That’s the easiest way to describe how I felt about my first E3. Having spent years anticipating my first foray into the hallowed halls of the LACC for gaming’s biggest shindig, I was expecting a lot of things. Exciting new games, fatigue, people overload, glitz and glamor: I was expecting all of this. What I wasn’t expecting was to be so greatly overwhelmed by the epic scale of the event.
I used to ask myself after E3, “Why is the preview of that game so short? It’s going to be the big thing next year!” I don’t ask that question now. I literally could have spent a week at E3 and not played everything that was showing that I wanted to see. Much less than everything there.
Oh, I had a great time. Other than the long lines, occasional crappy games, and constant exhaustion from staying up until 2 AM, it was an amazing experience, one that I will always treasure. But in retrospect there are a few things I wish I’d done going in.
- Time Budgeting: We worked out a schedule of company interviews and behind-closed-doors game sessions, but I made sure I had copious amounts of free time during the convention to just explore. In retrospect, this was a stupid idea. I would wander around the showfloor looking for a short line, or wait an hour in a long one for a 10-minute demo. This was not a good use of my time. I think that if I had been able to say to myself, “ok, you’re going to spend 30 minutes here and an hour there” instead of wandering aimlessly like a kid lost in a candy store, I could have accomplished more.
- Water Bottle: It is roughly 800º inside the convention center. I’m sure they have the air pumping full blast all the time, but when you have 20,000 people packed into a space the size of a VW Beetle, it gets hot, fast. To compound matters, buying a bottle of water from one of the vending areas requires you to take out a small loan, or sell a kidney. There are plenty of water fountains throughout the convention center, but when you’re on the floor it’s better to take your water with you. Most telling example, I had to run to make a appointment with D3Publisher. When I showed up, I apparently looked so flushed they offered me a bottle of water. I was grateful for the water, but I don’t think I’ll make the mistake of leaving water behind again.
- Take Better Notes: Preferably while at the game I’m going to be previewing. There have been a few occasions already where I’ve been glad to have the notes I did take to confirm a feature of an upcoming game. Even so, my notes for all the games I played are not as good as I would like. Unless I magically gain a photographic memory, I think it’s imperative that I take better notes next time.
E3 2010 was a ton of fun. It has definitely earned its place as one of the biggest gaming spectacles of the year. To make matters even better, Nintendo had possibly its best showing ever. But E3 is not all fun and games.
E3 did live up to the hype for me, but it also was more. E3 is a lot of work, something that I appreciate more now that I’ve experienced it. Oh, and don’t forget the hand sanitizer… stupid cold…