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Video Games Prime Movers Show Off New Dimensions at E3 2010

Video Games Prime Movers Show Off New Dimensions at E3 2010 (photo)

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Every year, video game developers and the gamers who love their creations flock to Los Angeles for the Electronic Entertainment Expo, otherwise known as E3, a showcase of the hottest new titles and trends for the upcoming year. The industry’s biggest studios, designers and publishers all compete for the precious hands-on time that generates the hype so crucial to making their games a success.

Throughout the three-day extravaganza, the expo floor’s an intense cacophony of music, game sounds and occasionally frantic yelling. And on top of all of that, the platform holders — the companies who makes the PC and console hardware those games run on — offer arguments as to why a PC, Wii, Xbox 360 or Playstation 3 is superior to its competitors.

Ever since video gaming became a pop culture phenomenon in the 1980s, gamers have been pushing buttons and moving controllers to battle giant monsters or explore alien landscapes. But at this year’s E3, there are signs that button-mashing may be getting replaced by arm-waving and body contortions.

The rising trend of gesture-controlled gaming started in 2006 when Nintendo introduced their revolutionary Wii console. Using a remote and nunchuk, the Wii replicated the players’ movements on TV screens, letting them bowl, box or play tennis in a simple and fun way. The Wii became a huge success, and now Sony’s Playstation and Microsoft’s Xbox 360 are showing off their own motion gaming add-ons.

Announced this year at the Game Developers’ Conference, the Playstation 3’s motion controller goes by the name Move. With a bulb-tipped wand and a sub-controller used for navigation, it will work with a camera to capture movements in real time for a variety of different games.

It’s more precise than the Wii and the better graphics on the PS3 make games built for the Move look incredibly realistic. Sony’s touting this realism, along with the ability to play established franchises that hardcore gamers love — like military third-person shooter “SOCOM 4: U.S. Navy SEALs” — with Move, as an advantage over Nintendo.

Sony also trotted out the first steps of its 3D strategy, coinciding with a software update that lets PS3 users play select titles in 3D. Of course, you need a bleeding-edge 3D-capable HDTV to take advantage of that viewing mode. (Conveniently, the Playstation division’s just one part of a huge conglomerate that also sells 3D TVs.)

06252010_killzone3a.jpgThe marquee title used to show off the PS3 3D experience was “Killzone 3,” a sci-fi first-person shooter. Playing the FPS with 3D glasses made the alien landscape seem even more vast, foreign and hostile. One giant gun you get to carry stretched far out into the background and enemies wearing jetpacks floated away from the screen, threatening to blast the viewer right in the face. Still, ten or 15 minutes of watching and playing KZ3 made eyes water and heads ache, so the kind of three- to four-hour marathon session usually enjoyed by FPS players will be a lot tougher to enjoy.

While Sony’s Move controllers are looking to improve on the idea of controller-based gesture input, Microsoft wants to do away with the controller altogether. The Kinect add-on for the Xbox 360 uses a camera that senses depth and tracks your skeleton to allow for full-body control of a whole series of games. Kinect will let you run hurdles in a track event and even play with a baby tiger. Its voice recognition will let you control playback of movies and TV shows, too. Here’s my Q&A with a Sega developer about “Sonic Free Riders,” the publisher’s initial efforts on Kinect:

Confident in their lead in the home console arms race, Nintendo’s big push was on the handheld front, with the debut of the Nintendo 3DS. The next evolutionary step of their wildly popular DS portable, the 3DS also traffics in the third dimension, but does so without requiring any special glasses. It seems that there’s a lenticular screen interpolating offset images. The slider on the side of the unit changes just how offset they are, which creates more or less depth. The slider also lets you turn the 3D off entirely, too.

Ushering in the 3DS is the return of the company’s beloved “Kid Icarus” franchise. Long absent from a starring role in his own game, angelic hero Pit flew through webs of energy and over cloudy skyscapes in the demo shown after the Nintendo press conference featured.


Games won’t be the only content on the 3DS, though; major movie studios have also pledged to make their films available on the portable. Slated to show up on 3DS are titles like “How To Train Your Dragon” and Disney’s upcoming “Tangled.” Another added feature the 3DS will sport is a built-in two-lens camera so users can snap their own depth-laden images.

All of this means that, this coming fall, there’ll be a massive battle to see who comes out on top of the motion-gaming heap. Whether it’s Playstation Move, Kinect for the Xbox 360 or Nintendo’s Wii, each system will have lots of cool new experiences for their fans. So it’s gamers all over the world who will be the real winners.

[Additional photos: Playing “Sonic Free Riders”; “Killzone 3,” Sony, 2011; Nintendo 3DS]

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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