Today’s E3 show has me excited for next gen

PS4

Wow, what a day. Both Microsoft and Sony showed off some amazing games today at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), including the Xbox One exclusive Project Spark, which is one of the many titles that I can’t wait to play. (Here’s my coverage.)

First, this is what you need to know about the two upcoming home consoles: the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4.

While the Xbox One will cost a whopping $500 and restrict how you play and share your games (with required periodic Internet check-ins and possible used game fees), the PlayStation 4 will sell for $100 less. That’s $400. And Sony won’t impose confusing policies. There are no fees or limitations. (We also finally know what it looks like.)

Thank you, Sony. I love you right now — even if you are charging for online multiplayer. And good job supporting indie developers the right way. Hear that, Microsoft?

Click here to catch up with all of GamesBeat’s coverage of the event today — especially if you want to see all of the new game footage and reveals. There were some very good ones. Final Fantasy Versus XIII is now Final Fantasy XV, Insomniac’s Sunset Overdrive looks like a blast to play, Bungie’s Destiny seems all-around amazing, Kingdom Hearts 3 and Mirror’s Edge 2 are actually happening, The Crew is an incredibly open-world and boundary-less driving game, and so much more. Including THE PHANTOM PAIN, oh my god.

What are you most excited about?

Goodnight, everyone. And cheers to the future.

Our obsession with previews: their purpose and presence in games coverage and Kickstarters

Bungie Destiny

I read a great article today on Gamasutra about the larger nature and purpose of video game previews — an area of coverage that I rarely touch, partly because I don’t really travel for my freelance positions and partly because I’m ruthlessly suspicious of them.

Take just one preview of Bungie’s next game, Destiny. It’s already the center of enormous hype due to the developer’s reputation as the Halo creator — those sci-fi first-person shooters are some of the most popular games on the Xbox 360 console. Kotaku’s preview, as many previews like it do, mixes a little personal observation and reflection with a lot of hand-fed information. This is a company’s way of ensuring carefully tailored press coverage. Oftentimes previews don’t involve hands-on interaction — the developer shows reporters what it wants them to see and tells them everything they “need” to know, which isn’t necessarily the same as what they want to know.

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Is writing our destiny?

Last night I was watching the fifth episode of the BBC show Being Human. (Wow, I started this series weeks ago, and I’m only on episode five? Good lord.) In “Where the Wild Things Are,” the vampire leader/policeman William Herrick confesses in an elevator that he once dreamed of becoming an architect because of a picture book he owned when he was a boy. The hunger of a vampire, as it happens, decided otherwise. “This chose me,” he tells Mitchell fiercely.

It got me thinking. That’s a lot like being a writer.

Now, maybe it’s wrong* to compare a vampire’s instinct to kill and drink blood with a writer’s need to write, but … bear with me here.

As writers, we’re constantly being pulled into a tide we cannot resist. If we don’t write, we drive ourselves crazy. I imagine that’s much how a dehydrated vampire feels, only with the murdering and all.

We feel better when we write, when we spill our thoughts out onto the page (okay, hold the morbidity). For me it’s almost compulsive. An idea happens upon me and I scribble it down on a scrap of paper—or off to my blog I go. My passion for writing is, I firmly believe, an innate phenomenon. I didn’t decide to be a writer any more than I decided to be born with blonde hair and blue eyes.**

Without a outlet to write, without an audience of some assemblage, I would be a very sad girl indeed.

But as any writer can tell you, writing isn’t the easiest job in the world. Far from it. But it’s an endeavor well worth the time and labor, and an addictive one at that. I write not only here on this blog, but on my other blog (on occasion)—as well as several other websites. My name will soon appear in print in a magazine as a contributor (more on that in the coming weeks, when I finally have my copy in hand). I’m busy revising my first novel, when I can spare the time. And when I’m not writing, I’m doing things that create more opportunities for me to write—reading books or comics, playing video games, watching movies … all so I can reflect on them in written form.

I admit. I do have an agenda here. I’m in the process of securing two deals for freelancing positions*** that, combined, will lighten my financial burden but severely limit my time. They also let me do what I love, and that counts for a lot. Because of these two new (please, please keep your fingers crossed for me) responsibilities, I’ll have less time leftover for blogging. But don’t think for a minute that’ll stop me from posting every week—as always, I’ll find a way. A big workload has never discouraged me before. Just be more lenient with me if my posts show up in your feed half as often. ;)

But okay, back to my point. Writing is sort of like destiny, isn’t it? Try as we might to get away from it, it just keeps reining us in, for better or worse. I’d say right now, for me, it’s for the better.

P.S.: Another happy life update: I just ordered a new laptop! Insert high volumes of girlish squeals here! I can’t WAIT until it arrives. I’ve been lugging around this hunk of junk**** (that’s an endnote, not a bleeped-out swear word, although it might as well be) (my other hunk of junk, the one that’s a desktop, died on me a couple weeks ago) for far too long. I icily named it “Pandora’s Box” the other day: the source of all pain in my world. Ugh.

P.P.S.: Want to see something lovely? Go to Google Images and search “writing,” and then search “love of writing.” With “writing,” you see lonely pens on paper and disembodied hands. “Love of writing” is something else entirely. You see doodled hearts and people—people together, and people smiling.

P.P.P.S.: By the way, I manage on a lot of coffee, tea, and the comfort of cats.

*Yes, yes it is.

**For the record, I dye my hair red and sometimes brown. Shh.

***More on those when they’re finalized. Although the one involves writing evening news posts, so if you’re interested in video games, stop by GameZone.com after dark starting tomorrow.

****Thanks to my sister for passing down this hunk of junk, which has been a great gift to receive despite all its hassle.