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Video Games

You Don’t Have To Watch It

Nobody is forcing you to watch days of advertisements

Hello. I am here today with a lifehack: in the wake of another week of BIG SUMMER VIDEO GAME REVEALS BABY OHH YEAHHHHH, evenings full of ads hyped solely to get you to sit there and watch all the ads, have you ever considered...not watching them?

I get it, that's a tough thing to ask! This is a wider community that is so indebted to the concept of June being a huge showcase for what’s big and next that it has repeatedly eulogised a trade show. Apparently there must always be an E3, and even if that show itself failed (repeatedly, over decades), its core premise--selling upcoming video games to people watching and following at home via loud and expensive trailers--is clearly eternal. E3 is dead, long live Summer Game Fest.

Let me tell you what I did last weekend, though. For the first time since E3 2006, the last one before I started at Kotaku, I managed to not only completely avoid having to do any work as trailer after trailer hit the big screen, but I decided to skip the whole damn thing. Didn’t watch a second of it. Why not avoid some bullshit you hate, as a little treat.

That meant I didn't have to watch a show I didn't want to watch, I didn't have to write about a game I didn't want to write about. I didn't have to stay up through the night working, I didn't need to get mad at former colleagues for using screengrabs with watermarks on them (sorry, everyone!), and I definitely didn't have to publish over 40 blogs in one day (get in the bin, E3 2009).

I realise I have a particular distaste for events like this based mostly on my previous employment, and that's a pretty niche complaint, all things considered. This used to be the busiest, most stressful working week of the year for me, so of course I feel liberated. I don't want to frame this as me telling you as a reader and fan of video games that enjoying these shows is wrong, or that you wasted your time if you watched them. Some of you probably just watched a few of them, or even just caught up later that evening with a roundup post. But since (based on everything from our Discord to my social media feeds) so many of you clearly watched a lot more than that, even with E3 cold and in the ground, I still wanted to share some feelings about what it felt like giving the whole event a pass. 

For the entire 2024 showcase I just...slept in. Every day there was a major show I snoozed (I'm on Australian timezones!) right through it. I woke up later, didn't scour the internet looking for roundups, didn't even scan Twitter for highlights (though I did get one notification about the bean game, thank you, you know who you are, I appreciated it). While everyone else was digesting news, firing off takes and decrying winners and losers, having spent entire evenings sitting down watching advertisements played one after the other, I eventually made my way downstairs, made some coffee and had a wonderful long weekend.

I felt like a million bucks. Not a care in the world. These games are coming, whether I saw their trailers or not. I'll probably play a lot of them, and enjoy some of them, regardless of when or how I first found out about them; I didn't need to be there at the time to somehow validate them. I was also free of the need to absorb a ton of knowledge against my will (nobody is ever into all these announcements!), and can instead now just learn about all these games as time passes, the way nature--not Geoff Keighley or video game marketing--intended.

Like I said, I know this is a very particular complaint that’s probably got more to do with me spending too long at Kotaku rather than being a normal person who is just into video games. But still, I found the whole exercise very liberating regardless, so maybe next year you could try it out, see how it fits!

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