Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Where Gamers Rule

I live in a household for gamers.  In fact, it seems as if I have always lived in a household for gamers, but this isn't quite true.  My brother and I received a Nintendo gaming system when we were kids, but after getting stuck on Simon's Quest, I left the gaming world for books for a long time.  After graduating high school and jumping into college, I got the GREATEST JOB EVER (for a college student) -- I worked in a video store.  Now this wasn't the sad thing video stores are now.  No, kids, this was before Netflix and On-Demand movies.  When you wanted to watch a movie, you went to a video store and rented a movie or video game.  During this time, I saw the rise of the PlayStation and the advent of the DVD.

To make a long story short, my coworkers re-introduced me to the world of video games and the glory that is RPG (role playing games).  I fell in love with Final Fantasy and Parasite Eve.  When I lived with my ex-boyfriend, we had a PlayStation 2 and a Gamecube in the house as well as several of the older systems so that we could game on any of the 2-3 TVs in  the house.  When I moved out on my own after we parted ways, one of my first purchases was a refurbished PlayStation 2. 

Gaming is for when I need a little down time; a little time to disconnect from reality and let my mind wander in strange directions.  Gaming recharges my batteries.

As a result, E3 is always one of the biggest events of the year (outside of my own book releases).  On Monday, I watched the press conference for Ubisoft, who makes my current favorite game series Assassin's Creed, and Sony's press conference.  Let me just say that there are some epic games coming out this year, showing not only a leap forward in battle systems and visual effects, but also in storytelling. 

If you're not interested in video games, then you can stop reading here but check out the first video below.  It really strikes at the heart of why I love gaming.

If you like video games, keep going.

First, Sony gave a big thanks to all the games going strong out there, bringing up one of their most successful commercial campaigns of all time.  I have to agree.  I watch this video, seeing so many of the characters I love, and I get chills.

For me, there are two truly epic game designers out there right now.  Ubisoft and Naughty Dog.  Both companies are constantly redefining great gaming and exceeding expectations.  With Ubisoft, they appear to be continuing their winning streak with Assassin's Creed 3.  Now I was initially hesitant about this game because I love Ezio Auditore from the last 3 Assassin's Creed games.  During their press conference, they showed off amazing game play while the Sony press conference showed off never-seen-before footage of the main character engaged in a battle at sea.  In a word: EPIC.  What's more, there are also releasing a second Assassin's Creed game this fall for the PS Vita, which will feature the first female assassin in the lead.  To see the newest trailers, click here.

Meanwhile, Naughty Dog is no slouch.  The company has a number of strong franchises under its belt, but it really came into its own with the release of the Uncharted series.  Nate Drake is a treasure hunter with a witty comment on the tip of his tongue and a knack for getting into trouble -- gee, reminds me of my own brother.  This year, Naughty Dog has gone in a new direction with its newest game The Last of Us.  A post-apocalyptic survival game that follows a man and a teenage girl through a city filled with dangers.  The game is dark, gritty, gripping, and simply astounding.  The Sony press conference showed off actual game play for the first time and it was heart-stoppping and intense.  This is not a game you want to miss. 

I'm sure there's more news that will be trickling out of E3 for the next couple of days, but I'm quite happy right now.  Other games that look amazing and I'll probably be picking?  Beyond: Two Souls, God of War: Ascension, Assassin's Creed: Liberation, and Book of Spells (for Sony's new Wonderbook).

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