Hey there, everyone! Did you all have an exciting E3 week? Did any GBAtemp users here get to attend any of big events, like the show, or LA Live? After all, this was E3’s first year of allowing the public to intermingle on the show floor with developers and media! Thanks to @Costello I once again had the pleasure of attending E3 on behalf of GBAtemp, and so now, I’m here to report back on my experiences! Read on, to see how it all went! Day 1 Attending E3 2016 had been a huge dream come true for me, last year. And it had also been incredibly jarring. Hundreds upon thousands of reporters and camera crews had been all within the venue, and covering such a huge event was a daunting task. This year, the event was even more packed, allowing for just under 70,000 people to attend! It made things far more chaotic, but at the same time, you could see the starry-eyed look of regular attendees, clutching their green badges, and seeing that they were able to do something they’d wanted to for years: have the opportunity to go to E3. But before the actual show-floor opens, there’s always the beloved and hyped press conferences. Xbox, Sony, Nintendo, and even smaller companies like EA and Bethesda get a special block of time, where everyone’s eyes are on them, watching, anticipating what reveals they have in store for the industry. I had managed to secure an invite to two of those big shows, Bethesda, and Sony. Bethesda’s conference was a huge affair, taking place entirely outdoors. Instead of being located at the Los Angeles Convention Center, this was at LA Center Studios, which to my surprise, was once known as the Union Oil building, where both my grandparents had worked, nearly 50 years ago. From the entrance, crazy attractions could be seen, like a ferris wheel, huge popcorn machines, and more. Aptly titled “Bethesdaland”, the whole thing really did feel like a miniature theme park! Journalists from every major outlet were there, with huge cameras and microphones, standing off to the side, reporting live from the event. For a few moments, I stood in line next to five men in professional attire, holding recording equipment, emblazoned with the logo of “IGN”. Outside, was a limo that had Gamespot’s logo on it. Business cards were passed out left and right, as veteran media socialized, and talked amongst each other. Journalists from the biggest sites, ones that I idolize and recognized passed by me, striding with purpose, as I fumbled with my camera, trying to handle the sensory overload. Queues for all sorts of free things were everywhere, as I turned around, taking in the expansive event before me. Foods stylized like Fallout’s Yao Guai meat, or Nuka Cola Quantum were on one side, and Skyrim-styled tin mugs of alcohol were being served at a makeshift bar. Personally, I found the snowcones with the soda poured over them was the best. The paper cone even had a Fallout logo on it, really showing Bethesda went all out for this. I found myself inadvertently stumbling into a line. Feeling overwhelmed, I sipped on a neon blue soda offered to me by a waitress, and waited in this line that I had no idea what lead to. At the end of it, my wristband was scanned, and placed into my hand was a small Dishonored 2 pin. I had managed to accomplish something! A few steps past that, was another entrance, leading to yet another part of the area. A timer on a screen was overhead, showing how long until the press conference started. I found myself near the front, when the timer counted down to zero. As the gates opened, people streamed through the entryway, and it was a mad rush as everyone made their way towards the middle of the courtyard. There, hung a giant screen, with yet another countdown! I’d managed to secure a lovely spot right near the front, but as more people filed in, I found myself pushed backwards by people trying to get closer to the screen, and knocked into overly stuffed backpacks, nearly bursting from the free swag given away at the earlier Xbox conference. As the sun went down, flashing lights of every color suddenly began flickering across the stage. Overly loud music blasted out of speakers, making the ground rumble with sound. You could see and hear the event from blocks away, even. The countdown reached it’s last few seconds, and the crowd began chanting “3...2...1!” with a mad fervor. There’s really an incredible difference from just watching the event from a Twitch stream behind a monitor, and getting to see it all live, and firsthand. Cameras and lights flashed at every half second, the floor never stopped shaking thanks to the heavy bass in all of the trailers, and the smell of popcorn permeated everything. It was staggering. Following every announcement, you could hear people’s reactions. From middling muttering over Fallout VR, to explosive cheers of joy for Skyrim on the Nintendo Switch, it really made the experience something more. Overall, the conference itself was decent, but after walking out following the Wolfenstein II reveal, one couldn’t help but feel incredibly hyped for what Bethesda has planned. The next day would have Sony showcasing their titles, for the next two years, and while I had received an invite to their conference, my badge for entry, a small wristband, was torn up, the moment I presented my ID card. Despite Bethesda serving alcohol, Sony refuses entry to those under the age of 21. Alas, I was 5 months too young to attend. While disappointing, I still had three days of the actual show floor of E3 to look forward to! If I had thought that Bethesda’s conference was jam-packed, then what was about to take place was on another plane of existence. Hordes of people stood, waiting with their non-industry badges, creating a mess of lines that lead to the three open doors of the convention. Badge-checkers were on standby, making sure everything was as orderly as possible (which wasn’t much). A man at the front of the line argued with one of the attendants, saying there were too many people in line, and that everyone was getting pushy. While I waited for my media badge to be scanned, all the guards were walking away, to address a problem. I stared