E3 reactions: PC gaming hits the snooze button

By: Ashley Rivas

And here we are.  The start of the descent into mediocrity and then horrifying torture.  We’re not at EA yet, don’t’ worry.  You’re still safe here.  But soon you’ll be rocking back and forth and muttering “paid mods” to yourself over and over, so enjoy the sweet, numbing innocence of eh-not-terrible while you still can.

The biggest problem with covering PC gaming at E3 is that the big news has already been shared.  It’s going to be hard for me to talk to you about this without going over old news; the big conferences had gone first at this point, and those poor members of the PC gamer tribe didn’t have much excitement to look forward to.

Full disclosure, I’m not really a member of that tribe. Go talk to pzed if you’e into reminiscing about Wing Commander and Kings Quest on your old 486. I play some Steam and have a stupidly overstuffed and underplayed library thanks to summer sales (like everyone else), but a lot of the major titles that got showcased at the conference aren’t ones I’m all that familiar with.  But that doesn’t mean they don’t sound cool, so let’s chew on some already out news for a bit.



The good

Ooblets
Ooblets!

The XCom 2 expansion, War of the Chosen, looked neat.  The game itself was fine, but what I liked more here was the developer being so present on stage.  Jake Solomon, the creative director, talked a lot about the lore and the new changes, and that helped make things a little more engaging as opposed to wonderfully polished but completely useless trailers that you could just have watched on YouTube.

This was the main theme of the news; the dev, or part of the team, would come onstage and chat about their game.  It was really awesome, if not incredibly cringe-worthy at times.  One host, Sonya Reed, was particularly heavy on the cringe, but she did mention the big title for me: Ooblets!

Ooblets is something I’ve followed personally, so getting to see the showcase for the tiny two-person team was pretty great.  But the team is small, so they couldn’t come.  And that made me sad.  The game play was freaking awesome though, and I’m dying for this to come out.  They had more content here than in the Microsoft panel, which was a FIRST.

Next they talked about Mout and Blade 2: Banner Lord.  I have not played this game, but my husband has, and he fanboyed for a while.  Which I support; everyone should fanboy over something.  Including the audience, who remained silent and weary throughout most of the show. Which was the problem.

Another little squee escaped my throat when I saw Tunic.  It’s from Fingy, who did Night in the Woods, which is adorable.  But this has a fox.  And the soundtrack is adorable.  AND I NEED IT. 

Tunic
Go, tiny fox, go! Image credit: Tunic on Steam

Two more cute games before we fall asleep: Wargroove and Grift LandsWargroove comes from the team behind Stardew Valley and Starbound, which is precious; it’s a strategy game, turn based, where you can create your own maps.  I’m on board with this.  Grift Lands was gruff, and had a cool cartoon style that was very much like some classics of yore.  It was fluid and alive, and seemed like it had a style without giving much away.

Battlegrounds got a lot of attention and finally seemed to get the crowd a little animated, which I liked, as did the big finale: Age of Empires Definitive Edition, with a 4K graphics update, Xbox Live multiplayer, and improved gameplay to celebrate the 20th anniversary.  Woo.  Is this exciting?  I think it’s charming, and very sweet; it’s a nice way to write a love letter to a game that means so much to so many.  But is it exciting?  I don’t know.  I don’t know anything anymore.

One peek at Twitch chat revealed either “ugh why” or “I AM SO ERECT”.  I didn’t ask if that was an erection based on excitement for games, or just because.  I don’t think I need that answer.


The snooooozzzeeeee

Ooblets
Nobody cares. Really. It’s a gaming confernece. Photo credit: Intel

Does this sound kind of dull yet, in comparison to the others?  Does it sound kind of meh, as opposed to how hateful I’ve been towards things I haven’t even talked about yet?  I HOPE SO.  BECAUSE THIS CONFERENCE WAS MEH TO THE MAX.

I have to wake up.  Hang on.  I’m falling asleep.

They replayed so much that I started to Tune out.  Sea of Thieves, Forza 7, all of that.  I don’t want to see this again.  I want to weep.  I’m bored.  Someone help.  Microsoft, I need you. 

Part of what turned me off the most was a huge discussion from Intel, who already had a press conference before this.  They’re sponsors for the PC Gaming show, so I get it, but god damn. I really don’t care about any of this information, especially the contests and future competitions.  It’s a cool idea, and tying it in to PAX West by showcasing the winner there is neat, but it’s not really what you come to watch here.  I need games.  I NEED GAMES PLEASE, PLEASE SEND GAMES.


The vibe

Ooblets
You are gettting sleeeeepppyyyyy…… Photo credit: ESA

The audience was kind of awake?   Perhaps the problem was that it was early in the morning, or that the crowd had already seen a lot of the information that was going to be presented. 

Honestly, it’s great to get to hear the developers, but sometimes they are about as awkward presenting as is possible to get.  One of the developers, specifically for Last Night, took his time on the stage to apologize for past tweets.  The host tried to get him past it to talk about the game, but the awkward moment continued.  There are pros and cons to have the devs there; if they’re comfortable, it’s awesome, and their passion is infectious.  If they’re nervous, then it’s terrifying, both for you and for them.

Ultimately, 2 hours was too long for this conference, and I was torn between saying “please hurry up and end” or “eh, that’s fine”.  I’m not passionate about this one at all, with a couple of specific exceptions that weren’t even the main showcase titles.  I tried to compare to my husband, who’s much more of a PC gamer, but his shoulder shrug told me all I needed to know.

It wasn’t offensive at all, unlike the ones to follow.  But it was disappointing in how inoffensive and boring it was.  Oh well.  At least we still get mods.


What’s Next?

I don’t even want to pick what’s next.  I’d rather break my shin bone with a hammer.  I’d rather let my dog lick my toes.  I’d rather walk barefoot on sticker bushes.  I’d rather do so much worse than I’m trying to censor myself from because holy shit, those are dark places.  But instead, I’m left with a choice, and a challenge to rank something on a scale of dog shit to horse shit.

What’s left: Sony, Bethesda, and EA.  We’re going to tackle them in that order.  Dog shit, pig shit, and finally, horse shit.  Buckle up.  This is going to get venomous.

About The Author

I'm a big ol' nerd, and I want to effuse that nerdiness for the rest of my life. I spend as much time as I can drawing and playing video games, and I've taken that to the career level now since I'm back in school to be a game designer. I'm the mom to three puppies and a fat kitty, and the wife to a fellow nerd.

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