First Thirty: E3 2011
There’s no doubt: this is the best place in the world right now for folks like us.
It’s only the end of the first official day, and I’ve already seen two amazing new product reveals, talked with the magicians who make the games I love, and breathed the same super-charged air as the game makers I love and the game journalists I admire. I’ve had great discussions with strangers and cracked jokes that only an insider would understand.
I go to cons. After years of comic book, science fiction and tabletop gaming conventions, I had a pretty good idea of what I was in for at this, my first E3. The good and the bad. The excitement and the Day Two Funk.
What makes E3 special is the Disney-like extravagance. The money spent to design and build some of these booths is astonishing. (And yeah, Disney is here, with a really cool booth. Haunted houses, wrecked airplanes, statues and sculptures, Ikea-cool museum walkthroughs… And everywhere everywhere everywhere sizzle reels of games you never heard of doing their damnedest to make you pay attention.
This is where good marketing goes to live forever.
That’s not to say E3 doesn’t have its share of plain jane Lou Ferigno-at-ComicCon booths, but the companies you know all do their level best to knock you off your feet.
The big guys go bigger, as you would expect. Sony and Nintendo in particular have massive, house-sized, multiple-level masterpieces for you to explore. EA, Microsoft, Activision and Ubisoft are all close behind.
The crowds? Not as bad as I had guessed. The absolute body-crunchiest con I ever attended was Wizard World Philly. This E3 has been refreshingly roomy compared to that horror show. You get uncomfortable choke points, when one exhibitor reveals a new video or tosses out some smiling booth babes for the masses, but most of the time I weaved through the aisles with little trouble.
The beautiful ladies of E3. They’re here, handing out keychains, sometimes taking you through demos with very little practice. I hate taking pictures of them. As much as I’d like you to see the women dolled up as perfect recreations of characters from SSX, I just can’t hit on a way to snap a shot without feeling like a clod. I always ask permission first (which invariably cues a stock smiley pose) and say thank you afterward. I know they’re there to be seen, but it’s still silly and awkward.
The most egregious use of booth babes this year has to go to the company who put up an inflatable Bouncey House and will let you go inside to jump around with a woman in a tee and shirt shorts. WTF, man.
Like the Sweet Tooth truck above, I’m more impressed by the giant works of real-world game art on display. Skyward Sword Link on a Phoenix. The two Sonics from Sonic Generations. Whatshisnuts from Gears of War.
I’m having a great time out here with Roberto and Haygood. I’m sure we’ll delve into the crazier side of things in a future podcast, but for now we’re just digging the ride, seeing the sights, and queuing up articles to publish.Tags: e3 2011