E3 is a time for free goodies! And some... not-so-free goodies...
For many gamers, E3 is the holy grail of gaming events - a mythical, magical wonderland of excitement as news and video game celebrities gather to rejoice amongst all the new announcements and frolic between the demos and booth babes. The reality is quite a bit more stressful and painful than that, but that's another story. Those lucky enough to attend are often presented with rare and exclusive gaming-related swag, and there's also a souvenir booth with plenty of mementos to show off to jealous friends back at home.
Many developers on show have some form of giveaway at E3, from little figurines or plush toys to t-shirts, coffee mugs, medallions or art books. Nintendo's booth had a series of collectors' pin badges featuring the five Nintendo Land demos on the show floor. For each game you played you got a new badge, and the five of them could be attached a little plastic backing card that clipped to your E3 media pass. The hardest one to collect was for Takamaru's Ninja Castle, which was a one player demo and took around 10 minutes to complete per person, making the line around an hour or more just to play the demo. I managed to score a plush duck from Harvest Moon at the Natsume booth, and the Disney booth had special "Ostown" Oswald ear caps with your name embroidered in the back. All E3 passes came with a coupon for a free t-shirt at the Atlus booth that featured artwork from their new Persona crossover game, but the management was poor and the lines to get your hands on one were incredible.
And then there's the E3 merchandise booth...
The E3 official merchandise store is packed with all kinds of mementos for journalists to look at as they fondly remember all the excitements and disappointments they had racing about the Los Angeles Exhibition Center.
Various t-shirts and hoodies are on sale along with polo shirts, jackets and baseball caps. The coolest clothing on display this year was a t-shirt claiming the wearer to be "100% gamer", and boxer shorts featuring the "AO" Adults Only games rating stamp.
Plenty of stuff for the girl gamer, too.
The booth has multiple types of bags to suit the sort of things that members of the press are expected to carry, such as cameras and laptops, with plenty of little pockets for notepads, business cards and the like. The counter has pin badges, clothing patches, pens, breath mints and plenty of other little stationery trinkets for journalists, though strangely no writing pads of any kind were available. The digital age is well and truly upon us.
The most surprising thing about the E3 merchandise shop is that the prices are actually reasonable considering the over-stimulating spectacle that everything else at E3 is, and you don't necessarily need to be a registered E3 attendant to swing by and pick up some goods if you live nearby.
Ye flask looketh pretty awesome (is that joke out of date already?)
I myself picked up a few shirts for myself and friends, a super-comfy laptop backpack and some stationery, but by far the best piece of E3 swag for me was a special, limited E3 edition of the Assassin's Creed Encyclopedia. It contains beautiful artwork and updated info from all of the series, updated as of June 2012. These babies were a gift to anyone who attended Ubisoft's press conference on Monday last week. Some of them are already reaching ridiculous bidding prices on eBay, but there's no way I'm selling mine.
So exclusive, yet so profitable.
As always, check out my gallery below for a few more detailed pics, and I'll be back with more asap, as I have more promotional USA trip adventures to cover in my Special Edition of Mariobilia before I get back to the regular show.