The E3 Experience - Intimacy, Networking, and Media Perks

Discussion in 'GBAtemp & Scene News' started by Ryukouki, Jun 18, 2015.

  1. Ryukouki
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    Ryukouki See you later, guys.

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    Hello again, everybody! Welcome back to the third chapter of The E3 Experience, where I bring back tales of my exploits that occurred on the show room floor at the Los Angeles Convention Center. The word to describe today: Intimate. As usual, my feet are more broken than ever, having traveled some 25 miles in a small three day period. What did I accomplish today? Find out now.



    Today was the longest day of the convention, with the show floor opening up bright and early at 10 AM. I arrived at the media center at 8AM, because of lack of sleep. Though, that's completely understandable considering the events that transpired yesterday.

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    So right off the bat, I had my first appointment of the day at 10:30 AM. Seriously, the rules at the convention are pretty whacked up. Yesterday I had been allowed access through an entrance on the right side of the hall, which was far less crowded than the main entrance, which had trails of people going outside the convention hall. And trust me, that line was ugly. With each individual requiring a scan of their badge, it would be near impossible for me to make that appointment. A lot of people were incredibly angry because at this point, the show ceases to be a trade show and instead is just a free for all convention. And it actually is (sadly) kind of true. As I noted yesterday I saw many people from many walks of life, some to me that did not really seem like they had a place in an electronics convention that had been difficult to get into. Finding schoolteachers there was definitely a puzzling thought for me.

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    But anyway! I digress! My first appointment was with the CEO of Image and Form games, a wonderful European gentleman by the name of Brjann Sigurgeirsson, accompanied by his President (I believe it was his President, at least!), Paul, who wanted to introduce me to the new title Steamworld Heist. I had been introduced to Brjann through GBAtemp Global Moderator @Sicklyboy, who got my interest in this title piqued before the event began. The title would be releasing this fall, and had confirmed releases for the Nintendo 3DS and for the computer. For my demo purposes, I got to play it on a Macbook Air. And thus, I got to begin what was probably one of the most interesting experiences. Heist is a very intuitive title that requires a good deal of thought for every move. It has platformer gameplay actively mixed with turn based strategy. What I found very intriguing was that the game requires a degree of skill that is not really found these days in turn based RPGs. Elements that immediately caught my interest were shots that could be calculated - the main character's shots would display ricochet lines that allowed you to aim for specific parts of the body. Aiming for the head meant more damage, and little things like using shots to aim for the hats (big thing in this game for customizability and collection purposes) were a huge plus. The fact that the enemies (though their shooting was stormtrooper grade) actually used the environment made the game feel a lot more organic and thought out. In this title, every move counts, and to my shock I ended up losing in the demo. I'm sold on this game already. Now, the minor complaint I had for this title was that the controls took time to get used to. It felt a bit clunky at first, but that was due to the fact that an adapter was not provided (he forgot, oops!) and I ended up having to use the keyboard instead. This game was one of my favorites for the day, maybe even the convention. It's top three for sure. This game gets my full confidence and I am sure it will be a success.

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    I then got in line to play the new Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash for Wii U. I'm a little bit torn about this title, and feel that it didn't really do much to accelerate the franchise forward. It felt like it went backwards a bit. The gamepad felt sorely underutilized, and felt much better suited with the Wii remote. The screen on the game pad felt like a distraction rather than a help. The fact that players see the exact same screen with no split screen is a confusing bit. Instead of getting a view of the player from behind, it felt odd having to look and adjust to the character, as getting a proximity of the ball felt out of place in this title. New mechanics include the Super Mushroom, which increases shot power and character size. Okay game overall, but nothing I would jump up and down for. As great as it looks in its 1080p glory, I can't get a good sell on it.

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    Next up was a stop at the Nippon Ichi Software USA booth, which was encompassed by Atlus over in West Hall. I did spend a little bit of time getting to acquaint myself with the wonderful representative, who did a lot of translation work for games like Danganroppa and Disgaea. Being remembered is a nice feeling. Anyway! The title I got to play was the new Rodea the Sky Soldier, coming to Nintendo Wii U later this year. Some of my new friends at the convention told me about it and highly recommended it, and they were right - the title is absolutely beautiful. It's incredibly open, and made by the designers of Sonic games. The game featured a lot of open flight concepts and reaching goals. It felt liberating and free, once I got over the controls and the fact that I was crashing into walls left and right at first. It went from a frustrating title to an anticipated one for me later this year.

