Yes, I consider E3 a holiday. It may actually be the best holiday, though in recent years it has been floundering a bit. However, E3 may just be "back." Though I hesitate to say it is back in full (where were the booth babes?!) this has certainly been the best E3 since the shift to the new format. And yes, much like holidays such as Easter and Christmas, I consider E3 to have a season surrounding it. So, for the sake of my top 10 list, I'm not sticking solely to games announced at E3; I am including a few that were announced in the weeks leading up to E3 as well. Just because you get your Christmas present a week or two early doesn't mean it isn't a Christmas present! Here goes...
Upon seeing the design of the Wii remote wayyyy back when, many had hoped it could help revive the somewhat slouching point and click Adventure genre. Surely it was a match made in heaven. And to some extent, it has; Zack & Wiki, Sam & Max, the Strongbad games, and Broken Sword all exist on the Wii due to the controller's perfect fit with the genre. Fresh off the success of the aforementioned Strongbad point and clickers, Telltale is once again sticking to what they know best, this time reviving the much loved Monkey Island series with a new set of episodic games. Fans everywhere rejoice.
Wario Ware DYI - DS (Nintendo)
It's no secret that I am one of the biggest Wario Ware fans ever. Though some may try to write off the series as "just another mini-game collection," it has a subtlety that goes beyond that. Wario Ware is not about the individual mini-games (or micro-mini-games, as they are called,) they are just the means to creating a macro-game that expands beyond it's source material. Don't get me wrong, the mini-games are still fun, but any given mini-game is over almost before it starts. The real game is the skill involved in facing the ever-increasing pace of mini-games, requiring both quick mental decisions and quick button fingers. DYI adds the ability to create your own mini-games and share them online (and, unfortunately, subtracts the amount of built-in mini-games to about half of the usual in the series.) Let's just hope it results in something other than a host of user-created mini-games resembling phallic objects doing disgusting things.
Fragile: Farewell Ruins of the Moon - Wii (tri-Crescendo)
Not exactly a new game announcement, Fragile was unveiled many months back as a Wii exclusive RPG. However, it was never announced for NA, and many worried that it might never reach our hemisphere. Worry no more. Fragile was officially announced at E3 '09 as a North American release. The game appears to focus heavily on exploration, and the flashlight seems to be an important item. There isn't an incredible amount of information on the game out there yet, but it certainly looks promising.
Monado: Beginning of the World - Wii (Nintendo / Monolith Soft)
Back when Nintendo bought out Monolith Soft, many Nintendo fans were very pleased. Known best for their popular Xenosaga and Baten Kaitos series, they seemed to fill a gap in Nintendo's 1st party development, and we expected plenty of Monolith Soft RPGs to be headed our way. However, their first Wii game was not an RPG, and did not make it to NA. Their first DS game was indeed an RPG, yet also did not make it to NA. We began to become very confused. Did Nintendo buy this developer only to keep their games away from us North Americans forever? A bit of a stealth announcement at E3, Monado wasn't even shown at the press conference. And when it was announced, a developer was not connected to it. But a bit of patience and a bit of sleuthing pays off; this is indeed Monolith Soft's first NA game since Nintendo bought them out. Though there isn't too much known about the game itself yet, it looks promising, and the developer track record is certainly there.
The Grinder - Wii (High Voltage Software)
High Voltage Software still has a ways to go to prove themselves to Wii owners. Never before have I seen one studio get so much love from Nintendo fans before producing. Potential is the word here. Their highly anticipated Wii-exclusive FPS "The Conduit" is releasing very soon, and that will be their first test. But they have already announced a few other games, including a (somewhat mediocre looking) gladiator fighting game, and the much better looking The Grinder. The Grinder is being dubbed the Wii's answer to Left 4 Dead, and while I wouldn't go quite that far myself, it does look to have a lot of potential. Let's hope High Voltage has learned some things from The Conduit and can expand upon them and create an even more compelling piece of software in The Grinder.
Tatsunoko Vs. Capcom - Wii (Capcom)
Will it come out in NA, won't it come out in NA? Capcom seemed to constantly flip-flop their views, though they never quite committed to either side. Finally, against all odds (the licensing issues alone were apparently a huge deal,) the game has been officially announced for a North American release. If you have played any of Capcom's other Versus titles you know the deal; one on one fighter, tons of characters, tons of moves, tons of fun. Sure, you might not have any clue who most of the Tatsunoko characters are, but that shouldn't stop you from looking into what should be the best fighter not called Smash Brothers on the Wii yet. It has even been hinted that the North American release may include extra characters and online. Wouldn't that be sweet?
