E3 memory lane: Ars’ favorite moments from the show’s over-the-top past

Enlarge / This photo is exactly what it was like to be on the E3 show floor. Exactly.

Aurich Lawson | Getty Images

Today’s news that the Electronic Entertainment Expo is officially, totally, and completely dead was a bit bittersweet for your humble Ars Technica Senior Gaming Editor. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll miss the chance to meet industry luminaries, connect with far-flung associates, and play games months ahead of time in a setting that’s as much a theme park as a trade show. But after spending many a late night covering 15 E3 shows in 16 years, I can say that the crowds, the smells, and the sensory overload associated with the LA Convention Center aren’t always all they’re cracked up to be.

Still, those who have been there will tell you that, for a gaming fan, there was nothing quite like the bombast and spectacle of the E3 show floor in its heyday.

For those who haven’t been there, we’ve sorted through literally hundreds of E3 photos taken by Ars journalists over the years to assemble a few dozen of the best into this visual travelogue-meets-history-lesson. We hope that skimming through the galleries below will give you some idea of the madcap event that E3 was and why it has generated so many lasting memories for those who attended.

The people

From corporate cosplayers to celebrity guests, E3 was a great place for people-watching. Here are some of the favorite people we spotted over the years.

The scenery

Publishers easily spent tens of thousands of dollars for decorations that they hoped would make their booth stand out on the crowded E3 show floor each year. Here are some of our favorite larger-than-life statues and installations.

The history

Multiple E3 shows featured a small corner devoted to showing off rarities and collections from various video game history museums. Here are some of our favorite artifacts on the E3 show floor.

The crowds

Fighting through a wall-to-wall sea of people as you rush from South to West Hall for an appointment is not an experience we’re eager to repeat. Hopefully, these photos will give you some idea of the massive throngs of humanity that filled the LA Convention Center for E3 each year.

The oddities

Since the days of the departed Kentia Hall, E3 has hosted some truly odd, loosely game-related products and displays. Here are a few of the oddest sights we stumbled across.

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