Home Editorial The Official E3 2010 Tier List

It’s that time of year again: The Electronic Entertainment Expo (lovingly known as Nerdfest in the Northeast) is in town. As the Big 3 put on the proverbial plumage for the showdown, Top Tier Tactics takes a look at the winners, the losers, and the snoozers.

Facepalm Tier: Microsoft

When Nintendo introduced mindless waggle to gaming years ago, it sure was stupid, but it was original. When Microsoft did it, it was borderline retarded. The Kinect has a lot going for it, but you wouldn’t know that from much of MS’ pitiful E3 showing, which mainly consisted of rehashed shovelware, mediocre applications of magical technology, and terrible, terrible acting. In fact, the only good actor in the entirety of the conference was a 6 year old girl pantomiming a pet simulator.

Pleasant surprises

  • The new Xbox 360 looks to be, in all regards, an upgrade to its predecessor
  • Video chat via Kinect looks easy to use and (dare I say it?) moderately useful
  • A new ESPN partnership means you can now be 2 kinds of nerd at once!

Missed opportunities

  • Absolutely no core games on Kinect. Where is Halo Reach with voice-activated squad commands?
  • No mention of XBLA or Indie Games, at all
  • No pricing/release date for Kinect

Head-smacking failure

  • If you’re going to have your actors fake interacting with motion control, make them practice until they get it right
  • On second thought, how about you just demonstrate working hardware that responds accurately to motion?
  • Skittles, dancing nerds, mis-timed raft jumps, Cirque de WTF, endless shovelware… the list is simply too long

Zzzzzzz Tier: Sony

While I wouldn’t call Sony’s E3 conference a failure per se, it’s obvious the suits behind Playstation were treading water. After the unmitigated disaster of Microsoft’s showing, Sony probably felt a little reluctant to spend the majority of its time demonstrating motion gimmicks and feigning enthusiasm. So, what did they replace it with? A couple 20-minute gameplay videos, and an hour of commercials. Yes, they even went out of their way to waste their prized stand up comedian on introducing a new line of PSP… commercials. Not games or features. Commercials.

Pleasant surprises

  • I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t hyped about a new Twisted Metal game
  • Although I’ll probably never play Killzone 3 in 3D, I have to say the demo was one of the most impressive I’ve ever seen, especially graphically
  • Kevin Butler, even when wasted, is still miles ahead of pretty much anyone else on stage

Missed opportunities

  • The PSP needed a major kickstart to truly rival the DS. Without that boost, it’s probably doomed, especially given Nintendo’s 3DS showing
  • They brought up the PS2, but only as a sort of self-congratulating slideshow. Either announce something cool, or leave room for new IPs
  • While Sorcery and Tiger Woods ’11 are all right, Sony should have shown what the Move can do that the competition can’t

Head-smacking failure

  • “The Move is only $49.99.” (audience cheers) “The Navigation Controller is also $29.99.” (silence) “That’s per person.” (a kitten dies) “Also, you need the camera.”
  • “Here’s some awesome 3D gaming. Isn’t is amazing? Now go buy a Sony 3D TV and Sony 3D glasses.”
  • From the minds that brought you Real Time Weapon Change, it’s Playstation Plus! Sony took the single most hated aspect of Xbox Live Gold (the cost) and brought it to PSN.

Sleeper Win Tier: Nintendo

I know, it’s not easy to believe, but bear with me. Sure, in the past, Nintendo has had its share of godawful E3 conferences. And by “in the past” I mean “that time they spent an hour on Wii Music.” And yes, this E3 got off to a rough start, namely when Miyamoto himself unveiled the new Legend of Zelda: Nonsensical Nomenclature, and subsequently failed hard at controlling the game (which touted advanced controls). Their waggle sucked, but at least in Nintendo’s case, you won’t have to pay extra to flail about mindlessly. But in the end, all was redeemed when Nintendo broke out the Win Cannon and fired several rounds of beloved franchises, glasses-free portable 3D, and booth babes.

Pleasant surprises

  • The 3DS is complete, it works, it has an assload of third party support, Gamecube-level graphics, and Kid Icarus. And Super Street Fighter IV. (Think about that for a second)
  • It turns out Nintendo didn’t forget about Kirby and Donkey Kong Country, and is releasing promising sequels to both franchises
  • A Goldeneye remake? Awesome. But then again, it’s not really Goldeneye without Pierce Brosnan

Missed opportunities

  • Is it just me, or does it seem odd to create a Mario multisports game and a Mii party game, when both franchises currently dominate the other genre, respectively?
  • While 3D Starfox 64 HD on 3DS is beyond awesome, where is the Starfox Wii I demanded?! Reggie, I’m talking to you!
  • Although it’s great to see Nintendo leap forward with handhelds, they haven’t made any real attempt to push the console market forward, not even a failed attempt

Head-smacking failure

…that’s it. I’ve got nothing else on Nintendo. In fact, I think only the biggest partisan fanboy hack could claim anything less than saying Nintendo won E3 2010 , hands down.

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