Culture Feature

The Craziest E3 Press Conferences Ever

Let's re-acquaint ourselves with some of the strangest press moments from E3 over the years.

E3

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In a normal year, the E3 Expo usually has a good amount of awkward moments.

The hiccups usually come in the form of press conferences, which are both the biggest crowd-pleasing spectacles of the weekend and the feats that require the most coordination. But considering E3 was entirely online this year, the press conferences mostly went off without a hitch. With that said, the weekend still featured some awkward moments, such as when Microsoft announced that they're building an actual Xbox mini-fridge. Still, we miss the good ol' days of technical mishaps and cringey public speakers. Let's re-acquaint ourselves with some of the strangest press moments from E3 over the years.

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CULTURE

The Biggest Games Announced at E3 2021

The game announcements are always the bread and butter of the event, and many of the reveals this year were exciting.

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The Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), which has remained one of gaming's most important events, kicked off this weekend, bringing together some of the world's biggest game publishers to give fans a taste of what's in the works for the holiday season and beyond.

While once again all online this year, E3 has still had some truly odd moments so far. For example, Microsoft, who has had a good sense of humor around the whole "it looks like a fridge" frenzy surrounding the Xbox Series X, took the joke too far and announced that they're now making an actual fridge. Advertised as "The World's Most Powerful Mini Fridge," it will indeed be shaped like an Xbox Series X and will feature "Xbox Velocity Cooling Architecture," a play on the Series X "Velocity Architecture."

But regardless of the bizarre antics that usually make up E3, the game announcements are always the bread and butter of the event, and many of the reveals this year were exciting. Here are some of the biggest games announced at E3 this year.

Elden Ring

The hype for Elden Ring has been at a near boiling point since its E3 announcement back in 2019. Helmed by George R.R. Martin and Hidetaka Miyazaki (Dark Souls, Bloodborne), details surrounding the game have been nonexistent since its reveal.

Well, it seems the game is indeed happening, as Bandai Namco debuted a new gameplay trailer for the work this weekend and set a release date of January 21, 2022. The game, which sports a gothic world and ghoulish enemies, seems relatively similar to Miyazaki's other prized works, but Bandai Namco elaborated a bit and said the game will include a "vast and seamless landscape" with different weather and a full 24-hour time-of-day progression.

Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora

An unexpected premiere from Ubisoft came in the form of an Avatar game that looks sprawling and promising. Developed by studio Massive Entertainment, the studio behind Tom Clancy's The Division 2, the game was described as a first-person action-adventure game, and from the looks of its reveal, it seems the entirety of Pandora might be at the player's disposal. The game will exclusively hit next-gen consoles and PC, and players will assume the role as Na'vi as he explores never-before-seen areas of the famous planet.

Guardians of the Galaxy

That's right, players will finally take control of the Star Lord himself, as Square Enix revealed they're making a Guardians of the Galaxy game, and no, Star Lord is not Chris Pratt. Teased as a fresh interpretation of the series, the game's debut trailer showed that it will be a sprawling third-person action-adventure game, as players will get to explore different areas of the galaxy.

Starfield

Bethesda Game Studios, behind captivating RPG epics like The Elder Scrolls and Fallout, is heading to space, and if past works are any indication, it's sure to be an experience unlike any other. Starfield will put players in the role of a fully customizable character of their choosing and allow them to explore space with an unprecedented amount of freedom. "It's an epic about hope, our shared humanity, and answering our greatest mystery," Bethesda's Todd Howard told E3.

Redfall

What happens when you combine cool looking vampires and a bunch of guns? Apparently Redfall. When a cult of super vampires invade the Massachusetts town of Redfall, you and three of your buddies need to strap up and investigate. Judging from the reveal trailer, the action seems chaotic and colorful, with superpowered vamps flying around doing damage as you and your friends try to fend them off. The game is being developed by the teams behind Prey and Dishonored, which for sure means that the action will be wild and unpredictable. Redfall is expected to release next summer.

Halo Infinite

The latest Halo entry had originally been teased alongside the announcement of the Xbox Series X and S back in November. The plan was for the release of Halo Infinite to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the original Halo, but Microsoft and 343 Industries soon postponed the game, crushing players' hopes that they would get both a new console and a new Master Chief adventure simultaneously.

