While getting some hands-on time with Nintendo’s Wii U at The Show this past week, they made sure to tell us that what we were playing were “experiences”, not games. I thought this rather bizarre, as all of the “experiences” were, in fact, games of a very basic sort (tag, for instance). But Nintendo says they’re experiences, which seems to fit, so I’m going to write a quick list of my favorite decidedly game-like experiences of E3 before I have to buy these fuckers a beer.
- Playing Street Fighter X Tekken, introducing myself to Justin Wong (who I’ve interviewed numerous times via email and IM, and even written articles and papers about him, but never met him), and then promptly beating him and Mike Ross (one round each), sending them packing.
- An hour or so after said SFxT victory, attending a very-very-poorly-promoted Starcraft 2 event hosted by IGN and getting to meet (and get coached by) Drewbie and CatZ of ROOT Gaming/Complexity. Made me want to pick up Starcraft 2 again. The fact that I managed to pick up some GameStop credit by beating some guy named Steve didn’t hurt, either.
- Asking Peter Molyneux about Fable: The Journey. Specifically, asking him about the horse, which the player is meant to bond with (the player can progress faster through the story at the expense of hurting the horse, but they’ll feel like a terrible human being). I wish I had a chance to ask him what he thought of Shadow of the Colossus. Also, talking to him about Kinect’s motion controls (and some of the emotional barriers to entry, like feeling self-conscious about using gestures or your voice) was fascinating.
- Investigating a bomb threat on our way back from the convention center. It turned out to be a false alarm, but man, those five minutes of trying to piece together a scene from a few people lulling around and the visible presence of a bomb squad was fun. Made me want to design a journalism video game (not to be confused with Journalism: The Video Game).
- Convincing Nate to play T.I.’s Big Things Poppin’ on the car ride back to the Bay. Not sure if he skipped it on his iPod because he wasn’t in the mood or because it was actually on there for his girlfriend, but I heard that opening and couldn’t resist. (I’ve basically abandoned my music collection, CDs and MP3s alike, in favor of Grooveshark and Pandora, so I haven’t heard this song in years. I used to work out to this song on loop.)
- Analyzing the shitty level design in our hotel. For some reason, anyone standing in the parking lot of our lovely Comfort Inn can readily see pretty much any point in the entire hotel, but it’s not immediately apparent how you get from the parking lot to your destination room. Inexcusable. At least they should include a few tutorial pop-up hints or a blatant flashing arrow or something.
- Hearing the distinctive sound of Sonic the Hedgehog collecting a ring–while I was in a gas station in San Luis Obispo getting rung up for some Muscle Milk and a vanilla It’s-It. Consoles may come and go, but that chime is forever.