Wednesday, 23 June 2010

We've Moved

Just Stuff & Nonsense is now located at :

Please update your bookmarks accordingly, we look forward to seeing you on our beautiful new site!

Monday, 21 June 2010

Weezer: Happy 18 Year and 4 Month Anniversary!

On June 11 2010 Weezer released their self-proclaimed 'unofficial US anthem' to the World Cup entitled 'Represent'. This marks the latest track from a band which formed over 18 years ago, so join Denial as he casts a critical ear over the last decade and a half of this most unique of bands.

Let me take you back to 1992, Valentine's Day to be precise and the band now known as Weezer had their first practice together. This was to be the early seeds of a long and eventful career which continues to this day. Coming off the back of the Grunge movement, Weezer, and Rivers Cuomo specifically, made no secret of a love for bands such as Nirvana, Pixies and Sonic Youth and the early demos are a testament to this. However when it came to the recording of their first album, the first of three self-titled releases since nicknamed 'The Blue Album', the sound had changed somewhat and the signature tones of Weezer had begun to be established

The Blue Album (1994) was incredibly well received and has achieved triple platinum status in the USA, many of the bands now legendary tracks feature on this recording including "Buddy Holly", "Undone - The Sweater Song" and the near-perfect 'Say It Ain't So". The album was clearly written from a lot of personal experience and saw Cuomo exercising many demons in the recording process. Weezer had solidified their image as rock geeks and this has, in one way or another, endured to this day.

The bands second album was a complete segway both musically and commercially. A significant legal battle just prior to release about the album's title, Pinkerton, almost completely destroyed any pre-release publicity and the album's somewhat quirky, more leftfield sound put off a lot of fans of the debut. I personally rate this as one of the best records the band has produced, many did, and do, disagree. At the time of it's release Rolling Stone proclaimed it the second worst album of 1996. Despite the early setbacks, Pinkerton has garnered a fair amount of retrospective approval and even Cuomo himself has apparently changed his opinion of it.

It was five years before another Weezer album would be heard by fans and the hiatus was filled with the band members pursuing other projects and Cuomo's own depression and self-seclusion. Creative differences forced the members apart and all seemed lost until the offer of a large gig in Japan brought them back together. Soon afterwards, in 2001, the second self-titled album was released (the green album) and with it the latecomers' favourites "Hash Pipe" and "Island In The Sun". The album saw a rejuvenation in the bands creativity as well as their popularity and the songs began to flow again.

The follow-up 'Maladroit' further served to reinforce Cuomo's songwriting prowess and the band's status within the music community (despite the title's meaning). The singles 'Dope Nose' and 'Keep Fishin'' again saw Weezer attaining a large amount of mainstream coverage and playtime on MTV and radio.

Weezer have, since released a further three albums: 'Make Believe', 'The Red Album' (the third self-titled release) and Raditude are all somewhat interchangeable. They have all garnered a significant amount of criticism for being 'insincere' or 'disposable' and to some extent there is truth in this. The albums all feature some seemingly arrogant and shallow lyrics about drinking, women and parties. Which all seem somewhat out of place coming from a man who has settled down with his wife and daughter. However, there has always been a definite degree of irony in Weezer's music and maybe people, myself included, are trying to take the albums too seriously. Weezer did get somewhat experimental with The Red Album which saw the other band member taking on more of a front seat with songwriting and singing roles and trying out different instruments. This yields some interesting results and of the three, this record is undoubtedly the best.

Weezer still maintains a significant loyal fanbase most of which will undoubtedly be with them until the end. But I cannot shake the feeling that the band may be running out of steam. Certainly not with regards to their commitment and productivity as they continue to be an incredibly hard-working band, but it looks doubtful they will ever quite reach the peaks they did with their very first release all that time ago. Perhaps the bar was set too high, the stratospheric popularity of the debut album combined with the media attention, Spike Jonze directed video spots and simply having something significant to write about, it was kind of inevitable that the releases which followed would not be up to this high standard. In all honesty, I still love Weezer, I still buy all their albums but to any newcomers wondering where to start with this band, there is only one clear answer.......the beginning.

