This will be my 12th year going to the legendary video games conference: E3. I’ve learned a lot going through the years and I offer some advice for those going for the first time.
If you can only go one day-
Go Tuesday. It’s the shortest day but it’s the easiest day to play what you want to play. More on this later.
Take the train if you can.
Parking in LA is always awful but during an event like E3 it’s worse than usual. The metro will drop you off down the street from the convention center and will only cost you a few bucks per day. Cheaper than paying $20+ for parking.
Bring hand sanitizer.
Many booths have gotten better at having anti-bac hand sanitizer in recent years for everyone to use but it never hurts to have your own in case you get stuck in an area without (or they run out). Touching controllers that hundreds of other people have touched that day might not seem that bad, but it adds up. Take care of yourself so you don’t wind up with swine flu by Friday.
Wear super comfortable shoes-
and clothes. This becomes more important the more days you plan to attend. A lot of your time will be spent standing/sitting in line and walking from one area of the massive halls to another. If you have super saiyan feet, more power to ya. If not: don’t wear sandals, don’t wear pumps, don’t wear flats.
Preferably ones that don’t require utensils or too much handling (see note #3). Granola bars, bananas, anything on a skewer. The lines for everything you’re gonna want to see could take 5 hours or more and you’re not gonna want to leave the show to eat. Also the offerings in the convention center are the overpriced, not great, junk food you’d expect.
Speaking of line waiting…bring something to do.
E3 is a great place to get street passes on any iteration of the DS you own or spend some hours with your long neglected PSVita. I’ll also be interested to see how many Mario Kart tournaments break out in line on Switches this year. I’ve also been able to make a few new friends chatting up with fellow gamers to pass the time. You get to meet so many cool people who you know you already have something in common with, a love of video games!
Bring a bag.
You don’t want to get overencumbered with a big bag but bring something to stash your swag and snacks. I used to bring a one shoulder bag and that will wear you down after three full days. There isn’t as much swag as there used to be, but you usually get a shirt and a pin for playing demos for the bigger games. Bring something you wouldn’t mind climbing a mountain with.
is earned at the show. You get swag for playing games, dancing in public, taking surveys, entering raffles, completing challenges, winning matches and so on. Not many booths just give out stuff. You gotta work for it gamer.
Know what your top games are that you want to check out-
and do those on Tuesday. Everyone is still figuring the show out on the first day and the media badges are busy elsewhere, so if you know what you really want to see you’re already ahead of the game. Don’t think “oh I’ll go check that out tomorrow” because most times you’ll have to wait in line for 6 hours to see the big stuff (Destiny 2, COD WWI, Super Mario Odyssey will all probably be big lines). I waited EIGHT HOURS over TWO DAYS to play Halo 5 and experience the hololens.
Prepare yourself for disappointment.
It’s not likely, because E3 is a total mind blowing blast but sometimes the really cool stuff is behind closed doors that you need a key called a “media badge” to open. That’s fine, there’s lots of stuff to check out. But as an example, last year only 100 people a day could get into the Resident Evil 7 booth to play the demo in VR. The first 100 in line literally got a golden ticket to get in. Everyone else was SOL. That’s cool, go play something else in the next area and don’t let it ruin your day.
Watch out for “Theater demos”.
I waited in line for an hour to get into a presentation for Watch Dogs 2 only to find out once I was inside that there was no swag, I couldn’t play the game and it was the exact same demo shown during the press conference. A lot of the bigger games do this especially Ubisoft titles. I recommend you watch the press conferences and then watch out for this at the show so you can maximize your time. If you’re not sure, ask one of the staff working the booth before you decide to wait in line.
Be fucking respectful.
Yes there are celebrities at E3, super star game devs and yes there are booth babes. Don’t harass them or be a dick. They are people too. Say hi, ask for a picture, say something nice then move on. Nine times out of ten you will get a cool memory to take home with a pleasant exchange. Don’t be that douche bag they write articles about the week after the show.
GOThere’s a lot to take in-
take it in on Thursday. There is so much to see and do (and buy this year) but don’t be tempted to review the floors on the first day and play the games on the next two. Plan your priorities and do them as soon as possible so you can relax and bask in the bright lights and glory of E3 on the last day.