For all the lack of story and simple gameplay, first person shooters (FPS) has taken up more of my computer time than any other genre. Things have come a long, long, way from early Doom, where you lucky enough to get a connection and you didn’t need to use a mouse to aim. Nowadays, a shooter always promises more graphics and more intense action, and every game says it’s better than the competitors. This is where E3 comes into play, as comparing one shooter to another is as easy as walking the distance between two booths. There are a handful I really want to see:
In an era where arcade game graphics were along the lines of Space Invaders or Asteroids (i.e., blocky, crude line drawings), games like Dragon’s Lair were major quarter-eaters. I easily blew $50 trying to beat the dragon, or, more accurately, trying to navigate the castle only to be smacked down long before I made it to the actual lair. While this is a major arcade classic, it is so on graphics alone (that’s a screen shot, and miles ahead of the the black-and-white games there were still common when Dragon’s Lair came out). Game play is simple in principle. The knight, Dirk the Daring, enters a room. Some part of the room will flash (and this can be very subtle).
The “E3 Effect” is the well-known phenomenon where games just look so much cooler at E3 than they ever will on your home computer. It’s particularly magnified in fantasy games…when it comes to big promises, fantasy just has an easier time making them, and those promises shine so much brighter in the glowing, throbbing, halls of E3. It doubles up on massively multiplayer online (MMO) games, which promise fully populated worlds filled with goodies. Thus, when it comes to getting maximum excitement, fantasy MMOs are must-sees in the sacred halls of the L.A. Convention Center. Here are a few I’ll be looking for:
Magic: The Gathering (M:TG) is a huge game, with literally thousands of creatures and spells. While its original design even worthing of a patent or two, ultimately it’s always been a fairly derivative game. I mean, the top monsters are vampires, dragons, and goblins…you don’t have to know much fantasy lore to be familiar with THOSE guys. If I had a vote for the most uniquely iconic creature of M:TG, it would go to slivers.
Magic: The Gathering (M:TG) single-handedly changed the face of gaming, adding a genre, collectible card games, unlike anything that came before. Every gaming convention sports tournaments, and there are now hobby shops all but devoted to this one game. It’s no surprise, then, that M:TG is finally receiving official recognition of its impact on our culture at Seattle’s EMP museum’s Fantasy: Worlds of Myth and Magic exhibit.
Dungeons of Dread is a collection of dungeons, but not just any dungeons. Old school dungeons, dungeons from the earliest era of Dungeons and Dragons, when life was cheap, and your game master would laugh at you if you thought your character would respawn ten seconds after he died. See that demon face on the cover of the book? That face was the last thing that probably hundreds of character saw before they were destroyed. Not just killed, but rip-up-your-character sheet destroyed…and that’s just the first room in the first of the four dungeons here.
I admit it, I lurves me some zombie games, and I’ve played many of them, to my girlfriend’s annoyance (“Aren’t you tired of killing zombies YET?”). Being a connoisseur of corpse crushing amusements, I’ve prepared a list of necessities for game developers to include in every zombie game they make:
I’m calling it: Stinky Footboard will be the next must-have peripheral for the PC. A sort of “mouse for your foot,” I can see how the footboard can give a player a decided advantage in online games. It’s programmable, of course, so you can set it up to do any particular keystroke or mouse action you need. “Advantage in games” means “must-have” to me.
Bungie has big plans for Destiny, their sci-fi first person shooter (FPS) extravaganza planned to release via Activision in 2014. Yes, everone always says their FPS will be the bestest with the mostest, but Destiny has a planned ten year life cycle and a design that will incorporate elements from massively multiplayer online (MMO) games, ideas that so far haven’t been successfully implemented in a FPS. Bungie’s track record with Halo is good enough that the promise of doing it right this time excites gamers. On the other hand, Destiny also plans to be an online only game, where you can only play when Bungie/Activision says you can play. The thought of another digital rights management (DRM) scheme messing up another game is certainly enough to fill a gamer with dread considering recent disasters, but things need to be put in perspective here.
Pandemic is an award winning cooperative game from Z-Man Games, and perhaps their most celebrated product, based around players trying to stop the world from being overwhelmed in a series of epidemics. Pandemic is a cooperative game, the players all either win or lose as a team. While cooperative games run a risk of being a little too beatable once the primary strategy is found, Pandemic escapes this trap by using a card system that randomly spawns diseases across the world, along with randomly assigning roles to players. After five years, Z-Man decided it must be time for a new edition. This new version has more clear rules, and includes two new character classes for even more gaming variety.