Saturday, 19 June 2010

E3 2010: Sony Press Conference -The opening Gambit

  It's been an explosive year so far at E3, with the big companies in gaming seeking to outdo each other it's getting hard to keep up! however, fearless as ever, we send Drew into the mix to take a gander at what Sony have to offer this year with orders to separate the triumphs from the dead geese. What follows is a quick introduction to the action with links to further updates focusing on what you need to know about Sony's 2010 E3 Press Conference.   

  Honestly guys, I'm not sure that the bird analogy works, but what is most definitely true is that when these companies get together to do an expo they sure make a lot of work for the likes of me! Sony are no exception to this rule, this years E3 see's Sony covering all sorts of ground with their press conference and while some have argued on forums across the web that Sony's contribution was underwhelming, I'd say there is plenty to talk about.

  For a start there are the customary theatrics that come with these kinda of affairs. With stiff competition from rival companies there is always an element of "smoke and mirrors" while the big-wigs on stage peddle their wares. Sony achieved this by reputedly handing out 3D glasses and starting the conference early and thus generating a feeling of urgency around their conference. A clever device that set the ball rolling for Sony to announce a host of expected titles and a few surprises too.

  Nobody was going to be surprised at the announcement of games likes Killzone 3, Little Big Planet 2 and Grand Turismo 5 but the revealing of a new a Mortal Kombat game along with a Twisted Metal game in the final stages of the conference proved to be an exciting surprise. That said, when a battered ice-cream truck arrives on stage containing David Jaffe you have to admit it's usually a little unexpected. For the full story on the games of Sony's conference, look no further then here

 Perhaps the most interesting aspect of Sony's planned releases is the extent to which they will support 3D. During the course of the conference SCEA president Jack Tretton announced that by March 2011 Sony will deliver 20 titles for the PS3 in native 3D, including games like Killzone 3 and Mortal Kombat. This is a fairly impressive claim that shows Sony's commitment to innovating in the field of 3D gaming and goes along way in supporting the force behind Sony's planned releases. Get the scoop on Sony's 3D commitment here.

 Hardware and infrastructure are also receiving a push from Sony this year with the PSP set to see a whole host of new games, PSN getting a new service in PSN Plus and the final unavailing of that little device you may have heard of, Playstation Move. Sony appear to have decided to make a move on the portable market by pushing the PSP as the only portable solution for "serious" gamers. This has been a long time coming and will hopefully finally see the PSP getting into the stride it deserves. Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker is touted by Tretton as an example of a leading core PSP title before he goes on to unveil new titles for the machine including a new God Of War game. The portable parable can be found here.

  Infrastructure wise we see the way games are delivered to us getting a slight revamp with the unveiling of PSN Plus, an additional paid tier for PSN which has been received with decidedly mixed reactions. The basic idea behind 'Plus is that for either a years subscription costing $50, or a 3-month subscription costing $18, subscribers can expect access to free games, mini's, themes and discounts. As well this, PSN Plus implements a "full demo" service which allows players to download and play a full game for around an hour to trial it before purchase. This has proven to be a hot topic as Sony have revealed that while content like themes and content paid for with discounts will remain available at a subscriptions end, free games will not until the subscription is renewed leading to some to refer to the service as an expensive way of renting games. The biggest upset is that cross party chat has yet to be confirmed on PSN while a paid tier has.Whatever side you take in the PSN Plus debate, pay a visit to the discussion here.

  Now I can't help but feel that I'm missing something. Something big. Something that my editor-in-chief will flay me for should I miss it. Something, movement based perhaps? Oh come on, did you really think I'd forgotten? I talk of course of Sony's answer to the motion race - Playstation Move. Call it a gimmick, call it a revolution, either way it's big news. The build up to the unleashing of both Sony's and Microsoft's flight into the world of motion controls has been truly epic and now finally we get a look and Sony's contribution. What really sets Playstation Move apart is that in accordance with Sony's big games push, is that 'Move is already being announced as compatible with upcoming core PS3 titles with Killzone 3 and SOCOM 4 both reputedly being made ready for Move capability at launch. Move over to the full motion article here

   So there's a very brief overview of some of the main points from Sony's press conference. At a glance it is obvious that Sony are really pushing the gaming part of consoles. It's interesting that despite the importance of Move, it hasn't dominated Sony's press conference. Instead we see a vast array of games appearing in various formats across the Sony range. It surprises me that people have described Sony's conference as underwhelming when you consider the sheer volume of games that were mentioned during the presentation. While Microsoft can boast partnerships with ESNP and Activision, sony can counter with strong ties to EA, DICE and even Gabe Newell. You know? That formally rather vocal critic of the PS3?

