[Insert Drum Roll]
This week, we put out the call for any and all questions you’d like us to ask game developers at E3. We’ve made our picks, and so without further ado, here is the official Gameological Questionnaire for E3 2015:
Merve asks, “What’s one thing in your game that took a lot of work to get right but that players might not easily notice?”
DL asks, “If you were to embed a playable retro title into your game, which would it be and why?”
Unexpected Dave asks, “If you had tried to make this game 15 to 20 years ago, what would you have had to do differently?”
Duwease asks, “If your game were the main course of a meal, what would be the appetizer and the dessert?”
Congrats to all the commenters who got picked! There were a lot of killer questions this year, and it was really difficult to get down to just these four. As noted before, these questions will be joining Angry Raisins’ query from 2014: “If my résumé included a whole summer spent just playing your game, how should I spin it as valuable experience?” We’ll report back with answers throughout the week. We already have a couple of exciting interviews lined up. It’s going to be fun.
The Virtual Boy’s Real Tragedy
As part of 1995 Week, Anthony John Agnello looked back at the Virtual Boy, a product that embodied so many of Nintendo’s ideals but ended up as one of the company’s most infamous failures. Down in the comments, both Mr. Glitch and ItsTheShadsy added a more personal, tragic capper to its story. Here’s Shadsy on the device’s designer, Gunpei Yokoi:
The biggest disappointment about the Virtual Boy has to be its status as the ignoble ending of Gunpei Yokoi’s career. His contributions to Nintendo and gaming in general are staggering. In addition to the Game Boy and Game & Watch mentioned in the article (and by extension, the idea of a portable game system), he was one of the creators of Metroid, and he invented the directional pad—you know, the thing that’s still used on every controller today. Then the Virtual Boy flopped, he left Nintendo, and he was killed in a hit-and-run. I would’ve loved to see what he’d do with modern Nintendo hardware.
And DrFlimFlam remembered a sad Yokoi anecdote:
Any time someone brings up the Virtual Boy I am reminded of an anecdote from Steven Kent’s The Ultimate History Of Video Games. Nintendo was furious with Yokoi for the Virtual Boy and made him man the Virtual Boy station at trade shows all by himself to shame him. Obviously the system was Nintendo’s first disaster since entering the home gaming market with the Famicom, and Nintendo boss Hiroshi Yamauchi was never known for his soft and cuddly side, but Yokoi’s death not long after casts a tragic light on his punishment. Definitely a sad loss.
But Otakunomike tried to end things on a more optimistic note:
While the Virtual Boy may have destroyed his career at Nintendo, he was recovering. He had just helped create Bandai’s WonderSwan (a very odd Japanese system that was around for close to 10 years) before his death, so he wasn’t completely drained of clout. Given a few years he would have been right back on top of the game.
Down Memory Lane
Also this week, the Gameological staff went and shared their fondest gaming memories from 1995, and down in the comments, readers provided a ton more deep 1995 cuts and cute stories of their own. Captain Internet remembered an intriguing RPG that’s been lost to time (and since NakedSnake namedropped it too, the good captain now knows of at least one other person who’s played it):
One of my favourite games of all time, Albion, first saw light in 1995. It was a mix of overhead/first-person RPG that saw you as Tom Driscoll, a pilot aboard a mining starship, who crash lands with scientific observer Rainer Hofstedt on a mineral-rich planet that is thought to be dead. Rather than asphyxiating as they expected, they find the planet is full of life and are taken in by the curiously tall and strange locals. They must then find a way home but not before encountering a whole bunch of plot twists and a slightly predictable ending.
Years later, James Cameron would turn a less interesting version of the plot into Avatar. If you want to give it a whirl, you can find it on various abandonware sites.
MissBeaHaven remembered picking a fight with an old FMV game:
I had that PC game Shivers where you had to spend a night in a haunted museum. It was one of those games with the live-action snippets nestled in the game, which was still such a huge novelty. The first live scene is the intro, where you watch a clip of what is supposed to be a group of your “friends” saying goodbye to you at the gate. Really, though, they just act like a bunch of dicks and drive off.
These people irritated the shit out of me so badly, I kept reloading the opening sequence just to heckle them and perfect my sarcastic comebacks. I was basically like a toddler who prefers to play with the box instead of the actual toy, I was more interested in the opening clip than the game itself. I remember it fondly because I had so much unplanned fun being a douche to the little bastards in the opening sequence. It took me about an hour to even care about the game.
See for yourself. Seriously, they’re a bunch of jerks:
And elsewhere, hatch perfectly summed up one of the year’s most beloved games:
Look at the camera…
Say, “fuzzy pickles.”
One More Thing
Today we announced that—in addition to all the previews, interviews, and odds and ends that we’ll be shooting your way from E3—Gameological will once again be live-chatting our way through some of the week’s major press conferences. We won’t be covering them all, unfortunately, but over in the Gameological Steam Group (which you should join if you’re a cool person who likes cool things), the one and only Merve is inviting members to jump into the chat and discuss the week’s other presentations. Here’s a quick schedule:
June 15, 4 p.m. Eastern: EA
June 15, 6 p.m. Eastern: Ubisoft
June 16, 1 p.m. Eastern: Square Enix
June 16, 8 p.m. Eastern: The PC Gaming Show
That does it for this week. Thanks for reading and commenting. We’ll see you again Sunday night in our Bethesda press conference live chat!