I do some video game industry-adjacent work as a staff writer for The Completionist, and a bunch of us from the office are going to E3. I’ve never been before; I’m really looking forward to. I remember reading about the show in Nintendo Power and being convinced that this was what Heaven was, just booth after booth of gaming bliss. As I got older, I started picking the E3 Electronic Gaming Monthly issues for a broader take than the more limited Nintendo Power one. It still seemed impossible. How could this much cool stuff exist in one place?
A few years back my friend Bri got a job at E3 as a booth rep for Nintendo- basically got to entice people into their booth and play Zelda in the downtime. How did you get that job? I asked myself. I had grand aspirations of starting some kind of video game-related podcast at the time (I still do! who knows!) and she said if you get that off the ground, you can apply to get in as “media”. A solid idea.
Fast forward two years and here I am, going to the show with media credentials. It feels surreal. Young me would have had some kind of a heart attack. I know the show is different than it was- obviously it’s going to be packed and uncomfortable because it’s open to the public now, and announcement trailers don’t mean anything to me as everything I play is a few years behind anyway- but I’m still excited. I’m going to network and visit indie booths and maybe even play some stuff. I’ll try and go to at least a couple big presentations, just to see what it’s all about.
The most hilarious part is that now I’m on some kind of master email list for various PR outfits and I am getting bombarded with marketing. “We hear you’re coming to E3. Won’t you try our new online PVP battle royale service game with customization options?” “E3 is only five days away. Make your appointment to experience the indie game that will be all anyone’s talking about next fall. We’re located in some shady hotel ten blocks away from the LA Convention Center, and we have time slots available at 11pm and 2:13am.”
What’s best are the emails for stuff. Not games; stuff. Stuff like HDMI cables. Or a portable gaming pc that will almost certainly be a disaster. Or gaming chairs.
Ya’ll, I have been bombarded by at least three gaming chair companies over the past several weeks, urging me to come and try out their wares. I do not envy these PR people. They have to compete with Super Smash Bros. and The Last of Us 2 for people’s attention. When I went to PAX a few weeks ago, the sheer amount of gaming chair companies blew me away. There are more than, like, two? And the best part is that people were buying them. Crowded convention, thousands of people standing in lines and bumping into each other- and some brave soul just wheeling their newly-bought chair merrily along. At E3 this will seem even weirder to me.
I’m tempted to make an appointment with one of these companies, just to see what it’s like. Do they have a gaming PC set up with one of their superchairs set up right in front of it, with something like XCOM or Civilation set up so that the time just melts away and you don’t even notice because of your exxxxxtreme comfort? What if it’s just a booth right between Microsoft and Bethesda, with like... one or two of those big orange and neon green ones? No context, just a gaming chair, a PR guy, and nothing else. I bet they’ll raffle off a few. They’ll definitely have order forms available, maybe even an iPad or something so you can place the order right then and there.
What I’m trying to say is: should I get the chair with the extra lumbar support and hilighter-yellow accents, or the black and chrome number that promises to “revolutionize my gaming habits”? I’ll be sure to take lots of notes.