Plugged In

Well, Day 2 of E3 2010 is in the books and both Nintendo and Sony delivered the goods during their media presentations.

Nintendo kicked off the day by giving gamers a taste of something old and a glimpse of something new. As I predicted in this very space two days ago, Nintendo did unveil the next installment in the “Legend of Zelda” franchise, titled “Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword.” The first “Zelda” game developed exclusively for Wii, “Skyward Sword” utilizes the MotionPlus add-on to offer true 1-to-1 control over Link’s weapons and shield. Of course, you couldn’t tell that by watching legendary developer Shigeru Miyamoto attempt to demo the game live during the press conference, but I’ll take Nintendo at its word that the control scheme actually works.

 Of course, “Zelda” wasn’t the only classic Nintendo franchise to receive a makeover Tuesday. The developer also announced new versions of “Kirby, “Donkey Kong Country,” and a new sports game featuring company mascot Mario for Wii and “Kid Icarus” for the 3DS, the new 3D handheld also unveiled Tuesday. Nintendo fans have been clamoring for fresh takes of classic franchises and Nintendo absolutely delivered.

Not to be outdone was Sony, which showed off its Wii-esque Move controller and several new games, including the long-awaited “Twisted Metal” and “Portal 2” for PS3. In the battle to capture the casual audience with its new peripheral, I give the edge to Microsoft with its Kinect motion-sensing controller. But Sony impressed me more by showcasing mainstream titles are incorporating Move, like “SOCOM 4,” “Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11” and “LittleBigPlanet 2.” Sony also scored high marks for its exclusive deal with EA that will bring added content to the PS3 versions of “Medal of Honor” and “Dead Space 2.”

There are still a few days left before the doors close on E3 2010, so I’ll hold off on declaring a winner. But it’s clearly a two-horse race between Nintendo and Sony. Check back later this week for my final wrapup.

E3 2010: Microsoft press conference reaction

Microsoft kicked off E3’s press conferences Monday afternoon with a resounding thud. After watching the 21/2 hour presentation, I have to say I was less than impressed and am completely underwhelmed with Kinect, the peripheral formerly known as Project Natal.

 First, the highlights:

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‘Blur’ review, E3 and more

| Racing fans looking for something a little different should head here and read my review of “Blur,” from Bizarre Creations and Activision. It’s a cool blend of licensed cars, real-world tracks and “Mario Kart”-inspired power-ups. Be prepared for some frustrating moments, but there’s plenty of fun to be had if you can keep from tossing your controller.

| The big news this week is the arrival of the annual Electronic Entertainment Expo, better known as E3. There’s no doubt that Microsoft’s Project Natal (it still hasn’t gotten an official name?) and Sony’s Move will grab the bulk of the headlines, but I’m expecting a few surprises, too. A redesigned Xbox 360? A new “Zelda” title for the Wii? A reason to actually visit Playstation Home? I’m prepared for anything right now. I’ll have plenty on E3 this week as the Big 3 have their media briefings. Microsoft kicks things off Monday at 1 p.m. EDT.

| E3 isn’t the only significant gaming event happening this week. The demo for “NCAA Football 11” drops Monday, June 14, and features eight teams and four potential matchups — Ohio State-Miami, Florida-Florida State, Texas-Oklahoma and Clemson-Missouri. As an added incentive to play the demo, gamers who play as each team can unlock those teams’ Nike Pro Combat jerseys for use in the full version of the game, which is set to arrive in July. Sharing the demo with people on your friends list unlocks the Pro Combats for Virginia Tech, LSU and TCU.

| And finally, this week sees only one major release — “Toy Story 3” — and if you haven’t had this game on your radar, you should, especially if you have young gamers in the house or are just a kid at heart, yourself. I’ve been playing the final release version for a few days now and have been very impressed with what I’ve seen. Look for my review later this week. 

That’s it for now. Remember to check back this week for updates from E3.