But at E3 this year, the game developers confirmed that Halo Infinite will finally arrive this holiday season. A multiplayer trailer was also revealed, giving players a look at new vehicles, new weapons, and a few of the new maps they can expect. The game's multiplayer will also be entirely free. As for the story, still little is known past the cinematic trailer, where Master Chief stumbled upon a new AI companion amongst a slew of wreckage.

Culture Feature

How the Video Game Industry Still Fails to Market to Girls

"Why don't more women play video games?" You're asking the wrong question. Instead, ask: "Why aren't video games marketed towards more females?"

Christmas morning, 1994: I woke up with the sort of excitement most 6-year-old girls do.

But I wasn't excited to find gender-stereotypical presents such as Barbie dolls. I wanted the Sega Genesis video game system. I didn't get it...but my brother did.

I was crushed, but not surprised. My brother and I shared an equal love for playing video games; but the conundrum was that I was a girl—and in the early '90s, people weren't accustomed to video games being a girl's thing.

Skip forward 26 years later, and as a mother of two girls, I've realized that not much has changed.

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Culture News

Nintendo Is Updating Classic Mario Games for the Series' 35th Anniversary

Everyone's favorite Italian plumber is turning 35, and Nintendo has some exciting plans to celebrate

Super Mario Bros, the first Mario game (if you don't count his role as Jumpman in Donkey Kong), came out on September 13th, 1985.

Predictably, Nintendo has some big plans for their icon's 35th birthday later this year. While they are choosing not to respond to "rumor and speculation," it's being widely reported that those plans will include remastered re-releases of much of the Mario library, including classic games like Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine, and Super Mario Galaxy.

Normally this sort of news would be announced at the annual E3 expo in June, but this year's E3 has already been canceled amid the on-going health crisis, so Nintendo will have to find other ways to get the word out. They are reportedly considering a "digital showcase" sometime soon to make the Mario-heavy lineup and release schedule official—though those plans are not yet official.

Universal's Super Nintendo World A mock-up of Universal's Super Nintendo World

While there are a number of other interesting projects on the horizon—including a new Paper Mario title reportedly in the works for the Switch and a Super Nintendo World being built at Universal theme parks in Orlando and Tokyo—the announcement of classic game re-releases is particularly exciting for older gamers. Not only will we have a chance to replay some of our favorites, tapping into all the fond childhood memories of Mario, we can also school any young gamers in our lives who think they know their way around a controller.

Super Mario Bros. 35th Anniversary Collection on Nintendo Switch!? www.youtube.com

In 2015, Nintendo celebrated Mario's 30 birthday with a slew of new Mario merchandise, culminating in the release of Super Mario Maker for the Wii U. So, however Nintendo plans to make their official announcements–whether in one massive digital event or in a trickle of smaller press releases—expect to hear a lot more Mario news in the lead up to September 13th.

CULTURE

"Animal Crossing" Is a Blueprint for Functional Socialism

Animal Crossing New Horizons is sure to push the series' socialist ideology to an even wider audience.

Nintendo

Animal Crossing isn't a game people play for a few hours or days and then set aside; it's a game that people spend months or even years on, tweaking flower beds, rearranging furniture, and doing everything in their power to get Bitty to move out of town.

But when so many people dedicate so much time to a game that essentially boils down to a "living-in-a-town" simulator, it begs the question: What do people get from Animal Crossing that they don't get in the real world?

In the world of Animal Crossing, everyone just kind of exists. The society is clearly not lacking for basic living essentials. Everyone has food and clothes and the means to create more of it whenever necessary. When you want fruit, you go get fruit from a tree. When you want fish, you catch it in the river. Everyone has a shovel for digging, a rod for fishing, and an axe for chopping trees. The world's bounty is at the characters' fingertips, and they realize that for a community to function, they must all strive together for the communal good. Animal Crossing offers more than just simple video game escapism; it's a blueprint for a functional socialist utopia.

