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best game concept ever?

We had lofty plans to visit E3 this year. Unfortunately, things fell through when life got in the way. However, since I already have the time off, I’ll be providing live coverage of the event from the convention floor via my television/couch. This is going to be an endurance test, as the show is set to run all day long. Microsoft’s press conference starts a little after 9:00 AM, and Sony goes on at 6:00 PM. I’ll do my best to stick with it for you all. I can’t, however, guarantee how long I’ll remain sober.

Tomorrow, during Nintendo’s presentation, there’s no doubt about it. On a scale of 1-10, I’ll be Paula Abdul.

I’ll be back in about an hour when Microsoft takes the stage!

9:10 AM: Spike TV’s coverage is atrocious. I’m not just saying that because of the Kotaku ticker at the bottom of the screen. I like Geoff Keighley a lot, but he’s saddled down with about 39 metric shit tons of garbage here. And a Twitter wall. I wonder where I’ve seen that before…

9:14 AM: Kevin Smith is upsetting producers for talking about drugs a little too much. Genius television right now.

9:26 AM: Microsoft is less than five minutes away. Peter Molyneux and Stephen Totilo are running down what we can expect. Urge to kill…rising.

Seriously though, should be a good show. Hopefully there’s a big surprise, and Microsoft isn’t going to rest on their Halo 4 laurels.

MICROSOFT E3 MEDIA EVENT

9:39 AM: Okay, the Halo 4 gameplay was sick. I don’t even like Halo, and that was pretty awesome. I’m not sure why it stood out so much, but I thought the HUD was really well designed. I still won’t play it, though. But I’m sure tens of millions of people will.

9:44 AM: NEW SPLINTER CELL! Blacklist looks pretty legit.  They’ve changed Mark and Execute into Killing in Motion, which is even more visually impressive. Only negative, of course, is the Kinect functionality. Let’s stop lying about games being “Better with Kinect” already. “Somewhat playable with Kinect” is more apt.

9:47 AM: As soon as I say that, EA Sports comes out to say the Madden and FIFA franchises are now going to be “Better with Kinect”. SMH.

9:49 AM: If you cuss at your game when you think there’s a bad call, the Kinect recognizes it and you could get carded. That’s actually kind of funny. And now I can get sent off more than John Terry.

9:52 AM: Joe Montana is out there showing off Madden with Kinect, calling out plays as the QB. It would be a lot more impressive if there wasn’t a visible lag between his calls and the game’s recognition. I still don’t see either of these things making people who don’t own them go out and buy Kinects.

9:57 AM: Teaser for the new Gears title – Gears of War: Judgment. It looks like it’s focused on Baird. Why? I don’t know. I’m positive it has nothing to do with slapping together some sort of story to release a new Gears game and make more money.

10:05 AM: NBA League Pass and NHL Game Center are coming to Xbox Live. That’s freaking awesome, actually.

10:11 AM: Nike’s “If you have a body, you’re an athlete.” tagline probably isn’t applicable to the E3 crowd. Just saying. Nike teaming up with Microsoft for a Kinect fitness training program is somewhat impressive though. I can’t imagine it will be very successful, as working out and gaming seem to be mutually exclusive hobbies, but it shows again that Microsoft is really trying to branch out and make Xbox a true, universal media center as opposed to a gaming system.

10:22 AM: Xbox SmartGlass is fucking stupid. I’m sorry, but it’s a waste. Just like nobody uses BD Live on their Blu Rays, nobody is going to give a shit about their tablets showing them cast and crew info while they’re watching a movie. And who the fuck wants to put down their controller just to pick up their phone or tablet in the middle of a game? I’m sure your friend will appreciate you spending 3 minutes drawing up plays every down in Madden. And don’t even get me started with their Internet Explorer integration.

10:27 AM: So the new Tomb Raider is essentially Uncharted with tits.

10:42 AM: I’m not even kidding. South Park: The Stick of Truth looks fucking amazing. Also, Trey Parker and Matt Stone mocking Xbox SmartGlass during the Xbox presentation is brilliant.

10:46 AM: Is this an Usher dance number? Live? I swear I thought this was just an ad for the new Dance Central game. Nope, that’s really him dancing on stage. That’s it. Time to start drinking.

10:57 AM: Microsoft is closing out with footage of Call of Duty: Black Ops 2. Of course they are. It’s only going to outsell that Nike game by like a 50-1 margin. And as unoriginal and uninspired as the Call of Duty franchise has become, it’s still surprising to see them “borrowing” so heavily from the Ghost Recon franchises for this new game.

I’m gonna pour myself a drink, and I’ll be back with my final thoughts on this portion of the day. Spoiler alert: It’s not going to be nearly as negative as you might think.

11:15 AM: Microsoft played it really safe this year. Almost all the games featured were sequels to established AAA Franchises between Halo 4, Gears of War: Judgment, Splinter Cell: Blacklist, and Call of Duty: Black Ops 2. The games all looked good, don’t get me wrong, but there was nothing new to be excited for. Halo will break records, and somehow there will be two copies sold for every person living on the planet right now.

Xbox SmartGlass is, for now, a silly gimmick. There is nothing appealing about it. It would have been nice to see some plans to update Xbox Live functionality, some kind of killer app for the Kinect, or a new first party franchise. I”m gonna play the new Gears game. I’ll probably pick up Tomb Raider and Splinter Cell. I might even check out Halo just because of how polished it look. And the South Park RPG is going to be fucking brilliant. However, without anything truly new to get excited about, Microsoft pulls a solid C+ this year.

The next press conference up will be EA at 1:00 PM. I’ll chime in from time to time until then. I’ll also do my best to stay relatively sober.

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