Happy Canada Day, everybody!

It’s been almost a month since this year’s E3, and people are still talking about it. Is this the E3 that Launched 1000 Thinkpieces? I think so.

  • Dennis Scimeca of The Escapist believes that this year’s E3 was a watershed moment in gaming. It’s when gamers and critics alike stood up and said, “enough is enough.” They had finally had it with the E3 press conferences’ representation of their pastime as a guns-and-boobs delivery system. I think the poor showings from Microsoft and Nintendo constituted a significant portion of the E3 backlash, but Scimeca makes a great point. If nothing else, the shitstorm left in the wake of E3 pushed issues like sexism, ultraviolence, rape culture, and racism into the mainstream gaming conversation. I may not agree with the most progressive viewpoints on any or all of those issues, but they should be part of that conversation.
  • As many articles as there are that make good points about why this year’s E3 sucked, there are also articles that kind of (read: totally) miss the point. Evan Lahti of PC Gamer complains that the Game Critics Awards for E3 don’t acknowledge PC games, by which I mean that he whines that Planetside 2 didn’t win EVERY AWARD EVAR RAHRRRRRR!!!! At the risk of pointing out the obvious, most big upcoming releases are multiplatform, and many of them received awards.
  • Meanwhile, people are still talking about Nintendo’s poor E3 showing. Keza MacDonald of IGN explains that Nintendo was reaching out to investors and the mainstream press at E3, while reserving its own special press conferences and Nintendo direct broadcasts to address gamers directly. Of course, no matter how many articles to that effect show up on the Web, people will keep complaining. Nintendo of America head Reggie Fils-Aime went so far as to call gamers “insatiable.” Rob Fahey of GamesIndustry explains why that’s a good thing: there’s an ever-expanding audience for video games, and as that audience becomes more and more diverse, it’ll become increasingly difficult to satisfy them all.
  • Okay, enough talk about E3. Some Australian consumer electronics chain JB Hi-Fi locations are known for putting hilarious, awesome, and/or brutally honest mini-reviews on their product displays. Check a few of them out here.
  • Game Informer has some insightful analysis of the trends of this console generation. Expect some new IP, expanded open-world systems, and more downloadable titles in the next generation. As a PC gamer, this is good news for me. I’m itching for some kick-ass multiplatform titles.
  • Kirk Hamilton of Kotaku has an interesting piece about how game characters never seem impressed by their amazing feats. Like Hamilton, I think that the occasional meta-joke can be really funny. But constant meta-jokes turn your work into the inexhaustible fountain of smugness that is Community. (Wow, I think I went an entire four months without railing on Community on this blog. That must be a new record!)
  • In the wake of the Diablo III Error 37 debacle, Fred Dutton of Eurogamer talked to several game developers and executives about always-online requirements. Surprisingly, most interviewees expressed opposition to that kind of DRM, stating that they would rather offer the player the choice to play online or offline. That’s encouraging to hear, but who knows if they would have said the same thing pre-Error 37?
  • Ryan Perez of Destructoid is disappointed with how generic fantasy games have become. While I wouldn’t take Tolkien-lite or feudal Japanese fantasy away from anyone, I agree with the sentiment. A couple of days earlier, Dragon Age: Origins and Dragon Age II were on sale on Amazon for ten bucks total, which most would consider an insanely good deal. But I wasn’t tempted to buy them, even at five bucks apiece. I’m tired of generic Nordic/English fantasy. Give me something new: new worlds; new monsters; new powers. Fantasy is the ideal genre for creators to have fun and go mad. Why shouldn’t they take advantage of it?
  • Jason Schreier of Kotaku reports that Kickstarter doesn’t care if you lose $25 due to a scam. It seems as if the service is all too happy to provide a platform for scammers as long as it gets its cut of the deal. Fuck Kickstarter. This is exactly the kind of shortsighted thinking that collapses businesses. If potential micro-investors don’t feel safe funding a Kickstarter project, then projects won’t get funded, and people will stop using the service.
  • This collection of Portal-based concept Lego sets is too awesome for words. The board game is particularly intriguing. If you like it, show your support; if the project receives enough votes, it’ll be made into an actual collection of Lego sets available for purchase.
  • Finally, I know that this installment of What I’ve Been Reading was heavy on the video games, so I’ve got a TV-related link for all you non-gamers out there. Every year, TV critic Dan Fienberg does his annual Take Me to the Pilots series, where he provides quick looks at all the various network pilots set to debut in the upcoming season. Check it out. Spoiler alert: he does not like The Neighbors.

Whew, that was a long one, wasn’t it? As always, feel free to leave comments below.