E3 08: Where has all the spectacle gone?

This coming week marks the first E3 back in the Los Angeles Convention Center since the industry show decided to downgrade and make things a little more personal. Last year the event took place in coastal Santa Monica. The area was beautiful, but not having the conference in one centralized location made things pretty chaotic at times.

When I went down to the downtown Convention Center this morning to pick up my press badge, I expected to see a little glimpse of E3 as it once was. Yes, this year’s show is still drastically downgraded, but the gigantic venue just begs for a little bit of that nostalgic, grandiose spectacle. In fact, I even told Niero and Nick Chester that I would bring my camera and take some pictures of the big show’s setup. I figured the ghost of E3’s overdramatic past would still be hanging around now that the show was returning to its roots.

Sadly, it looks like it is definitely official: the old E3 is gone as we know it.

Two years back — even days before the expo began — the Convention Center was adorned with numerous banners and huge signs promoting the myriad of games that would be playable on the show floor. Today, there is only one small, generic banner introducing patrons to the annual conference. And that was it. No huge balloons advertising some random fantasy game; no images of Link plastered upon the entry stairwell.

Don’t get me wrong; I am still unbelievably excited about this week’s event. The opportunity is amazing and I can’t wait to get my hands on some of the incredible games that are sure to be announced in the next few days. And it is still early. Come tomorrow and Tuesday, when E3 proper is in full effect, things will most likely liven up quite a bit. It just made me a little sad to hear my voice echo across such an empty space that used to be full of such … energy.

But, hey, as long as they announce Pikmin 3 this year, E3 could be in the parking lot of an Arby’s for all I care.

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Chad Concelmo
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