer and early gameplay footage looked great to us. But apparently, many Left 4 Dead fans are crying foul. TheL4D2 Boycott groupon Steam’s community site is gathering quite a following, with over 8,000 angry members. Here’s a summarized list of their gripes with Left 4 Dead 2.

- Significant content for L4D1 was promised, and never delivered
- Valve put little faith in L4D1 since they almost certainly started working on L4D2 right after release
- The fact that L4D2 is nearly identical to L4D1 will decimate the community for both games
- The announced date is not nearly enough time to polish content or make significant gameplay changes
- The new character designs seem bland and unappealing so far
- L4D2 is too bright to fit in with L4D1's visual aesthetic
- The fiddle-based horde music is extremely disliked, though the differently orchestrated music is otherwise welcome
- L4D2's release will result in a drop in quality and frequency for L4D1 content, even compared to before
- The community has lost faith in Valve's former reputation for commitment to their games post-release

Wah. Wah. Wah. These nitpicks all boil down to two categories: minor complaints about a game that doesn’t ship for months, and whining that the original L4D has somehow lost value now that there’s a sequel coming.

Has everyone forgotten the release of the Survival Mode update? Does anyone remember how it was a big deal that this update was made available for FREE on Xbox LIVE when most other companies seem happy to charge fees for insignificant content like alternate costumes? Is there any recollection of the accusations that bundling several games into the Orange Box was a rip-off? Reminder: It wasn’t. Speaking of the Orange Box, how about the consistent stream of micro-updates we’ve seen for Team Fortress 2? Valve isn’t trying to screw you out of value, people. Valve is trying to make an already fantastic gameplay experience even better.

Above: “L4D2 is too bright to fit in with L4D1's visual aesthetic,” says the official LFD2 Boycott group. Could the new look possibly have something to do with this being a sequel?

We think those upset over the sequel should give Valve the benefit of the doubt. Read Ars Technica’s excellent interview withValve’s Chet Faliszek or listen to us interview the same guy on today’s podcast. Wait for more details about the announced-but-not-explained new play mode, Special Infected, Uncommon Infected, improvements to the Director’s AI, and new emphasis on story in the campaigns. Then, if they still feel screwed, they can wail all they like about how they’ve lost “faith in Valve’s former reputation.” When Left 4 Dead 2 turns out to be fantastic - and when most of the boycott group’s members end up purchasing and enjoying the sequel this fall, we promise not to say “We told you so.” Maybe.