!!! Game Developers Are Going To Make Us Squeal Like Little Pigs !!!

Hey, video games, you sure do have a pretty mouth!?!

So E3 is over and we are left wholly underwhelmed. Not to say that there wasn't anything good at the great convention in the sky (or Los Angeles), but we saw less mind blowing new stuff and more things that (while good) we already knew about. The few outstanding titles shown were expected to be outstanding, so no surprise at all really. I am excited about "The Last of Us" and "Beyond: Two-Souls", "Alien: Colonial Marines", "Halo 4", and to some extent the "Wii U". For the most part, I am more excited about the prospect of the future than I am the reality of the present. Current Generation hardware is reaching it's limit and the time is coming closer for us to move forward to bigger and better things.

Let's Talk Graphics!!!

There are PC gamers out there (you know we love you), but I am not one of them. I much prefer playing on a console, because I like the simplicity and the lack of headaches that it provides. There is, however, a trade-off between playing on a PC versus playing on a console. The upgradability of PCs almost always assure that they will be better (in the graphics department) than consoles. That also means, PCs will always be more expensive to the consumer than their more limited cousins, the consoles (especially if you want the best and fastest machine to play the newest and biggest games to their fullest extent). I have always wondered if there would come a day when the two would be evenly matched. I don't foresee this happening and, if it did, it would only be for a very short span of time (think months not years). The shelf life of a console is about 4 to 5 years. The life of a PC (in the world of gaming) is maxing out at around 2 to 3 years, and that is if you can handle being behind the curve when it comes to the newest games on the market at the end of that cycle. Almost every year, the specs for PC versions of games jump higher and higher. Console game designers have a set ceiling of specs that they must conform their games to every time they produce content for the home market (these designers can improve the quality of their games as the life of a console progresses, but they still can't exceed the limitations of the hardware). Even though these statistics lean heavily in favor of PCs over consoles, I have neither the time nor the money to be apart of that particular demographic. So consoles it is (for me anyway). "But Todd, consoles are expensive too?" Yes, weird little third person voice inside my head, but in the long run the cost is less, especially if you can only devote so much time to video games as a whole. With consoles, I don't have to constantly tweak my settings so that I can run at optimal levels or spend large amounts of time installing the game to a specific location on a specific hard drive with the right settings so that my graphics card can handle the load between it's internal memory and the computer's ram, not to mention the need to constantly buy new and better hardware to stay ahead of the current game specs. Wow, see my point?... No?... Well kiss my backside, fanboys... wait, does that mean I have to kiss my own rear (you know, cause I'm a fanboy)? I just find consoles work better in the context of my life right now, so that's what I want news about.

I have already discussed my love of story over multiplayer (yes, we are all well aware of your lengthy written discussions on many topics), but that is not the only quality I look for in a game (really, pray tell what might another one be, because you ARE going to bore us with the answer, Yipee). I am also a sucker for great graphics. If a game looks great, I'll be the first to try it out. Oddly enough a game with great graphics and mediocre gameplay is better to me than grap graphics and great gameplay. So, I am ready for the next generation (not Star Trek) of video game systems. The interesting thing about E3 is that some of the most graphically impressive games shown were done so on PCs and not consoles, even though they have been presented as coming to consoles too. Some of these game companies have not specified which consoles their respective products will appear on (no mention of Xbox360, PS3, Wii regular or U, or Sega Saturn [just kidding], just that they will be on the "generic word": Consoles). Also, none of the games in question were presented at any of the keynote presentations, and Sony famously makes the developers show their games on Sony hardware during their keynotes. Kotaku, on their website (here), have speculated that we may be seeing some games, which are listed as being released in 2013 (the predicted year of the new consoles), that may be intended to debut on the new systems first, before all others (current gen.). The new Star Wars game, "1313" (have you seen this thing) and Ubisoft's "Watch Dogs" (way out of left field) were running on PC hardware, not consoles, at their respective booths and the representatives of Lucasarts and Ubisoft were non-committal when questioned about which consoles the two games would be seen on. Is this an indication of the impending new console releases, maybe, maybe not, the game developers aren't saying. But these very same people are winking and giving very sly smiles when the topic arises. They, however, are not going to out the products of their biggest partners (the big "N"eh, Spidey's pimp, and Officesoft), so we'll have to wait to be amazed. It is certainly fun to think about though.

While I'm on the subject of graphics, take a look at the new graphic engine demos that premiered at E3 this year. They all were impressive (some more than others), but it appears to be a bright future ahead. With Square Enix's Luminous engine, the Unreal Engine 4 by Epic, and the CryEngine 3 by Crytec, I can safely say that I am impressed (not a difficult thing to do I assure you). This means that our new games will be more like the "Mean Girls" Lindsey Lohan and not like the "I'm going to run over you with my car" meth head Lindsey Lohan, and that's always a plus. Stay tuned for my review of Ridley Scott's "Prometheus" that's in theaters today (can't wait). Until then, no sleep til' Brooklyn.

Todd "The Master of Unlocking" B.

Updated For Reference (1:15 AM Sat. 6/9/2012)!!!

"This" is Epic showing off the Unreal Engine 3 (and it still got a little juice left in the tank) at last years GDC 2011 with a demo called "Samaritan". They said at the time that this demo represented how the next generation games should look. Another (read not) subtle kick in the crotch that it's time to move on up to the top "where the Jeffersons live" (to that Deeeluxe apartment in the sky hi hi, with anti-aliasing and dynamic lighting effects). "Hey, Sony and Microsoft, quit living on the couch in PC's basement. And just because he's slow to the party, doesn't mean you two should always make little Nintendo go out and get you more smokes, he wants to play Halo too, sometimes."

[Kotaku, Gametrailers.com, and IGN]