Extra: A Trip to E3 2018

On June 19, 2018 by Jason Rechtman

Another E3 is in the rearview; a rearview crammed with all sorts of spectacle, flashing lights, and one of the biggest screens you’ve ever seen. After three jam-packed days at E3 2018, we’re back with 80+ photos that highlight the Smash Bros. takeover of Nintendo’s booth, plus a bevy of sights from elsewhere on the show floor. Oh, and of course zombies. Lots and lots of zombies.

The majority of our time was naturally spent inside Nintendo’s own booth, which unfortunately replaced the whimsical, theme park-style designs of last year’s New Donk City and 2016’s Hyrule with a more traditional layout. That’s not to say there weren’t hints of yesteryear’s booths. Scattered about were impressively detailed, life-sized replicas of key Smash Bros. fighters’ items, be it Link’s Master Sword, the Inkling’s gun, DK’s massive tie, or a personal favorite, Duck Hunt’s Hogan’s Alley can. There was even a life-size Training Mode Sandbag to pose with, while the two demo areas for competitive and non-competitive Smash Bros. matches were designed to resemble in-game stages. The real highlight of the booth, however, was a massive single-panel screen that stretched across nearly its entire width. It was perfectly sized to showcase Super Smash Bros. Ultimate’s “Everyone is Here!” art, but was also put to use to run various game trailers, highlight footage from the Smash Bros. Invitational, and spotlight individual members of the Smash Bros. roster.

Game wise, the booth was more varied than before. Super Smash Bros. easily had the most demo units of any game, and Nintendo implemented an advanced reservation system that ensured you never waited in line more than 45 minutes. Non-competitive demos netted you two battles and a Smash logo pin, while those who reserved a competitive spot had the opportunity to work their way towards a gold medal over four free-for-all matches and one-on-one championship bout.

Pokemon Let’s Go, Pikachu and Eevee, on the other hand, did not have a reservation system and was limited to only ten demo units. This meant the polar opposite of the Smash situation, with fans needing to wait upwards of four hours for one ten-minute demo, which on Day 2 and 3 was shortened to only eight minutes to help speed up the wait. But hey, you got a neat squishy Pokeball for your troubles!

The shortest line, however, was for the rest of the booth. You’d start with a demo of Mario Tennis Aces, then be sent into the third-party area featuring Fortnite, Starlink, Paladins, Dragon Ball FighterZ, Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate, and two indies, Overcooked 2 and Killer Queen Black. Playing any one of these demos would get you a set of Mario Tennis pins and a Switch screen cleaning cloth on your way out. Between all this, Smash, and Pokemon, it made for a fun selection of activities in Nintendo’s booth, even if the booth itself didn’t feel quite as magical.

Luckily, for those who wanted the full whimsy of past Nintendo booths, a few others stepped up to the challenge. Fortnite’s booth was easily the most elaborate, featuring a full Battle Bus, on-stage dance competitions, a mechanical bull version of the game’s llama, and free servings of popcorn, freshly baked cookies and Slurp Juice (which we’re pretty sure was just water). Elsewhere, GungHo recreated the cityscape of its gumball-based Switch brawler Ninjala with bold signage and giant gumboil machines, Capcom turned its booth into a massive Mega Man timeline and Mega Man 11 photo op, and Bethesda went all-in with set pieces for Fallout and Rage 2. And let’s not forget the zombies wandering around the lobby of West Hall for Dying Light 2, sitting in a cop car for Resident Evil 2 Remake, and pinned to the back of a entirely separate cop car for The Walking Dead Overkill.

The point is, a) this convention really likes zombies and b) there was a ton to see. So much so that this is our biggest E3 photo gallery yet! Enjoy the 80+ photos below, and be sure to check back on June 24 for our next podcast episode packed with hands-on impressions, show floor stories, and more.

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