Whilst short and a wonderfully teasing 'teaser trailer', it simply shows us what we've been missing out on the past couple of years - an original Pixar film. Toy Story 3 was great, Cars 2 looks like an absolute joke - but they are still not what Pixar excels at. Creating exciting and interesting characters and stories. The jungles put those feature in The Incredibles to shame very easily in the minute of screen time that they are given. Here's hoping the characters and stories hold up to the long-standing Pixar standard (ignoring Cars & Cars 2 ).
Cannot wait for it. Cars 2 looks to be such a let down (just like the original Cars) but at least it will make way for Brave - a story of firsts;
- First Pixar fairy tale.
- First female lead character.
- First female directed (co-directed) Pixar feature.
First official photos of Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins as well as Ian McKellen revisting his role as Gandalf. It's great to get a look at Freeman in his hobbit feet, as well as a few dwarves lurking in the background of Bag End. I find myself more excited by seeing Gandalf again, garbed in his traditional grey and looking as if he never left Middle Earth.
23. (COMPLETE!) Read 1 chapter per day of a book for a month.
Done! As mentioned in a previous post I altered the criteria from a chapter per day to seven per week. Was very enjoyable, I'm loving reading again. In fact I'm frustrated that I can't read quicker - I used to read faster but I found that I really didn't pay attention to alot of the book as a result. If I can up my reading to
Week 1 - 8 Chapters, Horus Heresy: Horus Rising (Dan Abnett). 4 Chapters, Patriot Games (Tom Clancy).
Week 2 - 8 Chapters, Patriot Games (Tom Clancy).
Week 3 - 14 Chapters, Patriot Games (Tom Clancy).
Week 4 - 1 Chapter, Patriot Games (Tom Clancy). 19 Chapters, The Serpent Bride (Sara Douglass).
So I'm hoping that I can read an average book a week (given the time). I've got a couple Sara Douglass and Raymond E Feist books that I'd like to get to as well as a couple of Star Wars novels. Next time I'm hunting through a second hand bookshop I'll be picking up some more Tom Clancy novels, I enjoyed Patriot Games immensely - they are quite cinematic in their delivery and handling of multiple points of view.
I'm also looking at picking up some more the Horus Heresy from Galaxy Books now that they've settled into their new premises.
I feel as though Nintendo outshone its competitors this year. Beginning with a celebration of the 25th Anniversary of Zelda and rounding out with the announcement of the first new console since 2006 I think the future certainly holds high hopes for Nintendo to reclaim some of their hardcore gamer audience.
- Firstly, the new console is titled the 'Wii-U'. Perhaps a very ridiculous name, but it builds upon the existing brand which Nintendo have developed strongly. The console is essentially the Wii 2.5 - featuring HD output (finally!) which has already encouraged developers such as Ubisoft to jump on board promising Assassin Creed titles. The physical look is a streamlined Wii (which must lie down), backwards compatible with all Wii products (including Wiimotes etc). No longer providing Gamecube support and following a similar memory system the Wii-U offers alot of promise. The major development revolves around the unique controller which features a 6.2" touchscreen. This works in companion to games such as Zelda, displaying your inventory in a similar way that the DS does. The ultimate feature of this controller is the ability to switch all gameplay to the screen, without the need of a tv. This is especially important to families with children and a single tv - the parents can still watch tv and the kids can still play their games without one getting in the way of the other. Some aren't excited by the controller but the only issue that I can see with it is the lack of real analogue sticks and the potential pricing.
- With a new console comes a slew of announcements for new titles. For some reason their was alot of suprise for a new Smash Bros Wii-U title. I cannot understand why. Super Smash Bros has been a stable pillar of Nintendo since the N64 - both the Gamecube and Wii featuring Smash Bros as close-to release titles. Super Smash Bros Melee was the highest selling title for the Gamecube.
- Luigi's Mansion 2 debuted gameplay footage. As did a slew of 3DS titles including Starfox 64 3DS, Resident Evil: Revelations and Super Mario 3DS.