Golden Sun DS - DS (Camelot Software)
Golden Sun is one of the most criminally underrated Nintendo franchises ever. Sure the characters and storyline aren't necessarily breaking any new ground, but the series has some of the best puzzles in any RPG I have ever played (and I've played a lot,) which makes it a joy to traverse the areas. The battle system isn't half bad either. Fans have been clamoring for a new Golden Sun game for ages, but Camelot, once almost a 2nd party to Nintendo, disappeared for awhile to work on PC games. Lucky for us that fizzled out quickly, but their return to consoles started off with... a Capcom golf game? That wasn't right either. We needed them back with Nintendo, where they belonged. And now they are back with Nintendo, where they belong. Never leave us again, Camelot.
New Super Mario Brothers Wii - Wii (Nintendo)
This is precisely why I love Nintendo. Who else would have the balls to make one of their biggest console titles a 2D platformer that focuses on 4 player co-op? A sort of spiritual successor to The Legend of Zelda: 4 Swords Adventure, New Super Mario Brothers Wii moves the co-operate / compete gameplay mechanic to the Mario franchise. And for those of us who have played the former, excitement for the latter is obvious. You don't know what fun is until you have battled through stages with friends at your side, sometimes solving puzzles together, other times (ok most times) throwing each other off cliffs, but always making it through in the end somehow. Sure the lack of online is very disappointing (shame on you, Nintendo,) but a game like this screams to be played together in person anyhow.
Metroid: Other M - Wii (Nintendo / Tecmo)
Surprise. Shock. Insert other appropriate words here. If you would have asked me to come up with the least likely thing to be announced at E3, I would probably have said a Team Ninja developed Metroid game that appears to play one half Metroid, one half Ninja Gaiden. And I would have been oh so wrong. Though I was almost a bit perturbed at first that the series seemed to be making such a dramatic shift (Metroid is my baby,) after reading developer interviews I begin to see that this was not some spur of the moment hackneyed concept. This is a true collaboration spawned from the visionary designer behind the 2D Metroid games we know and love, with Team Ninja joining in to help him along in his vision. It will be amazing.
Super Mario Galaxy 2 - Wii (Nintendo)
I am almost at a loss for the fact that this game does not seem to be getting nearly as much hype as I would have expected. Are people forgetting how utterly brilliant the first Super Mario Galaxy was already? I can't speak for everyone out there, but in my eyes, Super Mario Galaxy is the game of the generation. And to those who are already crying "Super Mario Galaxy 1.5" about its sequel, I only have one question to ask you; what media are you looking at? Everything I have seen so far shows that this isn't some rushed me too game but a full-fledged sequel with tons of new creative ideas behind it, from the general concepts to the stage designs to the power-ups. And rideable Yoshi is back! Heck yes! We may not be seeing this sucker for awhile, but if you're not on board the hype train, I pity you. It will be, simply put, one of the best games of 2010 and up there with the original as one of the best games of the generation. Count on it.
There were a few other announcements that didn't quite make my top 10 list, but are worth mentioning. Dementium 2 was announced, and should be sweet. Mario Vs. DK looks to be one of the first truly great DSi games. Drawn to Life is back on both Wii and DS. Span Smash looks interesting, and of course Wii Fit +, though expected, was made official.
And that's about it for the new game announcements (unless my mind fails me, which it often does.) While there were several other impressive pieces of software shown at the show, most of the rest were games we have known about for awhile now. However, before I go, there is one more game that has to be mentioned. It doesn't make the list because it wasn't officially unveiled, yet the one piece of artwork that was shown off has already become a bigger story than half the real game showings of E3. Yes, you know what I mean. One mere image. So much power...
I know I say this a lot, but it's a good time to be a Nintendo fan.
Nintendo made a solid showing this year which easily trumps last years joke of a show. Nintendo is showing they have a lot of great software up their sleeve. I would've really liked to see some more DSi ware. I only only a phat DS and am considering the upgrade but without awesome DSiWare why should I?
I think Factor 5 kind of gets a bad rep sometimes. Back when Rogue Squadron came out on N64 there really wasn't too much like it on consoles. It was one of the few games with actual DOGFIGHTS that took skill. Plus it just had a lot of variety, a lot of specific objectives... more than your basic shoot everything you see game. Rogue Leader was also pretty sweet, especially for a Gamecube launch title. Of course, they haven't done much worth speaking of since. And now they might be done for...
They now have a videos for some of these games on the Nintendo Chanel. New SMB Wii, Metroid: Other M, and SMG2 all look great, of course. I'm hoping that New SMB Wii is still going to be worth getting even its played one player most of the time. I'm also interested in finding out more about Monado: Beginning of the World.