Last week's annual Electronic Entertainment Expo (more commonly known as E3) was packed with press, industry insiders, and gaming geeks galore. Below is a recap of the show's trends that we think everyone, including those whose last encounter with a video game involved Asteroids in a mall arcade, will be hearing about this year. If there's a gamer on your inner circle holiday gift list, start saving up now.
3-D Gaming: One of the most common complaints regarding the 3-D viewing experience is that the glasses typically required are often more uncomfortable than the special effects are engrossing. The new Nintendo 3DS
employs a parallax barrier
stereoscopic 3-D display to create the 3-D experience without the glasses. The portable gaming device also boasts a camera feature that lets gamers not only shoot 3-D photos, but also insert them into games, as well as a video player that plays 3-D movies. (Partnerships
between Nintendo and Disney, DreamWorks and Warner Brothers were announced.) Meanwhile, Sony revealed
its new stable of 3-D enabled games for the PlayStation 3 console. Those in attendance at the convention on the first day were (with the aid of 3-D glasses) able to see demonstrations of Killzone 3
, the first console shooter game made for 3-D televisions. Other upcoming 3-D titles include Gran Turismo 5
and MotorStorm: Apocalypse
. Everyone's been talking about the advent of "lean-forward" web browsing lately, but if this trend takes off, it seems gamers are also going to be falling into the action more than ever before.
Motion Sensor Gaming: The Wii will soon be facing some stiff competition. Formerly known as "Project Natal," Xbox's new Kinect
for Xbox 360 has been in previews for about a year, but it was only officially announced at E3 last week. The innovative system uses three cameras to read a player's body movements and then translates those physical actions onto the screen. Games will include the heart pumping exercise title Your Shape: Fitness Evolved
, the white water rafting escapade Kinect Adventures!
, the high speed car race Kinect Joy Ride
, the athletic Kinect Sports
, the choreography matcher Dance Central
, and the kids' animal rearing challenge Kinectimals
. Sony also announced its debut entry into motion sensor gaming, PlayStation Move
. Similar to Kinect, Move uses advanced motion sensors and the PlayStation Eye camera to mimic the user's full-body movements on screen in real-time. Slated to hit retail in September, PlayStation Move promises to have over 50 Move games on the market by the holiday season. But don't expect it to be exclusively used for family game nights, as Sony also has a number of more mature titles lined up for it, including the aforementioned Killzone 3.
Retro Game Titles: Google isn't alone in its recent nostalgia
for classic video games. Nintendo announced
new titles in its old school Legend of Zelda, Donkey Kong and Kirby series. Upcoming Zelda entry Skyward Sword
utilizes the Wii MotionPlus for more accurate sword control; Donkey Kong Country Returns
will feature traditional 2-D side-scrolling gameplay, complete with barrel cannons and bananas; Kirby's Epic Yarn
will reportedly be similar in aesthetic to LittleBigPlanet, possibly reeling in the Etsy set with its crafty, tactile appearance. Other oldies but goodies being resurrected include Mario and GoldenEye. And while perhaps not quite as iconic as Pac-Man, Mortal Kombat
also made a bloody comeback
at E3 this week. Parents will probably be less than thrilled at the prospect of their children spending hours with this one, but at least it's kept in the (slightly) less realistic 2-D plane.