Someone was going to do this, and it might as well be us. Here are some base rules for a drinking game for the Electronic Entertainment Expo 2016. You can expand on these, modify them, and add your own; we at VideoGamer would also like to stress that you don't have to drink alcohol to play this (in fact almost 50% of the office is voluntarily teetotal, can you even believe it?) and can even replace the drink with food, although this is probably not healthy either.
Drink whenever you get excited at a game being shown
This will probably happen quite a lot, there's some good stuff being shown and rumoured this year. It's cool to like video games!
Sub-rules: Drink an amount roughly correspondent to your level of excitement.
Take a shot whenever something goes wrong live on stage
Live performances are pretty entertaining, but they're more entertaining when they screw up. I'm sure everyone remembers the Uncharted 4 demo crashing in spectacular fashion and needing a total reboot (although, to their credit, Naughty Dog worked the event into an achievement in the final game), but it's not the first time technical issues have reared their head. Miyamoto himself once struggled manfully with a broken Wiimote whilst trying to show off Skyward Sword, and making it look shit in the process. There have been sound issues, video issues: you name it and it's probably fucked up at E3 precisely when everyone was praying it wouldn't.
Sub-rules: You can set the limits for this yourself (for example, if someone clearly flubs their lines or is out of sync with musical cues, you could absolutely choose to count this, but may wish to modify the rule from taking a shot to just taking a drink). If something goes technically wrong, is fixed, and then breaks again almost immediately, take another shot.
You're a developer and this is basically the one day a year you're allowed to stop work and leave the office to be wheeled out before the public; don't try and make it funny, just pour that game footage into my eyeholes so I can get hype about it, and God help you if we find out it's pre–rendered.
Sub-rules: Continue drinking for however long the pause is between the speaker waiting for a laugh and the speaker releasing it isn't going to happen. If the joke was a reference to a meme then finish your drink.
Take a shot if Sony bring out a beloved Japanese developer who recently founded their own studio
You all know who I'm talking about; don't pretend anyone would be surprised at this.
Sub-rules: Have another drink if someone makes a thinly veiled dig at Konami.
Drink whenever you catch yourself thinking that Phil Spencer is kinda dreamy
That luscious, flowing hair, that cheeky smile like he's probably still in touch with his old fraternity house, the fact that he's transitioning from suit jackets over t–shirts to zip up fleeces because he's maturing and growing into himself, the way the announcer says 'Phil' – pushing the 'f' sound and really lingering on the 'L'... You can admit it. We won't tell anyone.
Sub-rules: Don't tell any drinking partners that's why you're drinking; call out any drinking partners if you suspect this is their reason.
Take a shot every time a tangentially related celebrity is brought on stage
Who can forget such classics as Aisha Tyler presenting Ubisoft's conferences, standing roughly a foot taller than anyone else that came out to join her, like a glorious amazon? Or when she introduced Trey Parker and Matt Stone to hawk South Park: The Fractured But Whole, who were then very obviously cut short when they showed no indication that they'd stop swearing on what was technically a live broadcast? (actually that one was pretty great). The celebrity cameo is a growing, if bizarre, staple of E3, even though nobody is quite sure why games companies still think it's a good strategy. Maybe they'll all keep having a go at it until they get a good one, like with video game movies.
Sub-rules: Industry luminaries and well known devs don't count; take a shot only the first time the celebrity is introduced (i.e. if they're hosting you don't have to take a shot every time they come back on stage).
Drink every time an aforementioned celebrity looks visibly awkward, hungover, or generally like they're reconsidering the life choices that brought them to that point
Insincere celebrity endorsements are often upsettingly ridiculous when they happen outside E3 season, but somehow during the conferences it's sort of acceptable, at least for the few moments that it's actually happening. Like staring at the mushroom cloud of an atom bomb and realising there's nothing you can do to stop what's about to happen from happening. It's often easy to forget that the celebrities themselves are having the same experience but are, in effect, at the centre of the blast radius, and you can often see this in their very eyes. When Joel McHale had a go at hosting he almost immediately looked like he wished he could disappear up his own arse rather than continue the ordeal for another second.
Microsoft in particular has provided some rich pickings in recent years via Harmonix, with their musical showcases for Dance Central – Usher saying "Dance is central to who I am as an entertainer," in a talking head video, before throwing live to himself on stage and telling the entire press conference he wanted to see them up on their feet; Jason Derulo clearly not in any shape to perform the high notes in Want to Want Me. This year, however, Bethesda might sneak up from the outside, what with their inexplicable booking of Blink-182, so there's everything to play for: 'We're really excited for Dishonored 2 because, y'know, you can Blink in it... This song's called Miss You, I hope you like it.'
Sub-rules: The indicators for this are subjective, so you have to agree with at least one person you're playing the game with (unless you're playing by yourself. Surefire moments are whenever the celebrity is forced to interact with peripherals, be enthusiastic about a new IP that is clearly dogshit-awful, or claim that they totally play this game all the time at home.
Virtual Reality is coming! No, wait, it's already here!
Sub-rules: This will probably be heavily weighted on the Sony conference. That's not really a rule, more a warning.
Drink whenever the conference gets so cringey in general that you wish you weren't watching it
E3 is the time that companies go hard or go home: they're trying to get you excited about all the stuff they're peddling over the next couple of years. Sometimes they just do it so earnestly, but also in a way that's was also an attempt to calculate what the audience would respond well to, that the amount of secondhand embarassment you get is enough to make you want to nuke LA from orbit. A favourite is when Xbox tried to show off Kinect by hiring some terrified child actors and giving them a script full of sub–CITV patter that was clearly written by a sociopathic executive who had never met a child in real life.
Sub-rules: This can be taken on an individual, case-by-case basis, but enforce this amongst your group. If anyone looks like they want to leave but isn't drinking then point it out.
Drink whenever Nintendo does something too adorable
Sub-rules: Decide your own metric of cuteness, but you'll probably be drinking a lot.
Drink whenever an indie game is shown
Sometimes the indie games at E3 are the most interesting ones. There are a few floating around that could make an appearance, and since the big boys caught on to people actually liking indie games they usually have a whole little showcase or montage video of them. There's stuff like Golem, Night in the Woods, and Wild (or WiLD, which, fuck off, nobody bothers to write that) all kicking about that could make an appearance – even, possibly, No Man's Sky, which is technically still an indie game.
This part of the conference is a chance to relax in the knowledge that you're not about to be bombarded by terrifyingly loud sound effects (war, explosions, car tyres), but, more likely, the calm, non–specifically European accent of the lovely developer.
Sub-rules: Drink for every individual game you can identify; drink once more for each of the following: 2D, pixelart, isometric, roguelike.
Down your drink if Microsoft storms the Sony conference with a giant mechanised scorpion
This probably won't happen but it's been cited in an article that was later picked up as a reputable news source by another site, so who knows.