It's that time of year again when everything E3 hits the internets for another annual indulgence of video game hype. Not to mention the unrivaled corporate shilling PR spin that knocks you sideways while all these companies talk about how much they love us. It's nice to think that there are corporations out there that actually care… for the money we spend.
I love E3 time, because I love video games and this has long been the biggest event on the gaming calendar. Typically, this is where the big companies announce new hardware that will usher in the next generation of technical accomplishment. It's when the hot new games get shown for the first time and we get teased with glimpses of adventures we have been dreaming of for years in advance.
Unfortunately this isn't strictly the case anymore, as there are other big conventions to look forward to like PAX and GamesCon, etc. While E3 still holds its weight for announcements and hype, the edge has been lost to history as other contenders enter the ring. No need for despair though, there are still showcases and conferences to watch live online and get cynical about. This is the week that the entire gaming community gets together and has a bitch about games. It's a unique experience and one that I enjoy each and every year.
This week I doodled some boss characters from The Binding Of Isaac, which is a game whose style I dig very much. So I'll make this explicit: these are not my monster designs, they are copies of someone else's. I just felt like adding a drop of purity into the mix after the marketing bile had finished being poured at E3.
I watch all of the big conferences (except Nintendo, because I couldn't care less) and there's one thing that I think ties all the big gaming companies together: money. Yes money; the reason they spend thousands of dollars on big stage shows to advertise hardware and games to an eager audience in person and online. Those huge screens showing off beautiful 4K graphics don't come cheap folks, but you better believe it's worth it when they get everyone salivating at the possibility of buying their products.
The relationship between money, art, and enthusiasm is a pretty weird one from where I'm standing. I love games and am eager to try the next new thing and see the next generation of tech on display. The artistry involved is uniquely complex, while developers continue to find new and interesting ways to tell a story. With all the hours and skills spent on making a game, of course I'm happy to pay for the experience of all that hard work. I only hope that my money goes straight to those responsible and not some middle man who found a way to take a cut for doing nothing of value.
Most of the people parading around on stages at E3 are so far removed from actually making the things they are selling, that it leaves a bad taste in the mouth. It's only more obvious when a game creator gets to talk about their own game for a few minutes and are often overcome with excitement and emotion that it's hard to deny their passion. Everything else is some suit with a cool t-shirt on talking about how much they love their audience. They love you because they have your money… they're not talking about the people whose money they don't have… they love that cash.
Despite the corporate disgust and PR spinning goblins that populate E3 and turn it into a big sell-a-thon, there's no denying that some genuine hype can be a lot of fun. I love how the internet now allows us all to have a chat about what we're seeing online and get a feel for what the big hits and misses were. It's a nice place to be when the echo chamber is a resounding chant of fun and excitement. Too bad that there's just as much (if not more) snarky cynicism added to the conversation to blacken everyone's good time.
I mean, the amount of critics I heard have a whine about EA showing a lot of sports games in their presentation is beyond ridiculous. It just goes to show that no group is beyond reproach, as gamers can be one of the most divisive bunch of nerds in the world. Let's not even touch social justice issues like equality and diversity, as that's a whole other kettle of blinkered opinions.
So why is it that a whole bunch of gamers feel the need to shit on the sporting game crowd? We should be high-fiving each other about how games cover such a broad spectrum and can include so many diverse interests. Not to mention the fact that sports games are some of the highest selling games in the entire industry, so this ain't no niche genre.
Occasionally someone says something to me along the lines of "oh well I'm sure a bunch of nerds are all pretty nice to each other", which couldn't be further from the truth. Yes there's always an element of sharing the same interests, but nerds are just as hit and miss as everyone else. To keep it short; I believe that most people are cool, but there are always some wankers in every demographics; nerds are no exception.
Anyway, that's kind of why I doodles some Binding Of Isaac boss monsters this week. Once I get the black tar E3 jizz out of my hair, I'll go back to digging games. Just don't forget that these companies want your money and you don't owe them anything. We gamers are an excitable bunch and we love to champion the adventures and worlds we're into, but let's try not to be exploited by our interests any more than we must be.