Last week, Eurogamer flew on an aeroplane to Los Vegas - oops, Freudian slip - Los Angeles, to report from the annual video gaming extravaganza, E3. You'll have read some of our coverage already, and there's plenty more to come. But, headlines aside, we also wanted to share what it's like to be at E3, and so we asked each Eurogamer writer - Oli Welsh, Fred Dutton, Robert Purchese, Jeffrey Matulef - to document their adventure via a gallery of smartphone or compact camera images. These were to be quick, rough pictures to capture a moment - not exposures for a photography contest. We also asked the writers for a brief summary of their E3 2012 tour of duty. Behold, the Eurogamer E3 2012 Scrapbook.
E3 2012 - the one where Bertie rapped questions to Snoop Dogg. That actually happened. And how odd it all was. John Teti had agreed to video it, so we hatched a plan allowing plenty of time to meet and set up. But then, a phone call. The appointment has been rushed forwards because Snoop wants to go. I run from the E3 press room over to Namco Bandai's stand, but we can't get hold of John Teti. Namco Bandai rejig an appointment, allowing more time. John Teti is 15 minutes away, I discover. What followed was the most anxious wait I can remember. Without Teti, without video, the interview would be rendered obsolete - what sensible questions could I ask a rap star like Snoop Dogg for a news story later? Nevertheless, I couldn't bin an interview with Snoop Dogg, so I scribbled questions in a panic. Time ran out and I was called, and then lo and behold there was John Teti, like a 1930s angel come to save me.
Nerves shot, with still the most intimidating part to come, we entered the room, and there was one of the world's most famous rap stars, sitting in his armchair waiting for us. Shaking - I was convinced the microphone was wobbling - I rapped my questions to him. I even ended up pulling my favourite question and answer because it was deemed too offensive. I shouldn't have agreed, of course, but I wasn't thinking clearly by then. At the end of the interview, Snoop Dogg told me I was going far. Shocked, I blurted, "What, as a rapper?!" "Hell no, man!" he laughed, and the whole room fell about.
"At the end of the interview, Snoop Dogg told me I was going far. Shocked, I blurted, "What, as a rapper?!" "Hell no, man!" he laughed, and the whole room fell about."
This was my first trip to E3, and that memory of Snoop Dogg will stay with me forever. The show itself? Disingenuous, gaudy, fleeting and superficial. But it was a spectacle nonetheless, and I'm thrilled to have experienced it first hand.
This was my fifth E3 in a row, and aside from an incredible meeting with John Carmack, it was the least memorable of the lot. There were some impressive games, but most of them looked the same, and there was a strong sense of everyone marking time - aside from Nintendo, doing its own thing as ever, but appearing to get rather lost in the process. Mind you, that's what we all said about DS.
But I wonder if that's also because I'm starting to take the experience of going for granted. E3 is a mental event - it always beggars belief that all this effort is put into a show that's not for the general public. And as ever, I have a series of images in my mind's eye which I didn't capture on my camera.
A jetlagged drink on the Standard's rooftop bar, feeling like an extra in a Michael Mann film. Wandering the completely deserted and featureless corridors of Sony's Santa Monica offices on Sunday afternoon, like something out of the Shining, on the way to see David Cage's new game. John Teti, leaning into the mike and gesticulating as he introduced one of our Eurogameological podcasts, looking for all the world like a 1950s radio ace. Capcom's Yoshinori Ono beaming at me as I handed our Game of the Show award to someone else entirely on a different publisher's booth.
Someone said in the comments of the Carmack piece that I have the best job in the world. Maybe not, but it can't be far off.
"Someone said in the comments of the Carmack piece that I have the best job in the world. Maybe not, but it can't be far off."
Let's not beat around the bush - E3 2012 was hardly a banner year for the game industry's annual hoedown. Microsoft bewildered with its lopsided, core-baiting presentation, Nintendo did its best to make the Wii U look as unexciting as possible despite plenty of evidence to the contrary on the showfloor, while Sony lumbered along, just about taking top honours by virtue of a smattering of promising new IP.
Still, as ever, it was a privilege to be on the ground and watch this year's story unfold. While the big three's stagnant showings did their best to suck the life out of the room, there were plenty of fascinating games on the showfloor, and plenty of thoughtful, passionate creators ready to talk about them, as I hope our coverage bears witness.
"It dawned on me that this was my fourth E3 and every year the overwhelming sentiment was the same; 'this is the worst E3 yet.'"
A few of my personal highlights - chewing the fat with Day Z's passionate chief mod Dean Hall, digesting Watch Dogs' extraordinary ambition with producer Dominc Guay, witnessing legendary Nintendo designer Takashi Tezuka fail miserably at playing his own game New Super Mario Bros. U, and, of course, that glorious Snoop Dogg versus Purchese showdown. Naysayers be damned - E3 was as fun as ever. Roll on June 2013.
My low point of E3 was entering the DmC demo room, wherein a scantily clad woman bearing a bored expression danced around a pole in the centre of the space. It was a degrading role made more so by the fact that everyone had their backs to her, as they were too busy playing the game along the wall. Is this what marketing departments think we want? I began to wonder if her position is worse than an actual stripper's, as at least they feel appreciated... maybe. Not so with DmC girl, pole dancing her way to an audience of backs. Adding insult to injury, DmC looks very impressive, making her presence even more unwelcome and sad.
The highpoint was vicariously living through Michael "Brainy Gamer" Abbott's first experience at E3. The night the show ended he told me that several people he'd talked to said this was the worst E3 yet, but he had a ball regardless. It was then that it dawned on me that this was my fourth E3 and every year the overwhelming sentiment was the same: "This is the worst E3 yet." I told him everyone's first E3 is the best, but beneath my jaded disposition his enthusiasm shone through and I realised that despite the abundance of sequels and the psuedo-stripper booth babes, E3 is pretty f***ing rad after all.