after them, before deciding to just slip through the closing door. Inside, were large booths, exhibitors, and press, all milling about. The lobby was adorned with tons of decorations, all of them E3 related. Excitedly, I made my way to SEGA’s booth, my primary target being Sonic Mania. Tons of people are hyped for this return-to-form for the series, and I am most certainly among them. There wasn’t even a line to try the game out, so I slid right into an open booth, and began playing. On display that day was the full zone of Green Hill Act 2, complete with boss. The level itself was solid, playing exactly like you’d expect from an old-school Sonic game. If you knew the layout, you could blast through the level in under a minute, but there was a ton to explore as well. Everything was on-point, from the enemy placement, to the music, to the loop-de-loops. I had already been excited for this game, but being able to play it for myself has only made me anticipate the game’s release even more! By the time I’d gotten done playing, the rest of the E3 attendees had been allowed in. It was wall-to-wall people, everyone in a rush to find their favorite company. As I walked away, the line for Sonic Mania had wrapped around SEGA and Atlus’ booth, and a woman held up an “end of queue!” sign, as some began cutting in line. It was a madhouse. Seeing the mass amount of people was intimidating, and I immediately turned around, settling myself back into the SEGA booth, nervously deciding to stick around there until things calmed down. Sonic Forces wasn’t being played, so I warily picked up a controller and tried the game out. I’m not sure if it was the headphones, or if the audio mixing was just terrible, but it was excruciatingly bad. Overly loud, low quality music blasted over voice clips that were near impossible to hear. And the voice clips, oh the voice clips. From the second the demo starts, the characters start blathering, and for a full minute, they don’t stop talking. It’s grating, and having your game start off that way definitely will put people off. The rest of the experience was mediocre, and not memorable in the slightest. Sonic Mania reigns supreme, out of the two upcoming Sonic titles. Atlus was there, as well, with a much smaller booth than that of the previous year. They had no playable games to try out, but trailers for their upcoming games, like Radiant Historia: Perfect Chronology and Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey Redux were played on loop, next to a large display for Odin Sphere developer Vanillaware’s new game, 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim. 2018 will be an exciting year for the company. I also had a meeting with XSEED, a company I know a lot of GBAtempers here, myself included, are huge fans of. At first glance, their booth looked exactly the same as 2016--Fate/Extella was back again, with its upcoming Switch port, Shantae: Half Genie Hero had a large amount of space dedicated to it, despite being released months prior, and another Senran Kagura game was featured front and center. Subtitled “Senran Kagura: Peach Beach Splash”, it was the first game showcased to me. These games tend to be chock full of fanservice, and gameplay elements copied from other series. (Such as Dynasty Warriors, or other typical beat ‘em up games.) However, despite the disdain I had for this game initially, I was pleasantly surprised. The over-the-top fanservice is still there, but Peach Beach Splash actually manages to have a really engaging concept. You play as a team of girls, dressed in, of course, scantily-clad bathing suits, armed with water guns, of all things. Your goal is to take out the other team, by shooting down all the enemies. There’s a multitude of different characters, and even different weapons to use. The combat was quite fun, and I walked away from the demo thinking I had played a pretty heavily Japanese take on Splatoon. If you want to hear a reiteration of my opinion on Fate/Extella, you can read what I thought of the initial release on Sony platforms, here. Also new to their booth, and feeling like it was almost hidden away, was Zwei: The Ilvard Insurrection. Featuring two different characters to play as, in the demo, it had a very classic RPG feel to it. Created by Nihon Falcom, it was their last classic PC game they created, and thanks to XSEED, it has finally gotten a localization. Zwei plays a lot like Ys, another RPG made by Falcom, and has all sorts of fun mechanics, like throwing bombs to solve puzzles, eating foods to level up, and having a very satisfying combat system. According to the representative there, Zwei won’t be getting a console release, but it’ll be on Steam and GoG and launches sometime at the end of this summer. I’d definitely recommend trying this out once it releases. Prior to attending E3, I had printed out business cards to give out, to other reporters, or to exhibitors and company representatives. I’d passed a handful out that day so far, but none had really given a second glance. Confused muttering of the site’s name was the majority of reactions I’d received. With XSEED, despite how nice their team had been, especially at showing me all of their games, I’d neglected to pass out one of my cards to them. I quickly made my way back to their booth, only to find that it was suddenly full of people, and foot traffic was fairly heavy, seeing as that they probably had the best location in all of the west conference hall, right at the entrance. Trying to not get in the way, I handed each of them a card and made my way out of the booth once again. What surprised me was when the last man I’d given a card to looked up, and exclaimed “GBAtemp! I’ve heard of them!”. He had told me that he’d read reviews from the staff, on games that XSEED had translated and published. It was a really great moment, and I felt proud to represent GBAtemp. All in all, day one of E3 had gone over incredibly well. Though far more tiring that last year’s, I’d gotten to get some great photos, had a ton of fun, and made a lot of awesome memories! Hopefully you enjoyed reading this first article, and stay tuned for more!