Alright, boys and girls. With E3 just behind us, it’s time for a special, E3-centric edition of What I’ve Been Reading. Game demos not included.

  • Nathan Grayson of Rock Paper Shotgun has a piece about the sheer amount of violence on display in E3 promotional material. Most of the shooting, stabbing, and exploding in the various video game trailers was met with applause. This raises two important issues. 1) The promotional material may not be a good reflection of the games’ content. 2) The positive reaction to mindless reaction reflects poorly on E3 attendees. The first point, in my mind, is the more important one, especially since what the developers say about their games often stands in stark contrast to what’s on display in the trailers.
  • Johnny Minkley of GamesIndustry writes about the use of CGI trailers to promote video games instead of in-game footage. He argues that it reveals the developers’ own lack of faith in their games’ ability to promote themselves. That might be true, but I’m not entirely sure that it’s a bad thing. Ads for breakfast cereal don’t just consist of people sitting at a table and eating breakfast cereal. I need a more compelling reason to hold video games to a higher standard.
  • Luke Plunkett of Kotaku is angry about a half-assed E3. He contends that we didn’t see anything new that gamers really cared about. I think he might be focusing too much on the disappointing conferences and not enough on what was on display on the show floor. But seeing as I didn’t actually attend E3 – I just watched a lot of videos of live footage on the Internet – I can’t be certain.
  • Patrick Garratt of VG247 argues that E3 is losing relevance. He says that the convention ignores mobile gaming and PC gaming almost entirely, instead choosing to focus mainly on AAA console titles. I don’t think that E3 is becoming completely irrelevant, seeing as there’s still a huge market for AAA console titles, but I do think that the convention could stand to benefit from the inclusion of more kinds of electronic gaming. Furthermore, I wouldn’t say that PC gaming was excluded. There were plenty of multiplatform titles on display, and EA was pushing the Windows-only upcoming SimCity game pretty hard.
  • Kris Graft, editor for Gamasutra, expresses his disappointment with E3, accusing it of pandering to the lowest common denominator. That’s certainly a complaint that could be levelled at the press conferences, especially Microsoft’s and Ubisoft’s, but to accuse the actual games of such pandering is a sweeping generalization being made about games that haven’t even yet been released. As noted above, it’s important to realize that video games and the materials used to promote them aren’t the same thing.
  • John Walker of Rock Paper Shotgun says that E3’s press conferences weren’t representative of the gaming industry as a whole. In his mind, the press events reflected some of the gaming industry’s worst practices. While it’s alright to point out the negatives of the press conferences – and there were many – ignoring the positives just to make a point about how they don’t reflect the entire video game industry seems a little drastic. It should also be pointed out that these conferences aren’t intended to be reflective of the video game industry; they’re press events for individual companies trying to market their products! (Whether or not those companies succeeded in marketing their products – and for the most part, I’d say they didn’t – is a separate matter.)
  • Rachel Weber of GamesIndustry has an editorial about CVG’s posting of a gallery of E3 booth babes to be judged by readers. (As far as I can tell, the gallery is still up, but there’s no “ranking” function there anymore.) Look, I’m a heterosexual male who likes looking at attractive women. But this booth babes nonsense has got to stop. The fact that video game companies think that attractive women will help market video games to people in the industry is insulting and shows just how out of touch these companies are. Us men are capable of thinking with our brains and not our genitalia, and there are a lot of straight women and gay men who work in the industry for whom booth babes would presumably do nothing. It’s even more disconcerting to see what is supposed to be a video game news outlet cashing in on this booth babe phenomenon. Seriously, I’m sick of this bullshit. Put an end to it, E3.
  • Alex Plant of Zelda Informer defends the Wii U, claiming that it has a superior launch lineup to most consoles, that it’s aiming to be affordable, and that Nintendo Land will prove even more effective at bringing people into gaming than Wii Sports. Counterpoint: much of the lineup consists of multiplatform titles, some of which have already been released for other systems; the tablet technology is costly, which will probably make the system more expensive than the Wii was; and Nintendo Land looks like a steaming pile of shit.
  • Finally, if you’re feeling depressed from all the negative coverage of E3, take a look at this weird, gross Zelda cosplay idea that was posted on Craigslist. (Warning: potentially NSFW)

Personally, I’m finding a lot of this E3/AAA backlash kind of silly, and to be frank, probably irrelevant for the average gamer. I might expand on that idea in an upcoming piece; keep your eyes peeled. In the meantime, though, feel free to post comments about any of the linked articles below.