A Guide to Attending E3 2019 with a Gamer Badge
If this is your first time heading to the Los Angeles Convention Center for E3, here are a few tips to help guide you through the experience.
We are officially just a few weeks away from E3, and in recent years, the ESA have opened the expo up to the public (which is awesome)! I went to the show for the first time last year with the gamer badge and had an absolute blast. As I have been finishing my plans for this year’s show I thought I would write a simple guide of tips that will help new attendees while they are at the show for the first time.
The ESA has a set of rules regarding the event, but the two rules that had me paranoid planning for my trip were the bag restrictions and the weapon policy ( for cosplay purposes). The bag restrictions say that those with a gamer badge can only bring in one bag and it has to be 12″ x 15″ x 6″. This was extremely stressful as it was very hard for me to find a bag of those dimensions that I could wear on my back so I didn’t have to hold it all day. You do have the option to have the venue hold a bigger bag, but it costs $10 a day per item.
I ended up using the bag photoed above. It was bigger than the dimensions that the ESA listed for the event, but I was allowed in with no problems. So while you can likely make it in with a slightly bigger bag, I still suggest it is as close to the dimensions mentioned as possible. Be aware that if you leave the venue with any free bags that are too big, you will not be allowed back in. So when you decide to grab free stuff, stay inside the venue until you are done for the day.
No matter where you go or what you do at E3, there is going to be a line. Most likely, whatever line you step into to play an upcoming game, be prepared to be in that line for most (if not all) of your entire day. With the gamer badge, on the first day you will be in an extremely long line to get into the venue. With that in mind, don’t worry too much about getting in line as early as possible. In the end, you are going to be waiting in line. Take your time.
On a similar note, dress comfortably. It is likely to be hot in Los Angeles when you go to the expo, so you want to be as cool as possible. And with so much of your time spent standing in lines, it is just going to help you in the long run. The dress code for the event is not strict, so you can basically wear whatever you want (that is in good taste).
There are three days that you will have on the show floor. From my experience, each day should be dedicated to a specific thing. Day one should be focused on merchandise. Publishers and developers will be handing out or selling shirts, figures, collectibles, you name it. As you are walking around the show floor and see something that you want to buy and have the money for it, buy it because it is likely that you will not see it there on the second day. Day two should be dedicated to getting in line and play some games (if you want to). If that is the case, then right when you get into the venue, get in line.
Last year I got in line to play the one game that I cared enough about to wait and get my hands on, Kingdom Hearts III. When I decided to get in line, it was about midday. When I got there, I was told that there was a cap on the line until 2 o’clock. When I eventually got into the line, I barely made the cut to play for the day. I ended up waiting around four hours to play the game, so while the wait was long, it was worth it to play the one thing I’ve been dying to experience on my own.
Day three is up to you. Feel free to do what you want because to me, while it is cool that you can play games while at E3, I like to walk around see the exhibits for each game, buy merchandise and try to meet people who I follow in the industry.
E3 is a gaming event, so it is fair to expect that some attendees will go to the event in cosplay. This is fine, but make sure to familiarize yourself with the event’s attendee policy, and to be extra sure that your outfit might not be considered inappropriate.
If you are wearing a cosplay that has a weapon of some sort included, make sure that it is not metal, nor something that can legitimately hurt someone. Last year I brought my official replica Kingdom Key keyblade to the event: at the time I still was not sure if they were going to allow me to take it in with me because of E3’s weapon policy, but after getting it inspected, they allowed it. You can find more detailed information on the weapon policy at E3 here.
Regardless of whether or not you take my recommendations on what to do with your time day-to-day, be sure to have a game plan on what you want to do and in what order. On top of that, expect your plan to fall apart and have a backup plan on what you want to do, just in case. There’s only so much time and it’s impossible to do everything at E3 in those three days.
Most importantly, have fun. Do not let something get you down, whether it be that you couldn’t get your hands on a game you wanted to play, or not being able to buy this cool statue you wanted. Just enjoy that you are there. The atmosphere of the show is incredible since there are so many people around you that love games just as much as you do. E3 is the best time of the year for gaming, so don’t let something minuscule stop you from having a great time.
In case you did not know that you could attend E3 this year, here is where you can purchase a gamer badge for $249. Whether you’re watching it at home or attending the show in person, enjoy E3!