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Do you enjoy being fed your gaming information through well-rehearsed prepared remarks? If so, the Electronic Entertainment Expo is for you! During this week in June every year, executives from Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo, and others get up on stage in grand fashion and read pre-written speeches, delivering on-message remarks aimed at getting you excited about their upcoming games and products. This happened at every presentation this week, but there was one notable exception, and it came from an unlikely source.
During Microsoft's briefing Monday morning, South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone emerged on stage to talk about their upcoming role-playing game with THQ and Obsidian, South Park: The Stick of Truth. Instead of reading off a teleprompter and delivering planned out lines, the duo ad-libbed, and even poked fun at the event host, Microsoft. Parker mocked Microsoft's super-connected Xbox approach just minutes after the company officially confirmed the Xbox SmartGlass tablet. Here's what he had to say:
"How many times have you been watching an episode of South Park and thought:
'I'd like to be able to watch this on my television while hooked into my mobile device, which is being controlled by my tablet device, which is hooked into my oven, all while sitting in the refrigerator?' Parker jokingly asked the audience. "Well, we're not doing that. We're just doing this game."
This brief respite from the ongoing barrage of prepared remarks from executives like Phil Spencer, Yusuf Medhi, and others during Microsoft's presentation was more than enough to make me smile throughout a presentation that kept me largely stone-faced. Parker and Stone may have had that line planned in advance (they are, after all, comedic geniuses), but it didn't come across that way. It came across as spontaneous and genuine, two adjectives I never thought I'd associate with E3.
I understand why publishers and developers want to be on-message. They have a product to sell. And delivering a consistent message to fans and press is a means to that end. But being so strictly tied to a message can be problematic. In doing so, these people become corporate robots. They make me feel like I'm a consumer, rather than a gamer. Whether or not that's an issue of semantics is irrelevant, because I want executives to talk directly to me, a gamer. I understand that they have a boss to answer to, one who demands increased profits year in, year out. But I don't care about that. I care about the games. And I have a sneaking suspicion, you do, too.
8Jan 12My name is Eddie Makuch, and I will be assisting the GameSpot newsdesk, working to bring you the news of the video game industry you so dearly admire. I have long believed that the strength and integrity of the newsdesk is a reflection of the publication itself. In keeping with that mentality, I will do my very best as an Assistant News Editor at GameSpot to work to my fullest, displaying integrity and professionalism in every endeavor I embark upon. It's a tall task for anyone, but if I do not hold myself to the highest of standards, then why do it at all?If you're interested in some background about me, here it is. I first joined GameSpot in the summer of 2010 as the team's News intern. It was a trying summer. I came from a blog-style writing background, and I had to distance myself from this mentality in every approach. It was a humbling experience, and one that has molded me into a stronger, more reasoned writer.After that summer came to a close, my internship, however, did not. I continued contributing to the GameSpot newsdesk during my junior year of college. Thankfully, my classes were all in the afternoon, so I was able to give 3 hours to GameSpot every morning, writing about everything from the Call of Duty trial to World of Warcraft. I was kind of living a double life, which was rather exciting. By morning, a video game news reporter, by afternoon, a college student.When summer 2011 rolled around, I was offered the same intern position at GameSpot, and I was quick to accept the gig. Summer 2011 brought many new experiences to my desk. I traveled with the team to E3, Comic-Con, and other industry events. At these places I worked to break news, interview executives, and soak in the atmosphere of the occasions. I was granted greater responsibility in the summer of 2011, and it was exciting to rise to the challenge.But that summer, too, came to an end, and I returned to college. While newsman Tom was away in Spain on vacation, I helped out the newsdesk for two weeks. Then, a full-time position opened up at the company--one for an Assistant News Editor. I sprung at the opportunity, and I was again beyond excited when I was told the job was mine.My task, then, was to finish school. I was able to do this, and graduated with a Communication degree from Keene State College on December 16. After a few weeks at home, I packed my bags, moved in to a new apartment, and now I work for GameSpot full time!Now it's time to put my head down and work alongside Brendan and Tom to make GameSpot News everything we know it can be. If you have any questions about anything mentioned above, please leave a comment here. Also, feel free to follow my ramblings on Twitter @EddieMakuch
The 2011 Video Game Awards are taking place this Saturday at 8 p.m. EST on Spike, MTV 2, and will also be streamed online. And though the event may be a two-hour commercial, we shouldn't forget that the Oscars--arguably the most prestigious awards in entertainment--are handed out at the Kodak Theatre, which isin a mall.
I love video games, and to reminiscence about the years that was, and celebrate the best games, is a fun experience for me on the second Saturday in December.
Below are my predictions for my favorite categories, not all.
Game of the Year.
Nominees: Batman: Arkham City, Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception, Elder Scrolls V: Skryim, Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, and Portal 2.
I believe Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim will win this category, but a selection of Skyward Sword would not surprise me. The sheer buzz around Skyrim was like nothing I've ever experienced. Everyone was/continues to talk about the game. People I didn't even know played video games were posting Facebook statuses like "Skipping my History class to learn some real History...in Skyrim."
Studio of the Year.
Nominees: Bethesda, Naughty Dog, Rocksteady, and Valve.
I foresee Bethesda nabbing this award, as well, forming a powerful one-two punch of Game of the Year and Studio of the Year.
Best PS3 Game.
Nominees: InFamous 2, Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception, Killzone 3, LittleBigPlanet2.
I don't feel any true forerunner in this category, but I do think Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception will win here. The nominees are all fantastic, but I can't shake the feeling that the voters view Uncharted 3 as pure gold.
Best Xbox 360 Game.
Nominees: Gears of War 3, Portal 2, Forza MotorSport 4, Batman: Arkham City.
I would like Portal 2 or Arkham City to win this category, but I think Gears of War 3 will take the crown. The game was so very polished and a truly excellent send-off for the trilogy.
Best Wii Game...Not even going to bother writing out nominees. Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword will win here.
Nominees: Rage, Battlefield 3, Modern Warfare 3, Gears of War 3.
I think Rage and Gears can be immediately written off here, leaving the battle that's been hyped for this entire year: Battlefield 3 vs. Modern Warfare 3. I think Modern Warfare 3 will win this category, because it is a refined, polished, and very, very fun shooter with huge mass-market appeal. Wouldn't be surprised if Battlefield 3 wins, though.
Best Song in a Game.
Nominees: "Build that Wall (Zia's Theme)," from Bastion, "Exile Villify" from Portal 2, "I'm not calling you a liar," from Dragon Age II, and "Setting Sail, Coming Home (End Theme)" also from Bastion.
I love music so much, and 2011 was wonderful to gamers with an ear for in-game tunes. I think the winner will be "Setting Sail, Coming Home (End Theme)" by Darren Korb from Bastion. Have you heard that song?It is fantastic.
For the rest of the categories and nominees, check out the official2011 Video Game Awards page.
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