by Ken Gagne
The Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) for video gamers is a mecca, but not a heaven. The very nature of thousands of gamers presented with just as many new toys for them to try creates a hectic atmosphere. Several years of E3s have made me more aware and critical of these irritants. Now that I've had time to recover from and reflect on my annual sojourn, I present in no particular order my top ten things E3 doesn't need:
- Contest lines
- Tens of thousands of people pay airfare to travel to Los Angeles and stay in hotels., then wait in line for hours to compete for a Nintendo WaveBird wireless controller. Value: $35. Did all their money go to travel expenses, that they can no longer afford this additional expense? I'd rather wait in line at my local retailer for five minutes than spend all that travelling money to wait in Los Angeles for five hours.
- Unorganized masses
- There was no semblance of order to enter the Sony press convention as hordes of reporters attempted to register at the main gates. In this case, lines would've been appreciated.
- Unorganized parking
- The Convention Center garage offers parking for a very accommodating price, but finding an available spot requires winding through the many twists, turns, and one-way avenues. Parking in an overpriced outdoor lot is less hassle.
- Overpriced food
- Maybe those potential WaveBird owners are strapped for cash after paying the exorbitant prices demanded by Convention Center food vendors. Is packing a lunch considered unprofessional?
- Continental breakfasts
- The press is spared the outrage of commercial food by receiving free meals from our host, the IDSA — but how about some hot food to boot? A few flapjacks would go a long way.
- Lack of seating
- Again, the IDSA goes above and beyond to feed the press, and this year's lunches were the best they'd ever had. But why do they offer food to feed hundreds of press corps members, and enough chairs to seat only dozens? It's diametric to lavish the reporters with fine food, only to ask them to eat off the floor next to the garbage can.
- With every booth competing to be heard, it becomes nearly impossible to pick out any single sound source. Even these efforts are sometimes wasted, such as with Konami, who presented videos with dialogue drowned out by the video's own music. The volume isn't deafening, just indistinguishable.
- Video games are about fun, yet E3 is also a business affair. While a suit and tie may be overkill, the opposite extreme of fanboys wearing their favorite game cartridges like necklaces is unnecessary as well.
- Oblivious people
- E3 isn't an RPG where you can kill those who annoy you, so please be considerate of them instead. If someone is sitting or kneeling to watch a demonstration, please do not stand in front of her. If a photo is being taken, please do not cross in front of the photographer. Pretend it's a survival horror game, and be aware of your surroundings; anything could be a threat.
- Booth babes
- Except possibly for Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball, there is little relevance between the exhibiting women, scantily clad or not, and the games they're demonstrating. This showcasing demeans these women, and produces little additional press for the company's software. The only real result I've seen are web sites boasting a plethora of testosterone-dripping photos of their staffers enjoying the bounties of E3.
See you next year!
This article is copyright (c) 2002, 2007 by Ken Gagne. All rights reserved. Not to be distributed without permission.
Original publication: Sentinel & Enterprise, 24-Jun-02