   I would have to say that Sony could be close to leading the way in gaming over the next few years, with so many games apparently on the cards to support the moves into 3D and motion controls Sony seem to be building a solid and daunting presence in the gaming world. If the reports free all three of the console producers are to be believed then the current generation of consoles is evolving and if Sony deliver what they say they will they could come out on top. Whatever your gaming alliance, check out the following links to read the full news for Sony's 2010 E3 Press Conference and whatever you do, keep gaming!

Check out the rest of our Sony E3 2010 updates here:

SonyE32010 – Games

SonyE32010 – 3D

SonyE32010 – Portable

SonyE32010 – PSN Plus

SonyE32010– Move

E3 2010: Sony - Game On

 Be you a reporter, fanboy or developer we all know that E3 is all about the games. Sony it seems also understand this, with their E3 press conference revealing a whole host of games across their range of services. So dive in and join us as we explore what Sony has to offer and uncover a few hidden surprises along the way!

 Just in case any of you were in any doubt, Sony are focusing on games at this years E3. Say what you will about Playstation move and the motion control "battle", games are in charge right now. Sony's big press converence was kicked off with a montage highlighting various Sony products and games, amongst them were Killzone 3, Little Big Planet 2, Metal Gear solid: Peace Walker and Grand Turismo 5. So all the usual suspects where there in force, but Sony goes much further then that as we're about to explore, it really feels that Sony have opened the flood gates.

 Going back to the "usual suspects" I should probably point out that usual doesn't mean bad. Not by a long shot. Titles like Killzone, Grand Turismo and MGS have become gaming icons over the years because of the quality the represent and the newest editions to the franchises are no exceptions. In many cases these games continue to push not only quality but also innovation as Sony begins to incorporate 3D technology and motion controls into games. Killzone 3 for example, is going to be released 3D and motion ready as soon as February 2011. Killzone game play was shown during the conference and features a blend to typical 'zone action and some new tweaks. Anyone who didn't notice that Killzone now features jet-packs should be sent straight out to the front line to see for themselves how cool they look. As a fan of this epic war story I can tell you I am looking forward to this one, the game-play videos that exist on-line demonstrate that the solid combat system we're used to is retained while Sony continue to strive for even more dynamic game-play.

  It's not all war though, as Sony have announced a deluge of titles including The Sly Collection, Grand Turismo 5, Shaun White Skateboaring, Tron Evolution, Crysis 2, SOCOM 4 and NBA 2K11. And all of these titles are allegedly going to be in 3D too, meaning that Sony have potentially a bumper crop of impressive material to take us into 2011. But this is just the opening salvo, during the course of Sony's press conference SCEA president Jack Tretton, reveals that a new Mortal Kombat game is headed to PS3 in glorious 3D and partnerships with EA, DICE and a young man by the name of Gabe Newell.

  Newell's appearance and support for Sony are perhaps the most surprising thing thus far as previously Newell had been an outspoken critic of the PS3 but now it appears he not only embraces the machine but has also promised the "best version" of Portal 2 for the PS3. EA also show their support for the PS3 by revealing   that the next instalment of Medal Of Honer will offer exclusive content for PS3 players, as will Dead Space 2. Watch out for limited editions of these games, with MOH offering an unscaled version of MOH Front-line while Dead Space offers an optimized Move version of the game included with it's limited edition version. 2K are also in on the action with PS3 exclusive content for Assassins Creed and Mafia in the pipework. There will also be a Final Fantasy MMORPG which will give anyone with exceptional amounts of time to burn the tool to do it!

