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E3, I Loved You Well ... Well Maybe Not Loved


This year marks the first E3 in four years I won't be making the trek across country to the sunny, concrete-filled land known as Los Angeles. Unfortunately, my newest pride and joy, Nicholas, isn't quite old enough to be without me -- nor is he old enough to gain admittance to E3. (He's 5 months old in case anyone was wondering.) As such, I'll be staying home while everyone else I know is frolicking the hours away at that mad, chaotic, often-times hellish gaming event known as the Electronic Entertainment Expo.

Despite my obvious distaste for the show, I'm incredibly sad I'm not going. I both love and hate E3. Last year, I decided to try to 'enjoy' the show, making only a very select few appointments and deciding to play it by ear the rest of the time. BIG mistake. There was a ridiculous amount of white badges last year (more than any other) -- the type of badge stamped on it reading Exhibitor Only. I'd say they outnumbered every other type of badge 10 to 1. Why does that matter? Well, after wading through a sea of white badges and standing in line behind them for 2 hours, I finally got up to play the game I'd been wanting to play - Nintendogs. After about 4 minutes of actually playing, I was shooed along. Teach me not to make appointments.

I'm not saying I don't think Joe Guy who works 10 hours a week at EB Games doesn't deserve to go to the show. I am saying that there should be an easier way for press to get the info about the games they want to write about and should be given a little more attention that your average fanboy who lands himself an exhibitors only badge (not hard).

This year, rumor has it they have become stricter with who gets both press and exhibitors only badges. Time will tell if that is true. They have also become stricter on another part of E3 that is usually out of hand -- skin. However, the rule is pretty non-limiting, it essentially covers what women must wear on their bottom halves. It also only enforces it with a $5,000 fine, which I fully expect some companies will pay anyway, because as we all know SEX SELLS. I still expect we'll see plenty of skin and one of the things I'm gonna have my folks do here is get plenty of pictures of said skin. Mainly so I can see what effect this rule will actually have on the show since I can't be there.

On to the love -- I wish I were going because I am desperate for information on Funcom's Age of Conan, Disney's Pirates of the Carribean MMO (yummmm) and anything related to Nintendo products (wheeeeeeeeeee). I am also sad because one of the things I love about E3 is getting to see everyone I talk to so much during the year but never get to hang out with. The gaming industry is home to some of the most amazing folks on this planet and I'm lucky I get to talk to them at all, let alone hang out with them once a year in LA. Not this year, though.

All that said, Killer Betties will have some kickass coverage for you to partake in. Thankeeka (who handles our news and reviews on a daily basis), BMunchausen (a regular writer for our site), Gamermom (who in addition for writing for us on occasion runs Gamermom.com) and Eint (who also runs Disgruntled Gamer) will all be racing around the convention center to bring Killer Betties some unique and fantastic coverage.

So -- now that you know what we will definitely be bringing you coverage of, what would you like to hear about more in-depth? Anything in particular you want our staff to grab while sweating and cringing at the pain in their feet? Tell me.

While the stories eminating

While the stories eminating from E3 shows are epic, the show does fill a purpose. E3 is going through the same pains that CES (Consumer Electronics Show) and NAB (National Association of Broadcasters) in Las Vegas. They get so big and cumbersome, they attract the wrong crowd of attendants and vendors. Everything gets pushed to the limit...and then the management hammer comes down.

This year it is a requirement that you have a pay-stub from a recent check of the company that is SUPPOSE to employ you...or you don't get in. The Anti-booth babes movement came about because the limits were pushed and it almost started looking like the AVC (Adult Video Convention).

I will be watching the various live webcasts from the floor. Perhaps sitting at my desk, eating a corn dog, and not having to put up with the lines, loud demos, 'decent' booth babes, parking, etc...has it's own merits, eh? -)



Game Development Staff Are Fine

Oh, I certainly have no issues with the folks from game developers being there. A story was just imparted to me by a friend and these are the folks that need to be taken out of the equation:

At 9 AM, a couple kids dropped by a booth with arms full of swag and asked if they had any t-shirts. They noticed the free drinks and grabbed them. They didn't care to look at the games and obviously weren't there for any reason other than to have fun.