Most townsfolk spend their days just like the main character does: hanging out, tending to their flowers, and talking to their neighbors. With their most basic needs presumably taken care of through the efforts of the larger community, they are free to pursue their interests and creative endeavors. Some, like Goose the jock chicken, provide communal services like offering fitness advice to help keep everyone in great shape. Others, like Bob the lazy cat, are fundamentally incapable of working hard, and that's okay, too. Everyone is free to spend their time as they wish.

animal crossing bob Bobgyfcat

Of course, the system allows those with extra motivation to work for monetary gain. If the Able sisters want to run a textile business, more power to them. If Kapp'n wants to charge villagers for the opportunity to go out on his boat, he's more than welcome to. Just because bartering is the primary exchange method in society doesn't mean coin can't exist to handle transactions that go above and beyond the essentials. The community doesn't need to share everything––just the basics to allow every villager food, clothes, and a roof over their heads.

Government exists within Animal Crossing, too, but it works towards the greater good of the community. For instance, there's a police station, but its primary directive is to operate the lost and found. As far as we've seen, Copper the police dog holds no punitive power. Similarly, the town has "laws," such as zoning restrictions for where you can build your house, but they're almost entirely practical, designed to prevent your home from abutting the local parade grounds or opening your door into the river. The Animal Crossing political bodies truly function by and for the animals they govern.

But what discussion of Animal Crossing politics could truly be complete without analyzing Tom Nook, the real estating/shopkeeping/money lending tanuki who serves as the player character's primary benefactor in every game? Isn't Tom Nook the very definition of capitalist greed, trapping the player in an endless cycle of debt and home improvements? Well, not really. Tom Nook has no power, whatsoever. There's no government backing him, no corporatist structure for him to thrive off.

tom nook Tom NookNintendo


Tom Nook gives you a house, upfront, for nothing. Sure, he asks you to pay him back, but he can't enforce those debts outside of refusing to build you a bigger house until you do. There's no time frame for his loan and no interest. In other words, Tom Nook literally just lends you money for nonessential home improvements, and he takes 100% of the risk on his own shoulders knowing full well that you might never pay him back. He's the wealthiest animal in the entire community, and he spends all his time and resources donating those funds in exchange for little-to-no personal gain. If anything, Tom Nook is a shining beacon of the core socialist structure of Animal Crossing's society.

In essence, Animal Crossing paints a picture of a friendly, functional society wherein different species co-exist peacefully with their every basic need provided for in full. The government is run by and for the community, ensuring that the needs of the townsfolk are properly met without ever overstepping or interfering with their private lives. From there, animals have the freedom to pursue their interests, provide communal services, or consolidate wealth. Those who do consolidate wealth tend to invest much of that profit back into the community. It's a system that works and everyone is happy—except Bitty, because she sucks and needs to move.

In the real world, we're stuck in a capitalist nightmare, riddled with government-enforced debt, corrupt politicians, and corporations as people. White supremacism is on the rise. In Animal Crossing, we never need to worry about having fresh food, clean water, or a roof over our heads. A duck and a wolf can be next-door neighbors and everything is totally fine. Both of these options are possible in real life, too (at least if we substitute the duck and wolf for people from different walks of life). Which do you prefer?

CULTURE

The Next Super Smash Bros. Ultimate DLC Character Is ALL THE HEROES FROM DRAGON QUEST

At long last, Nintendo reveals the Dragon Quest Hero as the third DLC fighter for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

Square Enix

Nintendo sure knows how to build up hype, and their E3 2019 Nintendo Direct is no exception.

After the unexpected reveal of Persona 5's Joker as the second DLC fighter for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, fans spent months trying to figure out which new fighter would arrive next. Finally, we have our answer. The next Smash Bro coming to Switch is none other than ALL THE HEROES FROM DRAGON QUEST.

Each Dragon Quest game has a new hero whose name you get to choose. The main hero featured seems to be the Luminary from Dragon Quest 11, but alternate costumes include "Erdrick" from Dragon Quest 3, and the Hero from Dragon Quest 8. Morever, the Dragon Quest Hero's Final Smash seems to bring out the power of all the heroes from the mainline games.

This is a majorly cool reveal for JRP fans, and it's wonderful seeing Dragon Quest getting the mainstream attention it's always deserved.

Dragon Quest 11 is coming to Nintendo Switch, too!

Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age - E3 2019 Trailer (Switch) www.youtube.com