Last week's annual Electronics Entertainment Expo held in Los Angeles has come and gone, and other than the announcement of the Wii U, nothing truly exciting or new happened. Luckily, attendees of the show were given the next best thing–free junk. Every year, game companies hand out swag to just about anyone in attendance of the expo. From T-shirts to wigs, game companies hand out a wide variety of useless trinkets to expo goers in order to promote their multi-million dollar projects.
Although the quality of swag that is given out has gone down throughout the years, there were a few gems that I managed to walk away with this during this year's expo. The following are the best pieces of swag/free stuff that I received from E3 this year.
5. This…Useless, Shiny Red Wig (Courtesy of Nyko)
There are some pieces of swag that you want because they can potentially become collector's items, and some are simply pretty to look at. Some swag, however, are desirable just because they are just plain weird. This is the case for the wigs handed out at Nyko's booth. Walking around the Los Angeles Convention Center during E3 were a few guys adorning these shiny, hideous red wigs. Oddly enough, it seemed as if these guys enjoyed wearing them a bit too much. Many of them were tossing their new “hair” left and right, and a few were even fixing it in the mirror of the men's restroom. Whether these wigs were able to magically change the demeanor of these guys remains unclear, but considering the slim picking of good swag during the year's E3, these red wigs weren't too bad.
4. Gears of War 3 Cole Plushie Avatar Prop (Courtesy of Microsoft Games Studios)
You can't buy it through XBOX Live's marketplace. You can't buy it at stores like Gamestop. The only way to get your hands (or rather, your XBOX Live Avatar's hands) on this digital representation of Cole from Gears of War is to either attend Penny Arcade Expo or E3. Carrying around replicas of the lancer guns from the game, these employees of Microsoft Games Studios were handing out business card-sized with the the redeemable codes on them for anyone lucky enough to walk by. You can even take pictures holding the lancers, as well! With your avatar holding a plushie of the Cole Train, you'll be the envy of all of your friends on LIVE. Because you know that your friends are checking out what accessories your avatar is holding.
3. Picture with Tomonobu Itagaki (Courtesy of Tomonobu Itagaki)
He is known to talk shit about his own team members in public. He has been accused of sexual harassment in the workplace. He quit his job while suing his boss. He has never been seen without his sunglasses. He has even been chosen as the most bad ass Japanese game designer of all time. He's Dead or Alive and Ninja Gaiden 3D creator Tomonobu Itagaki, and I got to take a picture next to the rockstar/game developer hybrid. Despite all of the bad (bad ass?) press about the man, he was a very pleasant to meet in person. He even mimicked my cheesy “thumbs up” pose. There isn't a single piece of swag that can top the priceless photo that I received from this year's E3. Except for the following two:
2. Nintendo Collector Pins (Courtesy of Nintendo)
This year's hot item at E3 was, without a doubt, the pins handed out at Nintendo's 3DS demonstration booth. Knowing all too well that fans would clamor all over these cute little pins, Nintendo made it quite a challenge to collect all six of these things. In order to receive each one, attendees had to sample each respective game all the way until the end of the demo. In order to receive the Mario Kart 3DS pin, for example, players would have to race through all three courses of the demo. You can't simply race through a single lap and say, “hey lady, give me my pin.” Believe me, I've seen everyone try it. After two hours of playing each and every 3DS demo to completion, I was able to walk home with all six of these gems.
1. Nintendo 3DS Street Pass with Satoru Iwata (Courtesy of Nintendo)
I got to play the Wii U. I was given a bunch of rare Nintendo-themed pins. I got a stupid wig. I even had the opportunity to shake hands with NoA President Reggie Fils-Aime and Tomonobu Itagaki. However, none of the free “stuff” that I received during this year's E3 even came remotely close to how awesome it was to receive a 3DS street pass with Worldwide Nintendo President, Satoru Iwata. Among the 200+ street passes that I received throughout the three day event, I was able to “collect” his Mii avatar into my 3DS system during my wait in the Nintendo line. His Mii's personal quote was “deeper and wider.” Incorrectly assuming it was a perverted quote, I did not know how to react. I later realized that “deeper and wider” is the new marketing strategy for the Wii U. Games for the Wii U will have more depth to satisfy the seasoned gamers, and will also have a wide appeal, for the more casual audience. Either that, or he could be talking about the new shape of the console.