Sunday, June 10, 2012

E3 2012 Recap Write-up and Video

E3 was a blast, as usual. I got to see lots of old friends and meet new friends. I wasn’t able to play many games at the show, due to the many meetings I had, but still got to see some great stuff.

My trip started at Austin airport, where I ran into Nigel from Devolver Digital. Nigel’s a great guy who I first met while working with Gamecock on Dementium. When we landed in LA we shared a cab to the convention center where we parted ways; Nigel needed to meet with the rest of the Devolver team (Mike and Harry), while I needed to pick-up my E3 badge holder.

While I was walking to the convention center I received a text from Corbie, who arrived in LA the day before. We met up at the show, where I picked up my badge holder. We were both staying in hotels on Flower Street that were very close to each other, so we proceeded in that direction. At that point, the show had not officially started.

After checking into my hotel I changed into my Bomb Monkey t-shirt and packed my backpack with the needed supplies for the day: my 3DS, Bomb Monkey and Mutant Mudds swag, and video camera (to create the video below). I was staying in the Ritz Milner, which is a good hotel for the price. I stayed at the O Hotel last year, which is a lot fancier and more expensive. Plus, the O Hotel has the best tater tots!

Day one of the show consisted of making a beeline to the Nintendo booth and two meetings with potential publishing partners. I also ran into the always awesome RMC and Cort from Go Nintendo. Naturally, we met at the Nintendo booth. I captured some footage of these gents, which you can see in the video below. They played Bomb Monkey and gave the impression they had fun with it. They’re either excellent actors or might have actually enjoyed themselves. They posted their impressions here.

That evening started with a pit stop at the O Hotel to grab some tater tots to go! While waiting for the mighty tots, I met up with my partners in crime, Mat Kraemer and Corbie Dillard, at the bar. Fortunately, neither Mat nor Corbie liked the tater tots as much as I did, so I got to polish them off myself while we strolled through LA to our destination for the evening: Onyx Lounge. This is where Sanzaru were having a small get together to celebrate the near-completion of their awesome new game, Sly Cooper Thieves in Time (PS3 and Vita). You can see some clips of our jaunt through the streets of LA in the video below.

The next day started with breakfast at IHOP. Eggs, bacon, etc. My first meeting that morning was with Daan Koopman. He’s a great guy. Even though he forgot to bring Face Racers, we had fun playing Bomb Monkey and ATV Wild Ride 3D. When I track down his coverage of the game, I’ll add it here.

Immediately after my meeting with Daan, I met up with the Nnooo guys, Nic Watt and Bruce Thomson. We chatted about the eShop and all things awesome and independent. I’m really glad I got to meet these chaps, and play some of their goodness on the 3DS/DS. Good guys.

Soon after that I ran into Justin from Ripten, where we decided to go outside the convention center and get some fresh air away from the noise. More Bomb Monkey and ATV Wild Ride 3D fun was had. This is the second year that I have met up with Justin, and it is always a pleasure. He made the cut, and can be seen in the video below playing Bomb Monkey.

Lunch time was upon us! I had arranged a meet-up with Neal Ronaghan from Nintendo World Report. He, and his entourage, met me outside the convention center and we walked to a nearby taco dive and enjoyed burritos while watching cars travel through the car wash. Bomb Monkey was played, fun was had, and much conversing over games was enjoyed. It was a pleasure to meet with Neal, Jonathan, Aaron, and Guillaume. NWR’s impressions (from PAX East) are here.

The rest of the day consisted of two more meetings: one with a potential publishing partner and one with Dan Adelman from Nintendo. Dan handles the eShop side of things amongst other delights at Nintendo of America. I first met with Dan last E3 where I showed him the three level demo of Mutant Mudds. This year I showed him Bomb Monkey and ATV Wild Ride 3D. We chatted about lots of new goodies coming to the eShop in the future and a multitude of top-secret things that I must keep to myself before they are announced by the big N. Meeting with folks at Nintendo is always a pleasure, and this was no different. Dan’s meeting room was bloody cold though! Perhaps this was to counter Dan’s love of all things spicy? More on that later…

After our meeting we exited the meeting room to discover the show had ended for the day and most people had been cleared off the show floor. While making our way out of the Nintendo booth, Dan introduced me to Tommy Refenes, who programmed/designed Super Meat Boy with Edmund McMillen. Naturally, I shared some of my Bomb Monkey and Mutant Mudds swag with Tommy and Shannon Gregory, who is also from Nintendo (and Tommy’s girlfriend). They were both great and delightful to meet.

The evening plans included a gathering at the Figueroa Hotel, but quickly turned into a long taxi ride to Torrance for some Japanese Curry. $60 dollars later, we finally arrived in Torrance and at CoCo Ichibanya on Sepulveda Boulevard. The food was great. I got a blend of #15 with #17. It was delightful. Their spicy scale goes from 1 to 10. Being my first time, I went with 2, which was mildly spicy. I think I will go with 3 or 4 next time. Dan “Iron Mouth” Adelman went for spice-factor 10 and scoffed it down like a pro. Other splendid peeps at the dinner were Tyrone Rodriguez from Nicalis, Chris Hoffman from Nintendo Power, Robbie and Ted from n-Space, Brian from Disney Interactive, the Corbster, and Neal and co. from NWR.

Day three started, again, with breakfast and some more bacon and eggs. The Corbster and I met up at the Original Pantry Café on Figueroa and 9th. I also ran into my good friend, Kynan Pearson, while we were exiting with the Café – he was entering – just a quick hello. He is now working on Halo 4 at 343 Industries.

I wandered around the show a bit that morning and met a bunch of cool people, including the awesome Victor Lucas from Electric Playground. We always seem to run into each other. He's great. I also met his co-host, Scott Jones. He's great too - and very tall! On my approach to the Nintendo booth, again, I said hello to Jessie Cantrell from the Nintendo Show 3D. She was lovely. I also met Adam Sessler. He was cool, but not quite as lovely as Jessie – but did have a nice hat! I checked out Castlevania on 3DS (very nice) and Retro City Rampage on Vita (very nice), where I ran into my good friend David Levy. It was great to catch up with him. Awesome and talented guy (worked on concept art for Tron and Prometheus, to name a few – amazing!) I also got my hands on some Zen Studios slippers courtesy of Bobby Loertscher – thanks Bobby!

The rest of the day was taken up with an off-site meeting, which finally ended and got me back downtown that evening in time for a meet-up at the Figueroa Hotel again. I met up with Tyrone, Corbie, and a host of other good peeps, including Craig Harris of IGN fame. Craig and I first met many moons ago in the Nintendo 64 days. Where did we run into each other this year? Yeah, in front of the bathroom. Lovely locale. It was great to catch up and chat about his new game, Aliens: Colonial Marines. The night ended with the Corbster and me hanging out at the JW Marriott bar snacking on sliders and drinking beer. I ran into Nick Chester of Destructoid / Harmoix fame, and also saw Tommy and Shannon again!

E3 2012 was a great show. I wish I had more time to play more games, but I appreciate the fact that I got to see so many good people. E3 2013 can’t come quick enough. I wonder if it will even be in LA next year!