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    I actually went to the next booth over at Focus Gaming on the recommendation of some friends, because of the sweet loot they were giving out to the media. And they were right. the Focus booth was by far the best in terms of presentation for their content. I got the chance to sit on a preview for their new RPG, Technomancer, from Spider Gaming. The game was designed using the Silk Engine, and is their fifth RPG. The game has a strong focus on story and immersion, and I definitely got that feel during their presentation. The game looked phenomenal, and by far will be a purchase when it comes out for PC, PS4, and XBOX One in 2016. The story was intriguing as it featured two states, which were then divided into six substates or classes, where the overall point is that the technomancer's goal is to reach out and make contact with Earth, an event that was deemed difficult due to a cataclysm in which Earth then ceased contact. The skill system was incredibly intuitive and combat looked really solid, with focuses on skill trees and talents to hone the character's skills. It has an extensive degree of customization and loot. And at the end, they gave us all a nice little swag bag with things like shirts, mouse pads, USB drives, rechargeable USB extended batteries, and company trinkets.

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    I then decided to make my way over to my final E3 appointment, over at the Concourse Hall, which is in the middle of all the halls. The Meeting Room area held my final demo of the new Total War: Warhammer, from Creative Gaming. This demo was really solid and had free food and drink. Hey, don't laugh at me, I am not paying $12 for a small sandwich, okay? Warhammer is the next game in the franchise that focuses on fantasy elements. The series is known for its take on massive scale battles that usually took place with humans on regular terrains. In this game, though, there were many detailed fantasy worlds and character designs that looked like they had a lot of time spent on them. By far, seeing some of these massive scale battles unfold felt like watching a cinema rather than a choppy pre-alpha title, and I have to hand it to them for doing such a great job. And this team is loving it, because for them they always wanted to expand the franchise into something more than just a natural landscape.

    So, that's all said and done. I was finished with all of my standing obligations at 1:30 PM. I had a ton of time to then go explore and go networking. The highlight of today was that all of my meetings were isolated and away from the hell that is the main floors. The meetings were all held in quiet locations that had good air conditioning, and were quiet enough to be able to share a more private experience with the distributor. It's always nice to be able to share a conversation with someone across a table, to be able to look them in the eye as they describe their latest hit product. My networking experience was an awesome chance to trade out a ton of business cards with people. I came in with a hundred and used half in the three days I was there. Which is stellar for a first timer. Seeing people that recognized our brand and in a positive way really does feel satisfying; as the representative of the site for the biggest electronics convention on the planet, it's a humbling thought. That's another thing - a TON of people recognized the site and thanked us for the type of work we did.

    A lot about networking is about being able to look at someone eye to eye and be able to empathize with the direction that they're going in, in terms of design ideology. For instance - the majority of my most successful networking contacts today didn't care about what a small specific subgroup thought and instead focused on how to make their brand unique. Seeing their way of approaching advertisement was really a cool way to learn how to be a better negotiator, in a way. I spent a lot of time with hardware accessories today, and seeing something like headphones getting advertised in so many different ways... it blew my mind. Focuses on ergonomics, others were the materials, others the sound quality, others focused on versatility, it's crazy. And the scary part is they're all exceptionally good in their own little ways. There was no clear winner for me on these. Their polish was top tier, with some understandable kinks since they wanted to show a product to be in time for E3. A lot of networking today - met and shook hands with people from all over the world today - connections in Sweden, the United Kingdom, Asia, the US, and many other countries showed me how diverse this world really is; everyone sees things in very different ways and their design ideologies is something I will always take to heart, because to them, their new product is something that they want to see take off the ground, and it brings them joy to see an editor like me in the media who wants to help them advertise their product in different forms, such as reviews or raffles. Realizing that I was a step for them to realize their dream, that they were willing to fly halfway across the world to be in Los Angeles to share that with me, is priceless, and gives so much more meaning to this media badge.

