Saturday, June 15, 2019

Only A Couple E3 Bits And Bobs

A couple years ago, I did an E3 thing... and I never touched one of these again... but there were a couple items on this year's E3 that piqued my interest and I figured we try this again... and after reviewing some quick notes, it turns out only three items remotely piqued my interested; the upcoming release of a new Contra game for the modern platforms, news of various old-school Star Wars video and computer games getting physical re-releases for the first time in years, and the announcement of a new plug-and-play Turbografx-16 mini system from Konami, which has me more intrigued than the upcoming Mega Drive mini, which is looking pretty good on paper except for those three-button controllers. Never been a fan of those.

Aside from that, there were slim pickings from E3 that caught my attention for more than a couple seconds. It's nice to see Nintendo get a fair share of upcoming worthwhile releases on their Switch console and if nothing else, does a better job of selling me on the console to consider picking one of these up somewhere down the line. Everything is either stuff I've already seen before or new stuff that I glanced at for a second and didn't give a first - let alone second - thought. And this is all based on recaps from these various year-long video streams of talking heads and video trailers that tell you nothing that people find the time to watch and comment on in their entirety.

And to the people who do that sort of thing, I don't know how you manage it. I try sitting through one of these and shut it of after five minutes because it just hurt my brain to how much of a waste of time this is. How people can watch these marathons of nothing for hours and days on end... nothing but absolute respect for the endurance you have to sit through these things because it's unfathomable... but I digress.

So when the announcement came that the Contra Anniversary Collection was available for purchase, I went on my Steam App and bought the fucker. First impressions: it's fine. It's pretty much similar to the Castlevania Anniversary Collection as far as features, performance, and layout is concerned and while the game selection might seem lacking to some due to some padding of regional flavors, what's here is still pretty solid stuff.

However, the thing that surprised me was the announcement of an all-new Contra title called Contra: Rogue Corps, which is apparently a top-down shooter thing of sorts and due to see the light of day on all the major platforms. So, yeah, that's a bit of a surprise. Wonder if it's going to be any good? Usually, Contra games that deviate from the establish formula tend to have something of a shoddy execution. The PS1 games being perhaps the most prime examples of this... but I digress. So long as gameplay is tight, fast-paced, and ball-bustingly challenging, the new game should be just fine.

And then there was the other surprise from Konami... the announcement of a TurboGrafx-16 mini console due to be released in the near future. No price point or release date has been mentioned as of late and only a handful of games have been announced depending on the region (PCE people get Rondo while the US gets New Adventure Island... not much of a tradeoff. But...

Actually, you know what? That's a good thing; assuming the game selection and the emulation is up to snuff, this is something that's worth checking out. I'm actually more intrigued by this than the upcoming Mega Drive mini to be honest. Another pleasant surprise and depending on the details, it'll be a nice way for folks who missed out on the Turbo the first time around to experience some of the great games that were on the system. Nothing in regards to pricing or release date, though I'd imagine it'd be way cheaper than trying to get the actual hardware.

Finally, for those who love overpriced physical gimmicks of ancient things in fancy packages, Limited Run games recently announced that they're going to be re-releasing a bunch of old Star Wars games on collectable formats for their original formats with collectable gimmicks and stuff. The list of games to receive the collector's edition treatment or whatever they're calling it include:

Star Wars (NES, Game Boy)
Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (NES, Game Boy)
Star Wars: X-Wing (PC)
Star Wars: TIE Fighter (PC)
Star Wars: Rebel Assault (PC)
Star Wars: Dark Forces (PC)
Star Wars: Jedi Knight (PC)
Star Wars Jedi Knight 2 - Jedi Outcast (PC)
Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy (PC)
Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire (PC, N64)
Star Wars Episode I: Racer (PC, N64) - no Dreamcast? Tsk, tsk.
Star Wars: Racer Revenge (PS4)
Star Wars: Bounty Hunter (PS4)

So I'm going to admit... I'm actually curious as to how this is going to work, especially in regards to the PC stuff. Is it just going to be simple repackaging or are they going to recreate the old big box experience and include all the extra nicknacks that came with the games? The supplementary material like the Farlander Papers in X-Wings or the various quick reference cards for when you needed to know which keys did what functions? Also, I assume these will be reworked somewhat to function on modern systems... DOSBox or something to that affect? Will there be ports? That sort of thing.

Hey, for those who want something tangible and are willing to spend the extra bucks, it's nice to have some fresh options and I'm rather curious to see how these will turn out. Of course, if you don't care for that sort of thing and you just want a cheaper way of playing these games... is your friend. It's DRM-free so you can download the installers and do what you want... and they also have all the scans for the instruction manuals, supplementary material, and a couple even have strategy guides if you need the help.

In any event, June 28th is when the first batch of stuff is due to come out and we'll see from there, I suppose. To tell you the truth, I'm more intrigued by the physical re-release of ancient Star Wars games from two or three decades ago than I am the recent Jedi Fallen Order game, which if nothing else, looks nice... but it's a game from EA... and apparently, EA is the devil's tit.

And that's all there is to it... E3 was a thing.


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