June 2009

(Contributors: Gus Mastrapa, Bill Abner, Troy Goodfellow and Ryan Kuo)

E3 is such a massive show that it’s incredibly easy to spend the entire three days just immersed in the biggest, most buzz-worthy games on display. But those who took the time to trawl through the hidden corners of the emptier booths could stumble upon some unexpected gems. These are the games that demand to be noticed for their originality and quality gameplay, not their marketing budgets. Here’s a quick look at some of the easiest-to-miss but hardest-to-ignore games of the show.

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(Contributors: Kyle Orland, Evan Narcisse)

We saw many funny, silly, surreal things at last week’s E3. In fact, some of those funny, silly, surreal things were actually us. After processing everything over the weekend and letting our rum hangovers fade, we’d like to hand out a round of unconventional awards for all of those small, unrecognized moments that may have passed most of you by last week.

Without further ado, here are CG’s E3 2009 Unwards. Ladies and gentlemen: Give them all a nice round of un-applause, will you? You are all un-winners!!!!

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The 10-Cent Tour: This Halo 3 expansion features a new protagonist, a new urban campaign and a new multiplayer mode.

1. You are not Master Chief. Instead, Halo 3: ODST gives you control over … an ODST (Orbital Drop Shock Trooper) referred to simply as “The Rookie.” Set between Halo 2 and Halo 3, you’ll explore bombed-out urban environments looking for clues to the fate of your missing teammates. These clues trigger flashbacks in the form of cut scenes and even gameplay vignettes where you control other ODSTs.

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The 10-Cent Tour: Mario returns to his two-dimensional roots with a new focus on multiplayer mayhem in New Super Mario Bros. Wii.

1. The game seems to combine the best bits from old Mario games. You can pick up fellow players and throw them, evoking Super Mario Bros. 2. There’s the idea of transformational suits from Super Mario Bros. 3 (more on those below). Mario and friends have the spin jump from Super Mario World and the butt-stomp from Super Mario 64. Yoshi can eat item-granting berries as in Super Mario World, and has his mid-air flutter jump from Yoshi’s Island. It’s like Mario’s greatest gameplay hits.

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The 10-Cent Tour: You know Rock Band? Well, The Beatles: Rock Band has songs from the Beatles in it. I know, right?

1. Besides the new songs, the biggest gameplay addition is the option for three-part harmonies. Three color-coded bars scroll along the standard vocal track area, allowing each player to find their appropriate tone with ease. During sections without harmony, all three singers can help each other out on the single vocal track. Harmonix calls the setup “constructive harmony,” meaning, basically, “you don’t get penalized for being awful if someone is good.”

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So you’re pretty good at games, huh? If only there was a way to prove it to the world. Oh, wait, there is: The Twin Galaxies Intergalactic Scoreboard is the Guinness-endorsed clearinghouse for videogame high scores, and adding your name to the list is easier than you think (and I should know: I have the world record in Balloon Fight, Game C).

How can you follow in my footsteps? Read on.

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