What started out as a great day, didn't turn out so well in the end, but it was still fun. We actually left early and beat most of the traffic. I was surprised since I figured we'd smack right into rush hour. We got to the convention center and decided to park in their parking decks, which were actually cheaper than the other places we parked. As it turns out, we were able to park in spot E3 at E3. We were also early enough to get breakfast from the media room. They had great danishes, but their coffee was far too hot to drink. I hope it didn't melt the trash bag.
The Zelda line
Even though we were there for E3's opening, there was already a huge line just to get into West Hall... and they all went directly to the Zelda line. We were a few minutes behind those people since we went to get breakfast. The result: we were at the end of the Zelda line. Now, we passed the 2 hour wait sign... then the 3 hour wait sign... then the end of the Nintendo area... all the way beyond the back of West Hall, around the 5 hour wait point. But we had to do it, it was the game of the show. Gamespot came to the end of the line to interview us, mostly Errol, perhaps not noticing our IGN badges. We played some DS games in line, then Drew, Errol, and I decided to go down to South Hall for a bit while the rest of the crew held the line.
We stopped by Webzen because they had giant swag bags. When we got there, Webzen had a booth babe trying to rile the crowd up for their new game. We stayed to watch the trailer since they were handing out T-shirts. The game was abysmal, which skipping frames and character models that would suddenly appear several steps ahead or behind where they were. Also, they only handed out a few T-shirts and it was pretty ridiculous that they had to artificially get the crowd to cheer for them in the first place. Webzen is a Korean company, which may be best known for their upcoming MMORPG, Wiki, which rips off the Wind Waker style. Wiki wasn't playable though Webzen employees were found sneaking ads for it into people's bags. One of them asked us to give them the best bag at E3 award. I'll give them that.
Errol and I went around to use our press passes and collect press kits. We hit Namco, Capcom, Konami, and Sega. I also hit Sony, Microsoft, and Rockstar. Rockstar started to get a little ridiculous when they handed out hats, with people pushing so hard that the people with hats couldn't get out to give room to the others who hadn't gotten them yet. Namco had the coolest press kit which opened up like Pac-Man. Doing my job for The Bonk Compendium, I talked with Konami's representatives regarding their buyout of Hudson Soft. Their response? "What's the Hudson buyout? I've never heard of that." The man pulled over another rep and she had no idea either. Not good for Hudson... Many of the companies wanted a business card to trade for the press kits, so it was good that David had made them. When the Konami rep saw that my card said "The Mushroom Kingdom Associate Editor," he made a comment about how "only IGN could get away with something like that" and that he didn't "even want to know" what that meant. Microsoft and Sega had the lamest press kits: a simple card giving out their website address. After spending an hour in South Hall, we went back to the Zelda line.
While waiting in line, we tried out various DS demo downloads since there was nothing else to do. Around the 1.5 hours left mark, a girl came by showing off her DS that she had just gotten signed by Miyamoto. She found him in Starbucks, and didn't even want her DS signed, but he did it. Errol started to go find him and we piled all of our DSes with him to also have signed. The Gamespot guys saw us and started filming us again thinking there was some sort of DS give-a-way. We told them what was going on and the reporter follwed Errol for a bit. Unfortunately, Miyamoto was nowhere to be found by the time Errol got there (even though it was next door to South Hall). Word was that Miyamoto made some Mario-esque jumping motions and disappeared into the crowd, never to be seen again.
Ask, ask, and ask again
With about 30 minutes to go, we asked one of the Nintendo reps if we could skip the rest of the line since we were media. This was the third time we asked and we were told no, which was ridiculous. Later, we were told that we could have skipped the line. This was particularly important because they didn't have any of the Zelda T-shirts left by the time we actually did make it to the Zelda room. The big lesson from E3 is that you can pretty much get what you want if you just ask enough people because nobody really knows what's going on.
Finally we made it to the Zelda room. This area, made out to be like a cave and dungeon was much larger than it seemed from the outside and was full of blacklights, projections, and other decorations. The first room had a Zelda demo with the horseback riding and town areas playable. I played the horseback area, and it was a lot of fun. You could attack while riding on the horse and had a limited number of accelerations used to catch up to the leader of the enemies. I didn't have enough time to defeat him, unfortunately, since the demos were time limited. Connecting the first room with a hallway was an interactive pond that was projected onto the floor much like the Star Wars one in the convention center hallway. The hallway contained a physically active Stalfos Knight behind bars. The second room contained Link in Wolf form. The second room had the second Twilight Princess demo, with a dungeon and dungeon boss playable. These areas showed Link's interactions with monkeys. While the game is dark, there is still plenty of humor, with a monkey mooning the player at one point in the dungeon. I played the boss battle, where you had to use the Gale Boomerang to target a monkey flying by with a bomb and then the plant boss creature to direct the bomb into the boss. I couldn't get the controls down right away and was not able to complete this part before the time ran out.
Out of the Zelda room, Drew and I hurried to the Namco booth to participate in the Pac-Man tournament they were having every half hour only to find out that we were supposed to pre-register. Since it was the last time slot of the day, we weren't able to play. The grand prize was a Pac-Man hat, which Errol especially wanted, but it was not to be. The tournament was actually held on new cell phone versions of Pac-Man. We went around to the other side of the Namco booth where a large group was gathering. Pac-Man was about to have his 25th anniversary party and the booth babes were out to promote it. After waiting for several minutes they started a countdown... we got tired of waiting and left. This was a bad decision since they shortly started throwing out free T-shirts, mousepads, and even games.
As we started, we also ended. I spent most of the rest of the time in Nintendo's booth trying to win Mario Kart DS and get the cool Mario Kart mini RC racer package. I always kept getting second. They would offer the prize to another place, usually 5th, but I never got that either. The booth babe said we could come back at the end when they'd give out the remaining prizes, but the prize nazis came in and disallowed that. We thought that the last day would have the least amount of people attending, but it was just the opposite. Even more people than the previous two days packed the convention center. At the end of the day, I went over to the Pokemon XD line to try for the remaining Pokemon plushes, and they almost didn't give those out either because they were afraid of a riot breaking out. In the end, they let people come through in single file and pick up a single Pokemon. They split up Plusle and Minun... you can't split up charges like that! Errol downloaded the Meteos demo and Matt W. downloaded the Electroplankton demo and took it home with them. We all met outside the IGN room again to get the TMK group photo. Then, we started off to the hotel.
Holy Arcade Batman
Getting turned around on the ridiculous streets of greater LA, we ended up on a road with a sign for "Bat Cade." Something with a name like that was too good to pass up. It turned out that the Bat Cade was more literal than we realized. It was the combination of an arcade and a batting cage. We went in and found a Super Mario Bros. Mushroom World pinball machine. We tried to play it a bit, but one of the ejection holes was set too tight, almost always shooting the ball over the flippers, making the game unplayable. Mario ate $1 of mine. There was a Japanese DDR machine there as well. Matt W. showed off his amazing DDR skills. He mentioned that it was good that we were with him, otherwise he would have played until he either could no longer walk, or threw up.
Last night in Burbank
Back at the hotel, we eventually decided that we wanted to go somewhere different to eat. After deliberating for several hours, we made no decision and by then everything was likely closed. Errol laid out an ultimatum that if we didn't make a decision by 9, he'd go downstairs and buy the hotel food. That's what ended up happening. We called Julia (Sapphira) and put her on speakerphone, talking randomly for over 2 hours. She thought we were crazy (and rightly so), her end of the conversation filled with "Yeeeaaaaahhhhh....." Because of Drew's and my early flight out, we went to bed relatively early, after packing and saying goodbye to everyone.