I had the surreal experience of attending my first E3 this year. Coworkers tried to prepare me for the flurry of activity and chaos that would occur, but I’m more of an experiential learner, so I ignored all of their advice. Here are some of the things I learned that other people probably know:
Smile. Always smile. Under all circumstances, just smile.
My smiling muscles were really sore by the end of the week. So much smiling, so much laughing, so much talking. In fact, I lost my voice on Day 2 of the conference as a direct result of my smiley, laughy, talky antics. Sometimes it was easier to smile than others, but it was always necessary. I had to make sure to smile all of the time while on the floor, because I never knew who was filming or taking photos, whether I was running on two hours of sleep or not; remember to smile at 1 a.m. while rocking out in an only semi-conscious state; remember to smile ever so politely when confronted by angry super fans. I think by the end of the week, I was smiling in my sleep, through my dreams of The Beatles: Rock Band track lanes. But that’s to be expected.
Harmonix employs some incredibly awesome people.
I’ve only been working for Harmonix for a bit over two months, so this trip was not only trial by fire but also turned out to be a bonding experience with my coworkers. I learned that HMXjohnd is an absolute machine, giving hundreds of The Beatles: Rock Band demos over the course of the week, braving a sore throat, not enough sleep and The Attack of the Booth, when a part of the ceiling narrowly missed hitting him. I learned that HMXlushlife is deceptively strong, after she tackled me in the lobby of our hotel when we were up too late for our own good, which caused me to miss my flight the next morning. And I learned that the team as a whole is committed to not only making great games but also communicating that to the press and the public.
Nobody’s looking at your feet, so don’t try to go cute.
I’m only 4’10”. People have a hard enough time looking down to make eye contact, so I don’t know why I think they’ll notice whether or not I’m wearing bright blue flats that, although adorable, are the equivalent of standing on two thin pieces of cardboard all day. Next year, I’m going to wear orthopedic tennis shoes.
Have some good conversation-starters for all the wicked cool people you’ll meet.
I gave away half a box of business cards and talked to hundreds of people over the course of the E3 week. Some of my favorite new video game friends include the guys from Double Fine, and the awesome boys from Hope’s P!nk Sweater, who got to hang out with HMX after they won the E3 portion of the Pepsi video contest. I also met Alexey Pajitnov, the inventor of Tetris. I was so awestruck by this that I couldn’t think of anything to say other than, “Uh, I like your game.” For the next E3, I’m going to create some cheat cards with stimulating topics of conversation. “Which is your favorite Rocky movie?” and “What do you think of my shoes?” Come to mind.
People love The Beatles and The Beatles: Rock Band.
The first week I began working for Harmonix, someone asked me if I wanted to play TB:RB. I grew up listening to The Beatles and jumped at this chance. It’s an amazing game, and I knew that after playing only one song. I thought others would agree with me, but I had no idea just how in love people would fall with this game. There were people who hung out all day in our booth, wandering from station to station for another chance to play the game. People just couldn’t help but smile and bob along to every song, myself included. Even after hearing the songs on the demo over and over, I still wasn’t sick of them. “Here Comes the Sun,” my personal favorite in the game, was stuck in my head for four days after E3, and after it finally left, I heard the song on the radio and still thought to myself, “Awesome! I love this song!”
Overall, this trip was one of the best I’ve been on, in both personal and professional life. I can’t wait to do it again!