Those are the ones we need to eliminate from the E3 equation. They annoy not only the rest of us with legitamate reasons to be there, but they also annoy the developers who bring swag for people they are trying to schmooze.

Killer Betties
Proud Mother of 2 little boys, Nicky and Z

I've said it before...

And I'll say it again: nearly all game developers get white Exhibits Only badges! There are four groups of people at E3: Booth Staff, Press, Game Developers, and Retail. For many booths, such as Blizzard and NCSoft, the Booth Staff are actual game developers, but even then, these game developers may have gotten the easy "Package 5" white badge admission (if you're a bona fide game developer, all it takes is a paycheck stub and tax forms from last year), and may only work one or two shifts at their company's booth before being released to go look at the competition's booths.

As a game developer who will be attending E3, I'm all for limiting the sorts of people who can get into E3. I've heard that Retail passes will be extremely limited this year, in that a certain number of passes are given to the corporate offices of each retail chain, and then corporate gets to decide who gets those passes. That should cut down on the number of Electronics Boutique cashiers, and reduce Retail representatives to only those who have a valid reason to be looking at demos: they'll be the one and only person for their company to decide how many units of that game to purchase.

The four groups I mentioned each have a valid, professional reason for attending E3. Booth Staff shows the games, Press writes about the games, Retail decides which games to buy, and Game Developers demo their games behind closed doors, and check out the competition to decide what development moves to make next. EB cashiers have no reason to be there, IMO, but then, neither do QA testers or people who throw up a quick webpage to convince the registrars that they are valid "press". Every group sneaks a few people under the wire, people who are there because they are gamers and not because they are valid game professionals. I think the E3 organizers need to do a better job of keeping the fanbois out, and the rest of us need to learn to share with the three other valid groups of game professionals who attend the expo.

I'm with Ms. Anklesock

The times I've been out at E3 have been all but a nightmare. I've had to shout over Acclaim "extreme slutty schoolgirl rollerbladers" to ask about ORB, or asked a girl who is trying very hard to stretch her spandex if she could move so I could get a picture of the game and not her chest.

Mix in too many non-journalists going for swag, and it's just not a "journalist" event. Personally, I'd like to see at least the first 36 hours be "Media and exhibiter" only (with tight control on the latter, as Ms. Rosethorn pointed out), then open it up to everone else. That gives plenty of time to schedule interviews and demos without blasting everyone else out.

Of course, nothing will change as long as people keep going, which is why I'm not this year (so I soo want to see the Wii).

I am actually glad that this

I am actually glad that this year I am not wearing one of the dreaded white exhibitor badges! and will be missing the show for the first time in many years. In fact, I have attended all the shows before this one stretching back to Atlanta and even all the precursor shows before E3 came into existence. So, I guess Im all showed out..

For me E3 has always been a long ten hour flight to the USA with no time to catch my breath. My appointments usually start at breakfast, quite literally having people meeting me over the breakfast table in the hotel, followed by an endless procession of developers who each have around 30 minutes to pitch their game design to me. Then my evening meal is usually accompanied by a retailer or distributor that has arranged an appointment. Then usually a dash to Santa Monica for further meetings until midnight. A trip back to the hotel (and yes usually with someone pitching to me in the cab!) before bed, and the process repeats at 6AM the next morning.

So despite all the products on display from so many publishers and developers my time on the show floor is usually in one of those stifling hot broom cupboard meeting rooms behind the main stand and in all the years I have attended I have yet actually been able to walk around and look at any stand (even our own!)

Yes, I love meeting developers, and especially the many that I consider friends, but 30 minutes in a hot broom cupboard with so much noise that I would not hear a jumbo jet pass overhead is not my idea of doing business or socialising. I have much preferred flying out to see developers and publishers on their home turf or have them come and see me in more relaxed surroundings with more time to spend.

This view of mine is commonly shared by those in product development and acquisition who see shows such as E3 as a required evil to endure. In reality now E3 is the home to wandering herds of retail buyers and distributors, liberally mixed with "journalists" - I use the term in quotes as many of them have writing credits that do not stretch beyond filling out a birthday card, and all the hangers-on of the industry. I admit when I want to see a new game I would rather do it in more civilised surroundings..

Anklesock The Jaded

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