E3 is less than a month away and with the show set to return to its former size a lot of new people are going to be going to the show. With seven E3’s under my belt I thought I would share some of the knowledge about the show that I’ve built up over the last few years so that those who are attending their first show won’t have to learn the same painful lessons that I did. Of course this is based on previous shows and with a slightly different format.
Comfortable shoes are your friend -
The LA convention is nothing but hard concrete floors and while some companies will put down some carpet in their booths you’re still going to be standing/walking on hard concrete for seven hours plus a day. By the end of the first day you won’t be able to feel your feet, by the end of the second day your knees and back will hurt, and by the third day of the show you’ll know why the show is only three days long.
If you were planning on buying new shoes for the show you should have bought them already. Dan can tell you what a mistake bringing new shoes to a convention trip as breaking in new shoes on a trip like this will generate some impressive blisters. I recommend a nice pair of sneakers or well broken in business casual shoes. Flip flops and sandals should be avoided as they don’t provide any kind of support for your feet and honestly no one wants to see your toes. Any shoes you bring should be well broken in and make sure you have some comfortable socks to go along with them to help alleviate the pounding they are going to take on the show floor.
Be prepared to wait in line
- One of the sad truths about E3 is that there are long lines for almost everything. There are lines for the big name games, there are lines for the bathrooms, there are lines for food, and in some cases there are lines to get into other lines. Be sure to bring a DS or PSP so you can kill some time while waiting in those lines or make sure your phone is charged so you can read about the stuff you haven't seen yet (assuming you have a smartphone of some sort).
Pick up your badge holder early
– If you can get to the convention the day before the show (Monday) to pick up your badge do so. Picking up your badge early will save you from having to wait in long lines the day of the show and will ensure that you won’t run into any technical difficulties like the power outage that knocked out registration for a bit during the 2006 show. This will also allow for time in case there are any problems with your registration.
Make a list of games you want to see
– One of the most painful lessons of previous shows was leaving the show on the last day and realizing that I hadn’t seen a games that I desperately wanted to see before the show. That’s why I started making a list of games I wanted to see before the show and making sure I crossed them off after I had played them. I also try to track coverage on other sites to see if there are any sleeper hits that seem cool and I add them to the list as I go.
If you want to take this a step further print out a map of the show floor and highlight the areas where the games you want are going to be so you know where they are ahead of time. It's worth noting that some games are being shown off in more than one place (i.e. at the Microsoft booth and at the publishers' booth) so be on the lookout for alternatives in case there is a long line.
True obsessive compulsive will sort and/or categorize the games they want to see to ensure that time isn't wasted on a lesser title but that's up to the individual person.
The quickest way to get from A to B is not necessarily a straight line
- Conventional logic is that the quickest way between two points is a straight line. Unfortunately conventional logic factor in heavy crowds in a convention center. One of the best tricks I've found over the years is that the hallways to the side of the contention center are the best way to get around the show. Sure the view isn't as scenic as scenic as walking through the show floor but if you need to get someplace quickly they can be a lifesaver. It's also worth noting that the outdoor path between the South and West halls is the quickest way to get from hall to hall, although you do have to deal with the blazing LA sun.
Bring your own food
- Unless you like spending a lot of money on very little food I would recommend that you either bring your own food or find places around the LA Convention center to eat. Cyril and I both really like the Italian joint that’s right up the road on Figueroa and there are a few other places in the area that serve decent food for a decent price. There are a few decent places to get food inside the convention center but they are usually jam packed with people and the food quality can be a little iffy.
The other reason to do this is to maximize your time on the show floor. Why wait in line to eat food when you can scarf down a PowerBar on your way between halls will save you 20-30 minutes of waiting in line and having to find a place to sit and eat your food. Like last year I'm going to pack five power bars for the trip and use them to get me through the day.
Page 1 of 2