LOS ANGELES—If you couldn’t or didn’t make it to E3 2019, you’re not the only one. Anecdotal evidence suggests this was the most poorly attended E3 in some time (though its organizers at the ESA insist that
this E3 had only 3,000 fewer attendees than 2018’s jam-packed affair), owing perhaps to Sony’s no-show or the abundance of live-streamed options for enjoying the event at your own home.
Luigi and Gooigi attracted hordes of attendees excited to pose for photos.
Luigi’s Mansion 3 booth, fans could pose with a guy in a Luigi costume. Nintendo went all-out building a haunted house for these kiosks, but my photos of it turned out terribly.
It was easier to get photos of the toy dioramas built around the
Link’s Awakening gameplay kiosks. Nintendo built four of them in all.
A closer zoom on the plastic minis Nintendo built just for this occasion.
Link delves into a dungeon.
“YOU SHALL NOT PASS!”
“Wrong series, dude.”
I’ll admit, I kinda lost my mind seeing this adorable Link and Marin meet-cute diorama.
Smash Bros. Ultimate? A guy can dream, right?
The EA Play event at the Hollywood Palladium included this impressive cast of paid
Apex Legends cosplayers. Yes, the person cosplaying as Octane is a bilateral amputee.
You couldn’t buy these impressive 10″
Apex Legends statues at EA Play.
But you could buy a ton of shirts and hoodies. As an
Apex Legends fan, Ars’s Sam Machkovech nearly bought the “bamboozled” one.
For some reason, EA Play hosted an
Anthem gameplay session… and for some reason, attendees actually waited for it.
FIFA ’20 hosted an arena-soccer match.
The McLaren Serra features in the new LEGO Speed expansion pack for
Forza Horizon 4, so naturally, Microsoft had someone make a life-sized McLaren Serra model out of LEGO bricks.
They went to pretty insane trouble to include significant elements from the real deal.
Real wheels, real LEGO blocks.
This refreshed version of the Xbox Elite Controller (dubbed “version 2”) will launch in November for $180 and features such perks as a rechargeable battery, a controller-charging case, increased hair-trigger responsiveness, and more.
We couldn’t test the new XEC with any games, but its newly texturized grip and significant heft felt good to hold on its own.
C’mon, Xbox, you think we’re gonna steal this thing? How dare you.
Say hello to one of
Gears 5‘s newest, most disgusting monsters.
It’s not a
Gears of War character if it doesn’t have chest-high cover nearby.
The best thing about
Gears 5‘s new “Escape” mode is that it supports three-player split-screen co-op. More of this kinda thing, please, Xbox Game Studios.
LEGO Star Wars release this coming holiday season revolves around the “Skywalker Saga,” so naturally, it’s time to trot out the old LEGO Han in LEGO carbonite statue again.
Coach’s Pac-Man line of bags and accessories. For the discerning, fancypants gamer.
More Pac-Man and classic-Namco swag.
Pretty solid 10″ Tekken statues.
The entire Bandai Namco fancy-collectible wall was pretty great, honestly.
I couldn’t take photos of the
Final Fantasy VII Remake gameplay kiosks, but I could take photos of the series’ Shinra Corporation stuff all around it. For example, this recreation of an iconic FFVII backdrop.
Square Enix put up a few Shinra advertisements around the kiosks. See? They have Midgar’s best interests at heart!
I really hope there’s a full cartoon series hidden inside of
FFVII Remake starring this cartoon dog.
Someone please translate this for us.
A small detail of the amazing theater room for
Psychonauts 2. TEETH!
Arcade1UP had a significant E3 presence with its home-friendly versions of classic arcade machines. The manufacturer used E3 to reveal its newest product: a Star Wars Atari arcade trilogy collection, coming “late 2019.”
Another look at its handsome side cabinet art.
I had to stand on a stool to get a better look at the screen and controller. Because this cabinet was set up on a precarious platform, it was not playable at E3.
An Arcade1UP representative said it collaborated with Disney and Lucasfilm in the making of this cabinet, then studied original classic arcade hardware to recreate the controller.
Rather than answer my technical questions about how the controller was constructed in this modern version, the Arcade1UP rep insisted that it sought input from arcade cabinet collectors to confirm that its version nailed the original cabinets’ feel and mechanical action.
