Last year was my first E3, and it was a blast. I got my hands on dozens of new games, met tons of video game journalists and personalities, and I saw the fucking Who in a 1,500 seat theater. No complaints from this end- it was an amazing event and even if it was very low key, who am I to complain?

But everyone I met who had been covering the event for years was pissed at what had become of the show. Gone was the ridiculous and frivolous nature of shows past, the feeling of fun almost eliminated for a quiet and small event that only let in a fraction of the people the event once attracted. Sure, it was easier to get time with the games you wanted to since you didn’t have to fight for the controller with every jack-off who could register a website, but what happened to the music, the mayhem, the sights and sounds?

Well, the ESA heard everyone’s complaints. This year will be a return to the E3s of years past.

Attendance is already expected to be ten times last year’s show, hopefully filling up all of the bizarrely empty LA Convention Center halls. It took me a helluva time (and a lot of emails from Russ) to even get me into last year’s invite-only affair, but this year the registration policy has been eased. Credentialed individuals can go any apply for the Con for themselves right now on the E3 site.

If you go there you’ll also see a list of over 70 exhibitors, already effectively doubling last year’s. Some big name developers that didn’t show up last year are back as well, such as Activison and Vivendi.

Also, booth babes are back.
People I know who attended the massive Leipzig Games Convention last year have commented that they’re doing everything right over there and that the ESA could learn a lot from them- including a feeling of excitement in the air, days that the Con is open to the public, and most importantly- beer in the press area. E3’s still got a while to go to rival that but hopefully this is a step in the right direction, especially since Leipzig’s been canceled this year.