For gamers, Christmas comes early in the year. Every June the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) is held, where all the big publishers announce their games for the coming years and allow media to get hands-on with them. A big part of E3 is the months of speculation and the huge excitement of fans when their favorite titles get featured, sometimes after many years of silence. This year I was part of the madness, and it was the best week of my life.
I had always believed E3 was out of my reach. I have followed every minute of the press conferences and the expo for quite some years now, but even after working a year as a freelance journalist I did not think I’d be attending the event. However, after a lot of hard and incredibly fun work in the industry I got a phone call, and before I knew I was on a plane to the City of Angels.
As a journalist, the E3 is a marathon.
A celebration of gaming
A lot of critics doubt the relevance of E3. It’s a media-centered show of origin were press tells the public how games look and play. Of course, the days of print magazines are gone and almost everything is streamed live via numerous channels. You can, unfortunately mostly during the night, watch the press conferences of the biggest publishers and continue to watch live panels, demo’s and other coverage. Admittedly, if you want to know and see everything of E3 the internet is really the place to be.
Then why go in the first place? The moment I entered Downtown Los Angeles, I knew. E3 is a gathering of publishers, developers, media and fans to celebrate video games and take a peek into the future of gaming. The expo is a perfect way to network, meet the people behind the games and actually feel how games play, something that is impossible via a live stream. This directness is also why a part of the E3 is now open for public too. Although gamers will stand in line for four hours on average, they’ll visit the show floor to meet their favourite YouTubers, look at the incredibly huge screens and just take in everything that is shown.
As a journalist, the E3 is a marathon. Waking up around 5:15 a.m. because of jetlag, running between the two halls (and having to do a security check every time) to be on time for appointments and shooting videos is what you do all day. During the night we would write as many articles as we could in the villa, dive into the pool and go to bed to do the same thing over again the next day. This sounds exhausting, and it is. But it’s also the most fun I have ever had.
Man, did I meet some incredible people, see fantastic games and enjoy every moment of being in and around LA. The first day of the expo I immediately ran into Cory Barlog, a man I adore for his work on the recent masterpiece God of War. I also spoke with Mark Hoppus of Blink-182, did incredible interviews with the directors of Life is Strange and Splatoon, and sat down with the vice president of Bethesda Softworks.
It made me realise that I was in video game heaven, which I gained access to by just doing what I love the most.
Things really became surreal when I left a neon-lighted futuristic bar, where beer and whisky was served, to enter the room for the Cyberpunk 2077 demo. Seeing exclusive gameplay of my favourite developer’s next project after five years of waiting already was a blast, but the fact that I got to shake the hand of Hideo Kojima (one of gaming’s legends) made the moment unforgettable. It made me realise that I was in video game heaven, which I gained access to by just doing what I love the most.
Cover: Jacco Peek