E3 2011: Bitmob’s E3 Non-Award Awards

This post has been edited by the GamesBeat staff. Opinions by GamesBeat community writers do not necessarily reflect those of the staff.

We did it! One more E3 without handing out traditional awards like so many county-fair blue ribbons. We do, however, have a whole stack of our Non-Award Awards to bestow on a variety of sort-of-lucky or not-at-all lucky recipients….

Most emasculating moment: PixelJunk Sidescroller
Bitmob Writer Rus McLaughlin and I managed to make Sidescroller's "normal" difficulty look like "hard" during our demo in Sony's booth. We died an embarrassing amount of times in this old-school 2D shooter, and doing it in front of a girl, Assistant Producer Ariel Angelotti of developer Q-Games, only made it worse. Later, she emailed me and did her best to make me feel better: "There's absolutely no shame in playing on Easy sometimes — especially a PixelJunk game. =)" Ruthless. -Dan "Shoe" Hsu

Greatest peripheral of all time, forever: Kiss Controller
You stick a tiny magnet on your tongue (using Fixodent powder) while your partner wears special headgear, which is enough to get anyone in the mood. Then the two of you smooch. The headgear reads the kisser’s tongue movement and direction and translates it into input data. Currently, the prototype works with a simple bowling game, but developer Hye Yeon Nam is looking to expand into different genres. Fighting? Puzzle? Tactical-role-playing-game? Who cares? Check out her webpage for more info (and a video after the jump). -Alejandro Quan-Madrid.


Most popular demo non-award award: BioShock: Infinite
The word was out: The new BioShock was a must-must-must-see. By the last day of E3, 2K Games had to turn people away, even after filling the demo room way past its capacity. The squished standing-room-only affair would've given a fire marshal heart failure…but then so would the demo. -Dan "Shoe" Hsu

Best game to melt into your couch with: PixelJunk Lifelike
British band Spacemen 3 once put out an album called "Taking drugs to make music to take drugs to," and I wonder if that wasn't somehow an inspiration to PixelJunk Lifelike — except coding under the influence probably doesn't work so well. Regardless, the Move-centric music creator seems custom-made for late nights with the black light turned on. -Demian Linn

Cutest press-kit download card: Nintendo
These days at E3, game companies typically distribute screenshots and trailers to the press via FTP download sites. They put the login info on a variety of formats including strips of paper or, more commonly, business cards. Kudos to Nintendo for its crafty "? block" cards…even if they were devoid of coins, power-ups, or points. -Alejandro Quan-Madrid

The “please, God, get me out of this demo” non-award award
Nyko made a lens for the Kinect that widens its field of view — for those in apartments or small dorm rooms. Sounds great in theory, but during a demo of a skiing game, the Nyko representative proceeded to lean to his left while the in-game skier continued to hump the right barrier of the slope. A restart and retry produced the same result, only this time the player leaned right while the skier broke left…amazing. After a good five minutes of this embarrassment, the rep gave up, moved us to another room, and explained how their products were supposed to work while we passed them around. In my imagination, that lens is totally awesome. Also, I am Grand Vizier of Perezistan and crush my enemies with my army of bear-men. -Ryan Perez

Most surprisingly good game that we expected to suck: Prey 2
Bitmob's Dan "Shoe" Hsu and I were surprised when we both left the Bethesda booth more impressed by Prey 2 than the main show, Skyrim [Editor's note: You say that now, but I know which game I'll be sinking 40+ hours into. -Demian]. Other than a few plot elements, nothing about it resembles its moderately received predecessor. With slick parkour and climbing mechanics, cover-based, first-person shooting, and a Blade Runner-inspired setting, Prey 2 looks like a darker Mirror's Edge-meets-Mass Effect. -Ryan Perez

Most annoying sound ever non-award award: Those birds from The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
Nintendo had a great booth, complete with giant models of Links and a girl that I assumed was Zelda flying on large, bird-like creatures. However, as if their presence hanging above the demos for the upcoming Wii game wasn't dominating enough, Nintendo also opted to pipe in loud, shrieking noises. Repeatedly. Ugh. -Mike Minotti


The "this is kind of upsetting" non-award award: Papo & Yo
Papo & Yo is a 3D puzzle-platforming game about a young boy, Quico, who befriends Monster, a large and seemingly harmless beast. There's just one problem: Monster is addicted to poisonous frogs, and ingesting said frogs triggers uncontrollable fits of rage. Then you find out that the game's an allegory for Creative Director Vander Caballero's own childhood; he grew up with an alcoholic and drug-addicted father in the favelas (hence the Spanish title "Daddy & I"). The game itself is fun and imaginative, but it's this context that makes Monster's ballistic behavior more than just a simple game mechanic. -Ryan Perez

Hardiest A.I.: Sniper: Ghost Warrior 2
Poor Michal Sroczynski. The Sniper: Ghost Warrior 2 producer had me hooked during his presentation of the new ways to speak softly and carry a big rifle in the sequel to 2010's first-person shooter — that is, until he encountered an enemy in plain sight that took five shots to the noggin without so much as batting an eyelid. Either I witnessed a drastic bug or an unintentional reveal of the game's secret "spit bullet" mode. -Omri Petitte

Unclear on the concept of how chairs work: Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning demo
It was nice that EA put the effort into dressing up the Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning demo room in a vaguely fantasy sort of way, but who thought it'd be a good idea to make the benches out of simulated, craggy boulders? Sharp rocks are not my first choice of seating medium; in fact they rank just above pokers and then red-hot pokers. Game writers have very delicate posteriors due to far higher than average use — won't somebody please think of the asses? -Demian Linn

Sharp and pointy!

