Electronic Entertainment Expo 2013
Electronic Entertainment Expo 2013

E3: Scenes From the Video Game Circus

Chris Morris, Special to CNBC.com

Scenes From E3

Playing Killer Instinct on Microsoft's Xbox One console at the Xbox booth
Jonathan Alcorn | Bloomberg | Getty Images

The video-game industry's annual E3 trade show is much like a carnival. And to get a true sense of the barely controlled chaos, you need to look past the game booths and crowded show floor.

This year, Nintendo offered people who were unable to attend the show (which is the vast majority of the gaming population) the opportunity to play demos of the unreleased games at more than 100 Best Buy locations around the country. That gave fans a bite of the smorgasbord.

E3 is a constantly moving, nearly organic being. Capturing all of the show's eccentricities is impossible, but here are a few snapshots of the industry's annual party-trade show.

By Chris Morris, Special to CNBC.com
Posted 13 June 2013

Giant Mechs

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EA's Titanfall—developed by "Call of Duty" creator Respawn Entertainment—is the company's big bet, and it's making sure that attendees know the game is coming (even if it's not due until spring 2014). This mech greeted people at the company's pre-E3 press conference.

Sony's Full-Court Press

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Sony and Microsoft have been duking it out at this year's E3, with many game forum dwellers and Twitter fanatics giving Sony the edge. To emphasize that it wasn't planning to stay in third place as the next generation of system launches, the company wrapped the LA Convention Center with this banner to stay top-of-mind.


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Nintendo's long-awaited follow-up to this charming series is finally about to hit shelves, and it's getting the all-encompassing attention at the company's booth this year. Fans are being encouraged to get their picture taken with the little plant creatures.

Bombs Away

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"World of Tanks" publisher Wargaming made it very clear that it didn't intend to rest on its laurels, showing off its upcoming "World of Warplanes." To ensure that no one missed the announcement, it had this scale model buzzing its booth.

Bad Dog!

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Bethesda's remake of the seminal "Castle Wolfenstein" is taking things in a new direction. And the "Panzerhund" guarding the company's booth certainly underscores that. "Wolfenstein: The New Order" explores what would have happened had the Nazis been the first to build a nuclear bomb and won World War II. As you might guess, it's not pretty—but hero B.J. Blaskowicz is on a mission to set things right.

Going Old School

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Forget about those newfangled consoles! Some people are quite happy with quarter-gobbling eight-bit games. The Classic Arcade Expo gives E3 attendees a chance to escape the technology overload and relax with some of the games they grew up with.


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Microsoft and Sony, which will do retail battle this holiday season, are getting an early start with booths right next to each other. It's the first of many confrontations between the two, but both booths have been consistently crowded throughout the show.

The Wild Card

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Though not quite the powerhouse it was at previous E3s, with games like "Mario Kart 8" and "Super Mario 3-D World," Nintendo is a company that no one (especially Microsoft or Sony) is willing to count out. And that's no matter how disappointing Wii U sales have been.

The Fans

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Officially, E3 is a trade-only show, but superfans manage to slip in every year. This one, who declined to give his name, was outspoken in his love for all things Mario.

Can I Play?

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One of the most important attributes to have when attending E3 is patience. If you want to try one of the new games, you'll have to wait in line—sometimes for an hour or more—to get the controller in your hand. The upside is that you can learn from the mistakes players before you made, which can make your session that much more impressive.