The Show Behind The Show

While people come to LA every year for the Electronic Entertainment Expo, and the games contained within, I think sometimes we miss the culture and stories surrounding the event. Being the grand spectacle that E3 is, it attracts a vast array of personalities, and like any jungle, the interaction of the different species is always entertaining.

The most obvious is of course the booth babes, and the crowd they attract. Be it the young guys, eager to be seen in the company of these dolled up women, or the older men, happy for the female attention no matter the reason, the booth babes are perhaps the hardest working people here. Sure, the CEOs give the presentations that we’re all here to see, but these girls work at those booths all day, in their “almost there”outfits and permanent smiles, answering inane questions on a subject that they probably have little interest in. These are the actresses that no one appreciates, and despite the obvious argument surrounding their existence, I salute them.

The other gaming stereotypes are here in spades as well. The suits, who work as vice presidents and product managers at publishers as a portfolio piece, hoping to snag a job at a Fortune 500 company as a result of slumming it with the gaming kids. The PR managers, running desperately to oil the cogs of the machine, making sure appointments are kept and presentations shown on time. The devs, obviously stressed from trying to pump out demo code, fending off the barrage of questions levelled at them. They are all focused on the task at hand, but their faces tell a tale of late nights and little sleep.

On the other side, we have the journalists, split between those just happy to be here, the old hats who’ve done it so many times that they’re on auto pilot now, and the entitled, who strut the halls with a swagger perhaps undeserved. The investors, largely Asian, taking in the sights and sounds of this festival, drowning in an ocean of thumping music and foreign announcements. Finally, the everyman industry worker, confined to massive lines in order to see their most anticipated titles, the bottom rung in the E3 fiefdom.

Then there’s that very special attendee, one who’s ilk we see the world over: the serial creeper. This particular breed of human is categorised by photographic equipment worth thousands, a t-shirt or outfit usually a size or two smaller than they should wear, and a smile that causes a great unease in anyone observing it. Should a cosplay wardrobe malfunction occur, or a booth babe crouch at an angle conducive to innuendo, the creeper will be there to capture it for their personal anthology of stolen moments. If Notch’s Minecraft has taught you anything, it is definitely stay away from the creeper.

Lastly, no E3 is complete without the odd things that happen here. There was the guy caught rubbing one out at the presentation area of one of the major publishers, and while the crew members who discovered him went to summon security,  then pulled his pants back down to finish the task at hand. Perhaps the strangest part of that tale was his triumphant yelling and celebratory arm waving while being dragged away by security; saluting a crowd not eager to accidentally touch his hands. I also witnessed Shigeru Miyamoto, the godfather of Nintendo, being knocked back at the entry by an uninformed security guard. Luckily, reason prevailed, and he went on his way once his badge was located. Finally, and perhaps most frighteningly, the LA Kings managed to get 3-0 up in the final playoff series of the Stanley Cup, meaning that the Staples Centre was full of sports fans prone to full scale riots. There were police on every corner, the helicopters flying overhead and vans ready to haul away rowdy fans in case of victory. Luckily, the Kings lost, so the walk to the event we attended that night was largely without violence.

The above is a bit wanky, so forgive my self indulgence. However, I still maintain that the most interesting part of any convention is the crowd attending. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to get my pictures developed. My 1D takes such great photos.