Smack in the middle of convention season comes the ultimate convention for gamers to knock off their bucket list: E3. What could possibly top being immersed in new technologies, rubbing elbows with industry insiders, and sneaking a peek at the new games that have yet to be released?
It was my first time attending the event and my expectations were based on internet videos and other people’s epic tales. To experience it first hand felt like something out of a dream. E3 differs from your typical convention with a wholly gaming audience, more manageable crowds, and professional caliber cosplayers (who were few and far between). The lines to experience the games were another story, however.
By far the best experience on the floor was the new Zelda game: Breath of the Wild. The area felt like something out of a theme park, with beautiful sculptural elements, photo opportunities, and interactive elements that touted the new and expansive universe developed by Nintendo.
Being able to play the game first hand was only enhanced by the surroundings. When first entering the area, you were greeted with a giant screen with visuals that felt more like cinematics than actual gameplay. The walls resembled those of an in-game temple and, as the introductory video ended, the screen rose in pieces like a segmented doorway guiding you through the temple entrance to what felt like the fields of Hyrule. After being lead to your individual screen, you were able to dive into the game firsthand; exploring the areas in the game, then playing through the start of the Breath of the Wild story. It’s amazing how many new aspects there are within the game. Everything is interactive, and there was so much to explore.
Another highlight was the immersive experience of the VR (Virtual Reality) systems. From first person gameplay to a virtual ride of Tatsu, an attraction at Six Flags Magic Mountain. The line was just about as long as it would have been at the amusement park, but so was the ride itself. The immersion is so deep that the only thing to take you out of the experience was the lack of wind in your face and the potential for a kid in front of you to hurl.
Wherever you couldn’t participate in gameplay yourself, usually due to long lines, you could watch others play through some incredible new indie and studio offerings. Walking the floor you’d witness wildly gesturing people making fools of themselves (with absolutely no judgement) in the depths of VR, average gamers rocking out with faux instruments, live interviews regarding up and coming games, and internet celebrities walking without fear of being accosted at every turn. Amidst the chaos and club-like setting, everyone was pleasant, helpful and incredibly organized in a way I haven’t experienced at a convention before.
It was great to strike E3 off my bucket list, to experience future games first-hand and know that this is not your run-of-the-mill convention. While I wait for the games from E3 2016 to be released, I’m starting to imagine what exciting surprises could possibly await next year!