Back Into The Belly of The Beast

It’s been four years since I last walked into the chaotic bowels of E3. At the time, the Nintendo Revolution was announced as the “Wii” and the Sony PSP still looked it could be a contender. We even thought Huxley had a chance of seeing the light of day.

The following year E3 was gutted and left for dead on a San Diego pier. Not willing to spend a ton of money on a convention that didn’t want visitors anymore, I’ve bided my time and waited to see if E3 would ever get back to being the all-encompassing event that it used to be. With an estimated 40,000 visitors this year (still 20,000 shy of the 2006 attendance numbers) I’d say a happy medium has been found. While not quite the crushing mob we’re used to, it’s more than enough to ensure that most of the major publishers will want to put their best foot forward.

Even as I shove my passport into my travel bag, I still wonder if there’s any point in being there. A site like GWJ doesn’t exactly thrive on breaking news and hot scoops. We’ll be seeing the same thing everyone else does. So why bother? The people sitting at home will probably see more of the games than I will and every major press conference will be streamed in high definition. All this without the press of bodies, the sore feet, the lines and the hordes of nerds standing in packs and being whipped into a frenzy by booth babes tossing a few free t-shirts.

So why take a week off my day job and go? As a gamer, I think there’s a great deal of value in actually holding the controller and playing something for myself. There’s also the thrill of being completely blindsided by something cool that no one else is really talking about. The Witcher is a prime example -- I would never have cottoned to if I hadn’t seen it for myself.

There’s also a certain vibe you can’t pick up without being there. While PAX has rightfully usurped E3 as the gamer community convention of choice, there are plenty of friends of colleagues at the show that I’ll never see otherwise. Running into people you know and sharing hot tips on what games to check out is a bit like treasure hunting. It’s a hell of a lot of work, but it’s fun in an adult, Easter egg hunting sort of way.

Finally, it’s all about the context. It’s one thing to play a game at home and enjoy the end result. It’s a rare opportunity to talk to a passionate developer about what they’re trying to accomplish while the work is still ongoing. Like most aspects of E3; it’s not essential to enjoying the hobby, but it sure helps.


Hey good luck and have fun! Let us know all the new and interesting things you find...

But to be honest what I am really interested in is if E3 this year was able to capture some of its historic enthusiasm and magic (i.e. gone back to the way it was instead of what it has become).


You said, "cottoned".

This might or might not be my first E3 (still don't know!). I've only seen Gamescom before out of these big trade events, and I don't know, the convention thing doesn't really fit me. I'm glad to have a go on a new and cool game, but the convention atmosphere is never kind on anything. I could've sworn that Dragon Age and Blur were hopeless games based on their Gamescom outings last year (and I played Blur for quite a few rounds).

For me, it's mostly a chance to meet people. The people publishing the games, buying the games and especially making the games. If you need a huge, loud convention to be able to do that, maybe it's worth it.

I think anyone who identifies themselves as a "gamer" should go to PAX and E3 at least once. Having said that, I will be 47 this summer and have not attended either although I did go to several similar events when I was managing an EB back in the mists of history. I probably should do it soon before I no longer enjoy games like Elysium...

This is what you going to E3 means to me.

I've found that the community at GWJ shares a lot in common with myself. Members tend to have 20+ years experience being gamers, have jobs and families, and have intimate knowledge of the history of gaming. You've cultivated this community by providing coverage of the gaming world with more reason and less hype than I've found anywhere else.

They say the average gamer is 35, but the media tends to look at the average gamer as 16. I don't get that feeling here.

So what I look forward to from your E3 coverage is:

How do the games you play appeal to a GamerWithExperience?
Would these games appeal to my significant other, being a GamerWithSpouse?
What future games would be interesting to a GamerWithKid?
Is it worth my time to look at a game being a GamerWithJob?

The only question every other outlet is answering is "How does this appeal to a GamerWithPuberty?"

Safe travels, and have fun.

PopEsc wrote:

The only question every other outlet is answering is "How does this appeal to a GamerWithPuberty?"

Well put, sir!
I've been enjoying following these events a lot more once I got more into Twitter and keeping my RSS feeds up to date on the blogs. Reading the news is one thing, but getting a feel for the impact things are having on the show floor, that's something else.

It makes sense that GWJ doesn't thrive on Hot Scoops, Steve Gaynor thrives on Hot Scoops.


Jokes aside, I do agree with other commenters that the observations of all of the authors/podcasters on GWJ have really helped me look at games with a more critical eye and provided insight as the days of staying up all night to play video games are quickly becoming a way of the past as real life takes over (as it has now been two years since I've graduated college). It is helpful to hear the thoughts of those who have much more experience being a gamer with a job than I do!

Looking forward to the coverage and safe travels!

You need to go because the last time you guys went, you did all the presses work for them. Like asking intelligent and pointed questions.

Do you guys still have that video of the Q&A session with,Peter Moore? You know the one where the Seans/Shawns were having a conversation with Moore while everyone else was furiously taking notes on the responses.

That just cracked me up. I mean really... Where was every other legitimate journalist that day? You guys were the only ones not a deer in headlights. I guess the others got private screenings?

Blah blah blah Booth babe boobies woohoo!!! Blah blah blah

Can't wait for the anecdotal stories on the Conference Call. Those interest me the most.

Wasn't a member of the Goojer community last time the staff paid a visit to E3 but am looking forward to what their take will be on this iteration of the once-great show. Hopefully something like the Moore scenario described above.

Reminiscing, I recall that back in my pre-pubescent years I would gush all over the coverage of new games-to-come - that's how I discovered Moon RPG for the PSOne (the copy of which is now dead thanks to a bizarre fungus...), from the makers of Chulip, though it never actually got localized in America. Dreaming about what the games would actually be like, in the days before the internet or even demo discs, was half of the fun.

I fondly remember the print magazine inserts with little synopses of the games by system and publisher.

Things won't ever be quite the same, for better or for worse.

You said, "cottoned".

Heh, he did.

Hey, I'll be at E3 too - any plans for a GWJ-er meet-up?