    And speaking of media badges, I started to discover that there are some special perks to it, albeit I discovered this a little too late, or I would have fully utilized it the day before. GBAtemp member @soulx questioned me earlier in the second chapter of the E3 experience, asking the following:

    The answer I told him while on break was that it depends on the perspective of the person who wishes to attend. I saw many people who wanted to bend over backwards, and pay that gruesome $995 for that attendee pass, to be able to play their games. Going to E3 without a press pass and trying to understand worth is entirely subjective - going to E3 and finding meaning is measured by how YOU want to make the convention, in your eyes. For me, going to this convention, even if it was an attendee pass, would be entirely worth it, because of the fact that I got to participate and take that huge step from being an observer watching a screen for over a decade, to being able to walk the legendary convention and to be able to participate in the hype surrounding the event. That was worth more to me than the press badge. It means the world to me to be able to attend and represent this community. For me, the press badge symbolizes all of the blood, sweat, and pain that I have put into this convention and to this hobby, for the past six years that I have written professionally. The other miscellaneous things like playing games early doesn't matter in the long run because it's just a matter of patience. You go to E3 for the relationships and the experiences that you carve into each footstep, to each handshake.

    Son of a bitch, I deviated. Anyways, press badges DO actually have their own little quirks. There are several tiers of badges that I observed - Attendee, Exhibit, Media, Exhibitor, Expo Pro (God what the hell is that monster pass!) and VIP/VIP Buyer. Those are the types I physically saw. If you're an attendee, get ready to wait hours and hours to play. Exhibits are like lower tier media badges. Exhibitors got to go in a bit early on the first day to set up and mingle, but today were on our level. Expo Pro - I don't even know. I want one though. That, or VIP. But definitely, being a part of the media is useful in being able to avoid relatively longer queues. For media, the media pass is essentially a Fast Pass at a Disneyland Park. You can just bounce up to any checkin desk for a booth, and you can more than likely set up a really quick appointment to come back later, or they're usually nice and just let you in the door right then and there. I had that happen a lot today. It felt good getting to bypass those long lines and get placed into a much faster queue. I had to wait still, but instead of wasting my entire day at one booth, my wait time got drastically reduced.

    Also, as a member of the media, you get access to the Media Hospitality Lounge, which is a location where all media members can just mingle and relax. There's complimentary lunches which get taken in droves, and free drinks and coffee all day, with free wireless internet. There's also access to a more private Media Center, which gives those of us with media badges access to computers and things to be able to stream and post news. I am truly going to miss that media center because I met some really great people in there. Heck, in addition, most booths sometimes just give food out to media. It's great. It beats paying for lunch. That's something for the attendees, not for media. *winks*

    Also, being a member of the media sometimes means you can sweet talk a guard to open the side entrance for you instead of making us run all the way to the front entrance and wait. There were some really cool security guys that understood the rush about early appointments, and were kind enough to let us into the convention early.

    As far as stray observations for the day, GBAtemp Grey Knight Inquisitor Reporter @Qtis asked:

    I did see some fledgling new IPs that focused on involving haptic feedback in creating a more diverse and unique gaming experience. One of the contacts that I met today was trying to utilize the concept of virtual reality, combined with haptic feedback, to create a more tactile and tangible virtual reality experience. Also, this year, I noticed a TON of virtual reality booths at the convention. Oculus Rift was stupidly popular, with lines going around and around the booth in droves. Other than that, I didn't really see anything else, unless it was being shown behind closed doors in VIP lounges or appointment only booths - which there are a TON of at the convention. There's a lot of places even a media badge can't penetrate, so don't think that you have entirely free reign at the convention with your red badge. You don't, and you're at the mercy of either your security guard manning the doors, or you're at the mercy of the company who you wish to be a part of in the VIP lounge.

    All in all, Day Three was a much more quiet affair. It was more business as usual. People knew where they wanted to be, and lines were still relatively long for games. I got to try my hands on some more games, get to meet a lot of really cool and powerful people, make some new and powerful friends, and overall, have a fucking great time. I got to take more notes to myself about how to improve my E3 experiences should I choose to return in the future, and how to use and abuse the media badge in order to accelerate the process. Oh yeah, I also got to meet video game industry bad boy Michael Pachter... who was actually a very charming guy and gave me some great humor when I encountered him.

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    And with that, I believe it's time to wrap up this third day, and bring my first Electronic Entertainment Expo to a close. I accomplished a huge load, with almost all of my personal goals reached. My feet are dead right now, yeah, and my body feels exhausted, but I have never been more excited for the future of electronics. I'd like to take some time to thank my benefactors, @Costello and the GBAtemp Staff, for funding my exploration here at E3. I also would like to thank (if they happen to read this) Elia Pales, Jason Lepine, Tifa (from Superheroine Magazine), James (from TechRaptor Magazine) and the crew over at the Enthusiast Gaming Networks, for letting me kind of tag along and hang out with you guys for the past two days. It was great getting to meet you guys in person, and I hope you guys have a great and safe rest of the convention. And, most importantly, I want to thank all of you guys here at GBAtemp for giving me the incredible and tremendous honor of being able to write for you guys about my E3 jouney, and for being able to further my writing with your feedback. I can't wait to see what is coming for the future, and I hope you guys are ready to take that step with me!

