Getting Some Play: Industry Growing pains

 
 

E3 Woes

E3 is a time of excitement and wild, Vegas-style hype, but it can also showcase the uglier side of the industry. In a depressing Kotaku piece, journalist Katie Williams recounts her negative experiences with totally sexist PR folks at one of the major publisher’s booths.

From the piece:

“’Do you play PC games?’ he asked, frowning. One of the publications on my media badge was listed as PC PowerPlay. It shouldn’t have been necessary for him to ask such a question, but I answered. ‘Yes.’ ‘Well, OK.’ I sensed a disbelief in the guy’s voice. ‘But do you play shooters?’

I remember the silence that filled this space beyond this question. I was horrified that anyone could even ask such a thing. Here I was, sitting with my fingers spread across WASD, admiring a game world — and somehow, for some obtuse reason, being assumed to be someone who didn’t know anything about the world or how to interact with it. ‘I think I better play it for you,’ he said finally, prying my hands away and turning the keyboard towards himself.

Gross, right? I’ve actually had a few similar experiences at E3’s past, though nothing so egregious as a PR person actually taking an input device out of my hands (no, my incidents were egregious in other ways, but that’s a story for another day). Sexism is still a massive problem in the industry, but thankfully, mainstream outlets are starting to post stories like Williams’ in order to highlight those problems. Let’s hope we see some progress on this one.

Gaming fans at E3

Photo by Frederic J. Brown/Getty Images

Incoming!

We’ve officially moved into the summer season, meaning that AAA releases tend to be toned down and the downloadable space starts to really shine. Promotions like XBLA’s Summer of Arcade are a couple of weeks away, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty to play.

Spec Ops: The Line promises “dark” and gritty third person shooting on June 26. Look for it on the 360, PS3 and PC. Also out on June 26 is the beloved Dreamcast classic, Jet Set Radio. The colorful action/platformer/street art mashup (just go with it) places players in the role of one of a gang of cartoony kids who needs to tag the crap out of the city. Don’t miss this on PSN if you liked the original (or you’re just curious).

 

The Amazing Spider Man lands on June 29, promising open world action in the vein of Spider Man 2 (way back in the early ‘aughts). This one may be worth a serious look, especially considering just how awesome that old web-slinger turned out to be.

If you’re looking for something a bit different, Theatrhythm Final Fantasy lands on the Nintendo 3DS on July 3. A classic-style JRPG with a truly quirky combat system (battles are rhythm-based, and set to the music of other FF games in the series), it’s an intriguing take on the formula.

 

Also offering colorful JRPG action (though the combat in this puppy is far more strategy-based than rhythm-based) is Rainbow Moon, out on PSN on July 10.

Once the second half of July is upon us, the downloadable release schedule should pick up. Until then, gamers!

 
 

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