I know that many of you have had a restless week trying to keep up to date with all of the major announcements from E3 2017. This was the 23rd hosting of the Electronic Entertainment Expo and, as expected, hardware manufacturers and software developers from the video game industry have been showcasing new and upcoming products to the attendees.
I am sure many people that would have liked to attend the Los Angeles Convention Center this week couldn’t make it so I will give you a summary of what to expect from the gaming world in the near future.
Microsoft made the announcement that their new console will be called the Xbox One X. A little confusing perhaps but gamers will know which model fits in where. I personally prefer it when manufacturers just have simple numbering systems – Samsung Galaxy S6; S7; S8… I am sure some marketing geniuses at Microsoft who know about these things more than I do have a reason for the naming convention but it just makes it a little confusing. The Xbox One X will retail for $649 in Australia but I am not sure that many people will throw out their existing Xbox One to upgrade to this.
If you are anywhere near as old as I am you will remember the series of predominantly first-person shooter games, Wolfenstein. The third game in the franchise, Wolfenstein 3D (along with DOOM) helped pioneer and popularised the first-person shooter genre. Wolfenstein 3D was released in 1992 followed by no less than seven subsequent releases. At E3 2017, Bethesda announced the latest in the series: Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus. This is a follow-up to the 2014 version Wolfenstein: The New Order and takes the player beyond Europe to Nazi-occupied America. This will be available in October.
eSports have continued to rise in popularity in recent times to the point where big games have been covered on Sky TV. Imagine that – live TV of people playing video games. The next level of eSports involves Virtual Reality (VR) with Intel announcing that it will collaborate with ESL and Oculus to form the VR Challenger League. This will start next month where professional VR gamers will slug it out with two specific VR games. This will play out in online matches where the top players will qualify for competition events around the world which will culminate in finals to be held at the Intel Extreme Masters World Championships in Poland next year. The available prize pool will total AU$265,000. Here I am telling my son to stop playing games and focus on a real career – maybe I should tell him to stop studying and get back on his VR game!
On the nostalgia side, the 30 games Nintendo packed into the NES Classic Edition don’t seem as impressive when the new Atari Flashback 8 Gold console from AtGames comes with 120 classic Atari 2600 titles, including iconic games such as Pitfall!, Space Invaders, River Raid, Centipede, Kaboom! and Millipede. It includes a pair of wireless joysticks; 720P HDMI output; and the ability to save, pause or rewind any game you’re playing. Look around September to buy one of these. I remember spending way too much time at a corner store playing Space Invaders with that Jaws like music increasing its tempo so I am particularly looking forward to this release.
I try and stay away from games for App of the Week but with the games focus for this week, it seems appropriate. My AotW for this week is Framed. It is a noir-puzzle game where the player re-arranges panels of an animated comic book to change the outcome of the story. It is not a classic mindless reflex game but one where the player has to think their way through to the end.