The E3 Experience: Genuine Surprise
Over the past few years I’ve been extremely excited for all things E3. I wanted to see the surprises, the new hardware, and the complete misses (laser tag?). No matter how high my excitement level or how low the factor of disappointment, I always appreciated what E3 had to offer. This year, that started to change. For the first time in a couple of years I wasn’t able to watch the press conferences live as they happened. I, like many others, want to hear the news first hand first and not from jaded internet dudes. For most of the day I ignored my twitter feed because I just couldn’t handle all the snark and wanted to form my own opinions before seeing any others. We are in an age where information is readily available to us whenever we want it and now video game companies have jumped the E3 gun. Getting your game news out in front of everyone, out in front of E3, seems like the thing to do now. I’m not sure if I like it.
Looking back on this year’s E3 a few years from now, we will only focus on the (hopefully) great games that were announced. If The Last of Us, Star Wars 1313, and the Wii U all turn out to be awesome, the gaming news industry will look back on this year’s E3 has a huge success. Now that we are in the thick of things, it’s nothing but a disappointment. Announcing things ahead of time seems to diminish the overall impact of E3 has a whole. I understand the need, especially on Nintendo’s part to get out in front of the show simply because of the amount of information the company has to get across in terms of introducing all the new features of the Wii U. It was one of the most concise videos in terms of “just the facts ma’am” that Nintendo has ever released. But that video and some of the game teases contained within made the actual press conference kinda dull.
My stand out E3 memory: It was the year 2000. It was the start of a new generation of consoles. The PlayStation 2 had been announced as coming out later in the year. What better way to have a successful console than to have the sequel to one of the best games on the original PlayStation. The E3 2000 reveal trailer of Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty was bananas. A 9 minute video of showing what amounted to a good chunk of the prologue. People in the crowd went bonkers. Konami made a whole documentary on the reaction of the game, showing massive amounts of people crowding around the booth to get a glimpse of the game. Jaws were dropped. The game looked amazing. Though it might have ultimately been a disappointment (i.e., Raiden) the excitement for the game at the reveal might be the greatest of any E3 as it is mine.
It’s no secret that I watch a lot of pro wrestling and can see how important a good crowd is to the overall quality of the show. In recent month’s, a hot crowd at a Monday Night Raw can make the show seem 10 times better than it actually is. A terrible crowd that sits on its hands the whole time makes the show worse. We remember certain E3 announcements better than others simply because of the crowd reaction. When companies take all the surprises out of the show by announcing games and products before hand, the surprise factor is lost along with the excited crowd reaction.
Lately in pretty much all of the press conferences there are overzealous fans who clap at every single announcement whether the reveal deserved it or not. However, the excitement oozing out of the crowd during something truly great or surprising can make those of us at home even more excited for the game and a good crowd can accomplish that.
I guess what I want from E3 are good crowds that genuinely clap when they are excited. Stop the courteous b.s. The Big 3 might get the wrong impression from your fake impressions. Though in order to get those reactions, I want surprises out of my E3. Stop with trying to get out ahead of everyone else by announcing early or outside of the press conferences themselves. A surprise announcement that gets people excited will get much more excitement from the press and gamers alike. If that’s actually who the press conferences are for, otherwise I’m not sure what the point really is anymore.
The prediction that I know better than to expect this year: I want some kind of information regarding new hardware from Microsoft and Sony. We know what Nintendo has brought to the table and it might be a complete misfire after the fact. I know both companies have stated that there will be no announcement concerning future tech this E3, but that would be one hell of a surprise if they did. At this point, I only get really excited for new hardware because I like new shiny things.