We Asked The Games Industry To Share Their Favourite E3 Memories

We Asked The Games Industry To Share Their Favourite E3 Memories

E3 is dead, long live E3. What was once the biggest event in gaming is now a thing of the past, with the president of the Entertainment Software Association confirming on December 12 that it is no more.

The convention, which has not been held in-person since 2019, struggled in the wake of the covid pandemic and with the new reality of developers and companies creating their own, individual showcases. Though there were promises that a newer, revamped E3 would eventually pop back up on our calendars, it seems that attempts to resurrect it failed.

Once reserved only for industry members, E3 (or the Electronic Entertainment Expo) began opening up its doors to the general public back in 2017. The next year, it had its highest attendance count ever, with over 69,000 people attending over the long weekend according to IGN. In its heyday, the event gave us iconic memories, massive game reveals, and more.

But after its recent troubles, it was never able to recapture that magic, and has faltered while other events (like Geoff Keighley’s Summer Game Fest) have gained in popularity. Now, it’s officially over, and we want to properly eulogize it. So we asked industry members to share their fondest E3 memories with us, and the results range from Rock Band performances to dicks in Pictochat. Read on for them all.

The Beatles Rock Band

Image: Sarah LeBoeuf

“2009, my first E3. I was just a lil baby journo fulfilling a childhood dream. I kept going back to The Beatles Rock Band every time I had a spare moment. Made my first industry friends.”

Sarah LeBoeuf, Writer

Steven Spielberg playing Jurassic World Evolution

PlayStation Italia

“One of the most unforgettable moments in my career was working on the massive Jurassic World Evolution E3 2018 installation when I was with Frontier Developments—I will never forget Steven Spielberg and Frank Marshall playing the game while we had a giant raptor enclosure in our booth, complete with live actors and film props set up in the South Hall lobby. It was so much work but in the end it was remarkable.”

Zac Antonaci, Kepler Interactive

Their first E3

Spawn On Me

“My first E3 in 2015 was the first time I flew. I traveled on a plane and [it was] the first time I met my half sister who I had just found out about months earlier. She let me stay with her so I could go to the show.”

Khalief Adams, Spawn on Me

Fake press conferences

Devolver Digital

“While we certainly had our beef with E3, we truly lament the loss of E3 as existence of the show gave us a time and place (a parking lot) to showcase our developers’ games to the world. From parking lot shenanigans and fake press conferences to territorial disputes with the Ouya marketing team, E3 was always exciting. Now pour one out for the Hotel Figueroa pool bar and go play Devolverland Expo.”

Nigel Lowrie, Devolver Digital

Cyberpunk 2077 surprise

Image: Parris Lilly / Kotaku

“E3 2019 walking out of the Cyberpunk 2077 demo and all of CDPR being there to greet me.”

Parris Lilly, Kinda Funny

The King’s Bird competition

Serenity Forge

“My first E3 was when I was a college kid. I randomly emailed analyst Michael Pachter and he liked me enough to invite me to his Wedbush party. I met Tim Schafer, CliffyB, and Todd Howard there.

Some dev that year didn’t show up for their exhibit slot for IndieCade so we ended up pulling out our laptops and showed our indie game on the E3 show floor simply out of luck.

The next year we went prepared, emailed all the random companies there to see if we could get our games on the show floor and ended up having an opportunity to show The King’s Bird and Neversong with a peripherals company right next to Nintendo’s booth, they also had a huge ball pit for the booth. Definitely a dream come true.

The year after we showed The King’s Bird at the MIX event at E3. The journalists ended up going crazy and everyone started dragging each other to compete against their high scores. We ended up getting voted the most critically acclaimed game at E3 that year, which I will never forget.”

Zhenghua Yang, Serenity Forge

Halo 2 demo

Image: Gene Park

“I watched the legendary Halo 2 demo, with then-Bungie writer Joe Staten taking the sticks. I’ve always called this my ‘Beatles at Shea Stadium’ moment. It felt especially keenly important to me since I was born and raised on Guam, far outside the fringes of mainstream culture. It felt surreal that an island boy like me could be at a place like E3, seeing video game history happen before my eyes. To this day, attending E3 remains among my most potent memories.”

Gene Park, The Washington Post

Fortnite dance-off

Image: Emma Kent

“My first and only E3 was in 2019—I went to the Fortnite party, lost a dance-off to someone in a skeleton costume, and hid in a bush.”

—Emma Kent, freelance journalist

Breaking into the industry

Gamertag Radio

“In 2005, I attended E3 for the first time. I wasted all my money on a hotel, car rental, flights and a media kit to promote my podcast. I only had $US20 for the whole week in LA. We survived on burgers all week.

