I’m not a gamer — I have never owned a game console and the closest I’ve come to “winning” a game is a decent Joan Jett impression on Rock Band. But I went to E3 to find out — can a non-gamer still have fun amongst a sea of hardcore fans? The answer, surprisingly, is yes.
The idea of watching someone play a videogame used to be absurd — remember the days of waiting forever for your little brother to finish his turn at Duck Hunt so you could finally grab the gun? (Maybe that’s just me)? But today, games are becoming interactive movies; there are storylines and action scenes and some of them are just as fun to watch as they are to play. And then there are all the interactive games that have you dancing like no one’s watching, even in a room of hundreds of people who must be judging your milkshake skills from behind their Buddy Holly glasses.
So, never fear. Grab the controller — or a seat on the couch next to your favorite resident gamer — and check out a few of the new titles that I (honestly) would play (or watch) again.
— Splinter Cell: Blacklist. I was shocked that I liked this. An action game with blood spurts, lifelike terrorists, and major guns? It did not sound like my thing. But on the other hand, a Bourne Identity-style drama and a story that moves at a fast pace and feels like a movie? That I can get into. And this Tom Clancy franchise from Ubisoft is pretty true to the style of his novels — quick, accurate, violent, relevant, and fun.
— Wii Fit U. It doesn’t take much to get me to run around or jump up and down, and the new Nintendo Wii Fit U lets you do all those things. Plus luge! The Luge game on the Wii Fit U (which works with the new Nintendo Wii U tablet), has you lying on the balance board, doing a full two minutes of ab work while sliding down a luge track. It’s like pilates on ice. Who needs a gym membership?
— Just Dance 4. What I learned at E3: all dance games are not created equal. Ubisoft’s Just Dance 4 lets you be the choreographer, using the Wii U tablet to control which moves you do, so you can create the ultimate dance party from across the room… or torment your friends with nonstop “strike a pose” selections.
— Tomb Raider. It is the year of kick-ass girls with bows and arrows, and the latest installment of Square Enix’s Lara Croft series is no exception. Despite wanting to hear Angelina Jolie voicing the character, I watched the new Tomb Raider demo for 45 minutes and was drawn in by the search for relics, scary wolves, and the creepy island setting. The new iteration of the girl hero also significantly tones down Croft’s physical features and makes it feel more like it’s made for everyone and not just 13-year-old — and grown-up 13-year-old — boys.
— Beyond. Ellen Page has already dabbled in reality-bending with her role in Inception. In Sony’s Beyond, she is so lifelike as a videogame character that you feel like you’re just co-starring in her latest movie. Page plays Jodie, who is on the run with a ghost companion. We don’t know much more yet, but it’s pretty cool to watch. And maybe to play?