The "I'm sure it's cool, but now's not the time" non-award award: Journey
I watched our own Rus McLaughlin do pretty much nothing for 25 minutes in desert-wandering/discovery game Journey for PSN. It's like Flower in the sense that it has minimalistic game design, where players need to figure stuff out for themselves — only much more leisurely paced. I would love to explore its beautiful world when I have more time, but during E3 with a billion other things to do and see, a slow-burn demo like this just makes me feel like I ought to be busy doing something else. -Dan "Shoe" Hsu


Publisher most likely to destroy your hearing: Electronic Arts
EA turned it up to 11 for its press briefing, and then they cranked it up to 12 on the South Hall floor. Sure, it drowned out the looping Assassin's Creed: Revelations fanfare next door, but at what cost to my hearing and my children's children's children's hearing? -Rus McLaughlin

Best props: World of Tanks
The Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning guys (or was it Rift?) brought a big hammer. That was nice.World of Tanks brought tanks. Well, duh. -Rus McLaughlin

Worst use of props: World of Tanks
And then they were just parked right in front of the west entrance in the most boring way possible and sat there for four days. C'mon, guys…aim the cannons at the convention center, suppress democratic reform protestors, crush Bitmob Writer Mike Minotti under the treads…oh, wait…. -Rus McLaughlin

Mike Minotti is our favorite hero of the people!

Attack of the (Autolog) clones: Forza 4, Call of Duty Elite
EA's subtly awesome Autolog feature — which allows you to issue asynchronous multiplayer challenges and track your friends' progress across a number of EA driving games, among other things — hasn't gone unnoticed by other publishers and developers. Forza 4 outlined a similar feature at E3, and Call of Duty's Elite service will almost certainly offer analogous functionality (with a nod towards too, of course). Mark my words — one of these days a platform-wide Autolog-like feature will come to PSN, Xbox Live, Steam, or maybe all three. In fact, look for it at E3 2012! -Demian Linn

Most likely to owe Quentin Tarantino some kind of royalties: Brothers in Arms: Furious Four
I'm going with Mad Libs style for this: One of the characters' M.O. is [present participle verb] [iconic symbol] into the foreheads of Nazi soldiers. The [iconic symbol] is meant as a reminder to the world that they were once Nazis and that they crossed [character name]. Ultimately, [game/movie title] feels a lot like a Holocaust-revenge fantasy. -James DeRosa

Wrong audience non-award ward: Sony's AT&T announcement
When Sony revealed AT&T would be its exclusive partner for the PS Vita, the press-conference crowd started laughing and groaning instead of applauding. Ouch. Maybe those Sony execs don't have call-dropping iPhones like half of us in the audience do? -Dan "Shoe" Hsu

The "they just don't give a shit anymore" non-award award: Saints Row: The Third
Groin shots? Air strikes on street gangs? Giant purple dildos as melee weapons? Professor Genki's Super Ballistic Manapult — a car that scoops up pedestrians and launches them out of a cannon? The developers of Saints Row: The Third have flushed any remaining semblance of civilized game design right down the crapper. It's the Jackass 3D of gaming, and we can't wait to get our hands dirty with it this fall. Just don't show it to Roger Ebert, OK? -Dan "Shoe" Hsu

Saints Row: The Third

The "line-o-mania" non-award award: EA
EA threw its full might into E3 with an impressive lineup of first-rate titles, including Mass Effect 3Battlefield 3, and Star Wars: The Old Republic. Equally impressive were the multiple lines snaking around the booth like a disjointed hydra as people queued up for a glimpse of their favorite games. Attending a demonstration became rather tough due to the constant crush of gamer gazers, appointment or not — and even then, seats quickly became a rare commodity as screening rooms teemed to the brim with viewers. Honorable mention: Nintendo's sometimes-two-hour-plus line for the Wii U. -Omri Petitte

WTF? non-award award for WTF?: Spyro the Dragon's giant friends
Activision must think it's got a much hotter property in Spyro the Dragon than anyone else does. In order to pimp the revival of the once-mighty purple dragon, the company flooded a corner of South Hall with fog (two feet deep on the ground, courtesy of six or seven ear-shattering fog machines) while lowering two Poke-creatures (not Spyro, but from his new game) from the ceiling onto a lit dais…every hour. Hey, the kids loved it! -Rus McLaughlin

Biggest pop for a passing mention: Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and 3DS
The applause when Nintendo briefly mentioned the Super Smash Bros. franchise in the context of its new systems rivaled the response to actual live demos of other games. Heck, the pop was almost as big as the Wii U reveal itself. While the Smash Bros. games started as fan-service for Nintendo-philes, the series is now as highly anticipated as the games that it draws its characters from. Here's to two years of hype-building, baseless speculation about who will join the roster, and disappointment when Geno from Super Mario RPG finally enters the fray but has the voice of a six-year-old girl. -Chris Hoadley

The "sometimes free Wi-Fi is a bad thing" non-award award: Sony
I appreciate some nice, free Wi-Fi — I really do. But in light of recent events, an unsecured network doesn't always send quite the right message…. -Demian Linn

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