Thursday, June 17, 2010

E3 on TV

Geez, just two years away from reviewing things for a daily newspaper and I've lost my edge. I know this because I've been enjoying the G4 network's coverage of E3 this week. And really, that coverage is only monumentally mediocre. Objectively, it deserves a huge ration of scorn. But I can't muster it.

Here's the bottom line: The coverage is 50 percent missed opportunities, and 50 percent the next best thing to actually being at E3. I'm so happy with the latter 50 percent that I'm forgiving the lapses. There should be a steady flow of interviews with industry analysts and journalists who could counter -- at least a bit -- the torrent of hype from the game developers and publishers who have gotten all the camera time. All I've seen over, hmm, maybe seven or eight hours of viewing is the self-promoting stuff. The G4 hosts/commentators/interviewers add next to nothing in terms of intelligent discussion, and the range of games being featured is fairly narrow (shooters rule, y'know?). Still, I've kept watching because the difference between getting an extensive look at game action, which is the G4 sweet spot, and reading about a game in print coverage is often the difference between being eager to know more about a game and not. Valuable radar, I think.

(As an aside, there's one G4 personality I think is quite good -- Adam Sessler. Now, I know Sessler a bit from the years I was covering games and E3, and I've always thought he was legit. Maybe that's a bias, because it has been in my head for so long. But as I watched the E3 broadcasts, I kept thinking that his questions, opinions and overall tone were shaped by some darn obvious smarts.)

Don't over-analyze what I'm saying. I don't want the G4 equivalent of CNN and Fox News political coverage, with drawn-out, talking-head potshotting. But there ought to be some snippets of depth to sprinkle in with the ooh-ahh breathlessness. That's all I'm suggesting. I did, after all, stay tuned in. I've been to a bunch of E3s, I've covered E3s, and G4 made it all familiar and fun again. My edge is gone, but honestly, I'm OK with that -- well, this week, anyway.

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