  After going through Sony's commitment to 3D, Playstation Move and the push of the PSP (links to all of these topics follow below) Tretton ended by saying that there was one more surprise in store for the assembled press at the conference. This was the return of the Twisted Metal series, appearing on the PS3 for the first time. Admittedly I was always more of a Carmageddon fan but this is still exciting news for anyone interested in motor based carnage! This new games will reportedly feature two player split-screen action and new game modes, including "Nuke" mode involving strategic team play...and nukes.

  All in all it seems that there is a lot to be excited about regarding Sony's upcoming releases. They are plentiful and innovative, with Sony pushing 3D and motion controls with most of their games. And the above titles are simply the tip of the iceberg, check out our other posts to see what we can expect from Move and a host of upcoming PSP releases. Long may the king of games reign!

Check out further Sony E3 coverage here:
SonyE32010 – 3D

SonyE32010 – Portable

SonyE32010 – PSN Plus

SonyE32010– Move

SonyE32010 – Intro

E3 2010: Sony - Now In Amazing 3D-o-Vision!

  It's an exciting time to be a gamer at the moment, not only are there more and more quality games being released but we are currently living through a break-through moment in the way we play games. 3D is set to change the way we experience games like nothing before it and Sony seem to be leading the charge!

 While Sony seem to be investing a lot in new games and content for the PS3 and PSP at the moment they also seem to be investing in the way we play our games. During this years E3 Sony press conference, SCEA group president Kaz Hirai made a bold statement about how he sees Sony's position in the future of 3D gaming. He says he wants to do for 3D what the PS3 did for Blu-ray and goes on to claim that there will be 20 native 3D titles on available for the PS3 by March 2011.

  These are indeed fight'en words, especially when you consider that the games in question aren't gimmicky parlour tricks but fully fledged core titles like Killzone 3 and Grand Turismo 5.

  It's hard to be sceptical about Sony's commitment to this endeavour because they are already well under way in their mission. It has already been reported that the PS3 will be a fully functioning 3D console by 2010 and with Sony's 3D ready Bravia range of TV's, a firmware update supporting 3D and 3D versions of games like Wipeout HD and Pain already available on PSN this is a reality.

  The only question is cost. For anyone who has already bought a HDTV the cost has been considerable so the cost of a further upgrade to 3D and the corresponding glasses could be prohibitive. However, all new tech costs a lot at first and you consider the Sony's strategy in integrating the cross-bar into the Bravia range you can see how Sony are enticing customers with a fully integrated entertainment hub.

  But perhaps I digress here, the point is that 3D games are coming to Playstation and I for one want in!

Check out the rest of our Sony E3 coverage here:

SonyE32010 – Portable

SonyE32010 – PSN Plus

SonyE32010– Move

SonyE32010 – Intro

SonyE32010 – Games

E3 2010: Sony - The Portable Parable

  The PSP could almost be regarded as the black sheep of the Playstation family, it's a little different and often misunderstood. However, this could all be about to change with Sony's compact console about to receive an impressive push as this year's E3 revels.

  The PSP is often over looked in my opinion, many of my friends have disregarded it citing lack of quality games. Where this idea has come from is a little lost on me, there are many great games available of the PSP which are well worth a look in. The Ratchet and Clank series is both charming and playable, Metal Gear Acid and Killzone: Liberation both sit proudly in my games collection and the ability to play PS1 games after purchasing them through PSN gives gamers both an extended library and a good nostalgia trip to boot.

  That said, the PSP Go came and went so I guess at least the name was apt and Sony seem to be raging a constant war against hackers intent on modding the console for various nefarious reasons. However, while Sony may not be happy with people doing strictly illegal things to their PSP's it's actually good for business - in a way. It only takes one look at the various Dreamcast mod sites on the internet to see how an easily hackable console retains interest.

 Now it seems though that the PSP's luck could be about to change. At this year's E3 Sony announced that it sees the PSP as the only portable option for "serious" gamers and announced a ton of new titles for the system.

