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The Story So Far

May 17, 2005

The Xbox 360 unveiling and subsequent backwards compatability announcement, and the Playstation 3 unveiling have been pretty entertaining to keep track of. So far I haven’t missed anything, having watched the XBox announcement and the PS3 press conference. I can’t find the Xbox conference on the web yet, but I’m sure that Gamespot will hook me up.

To be honest, I’m much more impressed with this next generation of consoles than I thought I would be. I clearly remember the advent of the PS2/Xbox/Gamecube generation, and beforehand I never really had my interest piqued. Maybe it’s just because I pay so much more attention to the industry today, but these goings on really have my interest. The only downside I can see to the announcements so far are that I have to wait until the end of the year for the Xbox and the beginning of next year for the PS3.

That said…now I can return to reality. Already in the footage I’ve seen and the language that I’ve heard I can see how frustrating the next generation of gaming is going to be. Had a post up on slash a few days ago about how Hollywood the industry is going, and oh boy is this level of realism going to help that. There was some beautiful footage by the guys who did Getaway during the PS3 event. Getaway sucked, but their recreation of London was pretty impressive. The level of realism and the sense of being there in the PS3 demo was gripping. And then I saw the bus. A double decker bus moving through the street, with ads on the side of it. The ads were something forgettable, but ponder this: Ads in games. Incredibly real ads in games. In a real city. A sense of being there. A comprehensive connection from the console to the internet. Ads swapped out on the regular via an internet connection. Revenue for Sony, the ad maker, the publisher, on down the line….but how much am I going to pay for a game? Oh yeah, $60!

Good games are going to get bigger budget, more longterm, more out of reach of the indie developer. It took six years and millions of dollars to make Half-Life 2…are all games going to be like HL2 in the next gen console war?

Above and beyond slimy things like that to consider, more realism means more realistic violence, more realistic objectification of women, and more realistic crappola. Because, let’s face it, just because the games are pretty doesn’t mean they’re going to be good.

E3, though, is a week to sit back and enjoy the flood of new information about a highly entertaning passtime. Tomorrow’s Nintendo talk should, hopefully, be enlightening because at the moment my mental image of the big N consists of a corporate giant sitting around with its thumb up its ass.

E3 is also a week to enjoy the galaxy far, far away. Watched the Clone Wars series (again) with the clan tonight here at home, and then catching the movie itself at a midnight showing on Wednesday. Discovery and Animal Planet feeding the need for CG wookies and droids the rest of the week, so I think we’re covered. Wacky Jedi.

Later: Oh gawd. The ‘Science of Star Wars’ was far worse than I could have possibly imagined. Someday I’ll tell young people about the days when Discovery didn’t suck…

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