WTF: EA’s Masturbatory Display at E3

Hey EA, remember the time that you made Command and Conquer: Generals? I do. I still remember the countless hours of LAN parties. I remember the way that my stomach rumbled with Mountain Dew as I pounded angrily on my keyboard with fingers coated in a thick layer of Cheetos shame-dust . I remember the bowl wrenching terror that I felt when I watched a swarm of Rocket Buggies roll across my screen. I remember the way that the peasants begged for more shoes. Oh and how they begged! I loved that shit. That game started  more arguments with  my first roommate than his penchant for playing Rock Band at three in the goddamn morning, and it ended more arguments than his need to partake in his recreational drug habit.

Do you remember the time that you made Mirror’s Edge? I still remember the first time I watched someone play it. It was at a terrible housewarming  party. I remember sitting on the couch with a can of  terrible cheap beer a few inches from my lips as I stared at the screen, I was transfixed by the sleek graphics and the intensely unique game play. I like to imagine that Mirror’s Edge is responsible for a decent number of nerdfolk attempting parkour and then injuring themselves.

FuturecopHell, I even played and enjoyed Future Cop: LAPD!  Yes, I was one of the roughly 200,000 that played that game. A big part of that was my youthful desire to one day own a Mech. Future Cop was part of a very long training regiment  that was designed to prepare me to operate a giant robot. That desire likely started with the hand-me-down Vehicle Voltron toy (which had about 30 choke-able pieces) that my uncle gave me when I was a tiny child and extended until the time that I beat Steel Battalion (In the sense that I played three missions without dying). Future Cop was nothing ground breaking but it was at least interesting in it’s bland action game aesthetic. It was unique in it’s mediocrity.

I thought we were on the same page EA. I thought that you would keep making a number of unique and interesting games, and I would use that as a justification for ignoring the 27 Madden games you have released since 1988, or the 33 FIFA games since 1994. I was wrong. I was shamefully incorrect.

I sat through your entire presentation. I would like that time back please. I listened to you guys talk about this year’s rehash of tired concepts and dull games. I watched you play your own fucking game. I grokked your sales pitch and I was with the 89% of the audience that did not applaud. Some might say that  I did not applaud because I was sitting at a  table in front of my local coffee shop and would have looked like a crazy person if  gave my laptop a standing ovation. Well yes that was indeed a part of it, but it was mostly the overwhelming feeling of being underwhelmed that I was experiencing.  Do you really need to advertise the latest Madden? I mean seriously, do you? I thought that people purchased those games as a knee jerk reaction. I thought that they just came out and people threw money at you. Did you really need to ramble about the improved physics engines at work? Do people care? Honestly, I would like an answer. I just imagine that there is a dank basement full of  miserable game developers at work on next year’s game already. I imagine this basement looks like something out of Metro 2033, and that all of the developers are manacled to their workstations. I think that this room must be the video game equivalent of George Orwell’s room 101. In my mind’s eye I see sunken cheeks and hollow eyes. I imagine that every year you whip these poor bastards and demand that they come up with a new mechanic for play selection, or tell them to tweak the fumbling algorithm. I imagine that they all go home and cry tears of lonely frustration in tiny, dingy apartments that carry with the post apocalyptic Russian feel. I imagine that last year some slimy bastard swaggered into their work hole and kicked over their slop trough. In my head he adjusts his Commissar’s hat and fires a warning shot into the air before speaking. “It would appear that a great many people have embraced this ‘Facebook’ thing, the Shadow Council has decided that all games shall post on Facebook.” Then a pitiful, emaciated programer stands and says, “But Overlord, are you not worried that the public would find these meaningless posts tedious and obnoxious? I mean who actually cares how their friend’s career mode is going?” I imagine the Overlord’s eyes narrowing in disgust, and two mono-browed goons seizing the treasonous program and dragging him off. I imagine his dirt encrusted legs kicking  wildly and his screams echoing down the hallways.

 BB-is-watching-you

Big Brother wants to be your friend on Facebook.

 

Adding such a focus on social networking is such an absurdly silly idea that it could only been made by a committee of advertising executives. I am not just saying this because I hate/fear the social media trend. I have a rarely used twitter. I understand the logic, they think that they will trick us into caring for a game by inundating us with posts about how much fun Jeffery is having. They fail to realize that people tune out incessant Facebook chatter. I am sorry to be the one to break this to you, but the four hundred posts about the pretend success or failure of a player in an imaginary sporting contest are of no value to anyone else. We are incapable of connecting to it, not because we do not care about sports, but because  we do not care about a football game that is only relevant to one person in the world.

Also, why the hell would you want to turn Dead Space 3 into a re-skinned Gears of War variant? I loved the first Dead Space, it always felt like the spiritual successor to Event Horizon. It was spooky and  scary enough that I played it in the middle of the day with all of the damn lights on. Seriously. The first time I played it I kept expending the majority of my ammo on empty hall ways because they looked entirely too menacing. The feeling of isolation is what makes the terror in the first  game. The knowledge that you are the only thing moving through the map builds an intense paranoia,  any noise or motion elicits a knee jerk “ohshit!”. I saw your game play demo for DS3 and I realized that all menace and terror had been stripped from it with the addition of a second player. Then I started listening to the in game dialogue between the two characters. Dear sweet Jesus. What in the ever loving fuck are you thinking? How can I take your game seriously when the characters are making light of their current situation? How am I supposed to feel an iota of terror  when my avatar is spewing one liners? What is this absurd bro-fest?  In the game play demo the two “Heroes” fight some form of absurd giant drill, one of them  says something akin to “How the shit are we going  to deal with this thing brah?“, to which the other one replies “How am I supposed to know? YOU ARE THE ROCKET SCIENTIST!“. Predictably the first Alien-puncher points out that a drill is not a rocket. Laughs all around. Except from me, I am cringing angrily.

DeadSpaceI could bitch about EA diverting resources to produce a  new SimCity, but does anyone actually care? Can anyone actually summon the energy to feel any emotion about the possible release of a new SimCity? Everyone that I have talked to  has shrugged in a dismissive way and said “I remember those games…“. Yes, we all do. I remember when my friend’s dad had an IBM, and that was  the only game that would run on it. It was worth twenty minutes of play then and I am sure that it is still a dull game for OCD mouth breathers with a god complex. The type of people that actually care about the  perfect layout for their electrical grid. However I imagine that all of those people are currently neckbeard deep in MineCraft and I would rather be beard deep in MineCraft! It’s an infinitely more interesting game.  I bet SimCity will have an absurd price tag and I am certain that the shelves at  Office Max will be full of unopened copies in six months.

Anyways, thanks for the sale’s pitch EA….I guess. I’d say that I will pass on your line this year but that is not  a strong enough statement, so I will say this:

If you were my aging relative, I would put you in a retirement home and rarely visit you.

If you were my girlfriend, I would dump you and burn everything that reminded me that you existed.

If you were my dinner, I would feed you to my dog. I would then apologize to my dog.

But you are none of these things. You are a company, and as such I would like my money back. I would like all of the money that I have ever given you back. Your line up and lack of vision is so depressing that I regret ever giving you money. I feel that I have invested in you in the past,  and that you have let me down completely. I am very disappointed in you.

Jairus Mitchell

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