Future Forward Fun And Games

Mrs Mario
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As you’re probably aware, E3 has been stunning and startling everybody for the past few weeks and there’s been a ton of coverage about the latest products and ideas. This year has seen some spectacular new products and ideas show their stuff at E3 and there seem to be some definite trends moving forwards.

The one thing that’s definitely taking off is 3D. 2009 saw ASUS and nVidia work together on the world’s first 3D-ready notebook, the G51J 3D, and then Computex had that very notebook win a Best Choice of the Year Award.  Clearly ASUS had their finger on a new pulse because E3 showed a very definite trend towards 3D this year.

Both Sony and Microsoft were all about 3D for the future of their consoles, with Microsoft showing off Kinect, and Sony showing their Move(s).  Of course, the publishers weren’t far behind with titles like Gran Turismo 5 and Killzone 3 boasting 3D too.

Sadly, I wasn’t at E3 this year so I wasn’t able to scour the stands myself, so it has been a long and fruitless search for PC titles that share the 3D glory. The only one that seems to be standing out from the crowd is Crysis 2, available in 3D for both single and multiplayer. Considering the genius behind the original, this may well be the crowning glory for PC gamers that also want in on the 3D trend.

It does, however, bring me to once again muse on the state of the PC game. Last year the penny finally dropped for me, I finally began to resign myself to the fact that the days of games being ported to the console were gone. Now the port is on the other foot, so to speak.

And ports generally don’t do well for the PC gamer. Just look at the disaster that was Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory. I cried real tears as I played a clunky and unresponsive game that had originally been devised exclusively for the PC.  

It genuinely does seem that the time of the console has come. But will it hold? The PC and the console battled it out way back in the late 1970s and early 1908s until consoles burnt themselves out in a fiery battle to the death. While it seems that the console wars are more an evenly matched arm wrestling contest at the moment, it may take just one ingenious development to throw the balance of power. And then, maybe, the sturdy PC will once again rise to the fore.

Here’s hoping, anyway.

But, just to conclude the 3D journey through E3 and beyond, there is one other product that has stunned everybody and that’s the Nintendo 3DS. I’m not a fan of gaming on a teeny, tiny screen myself, but I can see why fans were impressed by this. Like the G51, this is an innovative and impressive technological feat that is setting the groundwork for truly exciting stuff in the future.

I must be honest, while I’m definitely excited about the idea of 3D, and the hype surrounding it, I’m not entirely sure it is something that’s practical in use. The few times I’ve sat and reviewed 3D games (like WoW) I’ve found myself with a massive headache after a while, and a spot of motion sickness.

If it isn’t done right, it is a tragedy. Still, I must confess to finding the G51 kit a lot more flexible than other versions of 3D PC technology so far. I didn’t have to sit rigidly in one spot in case I lost the 3D, and I only had to stop using it after about an hour. In my world, that’s progress.

What about you? Is 3D a fab or a failure? Answers in all dimensions please.

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