Posts Tagged ‘expo’

The Meaningless Vagrant Rant E3 2019 Awards

It was a year without the mighty Sony in attendance. The expected quiet before a new console generation storm. Another step in the ongoing march towards a world where patches, expansions and alternate monetisation strategies are more commonplace than new game announcements – A world that certainly has its advantages, but not one that lends itself to an exciting E3 trade show. Like transitional years gone by, expectations for the show were muted – well, mostly. I hope.

And yet the Electronic Entertainment Expo of 2019 still delivered the headlines, the hype, the moments for which the event is so renowned. Certainly fewer in number than during the golden years of this past console generation, but a damp squib this was not. It had something for just about everyone.

I’ve written something about each E3 that has graced our computer screens since I started this blog, though the format has changed a few times. I’ve broken the show down conference by conference, I’ve counted down my favourite announcements, and in recent years I’ve tried to isolate noticeable trends in each iteration of the event. So this year I thought it was time to shake things up once again, this time by giving out some arbitrary awards. Let’s give this a go.

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Best Conference

Nintendo

Let’s get one thing straight. Until that final presentation day finished I really, really wanted to give this to Square Enix. That company has had many press conferences over the years, both onstage and more curated Nintendo Direct-style, but not a single one of them has ever come close to nailing the potential of what this proud, gigantic gaming company can offer. At least not in my opinion. For some baffling reason they usually either use it as a vehicle for their western studios, or their lesser-know output. But in 2019 they returned to the stage with one magnificent (literal) curtain raiser and a unifying picture-frame aesthetic to present, for once, a coherent and proud face to the gaming public. Highlighting exciting new projects like People Can Fly’s Outriders and Crystal Dynamics’ Avengers while dropping juicy details on the likes of Oninaki and Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles, they also weren’t afraid to put their major numbered Final Fantasy projects front and centre, ensuring that in an otherwise low-key year they stood on the top of the E3 pile at long last.

But, yes, Nintendo just had to to roll up at the last minute and blow everyone else away, adding to their (always arguable) 2014 and 2017 E3 “victories” this decade with a Direct that was packed with so much new information they had to bury the likes of Spyro, Ni No Kuni and Alien in a sizzle reel. You might say it wasn’t much better than their February Direct this year, but that was a very, very strong presentation. With not one but two new Smash Bros character reveals, the debut of Animal Crossing: New Horizons, an expression of intent to take over September with a cataclysmic release date pile-up, the confirmation of No More Heroes III and that incredible ending reveal… Well, it’s the most begrudging I’ve ever been to admit Nintendo nailed it, but they well and truly did. And there’s still plenty in the tank for their next big Direct to boot.

RUNNER-UP: Square Enix

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Most Disappointing Conference

Bethesda

A tough one to pick, mostly because disappointment requires expectations and I didn’t have a whole heap of those this year. But Bethesda made some strange decisions in the way they chose to structure and present their 2019 conference. Despite bringing two genuinely exciting new projects to the table in the form of Ghostwire Tokyo and Deathloop, somehow elevating my hype for Wolfenstein Youngblood even higher and blowing out the scale of Doom Eternal in a very satisfying way, their opening Todd Howard salvo lacked any sort of apology for the state of Fallout 76 last year (Whether this was the forum for such a thing is another discussion, but it still left a sour taste), the constant appearances of employees without anything truly new to talk about dragged on, and that segment where they essentially pitched streaming middleware to a customer base that wasn’t in the room was super weird. Though not as weird as the roof-tearing cheering and wooing that seemed to happen at full intensity after almost every game showing. Either everyone in that room was a Bethesda super-fan, or there was something a bit disingenuous going on.

RUNNER-UP: Ubisoft (purely by process of elimination)

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Mega Ultra Blast Cast Ep.30 – EB Games Expo



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Didn’t get a chance to attend the EB Games Expo this year? You’re in luck, because after a long hiatus the Mega Ultra Blast Cast returns with a bumper episode to smash through the best and worst games from the show, before we talk Smash Bros, discuss the future of Destiny, give away a full Steam game and catch up on the biggest news stories of the last month. It’s 100 minutes of Delaney-isms, hard-hitting criticism, nonsense and Pringle crunching – It’s Episode 30, only on Soundcloud!

If you feel so inclined, go for a run, take a scenic drive, jazz up your afternoon commute or just curl up on the couch and play some games while you listen to the opinions of three Smash Bros-addicted Sydneysiders.

You can play the whole episode right off this page if you like:


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Or you can go to the Soundcloud site/app and listen from there:
https://soundcloud.com/mega-ultra-blast-cast/mubc-30-eb-games-expo

(To download and listen offline, follow the link and then click the download tab)

As always if you enjoy what you hear please share the cast with your friends – Until next time!

7 Things I Learned During Zelda Month

(that aren’t Zelda-related)

So it’s probably pretty safe to say that much of my recent life has been dominated by writing about the Legend of Zelda series. But that doesn’t mean there wasn’t anything else going on worth blogging about during that hectic rush. Here’s a quick summary of the kind of things I might have written about during the last five weeks if I hadn’t wanted to keep Vagrant Rant dedicated to Zelda countdowns:

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Rayman Legends is my favourite 2D platformer of all time.

I reached the end credits of Rayman Legends with my brother a few weeks ago now (which by no means indicates that the game is actually finished) and while reflecting on my experience with the game I struggled to come up with a side-scrolling platformer I’ve enjoyed more. Ever. That includes the Mario games. There’s just so much charm and variety throughout the game, it looks and sounds amazing and its co-op, at least when played with the Wii U gamepad, is incredible. This will be up there in my personal game of the year calculations for sure, because it’s just on another level of amazing.

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