Or was it the time I wandered between the West and East halls so frequently – doing important business, obviously – that the sun burnt my massive forehead to a tinder crisp? If you pushed the right hand side of my temple, the skin on the left hand side shifted too. It was so horrific. So much so, I thought of temporarily adjusting the surname on my E3 visitors’ badge to ‘Weston’.
Bastion’s Dean Barrett fortunately took me to some sort of clinic which sold me ‘re-hydrating gel’. This blue mixture – to be applied in a thin layer – would make me look normal, the lady said. What she didn’t factor was my reasoning when drunk later that the more I put on, the quicker I would heal. When I woke in the morning, my skin was still damaged, only this time I’d managed to dye my entire head blue. I spent the next day wandering round E3 looking like a Smurf.
No, that wasn’t the best time. Perhaps skipping down to Santa Monica with the old Virgin crew to pose like the Baywatch Babes we weren’t. Or waking up in a hotel in Downtown Los Angeles with Steve Merrett, only to hear an almighty gunfight erupt literally outside. We were young, and terrified, so we hid in our room for a bit. Turns out Michael Mann was filming the street battle from Heat outside. You didn’t get that at ECTS.
Or the aggressive airport security man, who stopped Ciaran Brennan with a printer he’d picked up Duty Free. When questioned by the men carrying guns as to what he intended to do with it, Ciaran replied “print things.” The mystery solved and international terrorism averted, he was waved straight through.
Or the time the security played on some journalists’ capacity for freebies. In the baggage hall, one sharp officer shouted out “any journalists here?” upon which several made themselves known, thinking they’d get a free carrier bag or something. Instead, their passports were checked for the Visas they were supposed to have obtained – they hadn’t – and they were deported after a night in the cells.
The games? The Metal Gear Solid trailers, playing Mario 64 for the first time wearing a cheap suit and a childish grin, and getting to the front of the Wii queue. Flying a dragon by waving my arms in Kentia Hall, almost crying at Ocarina of Time in a good way, and seeing Resident Evil 4 for the first time.
That I’ve struggled to recollect the shows themselves says much about Old E3’s excesses. Too much, too noisy, too tiring. But always essential.
It was never E3 without me being there – I attended them all – and I always returned with more than I went with. Apart from in terms of money, obviously.
This new streamlined version retains nothing but the name. And in a sense, it has nothing to live up to. But the booming, expensive, nauseating, cavernous, frustrating E3 of old mirrored the industry over the past few years. We’ll probably never see the like again. But we should be grateful we were there to witness it in the first place