Jacob Zinn :: journalist + photographer

E3 in brief

Posted in Music, Observations, Skateboarding, Video Games by Jacob Zinn on June 3, 2009

Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony are in Los Angeles this week at the annual Electronic Entertainment Expo to promote their upcoming video game titles and unveil the latest gaming technology. All three companies are bringing their A-game to the show: Nintendo is releasing a sequel to 2007’s Super Mario Galaxy, Microsoft has promised a new Halo title for 2010 and Sony has introduced the PSP Go, a new version of the PSP, but half the size of its predecessor.

There are far too many games and new pieces of equipment to go into detail, but here are of few titles that caught my attention.


Brütal Legend (PS3, Xbox 360) – October 13, 2009

Perhaps this was bound to happen. Both hard rock and fantasy games have been selling well in the video game market. Brütal Legend is a fusion of the two.

You play Eddie Riggs, a roadie voiced by Jack Black who ends up in a heavy metal fantasy world.

The game features the comedy stylings of Black with the musical stylings of bands such as Black Sabbath and Judas Priest, not to mention cameo appearances by their lead singers, Ozzy Osbourne and Rob Halford. Oh, and Lemmy from Motörhead is in the game too.

It was originally under Activision, but they dropped the game and Electronic Arts picked it up. I’m gonna call it right now: bad move, Activison.

There are way too many heavy metal umlauts in this article.


DJ Hero (PS3, Wii, Xbox 360) – October 27, 2009

First, there was karaoke. Then there was Guitar Hero. Then there was Rock Band. Now, hip-hop is making its way into the rhythm game industry.

DJ Hero uses a turntable peripheral with three coloured buttons. Gameplay footage is scarce, but it’s likely as user-friendly as it can possibly be. The trailer fuses “Hollaback Girl” by Gwen Stefani and “Give It to Me, Baby” by Rick James and promises over 80 mixes.

This appears to be the first stab at a mainstream DJ game. It’s unclear how large of a market there is for it or how well it will do, but rappers Eminem and Jay-Z were on hand to perform after a set by TRV$-DJAM (blink-182 drummer Travis Barker and DJ AM).

There are no vinyl records with this game. The only thing you’ll have to worry about scratching is your coffee table.


Guitar Hero 5 (PS2, PS3, Wii, Xbox 360) – September 1, 2009

The Guitar Hero franchise is coming back for round five. At this point, not much news has been released about the game except for a handful of tracks, including “2 Minutes to Midnight” by Iron Maiden, “Ring of Fire” by Johnny Cash and “Sympathy for the Devil” by The Rolling Stones.

GH5 will have a few new methods of gameplay and improvements on its music studio abilities. Besides that, we’ll have to wait until the first of September.


The Beatles: Rock Band (PS3, Wii, Xbox 360) – September 9, 2009

Activision, the makers of Guitar Hero, will have some competition when The Beatles: Rock Band comes out. The game will be released with a new set of peripherals: a Rickenbacker 325 guitar, a Gretsch Duo Jet guitar, a Höfner bass and a Ludwig drum set. (Don’t fret, existing controllers will be compatible.)

The game will have 45 master tracks, and unlike the AC/DC Live: Rock Band Track Pack which didn’t have the band as playable characters, all four of the Beatles are animated in their video game debut. The trailer has the virtual Fab Four playing songs such as “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” “I Feel Fine,” “Here Comes the Sun” and “Taxman.”

Just like Across the Universe got todays youth into The Beatles, this game will reach an even wider demographic, bringing young and old together.


LEGO Rock Band (NDS, PS3, Wii, Xbox 360) – Holiday 2009

Not to mention that Harmonix and MTV are releasing a second Rock Band title soon after. LEGO Rock Band is the latest in a long list of previous LEGO games. Your LEGO figure gets to play LEGO instruments at LEGO venues in a LEGO world.

The amp even goes up to 11.

The game is aimed towards younger audiences, so the soundtrack won’t be as loud. That might be a plus in the books of some parents.

I’m hoping they make a guitar peripheral with real LEGO bricks as fret buttons and release LEGO sets of the characters.


Rabbids Go Home (Wii) – October 2009

The fourth game in the series, this is sure to be another family-friendly Wii title. In previous Rabbids games, Rayman shot plungers at rabid rabbits (get it now?). Now the Rabbids are collecting everything they can get their paws on to make a pile in an effort to reach their home planet: the moon.

This will be mildly entertaining for immature teens (or adults), but a safe bet for kids.


Tony Hawk: Ride (PS3, Wii, Xbox 360) – Fall 2009

As previously posted, Tony Hawk: Ride is the tenth game in the series and comes out a decade after the Birdman did the first 900.

This is the first game in the franchise to use the skateboard peripheral, which features accelerometers (I don’t know what those are) and infrared sensors to measure your balance, the placement of your feet and where your hands are when making grabs.

Featured skaters include Christian Hosoi, Ryan Sheckler, Paul Rodriguez, Mike Vallely and Stevie Williams. Rodney Mullen, Lyn-Z Adams Hawkins and Nyjah Huston can be seen playing Ride in interview footage, though it hasn’t been confirmed that they are in the game.

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