 For those of you into the God Of War series (I'm not) there will be a new title in the series called Ghost Of Sparta charting the origions of Kratos. During a montage a selection of other new games where teased including Modnatrion Racers, Ace Combat Joint Assault, Gravity Crash Portable, Dragon Ball Z Tenkachi, Hot Shots Tennis Get a Grip, Madden NFL 11, Patapon, Tetris, EyePet, Piyotma, Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep, The 3rd Birthday, Persona 3 Portable, and Ys: The Oath in Felgana 

 Oh joy! Tetris! Seriously through there's a lot to be getting on with there and that may not be all that the PSP has going for it over the next few years. If Sony's new PSN Plus service takes off it could give gamers even more reason to own a PSP. Think about the extra PS1 classics, Mini games and discounts that could be used to expand the PSP using the free content available for plus. No news on how this would work with the subscription service but I'll be finding out as soon as PSN Plus hits the "shelves". 

 No matter what happens it looks like it will be an interesting time to be a PSP owner and it could be about time the rest of you caught up. Check back with JustSandN for updates!  

 Get your fill of Sony E3 here:

SonyE32010 – PSN Plus

SonyE32010– Move

SonyE32010 – Intro

SonyE32010 – Games

SonyE32010 – 3D


E3 2010: Sony - PSN And Then Some

 There was a collective sigh of relief as Sony announced that PSN as we know it would remain free. But only PSN as we know it. It appears that we now have the option to pay for PSN - what is going on here? We send Drew to find out!

  Traditionally, PSN is a bit like yin and yang, it has two very distinct parts that contrast each other. One the one hand it is generally regarded that support is lacking for PSN compared to XBL while on the other hand it is a free service that allows on-line gaming, shopping and Playstation Home - which was suspiciously only briefly mentioned at this year's E3. This is how we know and love the PS3 with it's highs and lows, but now something is stirring which could change all that - or leave it just the same as it is.

  Let me explain. This year at E3 Sony announced a new paid tier for PSN called PSN Plus, don't worry the Drew Award for Innovative Service Names (DAISN) is remaining firmly in my sock drawer. But un-inventive names aside, what is PSN Plus? Put simply it's a subscription service that gives gamers access to free games, PS1 classics, minis, and themes along with the new "full-game demo" concept. The service also features an automatic update service which means updates are installed without you having to tell them to be, but this is such a pitiful thing to expect people to pay for that's the last you'll hear me say on it.

  The full-game demo feature however has some merit. The idea is that you download a demo that works in the same way as owning the full game for an pre established amount of time, allegedly around an hour. I guess the idea is that you get a more complete example of what owning the game would be
like. While it's an interesting attempt to drive interest in games I fail to see how it differs from a regular demo, especially as timed demos already exist. The only real advantage is that given that you have the time, it would be possible to compare single player and multi player elements of the game before you run out and buy it.

  Of course the real interest in Plus comes form all those free games. The deal is that for around $5o and year or $19 for three months (about 40 and 20 pound respectively in the UK) you get access to new games each month to download for free, along with themes and discounts. This might sound a little expensive but provided you download enough of the games you could save some money, the problem is that you never really "own" the games.

 According to Sony, once a subscription runs out you lose access to the games. Although, themes and game paid for using discount offered by the Plus service remain. This makes PSN Plus a bit of an elaborate rental service. The only way to make it really for you is to play and complete every game the service offers to get the full moneys worth out of it, but this assumes that you want to play every title. I for one will not play every Disney ps1 classic just because I paid 40 quid to do it! If your subscription runs out and you reactivate it you regain all of the previous content but I would still opt to simply pay for what I want and keep it.

 I'm not sure on this yet, even the European incentive of a free downloadable version of Little Big Planet if you buy close to launch has not sold me. It's an amazing game but I already own it! Of all of Sony's E3 announcements this is by far the most dubious, but like a good reporter I will pay for and use the service and let you know how it goes. Check back soon!        
Get the rest of your Sony E3 coverage here:

SonyE32010– Move

SonyE32010 – Intro

SonyE32010 – Games

SonyE32010 – 3D

SonyE32010 – Portable

E3 2010: Sony - I Like To Move It, Move It!

