E3 focusing on games this year

The 2014 Electronics Entertainment Expo lacks the major trappings of the past few years. There were no major consoles to announce, no hour-long presentation on the next big console’s features and what it means to the games industry, few talks on the next huge feature in gaming.

This year’s E3 was, by and large, about the games — at least, as of Wednesday, when this column went to press. That’s how it should be.

E3 has become such a prestigious conference to announce huge developments in how we play games that it can feel like the games themselves aren’t represented as much as they need to be. I know that sounds like a ridiculous statement about an annual event dedicated to games, where more than 100 new games are shown to the public each year. But the fact remains the average person doesn’t hear as much about all the games as he or she does about the next way to play them.

It’s good, then, to see an E3 dedicated by and large to the games. Like many pieces of art or other content, businesses are focusing more on how it’s delivered to people rather than whether or not it’s good. I’ve written before about how studios are making less games and going with safer concepts to market to gamers in order to make money. That trend leads to fewer new concepts and less emphasis on the games themselves, as we’ve seen.

That’s why it’s great to hear about games like “Devil’s Third,” a bizarre M-rated game from Tomonobu Itagaki, the mastermind behind the Xbox version of “Ninja Gaiden.” It’s exciting to see gameplay from “Xenoblade Chronicles X,” the sequel to “Xenoblade Chronicles,” a Japanese RPG which fans petitioned to get released in the U.S. That game became a huge hit and used copies of the game routinely sell for a high value.

It’s fun to see Pac-Man added to the latest version of “Super Smash Bros,” to hear about games like the new “Star Fox,” “Borderlands: The Prequel,” “Final Fantasy Type-0,” “Assassin’s Creed Unity,” “Bayonetta 2” and even crazy-looking independent games like “No Man’s Sky” and “Entwined.”

These are the games we’ll play in the future. These are the drivers for businesses to get more money. It’s good to see them as the focus instead of a new gadget this year.

Blooming Prairie

Two from Austin injured in Friday crash near Blooming Prairie

News

Minnesota lawmakers assert protections for public waters

Mower County

I-90 eastbound 4th, 6th Street ramps in Austin close May 31, Cedar River closes June 3

Mower County

Photos: Those who gave all honored on Memorial Day

Mower County

Honor those who served this Memorial Day

Education

‘Light the world on fire:’ Pacelli graduates the Class of 2024

Education

Signing ceremony a first step for students hoping to get into education

Education

Hook, line, and sinker – Lyle students made the best catch

Mower County

Austin Stormwater Resilience Plan – Open House slated for Tuesday

Mower County

Mueller awarded fellowship to attend leadership institute

Mower County

Nominations to open June 1 for APS Distinguished Alumni

Mower County

Great River Energy donates fire test hose station to Dexter Fire Department

Mower County

In Your Community: Austin Masons donated to area fire departments

Brownsdale

In Your Community: Brownsdale Study Club

Mower County

In Your Community: Duplicate Bridge

Education

Education Briefs:

News

National Guard joins search for 2 missing canoeists in BWCA

Crime, Courts & Emergencies

Convictions: May 13-20

Crime, Courts & Emergencies

Austin man charged with possessing child pornography

News

As Walz signs $30 million for rural EMS, providers worry it’s not enough

Education

SMEC graduates tell their own tales of success

Business

Company that owns Austin radio stations lays off on-air personalities, part of sweeping move

Mower County

Institute dedicated to moving forward despite missing out on bonding dollars

Mower County

Institute Community Outreach and Education manager receives grant to expand STEM education offerings