A Charlie Brown E3

Me: I don’t know what’s wrong with me, Linus. E3 (The Electronic Entertainment Expo) is coming. But I’m not excited. I know I should be happy, but really I’m just depressed.

Linus: Dragonchaser, you’re the only one I know who could take a wonderful time like the annual E3 and turn it into a problem…

Me: Gaming is becoming tooo commercial. RATS!

OK, apologies for that… but E3 *is* this week, and I really can’t work up much enthusiasm for it. For those of you who don’t know, this is the Big Event in gaming… it’s a huge melange of tech playground, disneyland, strip joint, schmooze-fest and, of course, arcade. If you’re in the gaming business: publisher, developer, journalist, PR… anything… you’re at E3 this week.

So why aren’t I excited? No idea. I went to the first couple of E3’s (I was working as one of the editors at what is now Computer Games Magazine) and man, what a rush they were. Three days of frantic meetings about the stuff I lived for… it was intense… an assault on all five senses as game after amazing game was paraded out to strut its stuff in an attempt to seduce me (I was, after all, The Press *grin*). Then when the show shut down for the night… HUGE parties. Great stuff…

Well, so maybe I’m not excited because I don’t go any longer?

No, don’t think so. Although I did ache to go for the few years following me leaving the mag, I’m over that now. Instead, I surf gaming sites frantically, gathering data as rumours get confirmed and surprise announcements are made… and I share this with friends at the Pub. It’s supposed to be a time of wide-eyed amazement and exclamations of “oh man, how will I stand waiting for that to come out!?”

But I’ve checked out some of the pre-show coverage and nothing is exciting me. I’m not sure if its that the games are all just ‘more of the same’ or that we’ve already heard about the biggies. Or maybe its me.. could I finally be growing up? Ye gods, that’s a frightening thought.

Maybe its that I spend so much time in MMRPGs these days, and I know that I can’t really play more than one of them. Maybe its because there’ll be no new hardware announcements worth noting (though I’m still hoping Nintendo surprises us with a backlit GBA).

This is where I dazzle you with my revelation except… I honestly don’t have one. I think, though, that its me. I still call myself a gamer, but really I’ve turned into more of a game collector than a game player. I’ll buy a game, play it for a few hours, and shove it on the shelf to rot. They just don’t seem compelling anymore… after a few hours, I get bored. Hmm, well, maybe it isn’t me after all. Maybe the industry is getting stale? These days I get more excited about a game’s editing tools coming out then I do about the games themselves. Why? Because I have more fun thinking about building add-ons (mind you, I never actually get around to building them) than I do playing the games.

How weird is that? Maybe I need to start looking in the corners for floppy little old-style games that, with the right kind of love, can turn out to be something really special.