In a very nice surprise, Electronic Arts finally showed off the Simpsons video game.
The game is rendered in a cel-shaded style and supposes the Simpsons learn they've been made into video game characters. This, according to the developers, allows the game to parody everything about the game industry: The fans, established franchises such as Grand Theft Auto and Medal of Honor, and even members of the honored game-related fourth estate.
Each character will have his or her own special ability in the game. Lisa, for example, can employ the hand of Buddha to manipulate objects in the game world, picking up huge logs and dropping them on bad guys or manipulating objects to create new pathways.
Sadly, after showing the game off at a gamer's day in San Francisco, Electronic Arts neglected to give attendees of the event screen shots for the game. Worst. Decision. Ever!
You can see a picture of the game here.
Fact: Electronic Arts is making a Simpsons game.
Fact: Electronic Arts is parodying Rockstar's countdown to the Grand Theft Auto IV trailer.
Fact: This may be the 22nd Simpsons game ever made...scienticians are baffled whether to count arcade versions of Simpsons games or titles such as The Simpsons: Virtual Springfield...
This is going to be a big week for game nerds. Sega, Electronic Arts, Ubisoft, and Microsoft are all holding events this week.
Saving the absolute best for last, Microsoft will be showing Halo 3 on Friday. Electronic Arts is promising to debut Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Wing Commander Arena, a new game titled Boogie, and the standard crop of NCAA, NASCAR, and The Sims titles. Ubisoft and Sega, for now, are not saying what they plan to reveal...
This is what the demise of E3 has wrought:A series of small, intimate, gamer's day events where the game writers can sit and play without the distraction of competing 500-decibel serenades, hordes of unwashed game store clerks on the hunt for tchotchkes, and endless meetings piled one on top of another...
LucasArts announced Fracture yesterday, a cool, new third-person shooter where you can actually deform the gameplay world to create huge hills and depressions to create cover, solve puzzles, etc.
The game sets up a war between the Eastern and Western parts of the United States, after global warming has done its evil best to cut the country in two. You'll play as Mason Briggs, an Easterner who can huck grenades to raise or lower the ground to gain access to new game areas, to create cover, and do all manner of neat stuff. And there's futuristic weaponry such as a gun that shoots ricochet bullets, and a grenade that creates a killer vortex, and a gun that shoots?and I am not making this up?huge boulders to crush foes. "There will be a lot of ways to kill people [in Fracture]," LucasArts' president Jim Ward said when he unveiled the game to the press.
Fracture will be out sometime in 2008 for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.
I just got my ticket the other day. I'm going to the circus.
By circus, of course, I mean E3. This year, E3 is invite-only, as compared to last year's event where you needed, say, a pulse to get in. Game companies finally tired of the huge crowds, the excessive expenditures on booths to show off their games, and the general uselessness of E3's show floor. So instead of a mass gathering of game store clerks with T-shirts designed to show off this year's newest bulge, E3 has morphed into something a little more cozy, a little more intimate.
"Welcome to the E3 Media & Business Summit," the E3 Web site reads, "an exclusive, invitation-only, three-day event which offers the opportunity for both ESA members and non-members to stage major press events, and to have personal meetings in hotel suites and meeting rooms with media, retailers, developer partners, and other key industry contacts. In addition, [Santa Monica's] Barker Hangar will be converted into a software showcase where attendees will be able to casually test drive featured video games outside of the companies? suites."
So, basically, everyone is going to have to shuttle back and forth between this hangar and various hotel rooms in Santa Monica. One of my friends, who happens to write for the very fine game-related publication EGM describes this as "a train wreck ready to happen."
And, may the the good lord Luigi have mercy on my soul, but I think he's right.
You had better be ready to rock, because these cool Guitar Hero II auctions will not last very long at all.
A host of celebrities have customized Guitar Hero II controllers, and are now putting them up for auction. Artists include My Chemical Romance, Tenacious D, Buckcherry, Nickelback, Tony Hawk, and Kelly Slater, and all the proceeds from this auction are going directly to the Musicares charity.
What more needs to be said? This rocks, they painted, you go bid now.
King of Kong answers the question no one in his right mind would be interested enough to ask: Who's better at Donkey Kong, Billy Mitchell or Steve Wiebe?
Now, for the unititiated, Billy Mitchell is like the Superman of video games. He holds high-score records in games such as Pac-Man and Centipede and was once named "Gamer of the Century." Wiebe is the guy who broke Mitchell's high score in Donkey Kong, which created a very real rivalry between the two.
Enter director Seth Gordon, who filmed Mitchell and Wiebe's struggle and turned it into the documentary King of Kong. Kong will make its debut at New York's Tribeca Film Festival in late April and will see general release on August 17th.
It's always sort of odd when you combine wrestlers with game writers.
As part of its almost week-long Wrestlemania festivities, THQ lets a select few game journalists interview a handful of WWE wrestlers as part of the WWE Superstar Challenge. Before the wrestlers compete to see who's the best at the video game Smackdown vs. Raw, they're shuttled from room to room so people from Nintendo Power, EGM, GamePro, etc., can ask them such hard-hitting questions as, which Nintendo character do you most relate to? And also, what do you think of the improvements made to next-generation wrestling games? We are all sure, each of us, to win maybe five Pulitzers apiece.
But it's good fun, and we even get a tiny bit of insight into the men and women who make up the WWE's roster. Ken "Mr. Kennedy" Kennedy wants to make an X-rated video game. Batista who up until Wrestlemania was the world's champion said, "I think a lot of fans live vicariously through us. You can't go into work to beat on your boss. We can."
Last week, THQ had its annual Wrestlemania junket wherein 50 or so game writers were invited out to Detroit, shown the latest iteration of WWE Smackdown vs. Raw, and then taken to Wrestlemania 23.
Now, although I have attended events like these a bunch of times, they still endlessly fascinate me. Not only does THQ have to manage the schedules for 50 people, it also has to plan activities solely designed to keep the troops entertained. This year's trip saw people arriving on Wednesday and leaving on Monday, which means that everyone had lots of free time.
So. This year, THQ took the game nerds to the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan. The trip had absolutely nothing to do with anything, but it did have the Oscar Mayer Weinermobile, which game writers Tony "Matlock" Barrett and Chris Hoffman from the wonderful periodical Nintendo Power were kind enough to pose in front of.
Also, talk about educational, the Henry Ford Museum also had this:
(Make the jump to see this great piece of educational literature...)
There's nothing less interesting in this world than watching other people play video games. Unless, of course, it's watching professional wrestlers playing video games.
Yet, oddly, the wrestling fans love it. Last week, THQ and the WWE held their annual Superstar Challenge, a contest to see which of the WWE wrestlers is the least inept at playing WWE Smackdown vs. Raw.
Wrestling fans packed the Gem theater in Detroit to watch the tournament and receive free stuff. Wrestlers such as Batista, Mr. Kennedy, Carlito, Jeff Hardy, and C.M. Punk participated in the tournament, and this guy won.
For the record, his name is Elijah Burke, and he wrestles for ECW. Go figure.
Head past the jump for exciting pictures of wrestlers playing video games.