The Five Things No One Tells You About E3
The biggest gaming event of the year, the mecca for the gamer, E3. For those people that have attended E3 before, you’ve probably observed all or most of these things firsthand. For those of you that have not been to E3, this is a short summary of things I noticed and was not informed about before making the trek out to Los Angeles and attending. Much of these points have been gathered as a wallflower looking in on the crazy three days that comprise the event. I could try all day to convey how amazing/crazy those three days were, but there is no substitute for actually being there.
Let’s start out talking about the food. When I first walked into the LA Convention Center, I asked a nice looking guy for directions. He told me where to go and asked if it was my first time at E3. When I said yes, he told me not to eat the food because it was expensive. I, in my naivety, thought the prices would be comparable to a slightly overpriced salad at a restaurant. Now I see that I was wrong. In hindsight, I see I was actually warned specifically about the price of the food for a reason. I thought it would be more along the lines of ‘this salad is expensive’ . However, it was more like ‘is this the movie theater for hell?’
OK, so the food inside the Convention Center is expensive; let’s try outside. Look at my luck, a wild food truck appears! I got a grilled cheese sandwich, fries, and a soda. Seventeen. Dollars. Inside E3 is no better. A large soda costs around $10 and a piece of my soul. For future reference, bringing your lunch is a good idea.
Other than the ones that were obviously working (booth girls, media, staff, etc), I saw three types of girls. The first group was the clingers. These are the women that wouldn’t go from booth-to booth without holding their boyfriend’s hand or wrapping their arms around his waist. No game will be talked about or looked at before the boyfriend says so. The next group are the women-among-men. They walk with groups of men, talk with groups of men, sometimes even act like men, all without the ‘Y’ chromosome. Most of us fall into this category because when I say they talk and act like “men” I mean “the typical gamer.”
The third are the women that are in groups with other women exclusively. These are the women that do not know what the hell they are talking about. There was a woman walking down the hallway with three of her girlfriends, and she turns to one and says, “like, ohmygod, when are they going to release Halo 3.” The friends walking with her actually agreed. These women are very few and far between, but if you are one of them, you cut that s*** out right now. You’re making us all look bad.
To ebb into a lighter subject, the staff is seldom actually talked about. For someone that has never registered for or been to E3, there is a lot that goes into the process and it can be extremely overwhelming. On the last day of E3, I lost my driver’s license. In order to get into the exhibit halls, you need to show ID so the security guys will let you in. After much panicking and stress, we explained the situation to one of the security guards. He gladly let me in after I showed another obscure version of identification. He laughed with us, told me not to worry.
The moral of the story is that the staff is super helpful… and not in your typical “it’s my job” helpful. There was a man that stood by one of the doors all three days. Every time I left he’d tell me to have a good day, and when I came back in, he welcomed me back. It was a kind gesture and it wasn’t just for me; he said it to everyone that came in.
Everyone knows that E3 is a big event. What no one ever talks about is how ridiculously long the lines are. There was a line for Far Cry 4 that wrapped around the booth and into the walkway. They had to set up multiple exposures of each game just to avoid lines that would go on to a point where they would merge together with other lines, creating one long, non-denominational line.
E3 isn’t just an ice cream shop where you can order what you want and be on your way. They let you, and a couple thousand other people, play five minute demos for games. The booths are the most cramped and the lines are the longest for the games that are the most popular. Let’s hope you’re not one of the people that decides to go into the main booths the first day… it’s like walking through the parking lot from Dawn of the Dead. Is it really that bad? Yes; however, the lines are usually just a mild annoyance. The first day is generally the day that is comprised of the longest queues, but the idea of “hurry up and wait” is a general theme for E3.
Many people have critiqued the gaming community; I dare anyone that has done so to go to E3 and see how amazing our community really is. The most vulgar display I had seen was actually one of my own creation. While playing the new Super Smash Bros., there was a character with an insane power up. Mega Man attacked with his power up and directed it almost entirely at me, Link. Among cries of “WHICH ONE OF YOU IS MEGA MAN?!” and “DAMN IT MEGA MAN!”, I heard the player yelping back at me “I’m sorry, I’m sorry.” He was not being sarcastic; we both knew that games have a winner and a loser. I didn’t get his name, but after everything was over, we shook hands.
E3 is an event where people that share a common love of electronic media can flock together and share in their passion while seeing the newest breakthroughs that the industry has to offer. It’s wonderful not only for the games, but because of the players: networking with them, playing games with them, talking to them even if only about their projects. The entire atmosphere is homey and fun at the same time. Can I live there? No? Well then, when can I go back?