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Posts Tagged ‘Leipzig Games Convention’

As another stellar PAX show wound down this weekend, Sony completed a more-or-less clean sweep of industry show prerelease buzz for LittleBigPlanet. The construction/platformer/multiplayer collaboration defies all current genre (yours truly is calling it a “toybox” game) and is quick to make fans wherever it pops up. It dominated E3 “Game of Show” lists, was named Leipzig’s Game of the Show, and popped in quite a few places at PAX, including the offbeat “How to Get Your Girlfriend into Video Games” panel.

Perhaps the most compelling argument for LBP is just how much stock Sony is putting in the game’s all-things-to-all-people mascot, Sackboy.  He’s truly a modern icon for the consumer generated content era: a blank (albeit cute and cuddly) slate to take on whichever identity makes the most sense for your game.  Whereas Mario (nee Jumpman) injected a little character into stacks of pixels nearly 30 years ago, Sackboy and his crew can be infused with all the personality you need.  Sony’s even releasing an 80G hardware bundle featuring LBP in Europe.

Perhaps most importantly, LBP is the latest in a line of unbelievably good titles that aim to occupy the space somewhere between a game and full-blown platform.  Rock Band and later editions of Guitar Hero continue to deliver weekly content to suit a wide variet of tastes, from The Who to Nirvana song packs.  Nintendo packed a robust level editor into the already-superb Super Smash Brothers Brawl, and the community still pumps out engaging level designs almost 6 months after its release.  Soul Calibur IV is currently flying off the shelves, due in large part to one of the deepest create-a-character modes ever seen in a console brawler.

While it’s true that these games rely heavily on the efforts of an engaged community, they also require a substantial commitment from developers.  LBP developer Media Molecule has made it clear that they have no followup project in mind yet.  For the months, maybe even years after it ships, they will be in the business of supporting and expanding LBP. And I applaud the effort.

Can LittleBigPlanet deliver on expectations?  Will it truly make us all one step closer to self publishers?  Will it finally deliver a sustainable experience supported by smart, effective in-game advertising?  Only time will tell, and I can hardly wait until October to find out.

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The annual Games Convention is going on this week in Leipzig, Germany.  When it was first introduced in 2002, the GC was an oddity at best.  It falls on the calendar barely a month after E3 and before the Tokyo Game Show, is open to the public, and is a mostly console show seated in the heart of a decidedly PC-centric gaming scene.  So it was a surprise to see any big news come out of the show.

Six years and a confusing E3 metamorphasis later, Leipzig still isn’t a white-hot show by any stretch of the imagination.  Nintendo’s not attending this year, and Microsoft won’t be holding a press conference.  However, a few nuggets were saved from min-E3 and are making a big splash at the show this week.

Capcom will finally be showing the console version of Street Fighter IV.  The arcade game was still pretty fresh at E3, and they gave the public a pretty good look at the San Diego Comicon earlier this summer.  Smart move to sit on the console version.  But the big Leipzig news that caught my attention came out of Activision: Guitar Hero World Tour on the 360, PS2 and PS3 will be combatible with all the instruments from previous Guitar Hero games on those systems, and even Rock Band 1 & 2.  It’s about time.

World Tour’s set list, composition mode and exclusive bands are attractive, but Rock Band’s commitment to DLC and serious, curatorial take on the rhythem game are a tough act to follow.  It was shaping up to be a tough choice for gamers (including yours truly) this Christmas between the two… especially for those gamers who couldn’t possibly bring more toy instruments into their living room.

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