Where to begin?
This June, I was privileged enough to experience E3 on the Kwinn Pop team – for the very FIRST TIME ever! And yes, I’m about to share my thoughts and experiences about this colossal 3 day event.
Day 1 – was one hell of a whirlwind. Traveling was a breeze, getting our badges was another story. I had received my badge relatively easily, whilst Chrissie had a few bumps in road correcting her name. The woman at the badging desk, inside the convention center, was not helpful and was extremely abrasive, and as a customer service rep, she probably could’ve been doing another job suited to her personality. Once badging issues were settled, we went to the bag drop off. It was super convenient for those of us hopping off a flight and going directly to the show.
Now, as you can imagine the lobby was filled with hundreds of people, and I knew that this was going to be a very crowded 3 days. Also, lets keep in mind, industry professionals were telling me, 15,000 tickets were sold to the public. So we made our way to 1 of 2 halls, and I was not prepared to see even more people and such grandiose sets/booths. I was in complete and utter awe.
It took a few seconds to come back to earth, but I was ready to tackle the floor, following quickly in Chrissie’s every direction. Let me say that having an industry vet was EXTREMELY helpful. I think I would’ve gotten lost, and trampled in the sea of people.
As we were absorbing the lay of the land and bumping into some of Chrissies peers, some games that caught my attention were Detroit – visually stunning detail, Wolfenstein – their booth was so cool, Crash Bandicoot – it’s a throwback game for me, Injustice 2, and some of the VR experiences like the Inpatient.
Day 2 – At the end of Day 1 people working the VR stations told us that we had to reserve a spot on the Experience app for Sony. VR and game demo spots opened at 9am and 1pm. If you didn’t get a spot, it was likely that you wouldn’t try anything or see anything. It really did ring true. Which brings me to a major CON of the show. I understood that this was an industry only event, meaning only professionals were allowed to attend the show, many years prior to this one. This year they let in 15,000 fans. What would’ve been an expected wait of 30-45 mins to see a demo or play a game turned into a nightmare of mazing, wrapped around lines, with wait times of 2+ hours. I suggested a flash pass system similar to Six Flags provided for industry folks to experience what their competitors and peers have produced in the last year. Industry people need this event to work smoothly in order to learn, network, and give feedback. Fans got in the middle. The industry vibe was seriously dulled down, which for many businesses, is unfortunate. I don’t think anyone anticipated the turn out – there was not enough swag for the masses, and many people didn’t get into demos or game play, myself included.
However, I did get into a VR demo of Persistnce instead of the Inpatient. It was my first VR experience ever. It was amazing. VR definitely takes some getting used to. Your brain is being told that you are moving, when you’re really in a seated position. I played as a character who has been woken up from a cryo bank to save the rest of the resting people onboard a spaceship that has been invaded by alien zombie like creatures. It was super cool, and if I had some spare cash, I would invest in the VR experience.
We then attended a demo for the new Spiderman game, which looks amazing. The demo was game play and it showcased the amount of things Spidey can do to fight bad guys. This game has a huge thumbs up from me. Not to mention, that the game’s booth was stellar. There was a nearly life sized helicopter suspended in the air was Spidey hanging off of it. I would say it was one of the most unique and well done booths at the show.
I also made a point to stop by the God of War booth, specifically so I could hop on their larger than life Dragon. They had the fog machine going and their line was moving fast – it was an opportunity to take advantage of.
Detroit’s demo was not what I had expected and I had second thoughts about how badly I’d like to play this game if it was available right now. I’m not sure how I feel about the “pick your own story” type of game.
We also caught a part of Sonic Fox playing Injustice 2, which is a game I would totally play, now that I’ve seen how great it is to play with a friend.
Day 3 – Chrissie finally made it to Call of Duty, which was a mission since Day 1, and she waited in line for about 2 hours, and that was her and I busting through the hall doors to snag a coveted spot. By day 3, a lot of booths started capping the lines. I had raced to Wolfenstein, solely based on the set design, (it looked like a 1940s diner) and my portion of the line was told we’d be playing around 3:30. I wasn’t about to waste my last day in line at E3.
After I ditched Wolfenstein, (Chrissie was still waiting at COD) I was able to play Crash Bandicoot. It was so much fun, but I am rusty. I don’t remember it being a difficult game to play, haha. They had all three Crash games to play, whichever one we preferred. While waiting in line, I received a pin and guests were able to snag a photo with Crash himself. I relived my part of childhood, and that alone, was worth it.
Once Chrissie was done, we went to play Forza. Xbox’s booth was super streamlined, well lit, and organized. The Forza area had several gaming stations, and one large car like setup for people to experience the drive. The line for this game was not bad, and we received Forza enamel pins and a DLC. This also was the most swag we received from one booth.
Day 3 flew by, and needless to say we hated saying goodbye.
Overall, E3 was such and educational and visually stunning experience. From a designer’s perspective I could appreciate the methodical and purposeful designs that aided the games’ stories and backgrounds. Spiderman looked like he was in NYC fighting crime, Crash was on a brightly colored island, Detroit was super minimalist and uniform, and Nintendo’s area felt like a cartoon wonderland. All of the booths evoked the vibes of their games – it was seamless.
The graphics in gaming were creepily accurate, too. You could see of the pores on a characters face, and the expressions they have, their movement just like ours, and the worlds they live in.
I am so glad I was able to experience this event. It opened my eyes to a whole other side of the gaming world I did not know of. A big thank you to Chrissie Rios for sharing this with me, and showing me the way.
Can’t wait till next year!