PLAYING AROUND AT E3
Electronic Entertainment Expo 2017
Ever since I was a kid I have always loved video games. I got my first console the NES (Nintendo Entertainment System) back in 1989. This led to the Sega Genesis, Nintendo 64, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Wii, Wii U, to the (was) current Xbox One. Obviously, I am a gamer, and I don’t see a time in my life where I won’t be.
This year I got to attend the coveted convention, the mothership for every super-gamer-nerd, called E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo) at the Los Angeles Convention Center. This premiere event for gaming fans around the world includes demos, unveilings of new consoles, and limited edition access codes for unlocking various special characters or maps in favored games. Spanning for three days, this year it was from June 13 to 15, 2017. I’ve only attended one other time, in 2011, when Nintendo unveiled the Wii U. Back then, this convention was only open to people in the industry. A big thanks to my brother, Jamey, who got me passes that year.
Now, this highly anticipated event is open to the public, should they choose to purchase a ticket for around $300. Luckily, my good friend Bryan gifted me two passes for my girlfriend, Loreena, and I to attend. He works for a gaming company up in northern California, and he knew my love for video games.
Upon entrance to the convention center, visitors are greeted by the intimidating soldier from Call of Duty: World WarII. It was quite an impressive banner and this picture does it no justice.
Seasoned convention attendees often plan out their trip. Know what you want to see and know where you want to go. For me, I had a checklist of things I wanted to see (and play), in a specific order: The New Xbox One X, Call of Duty: WWII, Sea of Thieves, the new Uncharted game, and the new Mario game. I also hoped to stop by every booth because this experience doesn’t come around often!
Unfortunately for me, I thought the show would go until 10 pm, otherwise I would have arrived sooner than noon. At around 4:45 pm, I found out that it was only open until for another 15 mins. It was a huge disappointment that I was not able to check everything off my list, but honestly it was a gift to have the opportunity to tackle a few items. I feel I would have been more prepared had I arrived earlier.
Once inside, we were immediately greeted with cosplayers from the PlayStation 4 exclusive game Horizon Zero Dawn. It was the main character, Aloy, with a robotic dinosaur.
Moving into the hall, I was super excited to get a glimpse of Microsoft’s 4K beast initially titled “Project Scorpio,” the Xbox One X. I asked someone waiting in line to play the new Crash Bandicootgame where the Xbox booth was located, killing time the way a gamer is suppose to. Soon it was only an escalator’s length away. The closer I got, the more excited. Finally inside, with the giant company logo hanging above me, I began to feel the panic as I frantically looked around and I couldn’t find the Xbox One X on display. After some breathless moments I asked one of the crew members where it was on display. Turns out I was so eager to get inside that I ran-walked past where it was prominently displayed.
There it is, the Xbox One X. The visual physical aspect was kind of underwhelming in person, but honestly I knew that going in. I wanted to see a demo of the 4K console in action. I asked where I could play it and it turns out that all the consoles used to play the games on display were using the Xbox One X developer’s kits. They looked like the white Xbox One S consoles with a little extra something added onto them.
My girlfriend and I then got in line for the demo of the Xbox One X in a makeshift theatre, that was showing off the goods. As we were waiting in line, I saw a game called Brawlout that was unoccupied, so I took the opportunity to hop on it for a few minutes just to say that I have played the Xbox One X. The game was nothing special. It was literally a clone of Nintendo’s Super Smash Bros with a 4K coat of paint and new skins. It looked great but played exactly the same as Nintendo’s offering.
Once we got inside the theater for the Xbox One X demo, the team handed the presentation off to the Minecraft gang to show us how it looked in 4K on the new Xbox One X. It was beautiful looking with the new “super duper” graphics pack (yes, it is actually called that). Truthfully I do not play Minecraft, as it confuses the hell out of me, causing me to feel inferior to the kids running circles around me. Either way the 4K revamp of Minecraft is truly a visual improvement.
After Minecraft, we were treated to Gears of War 4 with a 4K upgrade. Paired with the Dolby Atmos sound system, the demo was impressive. The audio and visual coupling was truly a marvel. Wrapping up the demo was the new Forza 7 game, which was equally impressive.
Vets of the convention scene will tell you, the thing you will see the most is lines. This causes everyone to make sacrifices to their “need to see” list. I knew I wanted to try the upcoming exclusive, Sea of Thieves, but had to cut it when I learned the wait time was a couple of hours. My must do was Call of Duty: World WarII until I found out the wait time was over 4 hours. Unlike my buddy Cameron, who waited hours to get his hands on the upcoming Destiny 2, I had to cut my losses. I did, however, get to see the game in action, drinking in the graphics from the sidelines, and am eager for it’s release in November.
The Ubisoft section was pretty cool! I was able to see people play the new, highly anticipated, Far Cry 5 game! As well as the sequel to South Park’s Stick of Truth… The Fractured but Whole game! (say the last part of that title again, but slower…) Here are some pics from the Ubisoft booth:
Next to the Ubisoft booth, there was Bethesda. They were touting the new Wolfenstein game titled Wolfenstein: The New Colossus and the new Quake game on PC titled Quake Champions. Though the Wolfenstein line was too long, the Quake Champions line was manageable and so we decided to play it. I haven’t played a PC game, in well, over a decade, and was scared to look like an idiot in front of hardcore PC gamers. Surprisingly the crowd in line was fun and chill.
The Bethesda guys kept it loose while we waited in line by cracking jokes and passing out pins. They even gave us Quake hats after playing the game. Joining that line was completely worth it. The game play brought back memories of Counter Strike on my old PC. Although I still prefer gaming on a console, strangely, playing on PC felt normal again. Could have been the amazing PC they had it running on? The game ran at a beautifully smooth 60 frames per second. It definitely was not a cheap PC.
After Quake, we wandered off to explore some more booths! We ended up running into a dragon from the Shadow of War game but decided wait in line to take a picture with it. Quickly I realized that time was dwindling, and all that was left to do was to snap a few good shots. In the end, I ran out of time to see the PlayStation and Nintendo booths. Even though I was not able to check off all the things on my list, I still had a great time looking at all the new games! E3 is a MUST SEE for anyone in the gaming community. You’ll meet others enamored with the same passion for games, and just that experience alone is worth it.
Follow Billy M. on Twitter: @TheMovieGrader