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I’ve got a confession to make. My love for videogames has been on the wane.

Don’t get me wrong, I have always loved videogames and I still do now. But for the past 18 months or so, I’ve been kinda getting in and out of sync with them bar a few exceptions, like Journey, The Walking Dead and Tomb Raider. If you were to put it into a relationship analogy  I feel like games and me are having some sort of relationship troubles that have gone unspoken for a while (lets not bring up the fact if it were a real relationship, this would have been over long ago).

I think the games have picked up on this because all of a sudden, in the past two weeks, its made two of the grandest gestures to make me remember why I fell in love with them in the first place. And you know what? You have me. You have me again.

The Last of Us

I’ve said a lot on The Last of Us this past week and I’m not about to write another 1500 worder here, So instead, I’m just gonna link to what I’ve already written. But I will repeat something from that piece. The Last of Us is now my favorite game ever. It managed to take over Metal Gear Solid 3 after eight years of Kojima’s epic being at the very top of my list. It made me look at how far we’ve come as a medium and how in one swoop managed to make me remember why I believe in games so much.

I’ve played games for 15-and-a-half years since I was six and while I have a list of favorite games ever, only two games have had such a deep impact on me on the way they have – Metal Gear Solid 3 and The Last of Us. It’s going to take a very long time for any game to approach such a profound level that The Last of Us managed to achieve for a long time, which makes it all the more impressive considering this is a game on a system nearing the end of its lifecycle and at a time where new systems are about to come into the fray.

I truly believe we’re now at a watershed moment for storytelling in games and I believe as we enter a new cycle of console hardware, storytelling can get just that much better. If so, and this isn’t a pop, chances of The Last of Us staying as my favorite game ever have gone down. As great as this game is, it just means something even more incredible can and will eventually take its place. It’s only a matter of if it’ll be a year or five years from now (for context sake, in the case of TLOU taking over from MGS3 as my favorite game, it was eight years).

For now, The Last of Us has done its part to make me remember why I love games, why I love this games industry and why I love the people in it (linking to the latter, last month’s MCM TankCat can take partial credit for also making me realise this). Naughty Dog, if you take away anything away from this (at the risk of sound like a broken record from the open letter), it’s that you did something special for games. Remember that.

‘The big dance’

This was the first E3 I missed out writing about for a website for five years, which bummed me out. And it should have bummed me out throughout the week. But it didn’t because, after a few years of ‘padding it out’ and just generally weak shows, the next-generation has finally signaled its arrival in possibly the biggest and most dramatic way possible with some of the biggest game announces seen in years, some of the most dramatic scenes seen in years and a ton, ton, TON more besides. And I was excited.

We seen two of the platform holders give fantastic press conferences, one of which provided scenes akin to the mass hysteria seen when Nintendo announced what eventually became The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. We saw a Microsoft press conference which delivered on its promise of gamesgamesgames, while the Sony presentation team of Jack Tretton, Andy House, Shuhei Yoshida and Adam Boyes was a far cry from the E3 2006 press conference. Not to mention Tretton and House’s public execution of MS’s always-on/second restrictions and price announcement respectively.

We seen announcements and new showings for the following:

  • An RPG series which has me excited for it again despite my first foray into the series leaving me rather cold (Final Fantasy Versus XIII becoming Final Fantasy XV)
  • A long-asked for sequel to another RPG series which has me interested in playing again after only playing its first outing 11 years ago (Kingdom Hearts III)
  • The first gameplay showing of a brand new IP from one of my favorite developers who gave me one of my favorite shooters this generation (Destiny)
  • New glimpses into games that have entirely changed my perception on them in one way or another (Battlefield 4 and inFamous: Second Son)
  • New, intriguing IPs shown for the very first time (Sunset Overdrive, The Division, The Order: 1886)
  • New glimpses into some of my most anticipated games and completely knocking them out of the park in ways I didn’t expect them to (Metal Gear Solid 5 and Watch Dogs)

And the announcement of one of two games that would make me literally lose my shit and mark out for (and subsequently did on this announcement) – Mirror’s Edge Next. All that had to happen to make this the most perfect E3 was Kojima rolling up at either Microsoft or Sony to announce Enders Project – the other game – was in fact not on the backburner as stated a few weeks back, was being worked on with another team at Kojima Productions and was officially announced as Zone of the Enders 3 (I won’t tell the story of how I nearly lost my shit in Leicester Square reading the initial announcement of Enders last May as it just now leads to heartbreak).

Simply put, I’m now officially excited now for the future thanks to what has happened in these past few weeks. I’m excited for where we can bring mature stories into games thanks to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, I’m excited for the upcoming games that are just fun to play and I’m excited for just what this incredible, thriving industry will come up and bring next.

We’re now just two months short from gamescom in Cologne, Germany; three months out from Tokyo Game Show and just under 100 days until Eurogamer Expo in London with console launches to follow in time for Christmas.

2013 is going to be the best year gaming has ever seen. To quote an N64 ad I seen this morning on Twitter…

“Believe the Hype.”*

(*=Except probably, considering the irony of where the tagline above came from, for Nintendo home consoles right now)

The coverage stops here but continue to follow the latest happenings in games on @Project_Boom. You can also follow me at @JohnnyCullen for snark and hype as well as stupid gaming-related Vineage.

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