  Playstation Move represents Sony's answer to the motion war brewing between the big powers in gaming. Say what you will about looking like a neon maraca there's a lot of fuss being made about these motion controls. Let's see what all the fuss is about...

  Playstation Move has an important job to do. For Sony it seems to represent one of major in-roads it is making at this years E3. Games are being push in terms of both quality and quantity, PSN Plus seems poised to make Sony's on-line service more profitable and the push of the PSP shows Sony aggressively attempting to expand and finally grab it niche of the portable console market. However, it is probably Sony's move into the world of 3D that is most compatible and interglacial to the success of Move...and Sony.

  With the move into 3D and the supporting Bravia branch of Sony's product range, Sony are developing a rather sweet little entertainment centre. Take that out of the grotty one-room flat and place it in the family home and you can see Playstation Move fitting in snugly with this set-up and flying, or at least moving, out of stores the world over. However, the beauty of move is that it would appear to cater to everyone and already have an impressive line-up of games on the way.

  Sure, there will be the family friendly sports and pet games but along side these we see titles like Killzone and SOCOM on the way so Move sits well as a dirty student's pastime or an retro slice of 1950's family Americana. It's an impressive and ambitious move by Sony to get so much lined up close to Move's launch, EU Sept 15, NA Sept. 19, Japan Oct. 21.

  The most impressive display of Moves capabilities comes from the E3 demonstrations of Tiger Woods and Sorcery - which was designed specifically and exclusively for Move. What was interesting about this is that it took two fairly different games and showed how they would work on Move. Move's multiple sensors did a great job of capturing the movements of a golf player and wizard but I will reserve judgement until I have a go for myself. Which I really want to do!

  I've never been much of a fan of motion controls, they always seemed to go against the grain of what video games where, however, with Move's line up of games it seems that the gimmick element is contrasted with impressive core games. The list of games said to be compatible with Move includes Sorcery, Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11, Killzone 3, RUSE, Singstar Dance, echochrome II, EyePet TV superstars, SOCOM 4 and a Time Crisis game.

  The cost is to to be $50 for the controller and $30 for the navigation controller. There will also be bundle deals with a PS3, Move and PS Eye costing $400 and $100 bundle including Move, PS Eye and Sports Champions. Only time will tell if this will seriously threaten Microsoft of Nintendo, it's not the cheapest of toys, but given the range of games on the way it seems to be far from a gimmick.

 Get the rest of our Sony E3 coverage here:

SonyE32010 – Intro

SonyE32010 – Games

SonyE32010 – 3D

SonyE32010 – Portable

SonyE32010 – PSN Plus

E3 2010: Nintendo Keynote Impressions

Due to circumstances beyond our control at Just Stuff & Nonsense we weren't able to attend E3 this year, however thanks to the wonders of the internet it has been possible to watching the keynotes live online. Here are my impressions of the Nintendo conference. A little disclaimer before I start; I won't be previewing games such as Wii Party or Just Dance 2, this is not out of laziness, while they are an essentially the backbone to the Wii's sales and will probably gross more than the rest of the games on this list combined, they were so overshadowed by the quality of everything else on display they are barely worth mentioning. Apologies then, if you came to this post looking for these games to be previewed.

