An E3 Overview - Page 2
More than one person has used the words "sensory overload" to describe E3. It feels a little like someone took Las Vegas and poured it on your face. E3 is loud and bright and more often than not it's blinking.
After all, the whole point of E3 is to get your product seen. So people are constantly trying to outdo each other. Companies literally spend all year planning for E3 (yes, they're already planning for the next one), and it shows. EA Sports constructed a whole boxing ring. Sony had a 15-foot high inflatable Lara Croft bust (bust as in head and shoulders, not bust as in -- oh never mind.) 3Dfx was giving away a custom-painted Voodoo 3 Volkswagen New Beatle. Nintendo wasn't to be outdone -- their Pokemon booth also featured a VW bug, this time painted to look like the Pokemon Pikachu (complete with tail). Nintendo also had three stories of displays with a working elevator on the show floor to take you from one level to the next. Out of control.
It's not uncommon for companies to hire actors and models to get their message out. Fox Entertainment erected a huge cage and hired people to stalk around it in ape-outfits for the Planet of the Apes game. As you walked around the convention hall, apes in uniforms would occasionally drag a poor stone-age human behind them and toss him into the cage. Whoa.
Other times actors play the characters from the game. The most killer costume I saw was a full-size Diablo walking around. This costume was the bomb -- leathery skin and everything!
Of course, there were also the "booth babes." The idea is to plant a beautiful woman next to your display and then everyone will look your way. I won't debate wether or not it's sexist ... I'll just admit it works. GameSpy and GOD Games hooked up to rent a parking lot across from the convention center instead of a booth, and I guess Playboy kicked in as a co-sponsor, so we ended up with a parking lot full of Playboy bunnies walking around in Catholic Schoolgirl outfits. Was the parking lot packed? Oh yes. Although the free beer might have helped. Meanwhile, Eidos had a whole team of matching Booth Babes in shiny uniforms. The Prince of Persia booth had live bellydancing displays. So there was never a shortage of something to look at...
You begin to develop a new rhythm at E3. Here's the deal, right? There's no way anyone could possibly take it all in. So you have to figure out a plan to maximize what all you can see, party all night, and somehow survive for the next day.
Here's your typical day at E3:
First you wake up in a hotel room that usually has way too many people in it. (Friday night I slept on the floor.) It's like 9 AM and the show is just opening, you feel like you've been clubbed over the head by a baby seal and you're desperate to squeak out a couple more hours sleep. But you know you're going to miss something if you sleep in, so you drag yourself to the bathroom and shower and shave so that you look good for the booth babes.
By ten you've made it to the convention center, either walking or driving or taking a cab. It wasn't uncommon to share a cab with a few other convention folk, such as those nice Australians I met from Microsoft. (What's Microsoft doing in Australia? I dunno, probably buying it.)
GameSpy's parking lot was the perfect place to start my day, since they had free coffee (in GameSpy mugs) and tea. I eased into my E3 experience with a cup of tea next to my favorite Playboy Playmate ("Hey baby. I have a really low ping...") Before it got too hot out there I was pacing the show floors like a tiger on the prowl.
Next up, the show floor...