E3 has come and gone once again, and I’m still as giddy as a chipmunk. A Final Fantasy VII remake, The Last Guardian, Mass Effect: Andromeda (I don’t play favorites, but this is my favorite), and tons of promising new IPs set the stage for an exciting couple of years ahead of us.
The excitement in the gaming community surrounding the annual event got me thinking. What would be the best way to describe the feelings that arise within us during the E3 conferences to someone unfamiliar with video games? After all, to many of us, it’s more than simply just the Electronic Entertainment Expo–it’s something we plan for, something that demands our full attention, something that a fair few will call off work just to catch live.
I think I have the answer: E3 is the Super Bowl for gamers.
Now I’m not saying the comparison is perfect, but the energy, the anticipation, it’s all quite similar when you really think about it.
Here’s how it works:
(Disclaimer: remember, no matter how familiar the two fandoms may seem, trying to bring up Bethesda’s E3 conference while your coworkers are discussing the Super Bowl may not be a particularly inspired move)
First, you have the constant speculation as the time draws near: Who’s going to be there? What’s their game plan? Who’s going to “win” E3?
All the news sources take part in this aspect. Some of them bring in “experts” to give what are usually little more than educated guesses on what to expect, others put up countdowns with fancy graphics and still others implore you to follow them for “exclusive coverage” that’s identical to the “exclusive coverage” of at least 10 other sources.
Eventually you just choose the one with the least annoying commentary.
Once the big event finally begins, the venue (which has been sold out for months) is jam packed with hardcore fans dressing up to honor their favorite contenders. Many are there for one reason and one reason alone: to see their home team dominate the opposition. Others are content to simply be there, and will appreciate everyone involved.
Meanwhile, the folks at home, if not simply checking up on the highlights every now and then, are obsessively following the action using the streaming method of their choice. For some, just watching the sheer energy of the event unfold is enough, while others get their enjoyment from the ads for new products that take up much of the event’s time.
In many cases, people will wait until after the event has ended and watch these advertisements exclusively.
Every team involved puts their best foot forward. They love to put on a show to grab the audience’s attention before getting down to the nitty gritty. They each come in with style, charisma, and a thoroughly thought-out game plan. In many cases, they all perform so admirably that, after the fact, fans will debate at length who they thought “really” won.
And let’s not forget the sudden, sometimes inexplicable appearance of certain celebrities.
Finally, after all is said and done, the fans are abuzz for weeks, if not months afterwards, talking about their favorite moments of the big show.
Clips will be posted on YouTube, news sources will interview the most exciting “players”, and many a meme will be made. Then, many years down the line, long-time fans will continue the eternal debate on which year was the best.
You see, folks? We’re not so different. Gamers are just like any other group dedicated to a certain interest. So if you see your peers discussing “the big game”, don’t resent them. Appreciate that they understand what it’s like to feel emotionally attached to something that many try to dismiss as simplistic and childish.
And then smile to yourself, because we have Mass Effect and they don’t.