Feature: Excited about E3? Of course! We haven’t been so excited since the last set of paperwork we stayed up all night to do. Here are five reasons why E3 is so patently ridiculous that we’re half-tempted to just ignore it.
Every year, hundreds of game developers, marketing agents and journalists gather together in Los Angeles to celebrate the very best in upcoming games. With their demo booths and glamour models, everybody from Capcom to Treyarch turns out in full promotional force, hoping to win the favour of the gaming masses.
We call it the Electronic Entertainment Exposition, or E3 for short: an annual congregation of all the industry’s major players, E3 has become the biggest date on the gaming calendar. But what seems like a perfectly innocent convention is actually far more grotesque. With its flashing lights and press agents, E3 is a tribute to the the most inane aspects of the industry: glitz, stupidity, and cold-hearted business.
So, as everyone else on the planet gets tremendously excited for next week, here are five reasons we think you might be better off avoiding E3 altogether:
5. Excuse me while I light my cigar with this $20
Loud, noisy and covered in bright lights, E3 is like a gigantic arcade cabinet for the entire gaming industry, desperately begging the public to insert their coins. Problem is, every machine is competing with one another to see who can swindle the most quarters.
So, this means pumping dubstep, scantily clad women and TVs bigger than your garage door. If the event were truly about promoting the quality of the games, it would feel more like an art gallery: stripped back, quiet, tasteful. Instead we get hundreds of billowing carnival sideshows fighting other precious scraps of press coverage.
4. SEX! SEX SEX SEX FUCKING SEX
It’s impossible to overstate how frighteningly stupid the concept of booth babes is. Usually fashion models hired from a local agency, these ladies are tasked with standing outside the demo booths and grinning seductively at passing neckbeards, all in the hope of gathering some interest in a computer game they almost certainly don’t care about in the slightest.
Occasionally, the’re invited to come and play the game they’re supposed to be promoting, and then the pain really begins: as they’re pushed in front of a gawping cameraman for the sake of sexy soundbite, it’s agony to see some helpless model awkwardly steering her avatar into a wall while she pretends to know what a Metal Gear Solid is. Obscene and gratuitous, the booth babes represent the most backward attitudes still present in modern computer games: the idea that women are there to be ogled at by manly men, whether in the game or on the show floor.
3. Yes, this plastic skateboard definitely makes me look sensible
Ever since Nintendo scooped up the market with a quick flick of the Wii-mote, dozens of companies have been scrambling to promote their own motion-sensitive hardware. Consequently, E3 has turned into a peripherals festival, with Sony, Microsoft and assorted third parties all turning up to show off their latest useless bollocks.
We had that weird skateboard thing for the Tony Hawk series, a “realistic” plastic rectangle that gave your boarder all the grace and style of a pissed giraffe falling down some stairs. Then there was the PlayStation Move, which one person bought and then got refunded, and the Kinect, which humiliates you by taking photographs of your desperately animated attempts to please it.
With all these bells, whistles and gimmicks, you’re best to stay away from E3 until somebody designs a puke bucket peripheral. It can only be a matter of time.
2. New IP? Sure! There’s Dishonored, and… uh…
This might explain all the wireless, hands-free, dance-mat lightguns: you’re more likely to find Gore Vidal at E3 than you are a new game. Valve aren’t announcing anything this year, so that’s half of the reason not to bother. Rockstar aren’t either, so that’s the other half.
However, we can look forward to Sonic All Stars Racing, LittleBigPlanet Karting, Transformers: Fall of Cybertron and Brave: The Videogame. Other than that we have Assassin’s Creed III, Far Cry 3, Crysis 3, Dragon Age 3, Brothers in Arms 4, Hitman 5, Splinter Cell 6 and Rainbow Six 17. Although some of these look good, E3 is so sequel-centric that next year it’ll be called E4. But none of this matters anyway, because after all…
1. You’re not invited
E3 is industry-only, which for a lot of people makes it sound dangerous, and exclusive, and exciting. For many, the chance to rub shoulders with gaming’s insiders sounds like a dream come true. Who wouldn’t want to sit down for a chat with Gabe Newell, or go for a round of Quake 3 with Notch? Nobody.
But nobody can. Despite the Formula One levels of advertising going on, the general riff-raff aren’t allowed into E3. It’s held aloof for industry players and the gaming press, who can only stomach it because they’ve grown used to the screeching publicists, endless DLC packs, and utterly ridiculous cheering professionals that pour into the conference halls. Let an actual person in there, and they’re liable to lose their minds from all the Mario spin-offs.
With all the bikinied models shakily riding Harmonix unicycles to the beat of hooting fanboys and deafening RnB, any outsider would take one look at E3 and wonder if its worth buying a computer game ever again. Steer clear, folks. Games are awesome. They deserve a better flagship than this.
Of course, we’ll still be covering E3 because, y’know, it’s E3. And okay, you got us – we’re at least a little bit excited about some of it. Be sure to follow all our news from E3 across next week.