An elegy for E3: The coolest con I'll never get to go to

An elegy for E3: The coolest con I'll never get to go to

As I was casually scrolling my social media feeds this morning (the platforms I use shall remain unnamed, because I don't like getting yelled at), simply looking for something to enrage me like any other normal person, something hit me harder than I ever would have expected it to: not only is E3 canceled, it's going away forever.

For those unfamiliar with the Electronic Entertainment Expo, it was an annual convention put together by the Entertainment Software Association (ESA). The ESA is essentially the trade association for the video game industry.

Beginning in 1995, E3 brought together the titans, up-and-comers, and biggest influencers in gaming unlike any other event before or since. In its heyday, it was by far the most important annual event in gaming.

Think of it like the Comic-Con or CES of gaming. Instead of Kevin Feige making big announcements about the next Marvel movie, you'd have Mario inventor Shigeru Miyamoto announcing the next Zelda game.

Even though I never did attend the event, it was just nice knowing it existed. The thought that someday I might get to attend a con where I could play a demo of the newest game months before it came out or dress up like Yoshi and not get verbally assaulted was comforting.

I remember talking to a clerk at the ol' local video game store circa 2002 right after he had attended E3, and frankly it sounded like a damn wonderland.

But in recent years companies have increasingly moved towards holding their own events, and after the pandemic squashed the 2020 iteration, E3 simply couldn't recover.

Maybe something will take its place soon (the recent Game Awards seemed kinda cool), but this was an iconic name in nerd circles. I never did get to go, but I spent plenty of time imagining what I would do if I did one day make it there.

As George Harrison reminds us, all things must pass. I don't have any actual memories to look back on, but there are plenty who do and will be recounting them.

For me, it's thanks for the non-memories — and even those were pretty good.