Microsoft’s E3 Announcements Was a Coin-Flip

Posted on June 11, 2012

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I love my Xbox 360. It’s my platform of preference. So, needless to say, I was excited for Microsoft’s E3 conference this year. They seem to always do something interesting. Adding to the hype, Microsoft mentioned last year that 2012 would be its last year at E3 and rumors have been flying around about Microsoft’s next gaming platform. (No official word yet on if Microsoft will be at E3 next year or not).

Last year they showed off new media partnerships, a new dashboard, Bing search, Kinect Star Wars and more. But, like the motion-based Jedi adventure (that flopped), Microsoft’s announcements this year splashed acid in my face, bringing out out my inner Two-Face, who both loved and hated Microsoft’s offerings at E3.

Conflicted, I need a way to sort my thoughts. What better way is there to sort out my mixed feelings than by letting my two sides face off against each other? At the very least it’ll be more cathartic and entertaining than Nicholas Cage and John Travolta’s Face/Off flick circa 1997. I hope you’re ready for things to get a little weird.

Opening Statement: Two-Face
I like guns. What’s better than gun? Shooting guns. Why are guns in so many damn video games? Because they make a lot of noise, put big holes in stuff and make you feel like a god. Nothing goes together like guns and video games. Microsoft knows this. They made Halo 2. They hooked console gamers on shooting each other online, and made a fortune doing it. So, now that we’re hooked on the juice, what do they do? They go after new blood like a meth dealer in a school cafeteria.

Who the f*ck is Usher and why is he trying to be Michael Jackson? Doesn’t he know that ends in a drug overdose and skin like a porcelain doll made by Buffalo Bill? Instead of hearing about all the games I’ll be dominating next year, I’m watching Usher and his dancing monkeys hypnotize imbeciles that have no business buying an Xbox. Sorry, “casual” gamers. If you want to learn a dance move, do what that pansy Harvey Dent did and take step lessons with your mee-maw. ‘Cause what’s going to happen after you buy Dance Central 3 and fail miserably because you’ll never be as cool as Usher and his sexually ambiguous rabble? You’ll buy a shooting game trying to salvage your investment and I’ll destroy you. There’s $500 bucks of hard earned American money down the drain because Microsoft doesn’t want to give hardcore mother f*ckers more of what we want: new ways to kill shit.

Whores!

You know what, buy an Xbox. I’ll even make a game lobby for you. Look for “Two-Face’s seventh circle of hell for casual gamers…and Harvey Dent.” A coin-flip can’t help you. You’re mine.

Rebuttal: Harvey Dent
Maybe some of us could have done better without a little run in with sulfuric acid, but for the most part, change is good. Often, it’s not easy. But, it’s good.

Twenty years ago, Nintendo didn’t invite the guys from “Pasquale’s Plumbing” to trade shows to demo Super Mario Bros. With hands that have been God knows where, those controllers would have needed to be sent down a green pipe or dropped into an endless pit, right? But, Microsoft tapped on the shoulder of the electric Usher to build enthusiasm for Dance Central 3. Things change. But, sometimes change isn’t so easy.

Gamers love what they know: head shots, loot, level-ups, kill streaks, flawless victories, scantily clad elves and more loot. Since the 80s when 8-bit sprites were enough to capture our attention, we’ve been adventuring in immersive worlds, and though the games have become more complex, you could make a case that games haven’t changed all that much. But, the real question is: have gamers changed?

I’m not here to put gamers on trial or wax poetic about the evolution of games. But, after seeing Microsoft’s E3 conference, I felt compelled to defend its efforts to engage not just hardcore gamers, but anybody seeking entertainment. Is that so wrong?

Some people find change to be hard. Some will blindly persecute Microsoft for not offering more iterations of the same experience. Some will choose to admonish Microsoft for giving Usher more stage time than Trey Parker and Matt Stone rather than admiring them for offering new ways to play games they love thanks to their free SmartGlass technology. Sure, Usher might be a little eccentric for the gaming community. But, what would Las Vegas be if it never booked the Rat Pack because it only welcomes gamblers? What if Batman never fostered Robin? We’d be endorsing gambling addictions and child neglect, people. I don’t know much, but I know one thing: Microsoft loves children and Frank Sinatra.

Often, it’s not perfect, but the world needs change. You might not like everything about it. Usher might not be for you, but I bet hardcore gamers like Two-Face will love equipping weapons quicker or finding extra in-game content thanks to SmartGlass. Isn’t that the type of progress worth dancing for?

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Posted in: Op-Ed