Wednesday, June 15, 2011

E3: Everybody's Epic Entertainment

One of the cool things about living in Los Angeles is that just about everything is headquartered, manufactured, distributed, promoted or produced here.  This means that you get access to the hottest designer/manufacturer showrooms, the coolest entertainment venues and the largest conventions anywhere in the United States!  And if Los Angeles doesn't have it, our neighbor, Las Vegas, most likely does.

The latest mega-convention to come through L.A. was the Electronic Entertainment Expo, otherwise known as "E3".  This is one of the largest, if not THE largest, video game convention in North America.  The "who's who" of video game publishers, developers and fanboys from all over the world converge on Los Angeles for three days to exhibit their latest digital creations.   I'm a casual video game player, having gone through a few game consoles myself, and I've always thought it'd be fun to attend E3.  The light-pollution-dimmed stars aligned this year and I was able to attend E3 for the very first time!  E3 courtesy F3.  Thanks!  ;)

Square Enix's booth
Upon entering the L.A. convention center, I was immediately hit with an invisible plume of heat and body odor.  Did you expect anything less when the world's most hardcore video game fans were all located in one indoor venue?  Once I speed-walked past the main entrance and was able to breathe again, my mind exploded from the lights and sounds of E3.  Each exhibitor's "booth" was filled with an IMAX-sized screen as well as a plethora of gaming consoles, PCs and monitors; all of these things pounding your senses with colorful imagery and sounds.  I use the word "booth" loosely because their footprints were closer to that of Disney's Tomorrowland than a 10 by 10 booth at a swap meet.

Inside Nintendo's booth
I didn't actually play any of the games at E3 because the lines were too long and there wasn't enough hand sanitizer in the world to make me want to pick up a controller and/or put on a pair of over-ear headphones.  Instead, we went around trying to take funny pictures with their elaborate displays.  I even participated in a "big game" called "Ninja" where you take turns trying to slap another person's hand.  It's kind of like "Tag", but much more strategic and hilarious.  You can learn more about "big games" at  Can't wait to play it at the next party.  All in all, E3 was one giant playground with few rules and even fewer girls.

I did come across a little gem that I really enjoyed called "Wakfu", which is being published by Square-Enix.  It's an online role playing game with Japanese anime style art/design and animation. The story even has an environmental message as the players must "arm themselves with love and a good sense of humor" to cure the world of its ailment.  The world and the characters are all beautifully crafted.  There's also a built in politics system where players elect other players to be governing officials!  I can't wait for this one to be released!

Check out an interview from G4TV about Wakfu, with Franko Fonseca, Associate Producer at Square-Enix.

Electronic Arts' booth
My first E3 was an experience of epic proportions.  I kept being blown away at the sheer magnitude of each game company's "booth".  Video games aren't what they used to be.  The days of Pac-man and Pong are long gone.  The production value and budgets needed to create these games are beginning to rival that of a Hollywood blockbuster movie.

Everyone's stepping up their game (no pun intended).  We, as artists, must follow suit.  The public won't settle for the same old stuff anymore.  Continue to re-invent yourself!  Never stop your quest for innovation!

For your viewing enjoyment, I present to you:

L.A. Graffiti @ E3, a photographic series.

L.A. Graffiti enjoys playing Wakfu!

Rising from the rubble
Fighting for your right to be artistic!

That's right, Sonic!  We are #1!

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