Thursday, June 14

E3 Review, Part 1: Swag and Tours

I was more than excited to visit E3 for the second straight year. Between the multiple Street Passes my Nintendo 3DS would get (and if I had remembered you can only get 10 at a time and checked everyone in, I would have gotten way more than the 55 or so I ended up with) and having the opportunity to check out a ton of new, unique games, this was going to be a cool opportunity. My buddy Chris and I (later joined by our pal Alex) wandered through the booths, and had quite a bit of fun doing so.

The Swag

Freebies were not in high amounts at this year's E3; most places giving away things had extensively long lines, as well. The opportunity to get Orville ears (not even Mickey ones!) would have taken about an hour, and ditto for a chance to sit in Captain Spock's chair between some booth babes. No matter. It's fun getting free stuff, but as I was moving to Austin in a couple of days (the main reason for the lack of posts lately), I didn't really need a lot more stuff that I would have to fit into my boxes. Check out the video for highlights of the goodies.

Rubicon Booth Tour

My first tour was of the Rubicon booth, a company I had heard of, but didn't know much about. They're partnering with Koch Media to release five games (with more to come) under the Deep Silver label. I got to check out a pair of them, Narco Terror and Miner Wars 2081

Narco Terror was definitely my favorite of the two games. It reminded me a lot of Dynamite Cop, in that it combines a lot of destruction with a sort of frenetic atmosphere most commonly seen in movies and games from the 80s (like the original Duke Nukem game). The campaign supports co-op play for up to two players, and the online version will allow players to drop in or drop out whenever, which is always a nice feature. It's got different modes to play as: I played mostly on foot, but there are also opportunities to fly in a helicopter and a plane, harkening us back to the days of River Raid on the Atari 2600. I wouldn't consider myself an expert at these types of games, but I definitely like playing them. I think Narco Terror, which is due out in Fall 2012 for both PC and as a digital download on consoles, will be a really fun game worth checking out.

Miner Wars 2081 (and its MMO counterpart, which I believe was being called Miner Wars Arena) falls on the other end of the spectrum. While Narco Terror allowed you to pretty much pick up and play and destroy things, Miner Wars requires far more setup time. Set in a futuristic world, the game allows you to create a universe from scratch, adding asteroids and minerals amongst other obstacles. You can then fly your ship into other sectors, firing your lasers at enemies (if you're the more violent type) or drilling for the precious resources in other asteroids (if you're more of a pacifist). Miner Wars also boasts six degrees of freedom, which lets users move up and down, forward and back, and right and left all at once. It's incredibly detailed and seemed like it would take a little while to really get into the swing of things. But there's a ton to do in this game, and creation types who pay attention to every minute detail will absolutely eat this game up. Miner Wars 2081 is due out at the end of 2012, and the MMO features are due out soon after.

I also wanted to give a big thanks to Brian from Rubicon and Ansel from Keen Software House for taking me through these demos and being very accommodating. These games may not be very well known yet, but if the rest of their teams are like the two who gave me the tour, they certainly have a bright future ahead of them.


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