Gaming companies ignored us back then because podcasting was so new. This was two months before iTunes added podcasts to their platform. But in 2006, it was a game-changer for me. The rest is history. Taking that risk 18 years ago helped me so much. My brother and I only got one media badge for E3 2005 because we have similar names. They thought I was trying to get extra media badges. Good thing someone gave me their badge. That’s how I got in to my first E3.”

—Danny Peña, Gamertag Radio

Destiny making a child’s day


“It’s 2014, and I was walking around the back of the south hall because it was always a faster route/less crowded. I see a really young boy sitting at a table with a guy in his forties and an older woman in her sixties. They have a little swag bag, nothing major, and you can tell the kid is trying to be excited, and the adults are trying to be excited for him, but this is E3 2014 and it isn’t designed for normal people. So I stopped and said hello, thinking I could give the kid some E3 stuff.

I introduced myself to the guy, who said his name was Jason, and he introduced me to his mom, and his son, whose name was Kane. Kane is a bright-looking kid but clearly not well, and his grandma tells me that being at E3 is Kane’s wish. As in Make-a-Wish.

I immediately walk over to Activision’s booth and ask to talk to an agency rep for Call of Duty stuff that I’ve worked with a bunch. I say it’s important and time sensitive, and because he’s a good guy, he comes down to floor to chat. The rep and I agree that there’s got to be something we can do, even if it’s just to give Kane some stuff…Basically, the Call of Duty stuff just isn’t going to work. It’s Advanced Warfare this year, the demo is very graphic, etc. but Activision has another shooter here that they could show Kane.

It’s 2014, and the other big game at Activision’s booth is Destiny. [They] offer to give Kane the whole Destiny demo, and he and his family accept. At this point I’m actually late for an appointment, so I confirm with agency guy they’re all set and leave.

Later that day, I get a text from [Kane’s] grandma that some Bungie folks really went all out for Kane and gave him a full Destiny experience. Just bags of stuff to take home. She asks me to put her in touch with the agency guy to thank him.

E3 was a huge, complicated, conflicted machine. But it gave me a chance once to help some really kind people at Bungie and Activision do something amazing for a family that needed that kind of day. I’ll be grateful for that always.”

—Arthur Gies, Wirecutter

The J.W. Marriot Lobby


“One of the best parts of E3 was how everyone in the industry—developers, publishers, journalists, top executives—gathered in the J.W. Marriott lobby just steps away from the E3 show floor. When watching E3 from home, you might assume the show floor was where everything important happened, but this lobby became this quintessential social hub for E3; people would gather there after the show floor closed, after returning from industry parties, or for a coffee to recharge the next morning. It was the perfect place to catch up with colleagues, but business happened there too.

We actually met our very first customer at a table there; it was completely by chance, but they were discussing their game at the table next to mine and I quickly mentioned to them that I was a huge fan. This completely unplanned interaction kickstarted our entire business. Losing the yearly industry gathering in this lobby is truly one of the sadder aspects of E3’s end—you just can’t recreate impromptu meetings like that through online channels.”

Adam Lieb, CEO of Gamesight

Dragon Ball Fighterz Reveal

Image: Will Potter

“Sat in the GameSpot war room when Dragon Ball FighterZ was revealed on stream. Had everyone in the room buzzing. We later had a build come in and we all crowded around the person playing like excited kids on the playground.”

Will Potter, Ninja Theory

The Fig

Image: Hotel Figueroa

“Holding court by the pool at The Fig, enjoying several well-deserved gin & tonics, after Dead Cells bagged Action GOTY a few months earlier. E3 2019 was like a victory lap for me when I worked in marketing at Motion Twin and no matter how many meetings you had at the show itself, gathering at The Fig for a drink was always a high point in the week.”

—Steve Filby, Evil Empire

Kratos reveal

PlayStation Haven

“Countless memories from E3 but the PlayStation conferences were always a highlight when I worked at PlayStation as a senior PR manager. The live orchestra in 2016 and seeing Kratos step out of the shadows was really special. The crowd reaction when The Last Guardian was revealed is unforgettable, if you were there you know how special it felt.”

Hugo Bustillos, Kepler Interactive

Dick drawings in front of Miyamoto

Image: Andy Robinson

“One year (2004?) Nintendo had a VIP section hooked up with DS consoles running Pictochat. Print journalist draws a massive dick, accidentally sends it, filling every screen in the room. Then notices Miyamoto shaking his head in the corner. Said journalist was then kicked out.”

Andy Robinson, VGC

Do you have any favorite E3 memories?

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