It’s over. We’re home. E3 2017 is done and dusted. 

Well, the L.A. part of it is anyway. Now, it’s boots back on the ground in Australia to let you all know about the best – and worst – bits of the show.

For my first E3, it was quite the hard-hitting experience, but I wouldn’t necessarily say it was hampered by the some 15,000 newcomers that bothered the other veterans. While my colleagues may have complained that the general public impeded their experience, there’s something to be gained in witnessing the biggest Mario fan in the world go hands-on with Super Mario Odyssey for the very first time, a few months ahead of release.

As far as E3s are concerned, after watching them from the safety of my own home, this one seemed a little quiet. Sure, Xbox have revealed their Xbox One X console (which I’m going to call the XOX and no-one is stopping me), and there were a few good games on show – Anthem, Sea of Thieves, umm…  A lot of them either don’t have dates or aren’t coming until next year. I just want Death Stranding already, is that too much to ask for?

One common denominator of the conference is hanging out at the various press appointments you have over the duration of the show, with the first showings in the morning always featuring a ‘How did you pull up last night?’ followed by a groan universally accepted as “I dunno mate,  whaddaya reckon?’ As one Ubisoft staffer quite realistically put it, if any of the internationals are ever looking for the Aussies, you’ll find us recovering at the bar.

So what have I learned from my first trip to E3? Well, apparently Xbox has its ‘best games line-up in history’ every year (you’d hope so, surely?), every dev’s got the best game at the show, and I definitely don’t want to hear the words ‘video games’ ever again. I am determined not to become cynical, though. If there’s one thing I look out for at conventions, it’s passion for product, and there’s undoubtedly no shortage of that at the Electronic Entertainment Expo.

At its heart, E3 is not only about the games, but the experience surrounding them. From GT Sport on PSVR, where it’s an entirely solo experience, to Sea of Thieves that has you relying sometimes on people you’ve never met to not wreck your ship, to everything in-between. It’s the forging of new friendships and rivalries, of taking in new games with like-minded people in the same room, at the same time, instead of watching them on a YouTube Gaming stream in your bedroom at 3 in the morning. It’s just as much about camaraderie as it is the titles themselves.

Am I dead tired? Yes. Did I spend the entire weekend regaining sleep? Absolutely. Will I go back again next year? Please let me. I’d do it all again for the burgers in a heartbeat. Thanks, E3 – you’ve been a blast.

You can check out our in-depth E3 coverage here. What was your game of the show?