I was going to call this post The Return of the E, in honor of the final installment of Star Wars. It’s my favorite of the bunch, but after taking in all Electronic Entertainment Expo had to offer, I’m wondering if The Empire Strikes Back, is a better movie title to replicate.
The Empire Strikes Back is the second movie in the original trilogy and tells the tale of the aftermath of the Resistances victory against the Galactic Empire. The Emperor and the Empire he founded do not intend to go quietly into the night. In Star Wars, history is told by the thousands of years and is an eternal struggle to see if Man or more accurately thinking beings will rule themselves or be ruled; it’s a cosmic battle between Republic and Empire.
E3 has been many things over the years, both for the better and for the worse, but it has always with very few exceptions been spectacular and this year it wasn’t. Now normally I think that this was my perception but you can feel it in the articles written and the comments posted on the internet these past few days that people expected greatness and left feeling disappointed. And why, after all E3 dropped all the usual suspects. There were the legendary game makers, the usual suspect of quality AAA titles, the celebrities trying to make the mundane and geeky look cool and hip and failing terribly; everything that the past years of old have managed. Yet there is that feeling; that niggle in the back of your mind that something is wrong, not bad but just slightly off tilt. And as I sit back and ponder I must say that I do feel slightly underwhelmed. In years past the industry always felt vibrant but these days, with investor meetings, and stock analysts weighing in on the futures of game companies and their products, I feel that video game have lost of little of their luster, they’re being taken seriously and the shine of escapism that video games always represented is off a bit. The recent demise of 38 Studios didn’t help but it’s more than that; the industry is a little gun shy these days.
Gone are the boisterous and slightly ridiculous speeches revving the fan base by middle age men acting like children. Gone is the name calling and the finger gesturing of the big three; they’re acting like gentleman and dare I say their age, these days. All of this is good and well but a part of me wishes that they’d take risks again, act a little childish, maybe tell a joke that wasn’t funny to anybody but themselves. In our rush to present the industry as the grownups we are, we lost a little of the sparkle that set us apart from the rest of the pack. The Empire Strikes Back is widely considered to be the best movie of the original three films, but I always felt that the conclusion was inevitable and thus no matter how bad it got the Republic would prevail. The video game industry is making more money than it ever has, but I’m getting that same feeling that I get when I watch The Empire Strikes Back and somewhere in the back of my mind I worry.