The Legend Of Zelda: Skyward Sword
Everyone knew that a Zelda game would be announced this year, the simple teaser image from last years E3 provided many with 365 days of entertainment meticuously analysing it for information, after about 200 days the internets top scholars came to their first major break through: the game would feature Link, and there was a 90% chance we could be playable. The problem with Twilight Princess was that (as with many early Wii games) it was very clearly a gamecube game with the button presses mapped rather hastily to random flailing, for a game that revolves fairly heavily on swordplay it seemed rather daft that swinging your arm in a sweeping arc garnered the same effect as tapping the controller gently against your palm. Miyamoto thought the same, his giant visage across the screen told us as much, he continued to explain that he implemented Motion Plus support into the game in a way that recreates using a sword and shield, it all sounded pretty good and the way he looked down on his on stage minion was pretty funny. Eventually he gave up trying to explain it to him and then cut through the screen and took control of the demo, things have indeed changed pretty dramatically in regards to the controls, everything in the game is controlled with one of four buttons and a corresponding realistic motion. It sounds fantastic in concept, and it probably will be in practice, sadly the demo was less than inspiring due to the controls looking laggy or unresponsive and an impromptu seemingly uncontrollable pirouette demonstration from Link, they laughed it off and blamed it on interference but it was a pretty rocky start for the Keynote. One area where the game didn't disappoint at all was in the visual department, the art style is somewhere between Wind Waker and Twilight Princess, the colours are rich and bold with everything looking like it has been hand painted, but the character models are edging on the side of realism. Enemies look to be designed to encourage experimentation with the new control methods, for example there was a 'piranha plat' style enemy that had a mouth split in two directions, to do any damage Link had to slash in the direction the mouth was open, there was also a door with an eyeball for a lock, the eye tracked the tip of the sword, my immediate reaction was "poke the eye with the sword" the correct (and far more clever) solution to the puzzle was to move the tip of the sword in a circle to make the eye spin uncontrollably, releasing it's grip on the door. Holding the sword in the air charges it with sunlight, allowing it be charged up with power. Every item in the game appeared to make sensible use of the motion controls, throwing a bomb with an other head throw, swinging the controller to swing the whip and the archery looks a lot like the way we all thought it was going to work in Twilight Princess. After the gameplay demonstration had somewhat unsuccessfully drawn to a close a trailer we shown for the game, it looked absolutely brilliant, and concluded with a cliffhanger... well.... a cliff tumble. Despite the issues that plagued the demonstration version of the game I still have exceptionally high hopes for Skyward Sword when it is released next year.

Golden Sun: Dark Dawn
Last E3 we were treated to the promise of a new Golden Sun game, and then everything went suspiciously quiet. Finally after a year of wondering we we had dreamed the announcement we got to see some footage of the game in action, and it looked like, well it looked like a Golden Sun game on the DS. Needless to say that's a good thing, the graphics look as strong as the little handheld can produce with its modest processing power, with some rather delightful locations on display, and impressive character design. Gameplay looks to be turn based and the touch screen's input looks to be reserved for casting spells and solving puzzles. Unfortunately it was just a trailer that was being shown which makes it a little harder to get a feel of how the final product will hold up, thankfully it's out this holiday season so we won't have to find out just how awesome it is.

GoldenEye is a particularly tough sell for me, thanks to the now canned remake that was originally coming to XBLA and PSN until Nintendo decided to block game from being released, it was always going to be a difficult to accomplish thanks to the absolute mess of rights that surrounds the legendary N64 game, but to see it so close and then have it yanked away forever was as traumatic as a memory about videogame's release can be. My mind was set firmly to cynical when the video of a 'real focus group' started and a bunch of guys who seemed as passionate about games as we are here at JustSandNGoldenEye made them start whooping and hollering like overpaid Criss Angel stooges that the entire thing felt insanely staged. Thankfully a video of the game started swiftly after this and I had to check my cynicism at the door, the game looked really quite good, yes it's Daniel Craig and not Pierce Brosnan, yes the plot and locations look like they've been changed, but I'm a bigger sucker for 007 than the hundred of women he's seduced over the years, and when the theme song hit and a modern recreation of the action I remember so fondly began I was certainly excited. The graphics are pretty good, they're certainly not going to win any awards for pushing the Wii to it's limits but they are functional enough, to be honest it's really the looks that people will be thinking about in this game, nor the alternative reality take on the singleplayer story mode. The meat of GoldenEye is in the multiplayer modes, and the trailer promised four player splitscreen, as well as online madness, 16 essential modes are making a return so expect to be playing Paintball, Melee and You Only Live Twice all over again. Once the trailer had faded out to riotous applause we were told that we would be playing it this Christmas.

