This weekend, Blast heads for the golden coast to prepare for next week’s E3 2012. If you’re unfamiliar, E3 is the biggest event of the year for the gaming industry, with all of the major players in attendance, making the biggest announcements of the year. Essentially, it’s the Superbowl of gaming. Having been to E3 a few times, it’s become a bit of a routine as to getting ready and what to pack, but I won’t try to tell you what it’s like to be a journalist covering the big show (this post from Destructoid sums it up pretty well), but we do have two E3 newbies on our team this year. Our Deputy Gaming Editor Ivan Favelevic and News Editor GianCarlo Saldana will be making their first trip in a few days, so I figured I’d share some tips for them that I wish I would have gotten before my first show, as well as anyone else who may be checking out the show for the first time this year.
Tip #1: Dress for a marathon, not a fashion show
– I know, I know — you’re in L.A and you may run into some celebrities. You want to seduce Emma Stone and you’ve got to dress your best. Don’t expect to have time for any of that. This is E3. the big show! The big time! You’re going to feel like you’re dead at the end of it (partly because of the running around and partly because of the smell of the smell of some of the people in the convention center), the least you can do is dress to try to stay alive.
I can’t stress this enough — wear comfortable shoes. The convention center takes up multiple city blocks of one of the world’s biggest cities, and your penny loafers aren’t going to cut it. Wear shoes that are going to be easy to get around in but don’t make you look likeyou’re a tourist. My advice, dress business casual. yes, it’s going to be tempting to wear a gaming t-shirt, or cosplay, but who’s going totake you seriously in that?
Ladies this goes for you too, as THQ PR rep and good friend of Blast Racheal Caswell posted in a blog talking about the studio’s THQ plans, “My first E3 was in 2006. I was working for Hollywood Previews, a digital magazine, and my job was to get on-camera interviews with the people behind all the biggest games. The first day, I wore heels: Big mistake. I’d been to the Staples Center before, but I didn’t realize how big it is until I made 16 laps to get to all of my meetings in less than eight hours per day.”
Also, don’t lug around an entire computer if you don’t have to. You’re going to get want some space on your arms. Notebook and pen work fine (or if you’ve got a tablet) There are free lockers in the press room (while they last) and a bag check at the front of the convention center that’s pretty reasonable .
Tip #2: You’re going to want to eat something
E3 is going to take up pretty much all of your time and you’re going to be running from one end of the convention center to the other. You know what they don’t budget time in for? You to eat. The good news is that there are going to be a bunch of booths and stands that are more than eager to pass out free energy drinks and snacks, but you won’t be able to live off them the entire trip. My advice? Head to a store and buy some protein bars, some mean replacement dealies. I recommend the Special K Peanut Butter and Chocolate protein bars. Whatever it is, make sure it’s something you can take out of your bag and down in between meetings.
There are cafeterias and food stands, but they’re overpriced and should be avoided unless absolutely necessary. Plus, they’ll slow you down. my first E3 I broke down and got a slice of pizza during some downtime, I felt like death the rest of the day due to the grease on that thing. Also, be sure to save room — you’ve got to hit up Pink’s and In-n-Out at least once in L.A.
Tip #3: Act like you’ve been there before
Being a Packer fan, I’ve got to quote Lombardi on this one — Act like you’ve never been there before. Please, don’t freak out when you see some of the stuff or meet some of the people you’re bound to see. Yes, you’ll see some of the biggest names in gaming just causally walking around, and yes, it’s even cool to ask for a picture every now and then, but please don’t be that nervous guy who starts screaming when you see Miyamoto walking around (oh, and a heads up — he’s usually got a few guys around him to run interference, but is great with the fans.), act like you’ve been there, act like you should be taken seriously.
Tip #4: Be professional
This one may be a bit tough to handle. Stay away from swag. Now, perhaps that’s a bit premature, you shouldn’t stay completely away from swag, but you also don’t want to be THAT GUY. The guy who goes to his appointments and has to ask for a place to put his swag bag down. Besides, no one will take you seriously if you’re lugging all of that stuff around. Want to get some swag? Budget some time in at the end of the day or take some stuff where you can easily slip it into your computer bag. Be warned though, I once saw a girl get punched in the face for a fox hat. A frickin’ fox hat.
Tip #5: Don’t overbook
This is probably the biggest piece of advice I wish I had gotten. You’re going to get a lot of meeting requests, from the big guys to the smaller developers, and it’s going to be tempting to take them all –resist that urge! take a good number of bookings, but leave yourself time to write about them. That’s why you’re there right? Also, be sure to take some time to simply enjoy yourself as you’re walking around the show. There are so many things there that you may never get to look at, that could become one of your best memories of the show.
Tip #6: Network..network…network…
Last year a good friend of mine was down on his luck. He had no real appointments and he pretty much tagged along with me the entire time.He passed out his business card to pretty much everyone that he saw. Developer? Business card. Temp hired to show off the game? Business card. Now, I’m not saying that the two go hand in hand — but that same guy is now writing for Venture Beat, and it’s a pretty sweet gig. Don’t overthink things but make sure to get your name out there as much as possible, and have fun doing it, which brings me to tip #7.
Tip #7: Have Fun
You made it. Have some fun and enjoy it. Be sure to take lots of pictures and send them to us!