The top five biggest letdowns of E3 2012

1. Nintendo, Period

This was supposed to be the year that Nintendo dominated E3.  This was supposed to be the year that they came out guns blazing, showing off the high definition power of its system, as well as its capable features, its reworked Nintendo Network set-up, and its killer line-up of games.  This was supposed to be the year Shigeru Miyamoto came out with sword in hand and proclaimed the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 dead.

So what happened?  One of the lamest press conferences we’ve ever sat through, talking about the Wii Fit U and some lame game called Nintendoland.  No announcement of a new Metroid or Zelda.  No extended footage of New Super Mario Bros U in action.  No Shigeru with sword.  And worst of all, no price point and no release date – which is a cardinal sin, as E3 is usually the place to reveal both, especially with the competition stacking up so heavily against you.

Not only that, but Nintendo’s booth didn’t really provide any major surprises for the system.  Sure, Pikmin 3 is pretty good, and the third party games have some promise to them, but as a whole, it just felt like the company fell way behind when it should’ve been pushing ahead.  We can only hope it gets better from here for them…because it can’t get any worse.

3. NBA Live 13 Is a No Show

With EA Sports announcing the mighty return of its NBA Live franchise (after the debacle that was NBA Elite 11), one would think that the game would be a big hit at E3, to go head-to-head against NBA 2K13.  Um, nope.  Live was nowhere to be found, not even behind closed doors, leaving us wondering just how the game is progressing.  EA stated that the game was simply deserving of its own showcase, but honestly, outside of making it a better product, there’s no reason for it to pull a no-show.

Sure, Bioshock Infinite did the same thing in a way, but we’ve seen it in action and know Irrational Games are putting a heck of a good amount of time to making it perfect, where NBA Live 13 is trying to build on gamers’ good graces again, after the abrupt cancellation of the cruddy Elite.  This was a time for the product to prove its worth…and instead it went into hiding.  Not good, guys.

For that matter, where was Insomniac Games’ Overstrike?  That thing was shown off at last year’s EA press conference and yet, this year, there was no sign of it, nor any talk.  Is it being saved for a next generation or what?  Tell us, Insomniac!

2. Wonderbook

Let me paint a situation for you and you can tell me how it went wrong.  Sony devotes a huge 20-minute time block during its press conference, which is otherwise filled with nothing but win after win for information, to an INTERACTIVE BOOK.  That’s Wonderbook for you, a device that features QR codes that translates into real-time images on a TV screen, interacting with the story so that it “springs” to life.  That is, if you can perform the right stuff with it using your PlayStation Move controller.

We’ve seen this thing in action (interacting with the Book of Spells, which is a J.K. Rowling product), and, honestly, kids are likely to be bored with this after a few minutes time.  The interaction is minimal at best, and requires an utmost amount of precision to get things right.  Even the girl demo-ing the game couldn’t perform the right motions to execute the spell – ON A LIVE STAGE.

Maybe, MAYBE if Game of Thrones came out for this thing and offered real time beheadings, we could see the coolness of Wonderbook.  For the time being, though, we’ll use this thing we’ve always had to bring our books to life.  It’s called imagination.

Another Electronic Entertainment Expo has come and gone, and for yet another year, it was mostly good times with gaming colleagues and new products, tackling new technology for the first time (Wii U) and rediscovering old friends with the return of favorite franchises.  You’ll be seeing plenty of coverage from the big event in the weeks ahead, so keep it tuned here to GameZone for more.

However, with the good comes the bad, as everything wasn’t exactly wine and roses.  Some huge disappointments emerged from the show floor this week, and we couldn’t help but sound off about them in an article, explaining where the biggest screw-ups – or lack of titles – took place.  This is gonna get ugly, so get yourself a gas mask if you need it.  Let’s count down the disappointments!

5. The return of dancing games, and the unnecessary hype behind them

Dancing games are pretty popular in this industry, so it shouldn’t have been a surprise that both Harmonix and Ubisoft was working on sequels to its profitable Dance Central and Just Dance games.  Still, upon looking at these, it doesn’t really look like much improvement is going into them.  Granted, we weren’t asking for a breakdancing mode or anything (though an Electric Boogaloo game would be interesting), but still, we’ve seen this territory covered way too often before.

And the way BOTH games were announced at press conferences were ridiculous.  Instead of explaining new features or revealing artists that are tied in with the games, both Microsoft and Ubisoft opted to introduce ridiculous dance numbers for each game, with the big “M” turning to Usher and Ubi turning to Flo Rida.  Now, we have no problem with either artist in concert, but inserting them into a press conference just felt a little out of place.  At least Nintendo scored points by showing off the actual gameplay, and how it works, with Just Dance 4…though that’s not saying much.

Hey, if you want to dance, go ahead, these sequels will provide plenty.  But more time should’ve been spent on innovation rather than the MTV flash to usher in their announcements.

4. Ubisoft’s press conference, or the wrath of Tobuscus

Every year, Ubisoft tries to hold a legitimate press conference, but always has that annoying factor that keeps it from being an utmost success.  Two years ago, it was James Cameron delivering a 30-minute speech on Avatar without any footage of the movie or game; one year ago, it was the glory – or the lack thereof – of Mr. Caffeine and his weird fadeouts.  And this year…well, aside from the Flo Rida performance, there was Tobuscus.

Never heard of him?  He’s apparently an “Internet sensation” who Ubisoft thought would be perfect to do backstage presentations and fit in with the show’s host, Archer actress Aisha Tyler.  Guess what.  He wasn’t.  He just made the proceedings pass by with even more groans, and when his team turned the press conference into a full-blown non-MLG gaming event with Shootmania, the audience was checking their watches pretty fiercely.

Save for some awesome Assassin’s Creed footage (and a cool little encyclopedia given away after the show), the press conference just couldn’t be saved from the wrath of Tobuscus.  It almost makes us want Jamie Kennedy back.  Haha, we’re KIDDING.  God.