LOS ANGELES--Half an hour before the opening of E3 2005, a line that slowly diffused into a massive crowd formed behind the escalators at the south entrance to the expo floor. Beautiful models, strangely costumed actors, and game industry types of all shapes and sizes milled about, some working, some waiting.
Luckily the hugeness of the Los Angeles Convention Center lobby was enough to contain the growing crowd and prevent it from spilling onto the street outside--on a beautiful LA spring day.
Anticipation was in the air, heightened in no small part by the music and sound effects that could be heard (and often felt) in spite of closed doors.
Most people seemed to be anticipating the launches of new hardware, in particular the new consoles. Chasen Seymore, who works for the Discovery Science Center in Santa Ana, California, had attended previous E3s but said that he could already tell that the feeling of this one was different. "The excitement was there," he said, "but [this year] there's anticipation for the new Xbox, the PS3, the new Nintendo...there's so much going on right now."
Indeed, attendees who had attended previous E3s said that these console launches added a certain element of excitement and anticipation that had been lacking in other E3s. "It feels like people are a lot more excited because there are a lot more things they're doing this year," said Kate Hopp, of Hornet Inc. "Last year they had a couple handhelds showing, and that was it. So I think everyone's really excited for all the new major consoles."
The throng surrounding the escalators got thicker and thicker, the media eagerly readying their cameras for the opening of the doors. Suddenly, a shout of "Go!" was heard right at 10am, and security guards began waving people up the escalators. The masses gave out a single cheer and started their slow plod toward the UV lamps lighting the entrance to the expo floor, eager to get glimpses of next-generation interactive entertainment and, possibly, play them.
E3 2005 has begun.