E3: Still an essential gaming experience?

After getting through the holidays, visiting my nephews, and battling a zombie virus – I’m taking a break from my game to nurse a nasty cold. (I think a week of hardcore resting will do it!) That doesn’t mean I’ve stopped following the hype around the gaming industry’s arguably most important event of the year. Whether that remains true is still yet to be seen. Last year, I remarked that having real fans inside the convention center and playtesting the games made the experience a lot more fun. 

Each year I attend, I lament that I see more suits standing around making deals than interacting with the floor patrons.

E3 knows it needs to evolve, so it’s no surprise to me to see that Nintendo has pulled out completely, EA is hosting a separate event, open to the public, and most game companies are putting together events for their fans right alongside E3. I don’t know if that’ll be enough to return E3 back to its glory days, but I hope it’ll spur more fans to come out and see what’s up. What I loved the most every year that I go is seeing people’s reactions. I love interacting with the talent and participating in fun contests. I have pretty good luck at winning (Thanks, DarkSouls team last year for the awesome game and a chance to “die” hahaha!) events, and it’s the ultimate place to let my competitive nature out; for a spin!

If you’re down in LA or coming for E3, what should you focus on first? E3 is like Disneyland, and you’ve got to go with a game plan to really make the most of everything. Still, with so many big publishers removed from the game floor, it’s going to make it even harder to visit everyone. So here’s my take on what’s a Must-Do while at E3.

Nintendo – Skip

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I’m pretty sure Link was the first character I ever had a crush on, lol!

Unless you’re a hardcore Nintendo fan, I’d say skip this one. Every year they’ve been pulling out more and more until finally, they’ve removed their presence almost altogether. The New Legend of Zelda is sure to impress fans, but I think most of us are a little disappointed that they aren’t really showing much of anything else. Even if they have some sort of presence on the show floor or nearby, you can simply watch the stream online if you’re really interested. I mean, was anyone else really hoping for more Pokemon Sun and Moon? Just me? 

Sony – Only if VR doesn’t make you sick

Still unimpressed with their VR showings, but maybe this can change my mind?

Console schmnsoles, no one cares about the console wars. We care about games and whether or not we want to purchase them. So the big announcement is Playstation VR, and of course, if you’re interested in VR, then you’ll want to see what Sony has up its sleeves. For those who suffer motion sickness or, you know, wear glasses, VR is still a poor experience. Maybe I should see if this year is any better, but I think I’ll pass and wait to read reviews. The new system comes out in October, and unless some primo titles are announced, it’ll just be a piece of technology (4k TVs, anyone?) that we have and can’t really make use of. Also, if the new Resident Evil is announced during their press conference, then this flips into a Go, for sure!

Microsoft – Go

New Xbox? Okay, but Hololens is what I really want to see!

A new Xbox console? Sure, maybe. Hololens making an appearance? Most likely. However, Forza, Gears of War, and their always (I’m biased and totally gonna be there – say Hi if you stop by!) fantastic Fanfest make Microsoft the must-see publisher this year at E3. Most likely, we’ll get at least 3 new titles, possibly a new Xbox, and if there is a supreme being – our first authentic look/gameplay with Hololens – because every time I see that trailer for Minecraft, I just get so excited!! Sony might have a new console and VR as well, but the number of games they expect to release hasn’t been shared much, so right now, Microsoft is the clear favorite.

EA / Activision / Ubisoft – Go, but there’s a catch

This is me, always. Sneak increased to 27…

While Activision never has its own booth space, it’s joined by Nintendo and EA this year. However, unlike Nintendo, EA is still putting together an incredible experience for their fans at LA Live. This is even better, in my opinion, because it gives the people who would genuinely be excited about the games an opportunity to play them! Unfortunately, this means that you’ll be doing even more walking than before and it won’t be easy to run from one area to another. It also implies wait times, queuing to play a game, and general admission will be a huge pain! BUT the lineup for these three is incredible. We’re expecting to see Titanfall 2, Battlefield 1, FIFA17, and probably something Star Wars adjacent. Most likely another CoD installment, maybe a sneak peek at the new live-action Assassin’s Creed movie, and of course, the mother of all RPGs, Mass Effect Andromeda!! FemShep is fantastic, and while I’d love to continue playing here, I’m so excited to be able to move the story forward. Sci-Fi has never been so much fun! So while you can’t always see these guys on the floor, they all have separate events or combined booth space in or near the convention center.

SQUNIX – Go, but remain cautious

Final Fantasy 13 Cloud-650-80
For me, Cloud is the ultimate tortured soul. Even more than Sasuke from Naruto.

So many of us have fond memories of the Final Fantasy series. Different series we remember playing. The love-hate relationship with FF Online. (Am I the only one who just did not like Lightning?!) A return to our childhood and a chance to introduce others to the characters we fell in love with is exciting, but this is a different age of gaming. E3 2015’s announcement was so exciting, and I’m hoping we finally get to see our old friends again. If we don’t, I won’t be disappointed, but I will be a little bummed. I’m going to see what Square Enix has in store, but I won’t hold my breath for the Final Fantasy 7 redo.

Bethesda – GO because it’s %^$#!@ BETHESDA

I seriously tried to dragon shout the guards every time they made fun of my sweet roll. TAKE THAT GUARD!!

You youngins might not remember this, but once upon a time, the best RPGs, heck the best games in general, came from Japan. And then, one day, Bethesda released a series of games called The Elder Scrolls, and with each installment, their fans grew and grew. Fallout, Skyrim, DOOM, TESO, Dishonoured, Oblivion, Morrowind… I don’t need to go on. You know that even if Bethesda hasn’t announced anything yet, they never disappoint. They are fiercely loyal to their fans and to their product, and no matter what type of game comes out – it’s always enjoyable. I’m pretty sure at one point I was Fus-Roh-Dah’ing in my sleep and probably irritated the crap out of my neighbors. Still, if rumors are to be believed, we’ll have a remaster of Skyrim announced at E3, which means a return to my Nordic roots!! Okay, maybe it’s really a return to my Khajiit roots, but I won’t be making a fine rug for anyone this time!

Plus, this doesn’t even include all the after-parties, side-events, and special showings that haven’t been announced. E3 may be struggling to keep up with popular cons like Pax, but this year just might be E3’s best year yet.