There we were, packed shoulder to shoulder by the hundreds, standing beside a life size replica of Destiny’s Sparrow, waiting for the doors to open on a sunny L.A. morning. The coffee had started it, but excitement was the real cause of the palpable buzz in the room. 10 A.M., the doors were opened and we began to stream in. Greeting me as I took my first steps into an E3 hall was the visual assault that was the EA booth. Flashing lasers, smoke machines churning, giant screens replaying epic trailers and the press of excited people had me on the verge of a Bobby Hill squeal… and that was just the first official day.
The day before had been the big press conferences by the top players in the game (see what I did there?) and Microsoft kicked it off bright and early… some (read as I) might say too early. But none the less, a couple of hundred hung over, tired and overly caffeinated writers were herded into an auditorium where Microsoft blasted us in the face with an onslaught of bad ass looking products (I want to say here that whoever the grown man who was sitting behind me screaming at the top of his lungs throughout the entire show, you’re a dick). Then, we shuffled off to EA who tried to win everyone over with a swanky ballroom affair and a Battlefield: Hardline beta to try to cover that they had practically nothing to offer. Finally, we were whisked off to Sony (yes, there was Ubisoft in between but I didn’t get to go to that) to be pumped full of free food and free booze before the show. When we got inside, a colleague and I were seated into the ‘VIP bloggers’ section for awesome seats where we were, once again, blasted with a dizzying array of flashy looking trailers of incredible looking games.
Which brings me back to day one; I was standing in one of the halls, looking at the games that I had been shown yesterday and I was awestruck. My colleagues, veterans of these excursions, with smug smiles, walked me through a variety of booths before leading me into the Activision 60 foot, 24 projector wraparound screen where a completely immersive Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare trailer assaulted my senses to such a degree that my equilibrium got thrown off. It was right about then that I heard a smattering of laughter and I realized my friends were laughing at my mouth agape stare trying to absorb what I was seeing/hearing/feeling/smelling (there are zero exaggerations here). And I had only been there for 20 minutes at this point!
What transpired over the next 72 hours is a bit of a blur. There were sit downs and demos and hands on play time. There were awesome PR people, there were douchey PR people and there were PR people with food poisoning care of a steak burrito from a food truck. I got to chat with developers, I got screamed at by people who had been waiting in line for hours as I got skipped to the front (thank you media badge!) and I shared in the honored E3 tradition of huddling around an outlet with a half dozen other people, trying to keep our devices charged.
Of course, once the halls shut down for the day we went and visited a variety of parties that are thrown about town. I don’t need to give you all the details (or possibly can’t due to the open bar policy that they employed) but a few of them got out of hand. There was the one where Stan Lee showed up and a burly nearly 7 foot tall actor (I think he’s from Fast and the Furious, but don’t quote me on that) bent over to speak to almost comically small man carrying his ‘Who’s your Teddie’ bag from the show. There was also the one where the open bar gave a group of the most reclusive people I’ve ever seen the courage to tear up the dance floor! This was followed by an overeager BBoy giving everyone the confidence to show their moves and that resulted in a girl in a too short dress eating the cement floor. Also, there was the possible crazy man who cussed out one of our group for ‘not respectin’ him as we politely walked by. So, good times!
When we boarded the plane to go home, while I was so exhausted I may have fallen slightly asleep while standing in line I was disappointed it had gone so fast. However, I had made some friends, met some really cool people and seen some hilarious antics over the few days that I had been there. I had also seen the future of gaming, and it looked magnificent in 1080p (enough so that I had purchased the PS4 I had been putting off roughly 4 hours after landing). All in all, it was one of the best times I could have ever hoped for while ‘working’ and I can honestly say that I can’t WAIT to see what comes out of next year.