From a writer's perspective, shows like today's PlayStation Showcase can feel like a fever dream. There's so much to do, so much to be excited about, so many frantic seconds spent trying to work out which game I'm about to be shown. It's an exhausting, chaotic experience - but from a player's perspective, it's perfect.
Over the past few years, there have been a lot of shows that didn't really need to be shows. As pandemic-era lockdowns scuppered physical events, plenty of third-party publishers took the opportunity to make their own digital shows. Events like Summer Games Fest looked to fill the void left by E3. Even Nintendo and Sony were guilty of Directs and State of Plays that didn't really have enough to warrant their run-time.
But tonight, Sony set a new bar. The PlayStation showcase started with a few words from Jim Ryan, and then launched into a non-stop barrage of reveals. By my count, there were eight major trailers before we hit a smaller project - the very cute Cat Quest: Pirates of the Purribean - but the pacing was purrfect. We'd moved on before we could even wet our paws, back into the action of the rest of the show.
And the rest of the show more than delivered. Assassin's Creed Mirage got shown off with a trailer that looks like we never left Ezio behind. Alan Wake 2 confirmed a second playable character. I chuckled at the long-rumoured reveal of Metal Gear Solid 3 and its awkwardly punny trailer, gasped with joy at the new game from the Night in the Woods team, and held back tears over Neva, the follow-up from the makers of Gris.
Not everything was my jam - I'm no Soulslike master, or Destiny fan, and I won't be shelling out for my own PSVR headset - but Sony knew exactly how hard to push some of those games. Phantom Blade 0, for example, was on-screen for a long time, because it doesn't take a genius to know that a samurai soulslike is likely to get Sekiro fans hot under the collar. And it was the focus on gameplay, not detail or studio spotlights, that allowed those games to shine for their respective audiences.
The best was left until last, as with any showcase worth its salt. Spider-Man 2's lengthy gameplay reveal was a blast - I'm genuinely scared of the symbiote already - but Sony's new handheld console, Project Q, was a true E3-level reveal. This action-packed show left almost no room to breath, and firmly positioned Sony as the company to beat this generation (assuming you didn't think it was already there). Microsoft will have quite the task on its hands if it wants to overcome today's show with its own Xbox Showcase.
There's a whole load of new upcoming PS5 games to get excited about.