My E3 Complex
My E3 experiences go pretty far back. I remember sitting at my desk in my room in Manhattan on my Toshiba laptop watching a postage stamp sized video window waiting for the Nintendo Press Conference to start.
I was a regular on the IGN message boards and there was always a ton of hype and speculation going into the show each year. What games would be announced? What new hardware was there going to be? Everyone was always hoping for a “MEGATON” announcement, and in the end the show never really lived up to the hype, and sometimes even made people mad. I’ll never forget the outright revolt over Wind Waker’s graphics.
I remember taking days off of work so that I could watch everything live and follow all the news, then share thoughts and discussion with my internet friends on the boards. It was all pretty thrilling actually. Fun to share so much passion with other people who were just as passionate as you were and you didn’t have to explain to anyone why you cared so much. They “got it”.
Anymore, E3 sneaks up on me. “Oh yeah, that’s this week!” I don’t even think I realized it until I saw a tweet the night before from Nintendo. My anticipation has waned over the years. Partly because life is a lot more full of “things” now, and also because now there’s almost always some new news and announcements being made. If anytime E3 today is as much or more about putting the spotlight on things that you already know about, rather than announcing new stuff.
When I was in my teenage years and super nuts about games, I remember telling myself that no matter how old I got, gaming was always going to be an important part of my life. It really felt like it was the one thing that given the choice of anything I could be doing, I’d choose to play games. You know those bumper stickers that you see that say, “I’d rather be ____ing.”? That was my philosophy. Today gaming is still an important thing for me. It’s a nice release, but my life is gone from “can’t get enough games” to “what do I pass on so that I can properly enjoy the games I have time to play?”
So now E3 comes around, and my expectations are pretty tempered. I honestly don’t want to see 5 new awesome games I never knew about. I just want to know that there are two, maybe three good games between now and the end of the year. There are so many games that I have unbeaten or even unplayed, that if there was a MEGATON announcement, I would almost be annoyed that I’d have to find time to play it.
Would I go back to that time? The time when E3 was magical and exciting? I don’t think so. I’ve settled into being what is mostly likely labeled a “retro gamer”. I have all the old systems hooked up, and somedays I just look forward to coming home and playing some PilotWings 64. I can get just as excited about adding a Super Nintendo Zelda game to my collection as I can a brand new one. I also feel like I can manage the pace of getting and playing these games better than trying to keep up with what is new and coming out.
My E3 complex will probably end up resolving itself sooner than later. More and more often companies are using the internet and social media to make announcement and get info to their super-fans all year long, whenever they want. There’s less and less need to put it all in one place and use the press to get your message out. You can reach out and influence people directly. So if E3 were to die this year, on a lot of levels, I’d be OK with that.