I ran into Dan Hsu at E3 today and after catching up for a bit learned about this site.  The last time I saw Dan, we were battling in a game of Soul Calibur II at the Ziff Davis office.  At the time, I was doing PR for Tecmo, one year removed from writing as the Senior Editor for GameFan magazine under the alias Eggo.

My first job at GameFan was writing strategy guides and I’ve been known to write FAQ’s in my spare time.  So a part of me is always devising strategy and jotting it down.  After attending countless E3’s (15 years in the game industry), I’ve come up with some tips for beginner and advanced E3 attendees to better enjoy the show.

  1. Practice your peripheral vision quick badge scan – A large part of E3 is networking.  One of the near-useless skills you pick up over the years is the ability to meet a new person, look them directly in the eye, and talk to them while reading the name off their E3 badge without getting caught.  It may be a sneaking glance, a furtive scan, or a seemingly innocent head turn, but the masters of E3 have perfected this silent skill, while the noobs fumble and get caught staring.  Don’t be that guy.
  2. If the gods frown upon you and the person has their badge turned backwards, you’ll be unable to quickscan their name.  When this happens, head off any potential awkwardness with a hearty handshake and business card swap.  Be sure to read the name on their card and the title.  Some business cards are natural conversation starters due to funny titles or unique qualities of the card.
  3. One of the biggest pitfalls of E3 is excessive walking.  You’re on your feet all day, and if meetings take you back and forth between the two halls regularly, your feet quickly become sore.  To lessen the discomfort, wear a different pair of shoes than what you wore the day before.  It will allow sore parts of your feet to take a rest from constantly being chafed against.
  4. When you’re travelling between the West and South Halls, use the outdoor patio route on the second floor.  The patio route is more direct than walking along that long hallway which bridges the main entrance to both halls.  If you see row upon row of large ads for Saints Row hanging from the ceiling, you’re in the wrong area. 
  5. Know where the free food/beverages are.  If you’re press, the press room may have food and drink, though it’s been many years since I’ve stepped in that room.  If you don’t have a press badge, there is an area between the two halls that has free water and snacks for all.  I believe it’s indoors in front of one of the halls on the second floor.
  6. Don’t eat the cafeteria food.  Just… don’t.  If you’re about to perish, the barbecue or tacos on the outdoor patio are better choices, but actual good food can be had outside the convention center on Figueroa Street (head left upon exiting the convention center from the South Hall).

If you follow these tips, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a journeyman E3 showgoer.  See you on the floor!