While there are a lot of gaming conventions and conferences throughout the year, there’s nothing quite like E3. What has often been dubbed “Gaming Christmas”, E3 is the industry’s biggest event. Developers, publishers, and hardware manufacturers all come together for a week in sunny Los Angeles to show off their wares to the world. The event has had its fair share of highs and lows over the past two decades, but it still remains the quintessential gaming conference. E3 is so big that even the departure of big publishers EA and Blizzard hasn’t ushered in the so-called “Death of E3.” But despite all of its prestige and reputation amongst both the industry and the gaming community, E3 has been an industry-only event. While other conventions like PAX or conferences like GDC allow for the general public to attend, unless your job had something to do with the gaming industry, or you knew the right people, there was no way that the average gaming fan would get into such a prestigious event.
That is, until now.
You’ll notice that I’m referring to all these stipulations in the past tense. Because for the first time since its inception, E3 is allowing a limited number of the general public to attended E3 along with industry professionals and the media. And as you can probably guess from the title, I am going to part of this first generation of “consumers” attending the biggest gaming event of the year. To say that I’m excited is a major understatement. I mentioned through facebook and twitter at the time that if I hadn’t been at work when I’d bought my pass for the show that I would have been bouncing off the walls. I’d been hoping that somehow this tiny little hobby blog would have gotten me in somehow, but with this change, I don’t have to worry whether or not I would actually be considered “gaming media.” Which was in itself a pipedream, since I’m not getting paid for throwing my words out into the digital ether. This consumer option gives mere mortals like me a slice of the pie. Delicious, delicious, video game news pie. Though no press conference invitations unfortunately (fingers crossed though).
I’ve gotten advice from friends of mine who have gone whether it’s through work or aforementioned special connections. Bring comfy shoes, don’t expect to eat much at the convention, stay hydrated, bring a large suitcase for swag, all what could be considered basic convention tips. But the best thing I think for me to do is keep an open mind with little expectations. That’s what happened with PAX East 2016, the lack of expectations and the drive to play whatever I could feasibly get my hands on mean that I was both exposed to titles that I wanted to play and new games that surprised me in more ways than one. I hope to apply that same philosophy to this year’s E3. Yes, there will be crazy long lines, and it’s highly likely that I won’t be able to play games that are the stars of the show. But if I can play games like YIIK, Pyre, or A Night in the Woods, then I know that I’ll have a fantastic time on the show floor.
It’s still early days to know what we’re going to see, but I’m confident that it’s going to be a splendid time. I’ve been making it a big part of the blog to cover what happens at E3, but it’s going to be entirely different this year. If I’m lucky, I might be able to swing some press conference invitations since they’re a big part of the show that I review every year. However, the show floor is going to be more than enough to write about. I’m even aware that with the sheer volume of people going to E3 this year I may only get to play a couple games across the whole week, but considering that I’ve never been able to play games at E3, any playtime is a step in the right direction. I hope you’ll stick around and see what happens at my first actual E3, I know there’s going to a lot to talk about whether or not it’s good or bad.