Where do you even begin? As one friend pointed out, “Maybe you should try going inside.” Unraveling the mystery that is E3 can be very daunting. But it’s not quite as scary once you get there. In fact, the Electronic Entertainment Expo will be one of the most culturally enriching experiences there is to have for those lucky enough to get into the show.

There is no holding back when it comes to E3. For example, Samsung was on hand to show off some of it’s latest examples in cell phone applications and it’s venture into the world of virtual reality. To help promote everything and get people to their booth, they brought in one of today’s leading hip-hop artists, Lil Wayne. He and his entourage of skateboarding friends put on a mini concert for those in attendance. Like him or not, it was one of the entertaining events at the show. The lights were flashing, the bass from the music could be felt through your chest, and there was excitement in the air from having a celebrity of his caliber make an appearance.

People don’t come from all over the world to see Lil Wayne, though. They’ve traveled to check out what the rest of the world has to offer in the field of gaming and it’s peripherals. If you listen closely, you’ll hear people speaking Dutch, Japanese, and Portuguese; people with all different kinds of dialects from all different areas of the world.

As you step onto the exhibit floor for the first time, it can be sensory overload, but your body eventually adjusts. Soon everything comes into focus. Inside the West Hall, companies like Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft dominated the landscape.

Sony showed off their latest in VR technology. Their booth was two floors tall, and housed eight total rooms. Each one contained a demo for a new Sony VR game slated to come out in the fall or later. Not too far was Nintendo who garnered the most hype at the expo when they announced the latest installment in the Zelda franchise. The report is that in order to be one of the few people to play the game before it comes out, you had to wait in line to get into the expo, and then based on where you were, the wait could be up to an additional three hours. Based on the smiles coming out of the restricted playing area, it looks like no matter how much time you waited, it was completely worth it.

Microsoft was at the show to remind people of it’s relevance. Unfortunately for them, their thunder was stolen when word about their new XBox One Slim leaked ahead of the convention. Needless to say, it probably didn’t matter. Oculus, Nyko Technologies, Atlus, Turtle Beach, and friends rounded out the rest of the companies that made up the West Hall exhibit.

Outside of the LA Convention Center (where the expo was being held) was a fleet of food trucks. Attendees had their choice of Asian cuisine, grilled cheese, sliders, and Mexican to name a few. If money was no object, you could always choose to stay indoors and eat within one of the numerous food courts. However, the best place to eat was located outside of the South Hall. That where you could find LA’s famous street dog vendors. Armed with their little black carts, portable flames, and baking trays, these men and women covered a strategic perimeter outside the expo. No matter where you walked, you were going to be asked if you wanted a hot dog. At half the cost of any of the food inside the convention center, these greasy and very unhealthy hot dogs would be the best thing you’ll have ever eaten during the three day event.

For some reason the South Hall seemed more welcoming. Maybe it’s because they didn’t house the super giants that were Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft. You could cut the competitive tension with a knife. Maybe the South Hall had better games. Maybe this writer is a little biased. Here, companies like Ubisoft, Capcom, 2K, Square Enix, and Warner Bros. showed off their latest entries into the gaming world.

Square Enix had a massive display showing off trailers for some of their newest games including Final Fantasy XV. They even had stations to demo the game. 2K Games showed off games like NBA 2K17 and WWE 2K17. Warner Bros. was a popular attraction as they showed off trailers for their latest Lego games as well as the most talked about Injustice 2. Bethesda hosted a quite impressive booth with demonstrations of their entry into the digital card game world – Elder Scrolls Legends. This game will definitely give Hearthstone and Magic: The Gathering a run for their money. Bethesda also housed two glass-encased units where people could try VR versions of their biggest titles – Fall Out 4 and Elder Scrolls.

The biggest question mark came from Capcom. They had a neat Street Fighter display where people could play against each other and have people watch them on a giant monitor hanging above them. However, right next to that display was a eerie-looking house for their Resident Evil 7 VR demonstrations. Interestingly enough, it was always sold-out. No one ever went in, and no one was ever seen coming out. Although people managed the entrances like something was going on. Was there something happening or was it all a ruse? Actually, it wasn’t a ruse, but it was very popular and very hard to take part in.

The exhibit halls were mostly open from 10 AM to 6 PM (it opened at noon on day one and closed by 5 PM on day three). Unless you’re waiting in line, that can be a lot of walking. Many would consider the West Hall as the main entrance into the Expo. With that in mind, these last two places were probably the best place to end the day. The Indie Cade area featured soft couches and some of the best independently made games in the world like Inversus. And if that wasn’t your cup of tea, the next best option would to hang out with the Super Soul Bros. Not only were there couches, but you could enjoy the sweet sounds of you favorite 8-bit theme song in big band form.

As the end of the day rolls in, convention goers flock to the streets like birds eyeing a piece of bread. Only the bread isn’t bread, they’re Ubers. These drivers must make a killing driving these people around. Sadly, as someone who is from out of town, unless you personally know someone who lives in the area, they are the best mode of transportation. And just because the exhibit halls have closed, doesn’t mean that E3 has ended for the day. There’s still plenty to do after. In many cases, some of the bigger companies will host parties that are open to those who were at the convention. It’s a place to unwind from the stress of the day. It’s a time for media to connect on a more personal level with those they write about. And, most importantly, it’s a time for friends to catch up with each other.

Given the opportunity, E3 is something that a video game or tech lover should do at least once in their lifetime. But if you can’t, it’s not something to cry over. In fact, there are plenty of people who have gone in the past that purposefully didn’t go this year. ItMeJP (a well known Twitch streamer) has been to E3 in the past, but decided to stay home to report on the event because it was logistically much easier for himself.

To wrap things up, here are some tips and tricks if you ever get to go to E3.

If you bring cash, budget yourself. Only bring a certain amount with you every day and leave the rest in an envelope where you’re staying.

You only have three days, and there is a lot going on. Know that you won’t get to everything. Use the first day to look around, then use days two and three to wait in those lines.

Eat outside of the convention if possible.

Buying a pair of Dr. Scholls foot padding for your shoes will be the smartest decision you’ll make all convention long.

That’s it from E3 2016. Hopefully many of you were able to live vicariously through this. And you never know, maybe this writer will get asked to come back another year.


Category: Featured, Nerd Culture, Videogames