- Whilst there was no announcements regarding any plans for Zelda Anniversary packs (such as Mario had last year) but Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword debuted more gameplay footage which certainly impressed. The first game to feature an adult Link as well as a unique art style. I am hoping that it will be akin to Windwaker in its approach to a new style of gameplay.
Microsoft's panel delivered some major announcements which was unfortunately hampered by their insistence on shoving Kinect down our throats. There was a mix of expected announcements as well as some unexpected ones;
- Halo, Halo and more Halo. That was one major player in Microsoft's panel (as it has always been). For the first time in years Master Chief was back at the head of the franchise after a few absent years. Halo Combat Evolved: Anniversary was detailed and thankfully delivered a faithful update to the now 10 year old classic. It will be released in November, exactly 10 years after it originally blew our collective minds. The game makes use of the Halo: Reach engine (thankfully) and from what we have seen/heard is essentially the same game with updated graphics. There is also A Monkey Island-esque feature allowing you to shift back to the original graphics. The only downside to the release is the lack of the original mutliplayer but we are provided with 7 'classic' maps as a compromise. I am hoping that Sidewinder is featured, then I'll be set! The other announcement was Halo 4 - the first in a new trilogy featuring Master Chief and Cortana once again.
- Microsoft desperately wants hardcore gamers to love Kinect, featuring a game developed by Crytek as a key example of what is possible. Also featured Star Wars Kinect which failed to impress (unfortunately).
- The biggest showcase of the year was the final chapter of Gears of War, which continues to deliver. Hopefully after the game is released Epic Games will move on and apply their expertise to something new. Personally I would like to see a medieval Gears-styled game.
- Other games showcased included Mass Effect 3 (with Kinect support) as well as many cross-platformers.
E3 came and went this year. It didn't seem as memorable as past years, perhaps due to some lackluster conferences from the major players. Sony spent alot of their panel apologising for the recent PSN hack. Not just apologising once mind you, over and over. Regardless, a quick recap of their major announcements;
- Further gameplay from Uncharted 3 was exhibited, detailing a rather spectacular sinking ship level.
- The announcement of the Playstation Vita - the follow up to the PSP. With a 5" front touch screen panel, a rear panel as well as full sized analogue sticks.
- Perhaps the biggest announcement was Sony's new 3D splitscreen-less tv targeted at multiplayer. As you probably know 3D glasses are polarised to see two separate images (for each eye) to generate the 3D effect. This tv allows you for the same approach but to see 2 different images with different glasses. Essentially - Player 1s glasses display what would have occupied the top half of a split-screen, Player 2s the bottom. But unlike current setups with the screen split in half the player will see their gameplay in full screen, unable to see their opponents screen. Sounds confusing I know, but apparently it works great.
- Many other games were detailed, alot of which were cross-platformers which I'll probably post about later.
Nintendo could not have jumped on a more perfect opportunity to advertise the upcoming release of The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time on 3DS than taking advantage of celebrity advertising. Robin Williams has long been outspoken about his avid passion for gaming, his online presence including Warcraft 3, Battlefield 2, Half-Life and Halo 3 as well as demo-ing Spore at E3 and finally his passion for Dungeons & Dragons.
He has often commented on his love of the Zelda series, going as far as to name his daughter after the titular character (Zelda Rae Willliams). So why not take advantage of this and provide Williams with an opportunity to be involved in the advertising for a game that I am sure he waiting for just as much as the rest of us.
23. (PROGRESS!) Read 1 chapter per day of a book for a month.
The week just past was filled with a further 8 chapters of Patriot Games (Tom Clancy). That's really all there is to it. I read a few articles in a magazine as well as a bunch of texts for my thesis but that's about all. I'm about halfway through the book now, I am hoping to finish it by the end of this week so that I can power through on catching up on some Sara Douglass that is in desperate need of rereading/actually reading!