E3, the event to end all events in the world of all things geeky, nerdy and generally awesome. Year after year industry and media descend on this tradeshow with the latest and greatest in technology and gaming and this year the hype was MASSIVE. We’re at the dawn of a new generation of consoles and obviously a metric crap ton of new games come along with that. If I had been able to hand pick a year to attend for the first time this likely would have been it and as luck would have it there I was at the entrance to the LA Convention Centre with wide eyed enthusiasm a few Sundays ago.
Now if I had have been a little younger my time at E3 would have been something comparable to dropping a male dog in a kennel full of females in heat. An amusing visual I’m sure but also a realistic one. I’d run around booth to booth even if only to get 30 seconds of playtime all while greedily eyeing up vendors for cheesy swag in the form of foam hats and silly capes (I’m looking at you AMD, those capes were ridiculous). Now being the ripe old age of 35 I decided to try and take more of a measured approach. While I was still jaw dropped at everything I saw I took my time with the things that I wanted to see most.
Arriving on the Sunday to pick up our passes I could feel the buzz surrounding the next day’s press conferences. Everywhere you turned people were debating what if scenarios. I don’t think anyone truly predicted the bomb being dropped onto the offices of Microsoft quite like it turned out but the general feeling was that Monday was going to be a big deal. Finally with all my passes in hand the reality of the situation hit me like a hammer to the skull – I’M AT MOTHER FLIPPIN’ E3 BITCHES! My cohorts, being tried and true E3 vets, almost fed off my excitement. They could clearly see me ramping up and it was enjoyable for them to take in some of that rookie wonder.
Fast forward to Monday. I don’t need to go into the details of what we all saw at the press conferences for the day but needless to say everyone was losing their minds by time all the announcements had been made. Fueled by food and booze from the Sony presser I eagerly debated with anyone who felt like chatting with me on the shuttle ride back to the hotel. Lots of opinions, lots of ‘Microsoft is screwed’ and a fair smattering of ‘I knew it, I told you, I called it!’
SURE YOU DID.
With the gaming world absolutely losing their minds considering all the news that was dropped on Monday the buzz surrounding day one of the show was electric. After being teased with countless videos and screenshots what we really wanted was to get our grubby paws on some actual product. I can say with 100% truth that I, for the first time in a very long time, felt like a kid again. My heart was thumping and my adrenaline was pumping. I felt like my 5 year old does after grandma fills him up with Pepsi and Pop Rocks then sends him home to Mom and Dad. Doors open and then the rush… 48 000 eager nerds ready to pounce on thousands of square feet of amazeballs. Once I cleared the crowds and saw the show floor for the first time I felt my heart nearly stop. I was awestruck at the size and scope of it all. The lights, the noise and the sheer showmanship of seeing every vendor trying to outdo their neighbor and blow people’s minds.
Again, I don’t need to go into detail of everything I saw (feel free to check out some of the previews my team and I wrote in our ‘Previews’ section for that) but suffice it to say that over the three days of E3 I felt like an actual part of an industry I’ve loved since my first Vic 20 computer and Intellivision console. Only 6 months previous to that moment I’d been a guy much like many of you reading this most likely. I went to work, I hated my job, I came home. When I came home I drank beer and played videogames to unwind. How on earth in that time I had managed to situate myself as a member of the media and a full-fledged games journalist still kind of escaped my grasp but I sure as hell was glad about the turn of events. I took in as much as I could and at the end of it all I still felt as if I’d missed out! Three days passed by faster than I could imagine but as they say, time flies and all that.
Now I was aware that part of the E3 process was making connections and attending parties after the show doors closed each day but I sure as hell didn’t know how insane these shindigs got. It seemed like every single night had any number of exclusive parties to try and weasel yourself into. Armed with invites to a small handful of events I attacked the dance floors and the open bars with fervor. By the grace of God I managed to escape all but one hangover all while ensuring that I kept my shoes vomit free. On top of that I didn’t make a fool of myself once! Again, a likely benefit of attending E3 at 35 as opposed to 20.
At the end of it all as the dust settled on day 3 I left the LACC with some new connections, a couple of console pre-orders, and a tired smile. The future of gaming looks as bright as ever and being a part of the action this past E3 was quite simply one of the most rewarding and flat out crazy experiences of my life. Will we see another E3 quite like this again with dual competing console launches? I don’t know if we will but I’m as thankful as I could be for having the chance to attend. About the only thing I know for sure is that I’m keeping my fingers crossed to be able to come back next year. Who knows, maybe that wide eyed wonder of experiencing it all for the first time will carry on to year two. I can only hope.