Despite being supposedly restricted to industry insiders, not all the wares at E3 are put on display on the show floor for all to see. In fact, most of the best demos are hidden behind closed doors in private meeting rooms.
Games such as Mass Effect 3 require either an appointment or a long wait in line to see, while others, such as Skyrim, BioShock Infinite, and Prototype 2, can only be seen in action if you've been invited to a demo session.
If you forgot to RSVP for one of the big press conferences (or your invite got lost in the mail), try showing up just before the start time. By then, everyone is rushing to get the still-sizable queue of attendees into the venue and seated, and organizers inevitably end up waving everyone inside at the last minute.
The much-maligned public transportation system in Los Angeles can actually be fairly useful for E3. Many of the hotels attendees are in Hollywood, and the subway (yes, there is a subway system) goes from major points in Hollywood to a stop only a few blocks from the Los Angeles Convention Center. The fare is $1.50 each way, and the trip from central Hollywood to the LACC took about 20 minutes, plus a 10-minute walk.
Updated:Caption:Dan AckermanPhoto:Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority
Where to find parties and game industry hangouts
Private parties are hard to get into if you're not already on the guest list, but people have been known to blag their way inside if they have the right name to drop or just a gift for schmoozing.
The same venues are popular hangouts for game makers and journalists, even when not booked for a private event. So, if you want to be where the action is, trying hanging out at the bar at the Figueroa Hotel, or at downtown LA venues such as The Edison, Seven Grand, or the Broadway Bar.
For all the bright lights and giant TV screens, you wouldn't think E3 was an especially environmentally friendly show--and in many ways it isn't. But, compared with E3 shows from years ago, there is one very important difference.
Back in the '90s and early 2000s, E3 attendees were swamped with piles of paper press releases and cardboard folders of game info. By the mid-2000s, it had largely changed over to CDs filled with screenshots and document files, and a few USB keys.
But, over the course of the last few E3 shows, the show has become surprisingly conscious about physical waste. Nearly every game company now skips printed material, CDs, and even USB keys, instead hosting screenshots, documents, and videos on an FTP server. At most, you'll get a tiny printed card with the FTP info, if even that.
No one will ever accuse E3 of being a "green" show, but over the past 12 years it's become nearly paperless, which is definitely a step in the right direction.