Thursday, May 17, 2007

Gamer's Days are Everywhere

Gamer days, gamer days, who needs E3 when you’ve got Gamer Days!

Mid-May is always that special time of year when gamers are inundated with new game announcements, and game journalists forego sleep to bring us impressions, videos, screenshots, thoughts, speculation, consternation and sometimes a little joy. But this year was expected to be different, what with E3 having been taken out back and, well, you know…

Publishers, however, are in no big rush to forego the time honored tradition of marking the midway point in the gamer’s calendar with more gaming news in one week than you’ll see for the rest of the year. It’s a digital solstice, if you will, and its sacred rites are not to be so quickly abandoned due to so trivial an obstacle as the event which it all revolves around imploding. SquareEnix, Midway, Sega, Capcom, Tecmo and Sony are just a few of the publishers who are making up for a lack of E3 by throwing themselves giant parties, showing off new games (or in Square’s case, showing off 37 new Final Fantasy games), giving away free stuff and parading scantily clad women around. E3 is alive and well, only the convention hall is now Planet Earth and the booths are spread far and wide. For us armchair quarterbacks, not much has changed. For the game journalists it's a whole different beast. With events scattered all over the four corners of the globe, staffs are spread thin and there's a lot more travel involved.

The last week (really, the last month) has seen so many major announcements you’ve got to wonder: What major news will actually come out of the rescheduled and downsized E3 in July? Are publishers saving even bigger news for E3 or will there just be more info on previously announced projects?

Nintendo in particular is playing their cards close to the chest, as usual. They insist Smash Bros., Mario AND Metroid will all be available by the end of 2007. This event has been determined to be less likely than the planets all aligning, Mercury being struck by a meteor and a resulting billiards-esque collision sending Pluto into a black hole. But nonetheless, Nintendo maintains this to be the case. The real question is, “OK, then what comes after that?” Those three major titles make up the bulging mass of Nintendo fans desires. Surely something must be revealed beyond what gamers will be playing in 6 months? Animal Crossing? A new Zelda created for the Wii from the ground up? An honest-to-God Pokemon title? Pikmin 3? Will there be a 2D Metroid for DS? New Super Mario Bros. 2? Maybe they’ll surprise everyone and do something new for a change.

One thing is certain, there will always be way more games than there is time to play them…

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