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E3 Notebook: Let the Games Begin

That's all well and good if you can emphasize fun games, which Nintendo did to some degree, showing off cartoonish sports games that looked fun even if they weren't exactly photorealistic.

But then the company showed off Red Steel, an upcoming action game from Ubisoft. Players get to fight gangs using guns and swords in a graphical environment that looks like something dated to the first generation of PlayStation 2 games six years ago. This is a game that would look awesome on the PlayStation 3 or the Xbox 360, taking advantage of their superior graphics. Instead, it looked pixilated and rough on the Nintendo Wii. Stick with the fun stuff, Nintendo.

That's what Microsoft tried to show off with its Viva Pinata game, an upcoming title from its Rare studios. This looks like a rare miss to me. The goal of the game is to grow and develop an ecosystem of living pinatas, even to encourage them to mate by taking them through elaborate dancing rituals. The point for Microsoft is to try to appeal beyond the core gamer audience to more mainstream consumers. Somehow, I think it's going to take more than this.

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