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  2. Ryukouki
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    Ryukouki See you later, guys.

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    Aww, crap. I forgot to mention that I also got to play nintendo's Chibi Robo: Zip Lash! That was a really fun platformer game that has elements that reminded me of a Kirby title. You basically start out as Chibi Robo, and the goal is to reach objectives whip the whip, which is basically a plug. There's some little puzzles that involve using the whip, and upgrades that let your whip have special powers. I saw a lot of Treehouse segments and got to play it towards the end of today. Definitely a very fun game, which will be released in Fall of this year. You guys definitely have my recommendation based on an initial preview.
     
  3. Costello

    Costello Headmaster

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    great post! very interesting read. I learned a lot of things.
    I didn't know that the show was open to the public this year, I thought it was media only. They did that a few years back didnt they?

    wow seriously? didn't they just say that out of courtesy - so as not to hurt your feelings?

    Glad you got to meet a ton of interesting people. And free food, yay! :P
    Now, I want to go to E3 more than ever. Probably never gonna happen though.
     
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  4. Ryukouki
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    Ryukouki See you later, guys.

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    Yeah, I heard whispers in the wind that they let in something like 5000 people to attend. :O And actually, people were genuinely happy about the site! They were like, hey, you guys helped me set up my console hack and saved me money, or things like: I always liked the community, or I envy your community size, etc.
     
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  5. Nathan Drake

    Nathan Drake Obligations fulfilled, now I depart.

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    I read this whole thing despite the lack of tits. You're welcome, Ryu.

    lol but really, it sounds interesting. I wouldn't go without at least a media level pass because, well, I hate people, I hate lines, and I hate stupidly long lines full of people the most. It sounds like you were able to really enjoy this third day though.
     
  6. BlackWizzard17

    BlackWizzard17 Don't worry Captin we'll buff out those scratches.

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    I'm am glad you guys were able to give me a great birthday by taking me to E3 (via GBAtemp updates:P)
    Honestly I am with @Nathan Drake as much as I love these events and its showings, I cannot take the pressure of wasting my day trying to get around without a pass like yours.
    Great Job though Ryukouki
     
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  7. Ryukouki
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    Ryukouki See you later, guys.

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    Honestly, if you enjoyed this one, yesterday's was even greater. ;) Comparing the two days, yesterday was just an insanely hectic ride but still a lot of fun. :D E3 is something you need to experience at least once in a lifetime. The press pass doesn't guarantee "line cutting," per se, it just helps on those occasions when you forget to make an appointment through Connect@E3 and then you realize that you really want to see their booth. :P

    If anything, if you don't want to wait in line, prioritize your plans and then find out what you really want to hit over the course of the three days. I did all my hitting for two days of the convention, and I had a phenomenal time.

    EDIT: Oh, you hate people? You'll be crammed with fifty thousand of them. :lol: You'll get over it fast.

    As I just quoted above :lol: There's no such thing really as wasting a day as that's completely subjective. If you waited in line for five hours, but you got to fully experience the booth you absolutely wanted to explore, then that's something you need to consider. And trust me, there were booths I would have DIED to play at (Mirror's Edge Catalyst I'm glowering at you! :angry:) but due to the nature of my position I had to run a ton of errands and keep up with my press appointments. I think I only cancelled one appointment for this whole convention, which is stellar considering I had just over a dozen.
     
  8. yodamerlin

    yodamerlin Bok bok.

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    Absolutely amazing! I was reading this whilst looking at some other things and then I read "Image and Form". I cannot wait for Steamworld Heist! I don't care about the other stuff (well, maybe), you got to play Steamworld Heist!
     
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  9. Sere

    Sere Member

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    What is special about the Expo Pro badge?
     
  10. Ryukouki
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    Ryukouki See you later, guys.

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    It's a DOOZY. The game was easily in my top three for the games I played. :)

    Basically can get free access to almost anything, from what I've heard LOL.