Epic Mickey
I've already ranted about my love for Deus Ex so it shouldn't come as a surprise that I'm pretty excited about Epic Mickey given that Warren Spector is involved so heavily in it. Characteristically for a game that has Spector's influence all over it is hard to accurately define Epic Mickey, the demo opened with Mickey wandering around an environment described as Wasteland a world for forgotten characters, he approached an NPC and the option to engage in conversation popped up, at this point it looked like a third person RPG. Later in the demo Mickey is jumping around tree branches and the game looked like it was a third person RPG platformer. Even later still and Mickey was using paint and thinner to solve small puzzles, so it was now a third person RPG platformer puzzler, which was all well and good until he entered a 'travel' section of the game it it turned into a traditional 2D side scroller. The beauty of the game is how many different approaches it offers to the player, Spector speculated (sorry) that each player will craft their own play style, one of the key gameplay mechanics is built around this concept; Paint and Thinner. I'm sorry if I'm the one to break this to you, Mickey Mouse's world is not real it is in fact painted, in the game this is acknowledged and Mickey has the ability to add to the world with Paint or take away from it with Thinner, for example you could solve a characters problem with Paint or could just erase them existence with Thinner. Warren explained that there are three types of zone in the game; Quest, Action and Travel, it was a 'travel' zone they were about to demonstrate, Mickey walked over to an old-fashioned projector and jumped into the screen, he was transported to a Steamboat Willy inspired stage which look absolutely fantastic, it genuinely captured the atmosphere and visual style of that cartoon and in a clever touch when Mickey jumped too high it was possible to see the edge of the film scrolling along the top of the screen. The graphics are fairly good in general, my main criticism being the slightly bland textures, but when the game jumped into the brilliant cut out paper conversation mode, or the stylistically impeccable Steamboat Willy stage I was so blown away I  could easily forgive a few small shortcomings. No release date was given but whenever it is it can't come soon enough.

Kirby: Epic Yarn
A brand new Kirby game where the titular character is made of string and can no longer swallow enemies? It looked really interesting, rather than just using the textile backgrounds as a quick re-skin and throwing the game out the door it looks like a lot of thought has gone into how the move to material will effect Dream World. Areas of the background can be unzipped to reveal new locations, if Kirby goes behind a sheet of cloth there is little bump in it that moves along to indicate where he is, if a gap is too big to cross Kirby can 'scrunch up' the background bringing everything closer together. Its a charming idea and one that looks like it will be a lot of fun to play, especially given the trailer indicated there would be co-operative modes. It is games like this where the Wii can really shine graphically, the colours are bright and vibrant, the textures look realistic but don't have to be super high quality thanks to the cartoony nature of things, it looks awesome. The ability steal skill Kirby usually possess looks like it is present but doesn't seem to be activated by swallowing a foe anymore, instead it looks like Kirby isn't completely tied together and can use his lose ends of string as a lasso to activate switches, swing around the environment and ensnare enemies. As with Golden Sun it is a shame that it was only a video on display, but as with GS it isn't long until the game is released; it'll be available this Fall.

Metroid: Other M and Dragon Quest IX
Both of these games are out in the very near future, information is available pretty readily on both of these titles and their section of the show was more to increase interest for their releases.

Donkey Kong Country Returns
A brand new Donkey Kong game is coming out this holiday season, and it's being produced by Retro Studios who produced all of the fantastic Metroid Prime trilogy. The trailer was a teaser of some classic Donkey Knong action, it's a side scroller and looks like it will be very similar to the Super Nintendo DK games as far as actual gameplay is concerned. The graphics are very solid particularly in regards to level design, it's not looking mind blowing just yet, although the sunset level with silhouetted characters is a nice touch. The character movements and weight behind them look like they've been lovingly lifted from the original titles, and there seem to be lots of classic elements included such as the barbells blasting the cheeky monkeys around and a mine cart section as well. The obvious thought is that Rare are now Microsoft owned, so there won't be any input from them on the title, but judging from the very brief trailer it certainly does look like Retro are big enough fans of the originals to pull of the ultimate homage.

That bought a close to the current gen presentation of games, but there was one major announcement left for Nintendo to make; the 3DS. For the sake of readability all information about the 3DS will be posted separately.

Don't forget to check out our coverage of the Microsoft and EA Keynotes. We will of course be covering the Sony conference as well, and keep checking back for all the most interesting news from E3 throughout the week.