Another new Arcade1UP cabinet: the
TMNT collection, which includes both of Konami’s four-player brawlers in one cabinet. (Most of their cabs include at least two games, if not a few more.)
It seems to comfortably support four players, but I liked this group’s tweak: letting the middle player simultaneously control two turtles.
Then there was this absolutely ridiculous thing that Arcade1UP built for the heckuvit. That’s intrepid Ars Technica editor Sam Machkovech up there pretending to play the game.
I hope the hand on the joystick makes clear how stupidly massive this whole rig was. But it worked… and Sam won his match.
Really, Sam? Be professional.
Sega’s booth had its own oversized-controller gimmick to celebrate the impending launch of the Sega Genesis Mini this September.
It’s not really E3 until Ubisoft has a stage full of professional dancers and average fans getting down to
Just Dance as one awkward collective.
A peek at the poster-covered walls inside of
Cyberpunk 2077‘s behind-closed-doors booth.
Capcom had a relatively meager showing at E3, with this new
Monster Hunter World expansion taking up most of the company’s booth.
But, hey, at least they had some nice 10″ dragons under glass.
Hold me closer, tiny draaaagonnnnns.
Sorry, Street Fighter fans. Capcom didn’t come to E3 2019 with any news about either
SFV or any new fighting games. Just 10″ figurines.
Chun-Li and Cammy, kicking ass beneath glass.
Larger than life. Just like
Borderlands should be.
This was by far the best part of the
Destroy All Humans revival attempt.
Pixl Cube was one of the more inventive games at the Indiecade booth, a tilt-sensitive box with LED dots that moved through a maze as if pulled by gravity.
In the entryway for Youtube Gaming’s creator space, blocks from the show floor, a Google Stadia controller sits behind glass with a mock-up of a retro game store.
The YouTube Gaming space also featured some streamers on old-school CRT TVs, which was a weird look.
The YouTube Gaming logo sits on a fake cartridge alongside… Hyper Chroma Ultra?
Nothing says “E3” like a guy in a Yoshi/Mario costume livestreaming himself as he balks loudly at the show floor’s $6 pretzels.
New Wave Toys is expanding its Replicade line of authentic miniature cabinets with the likes of these two Capcom classics.
MyArcade is expanding from miniature cabinets to massive portable systems capable of playing actual NES and SNES cartridges.
Contra cabinet even includes link cable support for two player action.
Don’t you DARE touch this actual
Contra cabinet in the MyArcade booth, though.
That being said,
we attended, and Ars Technica came back from Los Angeles with plenty to show for it. In addition to a few more hands-on previews coming (which will build upon the best-of E3 2019 list we already filed), we took our cameras out at both the official E3 halls and nearby events (Xbox Fan Fest, EA Play).
I gotta say, in this modern political climate, I have been calling
every year “the year of doom.”
A very nice pencil sketch taken from the original PC game’s box art.
I’d never seen these minis before, but now I want to play
A better zoom on these metal beasts.
Collect me plenty.
Now for some impressive 3D molds of famed
See? It’s like a museum.
Funnily enough, this is my “I don’t know what to do with my hands” pose when I stand for photos.
The secret for awkward photo poses: turn your arms into massive rocket launchers. Way less awkward!
As one of
DOOM 64‘s longtime fans, I stood at this specific panel for a while.
This might be the least-blurry these N64 sprites have ever looked. (The N64 famously smothered its sprites in a disgusting, smeary blur.)
More figurines on display.
More figurines on display.
More swag on display.
More swag on display.
The result is a whopping three image galleries here. The first is a catch-all for most of the basic, expected fare, while the second and third focus on retro elements: a
-specific mini-museum, and a curated collection of very rare gaming hardware and collectibles courtesy of the DOOM National Videogame Museum in Frisco, Tex. (If you’ve never been to that physical location before, we strongly encourage you to book a trip.)
You know the retro portion of E3 is serious when they put this thing behind a rope.
Truly one of a kind. Click the image to get a better look at the information placard.
Yep, those are traditional Saturn controller ports.
We’d never seen these Vectrex prototypes and variants before.
