It was a monumental day for me here at E3 in Los Angeles, where I did a few things that I can kick off my bucket list. I got to see a couple of big, glitzy press conferences, I was able to exist right at the epicenter of breaking video game industry news, I got to use a public toilet standing right next to Adam Sessler…
You get the picture.
Anyway, I’ve been making notes of my experiences this year at E3 as both a travelogue and a cautionary tale.
I am awoken by a piercing air raid siren. Believing it to be an earthquake warning, I jump out of bed and race for the nearest archway to stand under. It turns out it was just Yami’s phone alarm going off an hour early because she wanted to make sure we were ready to get up when the ‘real’ alarm went off. Great idea, because I was starting to get complacent with those three glorious hours of sleep that I got. Still, it was a good idea and it worked.
The real alarm goes off, and we get ready to tackle the day. It’s going to be a long one, starting with the Microsoft/Xbox One press conference at 9:30. Naturally, we are expected to be there for 7:00. Once we arrive, I am introduced to the two phrases that perfectly encapsulate the experience of attending these things: Hurry up and wait, and line up to line up. Not to sound like a whiner, but considering that these companies have been doing this kind of thing for so long, it is completely unacceptable the number of hoops they make people jump through.
Here’s an example: I didn’t have a barcode for the Xbox presser, but was sent an Email saying I needed to show up and show that at a Registration Desk. No problem. I approach a staff member and we have this conversation:
Me: “Hi. I don’t have a barcode but I have this Email that says I….”
Her: “Oh, just go around the corner and line up.”
Me: “But where do I get a barco…”
Her: “It’s fine, just line up. It’s no problem.”
So, we line up and I get 3/4 of the way through when they look at me like I’m a moron and ask why I didn’t go to register. I get diverted to a room where I need to get this sorted out. I stand in one of two lines, and of course after reaching the front I’m told I was in the wrong one. I swear, it’s like being in a Monty Python skit. FINALLY, I get my pass to enter the building and am corralled into a penned off area outside with a bunch of other people like myself, standing and waiting for an hour and a half while Yami is inside eating caviar and getting a pedicure by Hideo Kojima.
I get in around 9 O’Clock find a seat, and get ready to be a journalist or something. The show itself is not bad; some interesting games are announced, but there aren’t many surprises really. Also not too surprising is the boy’s club mentality with a casual rape joke while demoing Killer Instinct. I’m not going to beat this one into the ground, but suffice to say it’s just another case of ‘one step forward, one step back’ that is banal in its regularity.
The show ends and we are herded out onto the street. I’m not sure why they thought it was a good idea to funnel 4000 people through an entire building and make them go out one main exit, but what the hell do I know?
After inhaling a cheesesteak sandwich I enter the Shrine Theater to get ready for EA’s presser. Peter Moore kicks it off with some pretty funny digs at a few members of the gaming press and away we go. This presentation was slick, but a little light on surprises. Some reruns from the Xbox event are there, such as Vince Zampella presenting on Titanfall. I laugh out loud, hopefully not loud enough that it got caught by a mic, when he says that his company “wasn’t about just retreading the same ground.”
We exit the Shrine and most people are off to Ubisoft. We didn’t manage to get in so decide to head back to the hotel and record our impressions before planning our next move. With that done, we also do some field surgery on Yami’s blistered feet.
Yami hears from a friend that if we have no ticket we will not get into the Sony presser (I can see why now).
We head to the convention center with hopes of watching Sony live, but are foiled when security closes shop. We embark on a search for food.
Waiting for the slowest train ever, we experience the big Sony reveal on Twitter, just like everyone else. As it turns out, it doesn’t matter.
Trying to piece the hotel wi-fi together as we settle in to watch Ubisoft and Sony.
Videos are watched and impression videos are shot. Now it’s time to sleep.
The Best Thing About Day 1
Being right in the thick of major announcements and reveals is an electrifying feeling.
The Worst Thing About Day 1
Getting moved around like cattle for no apparent reason. There is a general lack of consideration and respect for people’s time (not to mention comfort) at these events, and it is incredibly frustrating.
What I Learned About E3 on Day 1
1. Skip the press conferences. Seriously, here’s what you do next year: Go to a Starbucks, order yourself a coffee and a scone, and use their free wi-fi to watch the livestream. You won’t miss a thing, you’ll be able to post stories as they happen, and you’ll be in a comfortable environment without having to be surrounded by nasty-smelling people.
2. ‘To clap or not to clap’ is a crisis of conscience I had at these events. On one hand, we’re all games enthusiasts and we want to enjoy what companies are showing off. On the other hand, I really wasn’t comfortable having my expressed appreciation being used as part of a large corporation’s hype train. In the end, I didn’t clap — I was too busy taking notes anyway.
3. When you’re talking to staff, if you get an unfavorable answer, just ask someone else. When Yami and I went to pick up our E3 passes, mine was a second-tier one. We went to the help desk to inquire, and the lady there just shrugged her shoulders and said, “Ummm….it’s….yeah, it’s fine. Don’t worry.” We weren’t exactly heartened by that response so went to another desk, where the lady there said, “Ah, that’s the wrong pass” and fixed it in 30 seconds. Indeed, NOBODY KNOWS ANYTHING.
Stay tuned for my Day 2 Diary, in which we hit the show floor and make a critical choice about Clementine.