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As a kid, I subscribed to the official, now-defunct, Nintendo magazine, Nintendo Power. Reading all the latest and greatest news straight out of Nintendo was something I reveled in each month, but nothing was quite as exciting as the issues that covered the news coming out of E3. I have a very distinct memory of lying on the floor of my bedroom, flipping through the pages of Nintendo Power and reading about a convention for video games. I almost couldn’t believe my eyes, an entire convention, just for video games? It sounded like a dream come true to my small brain. Video games were a niche, nerdy thing for kids, what were all these adults doing meeting up to talk about them?

I didn’t have a full comprehension of what video game journalism was, nor did I fully understand exactly how the video game industry worked. I knew my mom had worked at a video game studio (Sculptured Software, which later became part of Acclaim Studios) in the early ‘90s, before I was born, but I didn’t equate that to something adults all over the world must be doing. All I knew was that I had just discovered that somewhere out in the world, once a year, there was a big room full of people who were doing nothing but talking about and playing video games, and I wanted to be there.

I was a kid, so my dream of being at E3 was mostly, “Wow that would be so cool, maybe someday I will find a way to go” and that was it. I didn’t make plans to become a journalist or dedicate my life to working in video games, I just daydreamed about being at E3 someday. Fast forward almost 20 years, and I somehow landed a writing job right here at Nintendo Wire in 2016, the year of Nintendo’s extravagant The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild booth. Working at Nintendo Wire allowed me to actually live out that vague childhood dream of attending E3, not once, but three separate times. In 2017, 2018, and 2019 I was able to attend E3, not as a fan, but as someone working in this industry. I got to be in that big room full of people talking about and playing video games – I got to walk the show floor, play and write about unreleased video games, and meet with industry professionals from all over the world as a peer.



E3 2019 was the last time the event was held in-person, and had I known that the big “See You Next Year! June 9-11, 2020” banner I saw as I left the Los Angeles Convention Center was doomed to forever be an empty promise, I would have savored it just a bit more. The E3 memories I did make will, of course, always have a place in my heart. From extravagant booths modeled after things like New Donk City from Super Mario Odyssey and the hotel from Luigi’s Mansion 3, to rows and rows of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate stations or this gorgeous Link’s Awakening diorama, Nintendo always made E3 memorable. The games they brought along were always top notch too, I’ll never forget getting to check out demos for games like Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Let’s Go, Eevee! and Hollow Knight: Silksong before they released.

What I’ll miss more than the booths and the games though are the connections E3 offered. I was finally given the chance to hang out with all my Nintendo Wire teammates for days at a time, frequently at the Smash Burger just outside the Los Angeles Convention Center, ramen shops in Little Tokyo, or Curry House (R.I.P.). We all became fast friends on trips to E3, and I’ll always be grateful for it. E3 also offered plenty of professional connections alongside those personal connections too, allowing smaller sites like ours to connect not only with each other, but with several industry professionals for interviews, demos, and other networking when they wouldn’t really have been able to otherwise. Unfortunately, the death of E3 also spells the end of a lot of opportunities for smaller outlets to make those connections. Yes, there are other expos, shows, and conventions to attend, and many will end up doing so, but E3 seemed like the gathering place not only for a lot of us journalists, but also for the entire industry, rivalries be damned, and it’s sad to see it go.



In the end, E3 was ultimately a shell of its former self by the end of its life. In its heyday, it was the one stop shop for almost all gaming news, but, as my coworker Amelia Fruzzetti points out, the decline of E3 began with the rise of streaming. Companies could offer news directly to their fans without all the hubbub and spending that E3 required, and the convention became more and more diminished each passing year because of it. In an age of direct-to-consumer news and massive, almost daily, layoffs in the games industry despite record profits for executives and shareholders, we may never see something like the common ground E3 offered the industry again. E3 wasn’t always remarkable or well run, but it was productive more often than not, and it was always, always a good time. I’m glad I got to experience E3 before it was over, even if it was during its twilight years, because I was doing it, in part, for that little dude looking through his magazines on the floor of his bedroom 20 years ago who wished he could make it there someday.


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Written by Jaxson Tapp

As a lover of gaming and the written word, Jaxson currently fills his time not only with playing games, but also writing about them. Ready for anything, Jaxson’s passion for puzzle games, JRPGs, tough platformers, and whimsical indies helps him bring a well-rounded opinion to Nintendo Wire’s reporting.