My First E3 Experience

I’m sitting in my hotel bed and reflecting on the most memorable moments of my first attendance at E3, the Electronic Entertainment Expo.

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With huge showcases from companies, such as Microsoft, Bethesda, PlayStation, Capcom, and Nintendo to name a few, to state their claim in the video game industry, the convention was filled with demonstrations, characters, monuments, monitors, and swag galore. The convention had ups and downs, but overall the experience was enjoyable and one I’ll never forget!

Here are three highlights of my trip that stick out to me the most:

PlayStation VR

PlayStation gave a glimpse of a lot of new developments in their VR world, most notably the Skyrim VR. A few other games demo’d at their booth included a shooter called Bravo Team, a Final Fantasy XV game called Monsters of the Deep, and a cartoon-y medieval game called Moss. It was an EXTREMELY difficult time reserving a spot due to limited amount of space per slot and the PlayStation Experience application crashing on me every time I pressed a button.

I reserved my time for FuturLab’s Tiny Trax. This is a racing game that plays in a sort of top-down perspective, where you move your VR headset around to chase the track. I raced a tiny car around a track which went uphill and underwater, during which you can crouch down and “dip” your VR headset to see what’s underwater. The controls took some time to get used to, but after getting the gist of the game I had a really good time playing it.

Sega’s Kamurocho alley and Yakuza 6

Albeit smaller area than a lot of the bigger companies, Sega’s booth won me over with its simple creativity and execution. I’ll focus my attention on Yakuza.

I was surprised with the amount of exposure Yakuza got this convention. The badges included a Yakuza 6 card, advertising a backpack tote bag swag you can pick up from the Sega booth. Yakuza had its own dedicated section, or might I say its own Kamurocho street. The entrance had a red, flashing torii gate, and standing next to the gate were Sega greeters managing the line and passing out pocket tissues. Down the makeshift street had neon signs hanging above TVs where people can play Yakuza 6 and Yakuza Kiwami demos.

I chose to free play Yakuza 6 (one of the only games I stomached standing in line to try out). There was another option to demo part of the storyline, but I didn’t want to spoil myself. I karaoked, ate food, and beat up some thugs in the 20 minutes I demo’d. God, I’m so hyped for this game because they made all the cuts between different scenes almost seamless. There were a few functional kinks that made Kiryu difficult to steer, but those are things I’m sure will be fixed in the final release.

It’s exciting to see Yakuza get this western exposure, and this is going to be an incredible year for Sega in that regard with a grand total of 3 games by the time 2017 is over.

Hideo Kojima (the 30 minutes watching him and the 30 minutes in line)

A part of the E3 convention were all the talks occurring at The Novo, where different industry leaders spoke from 30 minutes to an hour. Great idea in theory for fans to connect with their favorite game developers and actors, but poorly managed by the security team.

On Wednesday, the Hideo Kojima talk was happening from 3:15 – 4:15, and it was nothing but a shitshow with the way The Novo was running security. The security team specifies late into the line that backpacks aren’t allowed into the theatre (why couldn’t you have one sign that says so?). Also, the talk with Kojima started at 3:15 promptly due to depending on a Facebook Live feed, yet the security was slow to let people in and I couldn’t even get in until halfway through.

During this time, you talk in line and meet a lot of great people while lamenting together on how badly everything is being ran. I met a lot of developers in line (a huge shoutout to Morris for being a sports fan and a gamer!) We traded a lot of great ideas and information during this time and had a great conversation critiquing a few of the things we tried out during the convention. We also talked a bit about Snake Eater and how it’s the best Metal Gear Solid game out there.

Finally I’m finally in to see Kojima speak, and let me just say the talk was not what I expected. Not necessarily in a bad way, but the seminar spoke more about how his favorite movies influenced his games. The host was Kong: Skull Island director Jordan Vogt-Roberts, and he led a conversation about two topics: (1) the cinema/video game connection and (2) following your ideas and passions even if you’re initially criticized. Kojima rounded out the talk by saying even though his work may not be understood initially, so were movies like 2001: A Space Odyssey, but now they’re revered by many. Kojima is a strong personality, which should not be a surprise to anyone who follows him, and I understand where he’s coming from and why he’s on his current path.

Which is the biggest lesson you’ll hear from any creator, and the takeaway for anyone looking to create video games. If you believe in an idea, stick to it.

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