Extra: E3 2019 in Photos

On June 17, 2019 by Jason Rechtman

They say good things come in threes. This year’s E3 seemed set out to prove it, whether it was the three tournaments Nintendo held in the lead-up to the convention, the three games that dominated their booth, or simply the fact that there was three full days of gaming to be had. We’ve distilled it all into the 93 photos below, featuring the sights of Nintendo’s booth and beyond.

For Nintendo, E3 really began the Saturday before with a triple header of tournaments at Downtown LA’s Theater at the Ace Hotel. Fans lined up in the wee hours of the morning for a chance to watch the Super Mario Maker 2 Invitational, Splatoon 2 World Championship, and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate World Championship 3v3, and were rewarded for their passion with a showering of freebies (sunglasses! flags! pins! donuts!). Once inside, they were treated to six hours of tournament play, free concessions, and appearances from big Nintendo names like Mario Maker producer Takashi Tezuka, Splatoon producer Hisashi Nogami, and Nintendo of America’s new president Doug Bowser. 

Nintendo’s three-way focus extended to their actual E3 presence, too. Instead of a booth themed around a single game like in past years, the 2019 booth featured areas dedicated to three: Luigi’s Mansion 3, Pokemon Sword & Shield, and The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening. Luigi stole the show, with a walled-in demo area that was completely transformed into the upcoming game’s haunted hotel, right down to staff dressed as bellhops. It featured black lights, fog machines, a haunted chandelliar that could raise and lower, “flying” bats, projections of ghosts on the walls and in mirrors, and holograms of ghosts and in-game items scattered around the booth via transparent screens. Even a costumed Luigi would pop in from time to time, creeping around with a flashlight. And fittingly, a trip to the hotel would score you a Luigi’s Mansion 3-branded mini flashlight of your own. It was truly a return to form to Nintendo’s more whimsical, theme park-style booths like Hyrule in 2016 and New Donk City in 2017

That’s not to say Nintendo’s other booth sections weren’t creative too. Pokemon Sword & Shield’s area recreated the water gym in which the demo took place, complete with a Jumbotron-style screen, walls covered in art of a crowd of trainers and Pokemon, and staff dressed as trainers from the game. Plus, on the outside of the gym were photo ops with the three new starters, Grookey, Scorbunny, and the best of the bunch, Sobble (don’t deny it, you know it’s true). Playing the demo would also get you a pin set of the three starters. Meanwhile, the Zelda: Link’s Awakening demo area eschewed theming itself around the idea of being in Koholint for a rather fitting, and incredibly charming, set of miniature scenes straight from the game on top of its demo stations. The dioramas were immaculately detailed, depicting areas like a dungeon, Mabe Village, and Link’s beachside encounter with Marin. Perhaps best of all, everyone who waited out the five hour line for the game received a tiny Link of their own in keychain form.

Of course, there were plenty of other games in Nintendo’s booth too, spread across a more generic area of the booth similar to last year’s setup. These included Nintendo’s own Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3, along with Hollow Knight: Silksong, The Elder Scrolls: Blades, Wolfenstein Young Blood, Resident Evil 5, New Super Lucky’s Tale, Dauntless, and Dead by Daylight. Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 was also playable, but the better bet was to go next door to Sega’s booth and play it there. Not only would it get you a free Sega shirt, but the demos were laid out on a giant fake running track that also featured a rock climbing tower you could actually climb.

That’s what’s always fun about E3. It’s not just Nintendo who goes wild with their booth. Fortnite, for example, turned theirs into a neon-soaked amusement park with a giant inflatable jumping game, a stage show, free popcorn, and yes, a battle bus. Bethesda offered themed areas to try demos of Wolfenstein: Youngblood, Doom Eternal, The Elder Scrolls: Blades, and more. Square Enix built full-on compounds for its demos of Avengers and Final Fantasy VII Remake. Bandai Namco placed its demos of Dragon Ball Z Kakarot amongst palm trees. THQ Nordic rolled in world-famous monster truck Grave Digger and a squad of aliens for the return of its Monster Jam and Destroy All Humans franchises. And on the retro gaming side, there was everything from a massive arcade machine that required a staircase to reach its buttons to, well, a massive Sega Genesis Mini controller that required very long arms to play.

It was an E3 packed with sights, including ones we didn’t even yet mention like Keanu Reeves’ surprise Xbox conference appearance. In fact, there are so many that this year’s gallery is our largest ever, clocking in at just shy of 100 photos. Check them all out below, and then be sure to check back on June 23 for our next podcast episode featuring hands-on impressions galore, stories from the show floor, and more.

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