Ah, E3. The gamer's Mecca. The portal to digital delights. The effervescent well-spring of all that is right, true, new and exciting in the world of video games. Everyone wants to go there, but only a few ever achieve that sacred, fabled goal.
But don't worry about it! We at GamesRadar have all been to E3 (or shows very much like it) plenty of times, and we can tell you categorically that you don't actually need to be there to enjoy the same experience. In fact the Radar UK team isn't going this year, and we're really not bitter at all! Why? Because all of the key E3 elements can be easily simulated at home with the right knowledge and a few hastily-contrived situations. Whether you want to know how it feels to be a games journo at the LA Convention Centre or just want to feel the atmosphere and all-round sensory experience of the exhibition floor, we have a simulation for each and every facet of the show. So click on, take a deep breath, and we'll get started.
1. Prepare by not showering for a week beforehand. Immediately before your simulated E3, spread your musk over everything in your house by rolling around a lot. Make sure it really gets into the curtains.
2. For the authentic E3 behind-closed-doors preview atmosphere, spend as much time possible standing in a small wardrobe with your heating turned right up.
Above: Congratulations! You've had a game demo!
3. Stop eating or sleeping for at least four days Regulate your body-clock with coffee and booze instead.
4. Invite a bunch of friends over to play games, but make sure you only play one at a time, for five minutes at a time, maximum. All waiting friends must queue up uncomfortably close behind you, with the nearest one making quite literally breathing down your neck. Every player must start the game from the beginning each time they play.
5. Make sure that you and your friends unironically wear all your gaming merchandise throughout the week, even when hitting up a trendy club or bar. At any other place and time a crowd of people wearing Bubsy the Bobcat t-shirts and Gex hats might be embarrassing, but at E3 it makes you awesome. Never forget that.
6. Whenever you want to have a conversation, turn up your stereo until all you can make out is static and bass. Stand an inch away from a friend and scream at each other until you’re coughing up blood.
7. For every good game you play, play two crap licensed ones. Have a friend interrupt you every ten seconds to tell you in a desperate tone how innovative it is, and how not like a crap licensed game at all. Be polite and pretend to agree.
8. Go to a strip club and try to have normal, casual, but informed conversations about games and light business matters with the strippers. Try not to look at their boobs.
9. Switch your home WiFi off. Every hour on the hour, try to e-mail someone for half an hour. Keep the WiFi switched off.
10. Every third hour, let your laptop battery run down to 10%, then try to write and send a 3000-word e-mail before it dies. With the WiFi still switched off.
11. Walk along a busy high street against the flow of pedestrians and stop to talk to every person in the street who tries to sell you something or tries to make you sign up for something. Be polite.
12. Any time you suspect you might be having fun during your simulated E3, stop and upload 200 photos to Facebook. You may intermittently switch your WiFi on and off for this, but it must remain more off than on.
13. Regardless of the quality of a game and your personal feelings towards it, always be prepared to throw in a contrary opinion to prove how unique, puristic and ultimately THE BEST your gaming tastes are. If you instruct everyone to do this it will make being contrary easier, as long as you don't all run out of ways to be different to everyone else.