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E3 Crabtacular

Due to the "me too" nature of a lot of game publishers, pretty much every E3 has a very visible trend, like toon shading or World War 2 shooters. The trend that was noticeable this year, to me, was crabs. Yes, crabs. It became very obvious right from the start during Sony's press conference. Microsoft's subsequent showing confirmed it.

While the crab-filled games were a vast minority on the showfloor at E3, they remained very visible because of their name brand recognition and/or the focus they were given by Microsoft and Sony during their respective press conferences.

Resistence: The Fall of Man

The first was Sony's showing of the generic-looking Resistence: The Fall of Man, a game which seemingly combines Half-Life 2 with every World War II shooter ever. This is what we call "original" IP. No self-respecting Half-Life 2 clone can go around without half-Life headcrab clones, so this game has its full share. Not just small crabs, but giant ones too.

Resistence: The Fall of Man

Then came the Genji 2 demo, which made me laugh and laugh so much. The idiocy of it has already caused it to become a bit of an internet joke, and it can be seen in the Sony Press Conference in One Minute video that's making the rounds. Once the giant crab creature showed its face in this historic game with real battles from history, there was no saving Sony's showing.

Genji 2

Microsoft came next and the crab hit the fan. That was proof enough of a trend. Thus, I present the E3 Crabtacular:

These are all the crabs that I've noticed in screengrabs or released screenshots. Some of these might be a little loose in the definition of "crab", but they're all very much crab-like aliens or mutants or crab-robots.

Genji 2Genji 2's smaller crabs.
Gears of WarGears of War had a giant crab-spider. The above shot makes it look more spider than crab, but the trailer shows its crabiness in full glory. Maybe these two are different creatures?
Hellgate: LondonHellgate: London had a giant crab, most likely from hell.
Lost PlanetLost Planet had these crab-like things.
Too HumanSilicon Knights parted ways with Nintendo so that they could work on an original concept like a futuristic action shooter... with crab aliens.
Chrome 2Chrome 2 had giant walking crab mechs.
Heavy DutyAs did Heavy Duty, though theirs were a little smaller.
Rise of NationsAs did Rise of Nations, though theirs was rediculously big.
CrysisCrysis had a big, giant alien crab thing, but I couldn't find a good, clear shot of it.
Gothic 2I don't know what the hell this Gothic 2 creature is supposed to be, but it looks crabish.

There were others, I'm sure. I only had the press photos and trailers to go by, and I did not watch all of them. Not even close. There were also a few giant spiders, but those aren't too crab-like to list.

Lastly, if all these crabs do draw their inspiration from Half-Life, then this Unreal Tournament 2007 shot might warrant inclusion:

May 17, 2006. Gaming.

Comments (24)

It used to be that all game monsters vaugely looked like vaginas. Maybe now that gaming has "grown up" vagainas are ok, just watch out for crabs.

12 year old humor level today. Apologies.

May 17, 2006 12:10 PM. Posted by: Brett O'Connor.

Comedy gold, nowak.

May 17, 2006 01:11 PM. Posted by: Tony Walsh.

Running with the 12 year old humor theme, I'll be in first with a joke about how you missed the crabs on the booth babes:

The booth babes have crabs. Some of them. Probably.

And, let's face it, some of the "luckier" developers, too.

May 17, 2006 01:54 PM. Posted by: Aubrey.

Crabby much?

Yeah, I got nothin'

May 17, 2006 03:05 PM. Posted by: Jason O.

Ah, er...I have to be that guy.

It's from Rise of *Legends*.

Funny, though. At least it's a *new* trend. Sort of.

May 17, 2006 09:00 PM. Posted by: gatmog.

Surprisingly, even Super Mario Galaxy had a giant robot crab boss. I can't find a screenshot, though.

May 18, 2006 06:19 PM. Posted by: bingle.

I pinch.

May 18, 2006 07:04 PM. Posted by: yessir.

That ad is a classic. :D

May 18, 2006 09:20 PM. Posted by: anotherone.

You forgot the giant crab mechs from surpreme comander, can't wint for it.

May 18, 2006 09:41 PM. Posted by: David Webb.

gatmog, the full game title is the redundant "Rise of Nations: Rise of Legends", so we're both half right.

bingle, I think that was an octopus (or maybe even a squid).

May 18, 2006 09:46 PM. Posted by: nowak.

In defense of Mario, I think that boss doesn't qualify because I only remember seeing two limbs.

May 18, 2006 10:20 PM. Posted by: Christoph.

The thing right there for Gothic III is not a crab. Its a Minecrawler. A very big bug.

May 19, 2006 01:00 AM. Posted by: Adam.

I should like to bring to the attention of the Court this:

It is worth noting that Metal Gear Solid 3 was released on November 17, 2004 in Japan whereas Half-Life 2 was released on November 16, 2004.

Coincedence? I THINK NOT!



May 19, 2006 02:05 AM. Posted by: Danno.

All these crabs CRABBED YOUR ATTENTION! haha ok my bad joke

May 19, 2006 05:36 AM. Posted by: Greatroarer.

"I pinch."

Why no pinch?

May 19, 2006 10:38 AM. Posted by: moofrog.

You're right, Adam. While that one Gothic 3 creature might not be 100% crab, if you look at the page you linked, that "Field Raider" definitely fits the bill. I couldn't find an E3 screenshot of that creature though.

May 19, 2006 10:45 AM. Posted by: nowak.

To take a slight punch at half life (which was frickin' awesome). It tooks it's inspiration for the tripods from War of the Worlds.

May 19, 2006 12:39 PM. Posted by: skyphos.

Oh, come on. Every video game needs a giant, multi-legged enemy that tries to stomp on you. That's what video games are FOR, man.

May 21, 2006 07:09 PM. Posted by: Boxman.

I don't disagree with you, it's just that there are plenty of other animals in the world that can be mutated or alienified. Like a mantis or a scorpion or even a roach. They don't ALL need to be crabs.

And the War of the Worlds inspiration is clear, but at least it was fresh and novel (in a game). Unreal is just copying that because a popular game did it first. That's lame.

May 22, 2006 01:27 PM. Posted by: nowak.

Mantises and roaches don't quite look right as aliens. Well, mantises do if you make them a bit more humanoid, but I don't think roaches or grasshoppers work.

While we're on the subject, wasps and manta rays are kind of over-used, especially mechanical designs based on manta rays.

And I believe scorpions have been done before, perhaps even a bit over-done. I'm quite sure there are at least 2 or 3 mech games with robot scorpions (the tail is the perfect place to mount a cannon).

May 23, 2006 10:32 PM. Posted by: foo.

Ratchet and Clank: Size Matters for the PSP has crabs.

May 25, 2006 10:40 PM. Posted by: .

I guess the reason why crabs are so prevalent is because they're more...primordial, more generic in design. Mantises and scorpions are a lot more particular to their specific environments, so seeing an "alien mantis" or "alien scorpion" exhausts the "credibility budget" (eek, buzzword!) more.

May 30, 2006 04:48 AM. Posted by: Walter.

Capcom's Lost Planet also had a section with crab-like creatures that came up out of the snow to attack you. They're not "true" crabs, but I think they're close enough for the purposes of this argument:

May 30, 2006 03:18 PM. Posted by: fupersly.

I think hte first carb-like monster I encountered ina video game was one of the early bosses (heck, maybe the first one) in Final Fanstasy VIII. I think every game after that is just a copycat. :)

June 14, 2006 11:18 PM. Posted by: Hans.

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