The innards of a prototype color Vectrex system that never saw production.
Anybody think they can repair this thing?
only scoring cart that remains from this Super Nintendo championship event. Also, a killer Vectrex jacket.
How the heck does the NVM keep finding and showing off such incredible game-history rarities?
Some cool mementos from the original
The placard explains how rare this system is…
… based on this specific message signed by none other than Bill Gates.
I don’t care how puffy this jacket is. I’d wear it.
Every year, the National Video Game Museum trots out at least one previously confidential binder taken from a major gaming company. This year’s was Nintendo.
I’m always fascinated by internal ’80s and ’90s documentation about piracy and cartridge backup systems.
This section went on for a few more pages and even included grainy photos of various cartridge-copying devices.
Video games: the board game!
Video games: the, uh, VHS game!
Well before the Game Boy revolutionized portable gaming, kids of the ’70s and ’80s were stuck with these clunkers.
One wall was dedicated to particularly rare game consoles that launched solely in Japan.
Eat your heart out,
Donkey Konga. This is one of Gunpei Yokoi’s classic electronic games that he designed for Nintendo in the ’70s.
This makes me wish Ulala was in an actual ’80s cartoon.
In addition to popular and common fare in the coin-op section, the NVM trotted out a few machines we rarely see at classic gaming expos, like this fetching
Jungle King cab.
True story: we asked Double Fine studio founder and creative director Tim Schafer if he could step back for a second so we could take a photo of this handsome
Omega Race cabinet. “I used to play this game all the time as a kid,” he remarked before stepping away slowly. (If you’re wondering, he signs his name “TIM” in high-score tables.)
And we couldn’t leave E3 without a walk through the almost carnival-like selection of vendors and inventions in the expo’s very back hall. Look below at the show’s weird “et cetera” section.
Here’s a gallery of E3 2019’s oddest booths and products. “Wow, how nice and COOL!” we’re sure you are saying to yourself.
Thermoreal uses superconductors (?!) to simulate a cold or hot feeling in metal. The company integrated this tech into VR-compatible gloves and a VR headset. As the VR environment changes, so does the sensation of real-life temperature. Trippy!
This 1,000 MaH battery pack for the Switch was heavy, but the harness made it pretty easy to slide on and off to use only when it’s needed.
Some extremely generic-looking custom chip boards for use in mini-arcade devices and portable emulation devices. If anybody reading this has the rights to the Atari Jaguar Mini, look them up.
Why stream games to a smartphone with Google Stadia when the Smach Z packs an entire 1080p gaming PC with a 6″ screen into a rather bulky portable package?
Doom (2016) ran with noticeable judders, and the unit got noticeably hot in our test. But the fact that it works at all was impressive.
The Tactsuit haptic system jolts your body when playing compatible VR games and software.
The Vuvana system has something to do with using a new blockchain cryptocurrency to buy and “own” items in virtual reality, which you can view on a cell phone with this included viewer, apparently.
Oversized controllers were all the rage at E3 2019, but this one went to the trouble of building in a monitor for its game,
Street Fighter 2.
Remember the iCade Mini? Someone sure does…
GameBoks is just like it sounds—a wooden box that houses a monitor, power supply, and a space to hold and connect your game console. Between this and the new Atari VCS, wood paneling is apparently the hot new retro-hardware trend.
Proximat is being sold as a “mousepad for your virtual reality feet.” It gives VR players a physical indication of their play space’s center point, complete with high-grade gel for foot comfort.
If this is a thing you’re looking for (for some reason), E3 has you covered.
Amazingly, a product with “360 ONE X” in its name has nothing to do with Xbox (it’s a 360 degree camera designed for VR)
Neither vinyl nor fidget spinners are dead at E3 2019.
I need some quick energy after seeing all of these amazing products. It’s my lucky day!
How do you make money selling $100 worth of stuff for $40? It’s an economic miracle!
This balance board is mainly meant for some easy exercise while at a standing desk, but its producers were marketing it to gamers with a
Mortal Kombat 11 display.
And the award for “most dystopian sounding slogan at E3” goes to…
“In the 1989 Future” is a legitimately great tagline, we have to admit.
Listing image by Sam Machkovech