I liked the “Top 5″ format I used for covering the Big Three’s press conferences last year, so I’m doing it again this year. As always, Microsoft kicks us off. Interestingly enough, I ended up with a perfect five this year without having to narrow anything down, and sorting was a snap.
So, without further ado…
First up: I love living in the future. If anyone needed evidence that the future is where we are, then you need look no further than this demonstration of the HoloLens running Minecraft. You always see stuff in “futuristic” cartoons and the like where television and video games are played with holograms, but it always seemed so fanciful and out of our reach. Not any more, apparently.
This only gets number five because it was a demonstration, and it remains to be seen just how well this actually works in practice, but the possibilities are exciting. Hey, can you imagine playing something like Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker on something like this?
Suffice to say, I look forward to seeing more.
4) Xbox Elite Wireless Controller
The more I saw of this, the more impressed I was. If there is one thing I think should be afforded to every player, especially as controllers become more and more complicated, it’s options. Fortunately, that seems to be what the Xbox Elite Wireless Controller has in spades.
My only grievance is something I didn’t even notice at first; when I originally viewed the video, I thought the components would be modular, allowing you to switch where components are placed (much like a third-party controller I saw once some time ago). That way, if you’re playing, say, an oldschool platformer where the cross Dpad would work better for movement, you could move it to the more natural-feeling upper-left position, or place the two sticks parallel. Sadly, it’s not that customizable, but what it provides here is nonetheless impressive.
3) Backwards compatibility
This has been something of a barrier against getting an Xbox One for me, as I have way too much invested in my Xbox 360 to just trade it in to upgrade. As such, I’m happy to see that barrier torn down.
Still not trading in my 360, though, as I still use Windows Media Center daily and Xbox One (and Windows 10) lack it. But it’s good to know that the option is there.
One of the creators of Mega Man doing something new with robots? Well, of course this one was going to catch my eye. And you can kind of see the Blue Bomber’s influence here, in a way, as the core of the robotic animal is given a new robotic body, no doubt taking on new abilities as well.
It’s too early to say much else, but this has my interest.
1) Rare Replay
Last year, my number-one pick was something all-new. This year, it’s something all-old.
It’s no secret I’ve wanted to see something done with the Rare library, and they’ve done pretty well since. A new release of the original Killer Instinct on Xbox Live Arcade to go with the newly rebooted iteration of the franchise was a good start, and this 30-game compilation of the studio’s past hits brings Killer Instinct Gold into the mix… which is odd, as that’s the home version of Killer Instinct II, and was kind of stunted by the hardware limitations of the Nintendo 64.
Rare Replay also brings back Battletoads! But more importantly to me, the arcade version of Battletoads I’ve long been pining to play. There are a lot of other games here I’ve been wanting to play or replay as well: all three Banjo-Kazooie games (though I wonder if the first two are the Xbox Live Arcade versions), both R.C. Pro-Am games, Blast Corps, Jet Force Gemini, Conker’s Bad Fur Day, and many more — as well as one of my wife’s favorites, Cobra Triangle.
The only major problem? No sign of Wizards & Warriors anywhere. What gives?! And of course, the original was one of my “Discarded Dozen” games, so that’s an extra sting. Moreover, I’m not sure they can assemble a second collection like this in order to have the chance.
Anyway, the whole kit ‘n kaboodle is just $29.99 USD, so that’s still an incredible deal, even if it does leave out one of my favorites.
IGN has a bunch of footage of some of these games as well, if you’re interested.
This one was previously revealed, and we didn’t get to see too much new for it, so into the “Honorable Mentions” it goes.
See Cuphead above.
And that’s everything! Not quite as much appealed to me this year software-wise as it did last year (still champing at the bit for Scalebound), but I still feel largely satisfied — maybe because I still need to get one of these things. Perhaps you can even help, if you would be so kind as to…
Every little bit helps!