Well, another E3 has come and gone, leaving us all to bask in the postcoital afterglow. This year brought us some of the most groan-inducing marketing ploys this side of Acclaim, the world's first motion-sensing Jackson Pollock simulator, and (in keeping with the postcoital theme) the latest progeny of Seaman, currently known as 'Milo' until Peter Molyneux decides to go with my infinitely superior moniker suggestion of 'Seaman Junior'.
More than anything, watching the hype train roll by this year made me realize how much of a thrall I am to brands with regard to my game purchasing habits. I once told a friend that the trailer for the next Zelda game could just as easily consist of Miyamoto kicking a puppy, and I would still lap it up based on pedigree alone (get it? puppy, pedigree... eh? yes?). Well, that and the fact that I happen to be a huge fan of puppy kicking. Miyamoto, if you're listening, I hope you're taking notes for the inevitable Nintendogs sequel, because I would hate for Molyneux to be the only one benefiting from my great advice.
In considering my Pavlovian response to brands, I realized that there are actually different strata of effectiveness occupied by different brand types. The most compelling type of "brand" for me is the name of an individual whose work I have always enjoyed, followed closely by the logo of a favorite development studio. Slightly less powerful, but still effective, is the name of a franchise or game series of which I am a fan, although such cases tend to suffer from diminishing returns on my excitement-o-meter.
But enough Marketing 101, on to the real reason we're all here: Jamey's E3 Picks. These are the games for which I am not only riding the hype train, but preparing to don my conductor's hat, sound the whistle, and shout "All aboard!". To underscore my earlier point about my slavish brand loyalty, I have listed the developer alongside the title as an illustration of what a crucial factor this was in determining my choices.
Heavy Rain (Quantic Dream)
Uncanny valley be damned! I'm pumped for the next game from the creators of Omikron and Fahrenheit/Indigo Prophecy, enough to overlook the continued reliance on stale quicktime events. Here's hoping they loosen the linearity a bit this time around and also manage to tone down the confusing, arbitrary plot twists that marred the latter sections of Fahrenheit.
Sin & Punishment 2 (Treasure)
Show me the Treasure logo, and I'm sold. Yes, I'm that kind of fanboy. It doesn't hurt that I thoroughly enjoyed the first game, either.
Brütal Legend (Double Fine)
Again, in a just world, certain names ought to be synonymous with "instant sale". In this case, the power of Tim compels me.
Scribblenauts (5th Cell)
I am convinced that 5th Cell is a perpetual entertainment machine. From Drawn to Life to Lock's Quest and now Scribblenauts, they just keep getting better. While the rest of the world is distractedly fretting over red herrings like the Y2K compliance of the Large Hadron Collider, 5th Cell has been gradually generating a positive feedback loop of goodness that threatens to engulf the galaxy.
New Super Mario Bros. Wii (Nintendo)
Oh, how I have waited for this day. Ever since experiencing the unadulterated, friendship-destroying bliss of Four Swords, I have been earnestly praying to the Gaming Gods for a Mario-ized incarnation of the concept. I am going to go out on a limb and predict that this will be the best mixture of cooperative and competitive platforming since Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers on the NES.
The Last Guardian (Team Ico)
As far as I'm concerned, this was the crown jewel of the glittering, sequined jumpsuit that is E3.
There you have it, ladies and germs. With the exception of the last two (previously unannounced) titles, I probably would have written the same list if you had asked me which games I was most excited about prior to E3.
Of course, I always have a soft spot for the underdogs, the dark horses - the Little Hype Trains That Could, if you will. If you listen closely, you can hear the low murmur of their tiny engines struggling to crest the steep hill of mainstream awareness...
hypeituphypeituphypeituphypeituphypeitup... 'Splosion Man ...hypeituphypeitup... Shatter ...hypeituphypeituphypeitup... Muramasa ...hypeitup... Gravity Crash ...hypeituphypeituphypeituphypeitup... Fragile
Thus ends our brief but glorious sojourn in Hypesville. See you all again next year - same pap time, same pap channel.