LOS ANGELES — The video-game industry's annual Electronic Entertainment Expo, which occupied the Los Angeles Convention Center this past week, was an overwhelming, exhausting experience — so many games, so little time. But most of the attendees had a similar reaction: "This is really fun." Still, some companies came off better than others. So who won E3?
MICROSOFT VS. SONY
At this point in the Xbox One/PlayStation 4 battle, exclusive games are the best way to attract new buyers. Microsoft's Xbox has "Halo 5: Guardians," ''Gears 4," ''Rise of the Tomb Raider" and the endearingly weird "Cuphead." Sony's PS4 has "Uncharted 4: A Thief's End," ''The Last Guardian," ''Horizon: Zero Dawn," ''Dreams" and the spooky "What Remains of Edith Finch." WINNER: Slight edge to Sony if the long-awaited "Last Guardian" lives up to its promise.
OLD VS. NEW
Microsoft won over many fans by promising it would be making the most of the games for its previous console, the Xbox 360, playable on the newer Xbox One. Sony's announcement of a remake of 1997's "Final Fantasy VII" drew rapturous applause. But there are still plenty of eye-catching new titles on the horizon, from the universe-spanning "No Man's Sky" to the down-and-dirty brawler "For Honor." Even established properties like "Fallout" and "Call of Duty" have some new tricks up their sleeves. WINNER: New.
NINTENDO VS. ITS FANS
Nintendo die-hards took to social media to express their frustration with the company's threadbare E3 lineup. Nintendo President Saturo Iwata responded with . well, not exactly an apology, but at least an acknowledgement of the negative feedback. Nintendo's still a huge part of E3, but it isn't doing much to turn around the fortunes of its fading Wii U. WINNER: The fans. They may not be happy, but they're justified.
PROJECT MORPHEUS VS. OCULUS RIFT
Two companies are spearheading the drive to make immersive, three-dimensional virtual reality the next big thing in electronic amusement. Sony's Project Morpheus is still rough around the edges, though we were quite taken with a Harmonix-designed app that lets users zone out to psychedelic images synched to music. The Oculus Rift, though, has come a long way, making this critic feel for the first time that this was exploration of a real 3D environment. WINNER: Oculus.
"TOYS TO LIFE" MELEE: This category, in which physical toys become animated onscreen characters, got more crowded with Warner Bros.' "Lego Dimensions," which features Batman, Scooby-Doo and favorites from "The Lord of the Rings" and "The Lego Movie." Disney has added the cast of "Star Wars" to its "Infinity 3.0." Nintendo's adorable "Animal Crossing" critters are heading for the amiibo lineup, and Donkey Kong and Bowser are crossing over to Activision's "Skylanders." That franchise is also adding toy vehicles, so don't expect it to put on the brakes anytime soon. WINNER: "Skylanders," the original and still champ.
— YARNY VS. YOSHI: Yarny, an awkward little creature made from wire and red yarn, is the unlikely hero of Electronic Arts' "Unravel." His creator says the yarn represents "love, and the bonds that we make," and a physical version of the character charmed social media with his adventures on the E3 show floor. Still, he's no match for Nintendo's Yoshi, whose upcoming "Yoshi's Woolly World" is being accompanied by an adorable woven-yarn amiibo of the spunky dinosaur. WINNER (by a thread): Yoshi.
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