What the hell happened to E3?

Dear ESA,

We've been down in SoCal for E3 since Tuesday, and now that the show is all closed up and the 3,000 industry pros and journalists invited to attend are heading home, we can only ask ourselves one thing: what the hell happened to E3? We knew full well coming into this thing that the mammoth, gonzo interactive entertainment spectacle of years past may have been lost to the ages, but the hollow husk of a show you guys replaced it with is drab, depressing, and generally disorganized. In short, we're totally bummed.

E3 used to be our favorite week of the year -- the trade show nerds dreamt of attending. You knew it was E3 season as GameStop and EB clerks the nation over began to claw tooth and nail for even the slightest chance at getting a pass to a show which has since been reduced to four rows of HDTVs in a janky hangar, and what amounts to a shuttle bus tour of Santa Monica's five-star hotels (where exhibiting companies set up shop). It was kind of like seeing a band 20 years past its prime -- it's somehow capable of making you wonder what you ever saw in them in the first place.

So you tell us, were the cost cutting measures that led to the show's meltdown worth it? Because as far as we're concerned, something is really wrong when G4TV has a vastly larger floor show presence than Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft combined. For an industry that's larger and more powerful than ever, we can't understand how last year's line to play the Wii managed to be larger than the entire 2007 show. No one at E3 feels like a rock star anymore. So we're spilling a 40 on the ground for Kentia Hall, $20m booths, throngs of costumed nerds, and gamers having the time of their lives while we all felt vindicated for loving video games all these years -- even if only for a moment.

Your friends,

P.S. -Just in case you've already forgotten, remember what last year's E3 looked like? Here, check it out:

And now compare it to this: