Everything We Saw At Fortnite’s Exclusive E3 Party
Celebrities! Live music! Puppets!
It’s one of the biggest weeks for video games in the western world, and it wouldn’t be E3 without a truly over-the-top Fortnite party from Epic Games to kick things off. We’re talking the biggest, most exclusive party of E3 2019. And for some reason, they let us in.
This is what was there. I promise, it’s all true.
A Mostly Empty Car Park Roof Top, Filled With Rich Teenagers
The venue was the most LA of all time: the massive rooftop of the LA Live car park, strategically placed food and drink stands, as well as satellite theatres and a massive multi-level stage. Celebrities arrived and made their way to a roped off area, so they wouldn’t have to mingle with the plebs.
The fancy folks in attendance included Hasan Piker (The Young Turks), Scott Porter (Friday Night Lights, The Good Wife, and the current smell-o-vision run of The Last Five Years), and some buff people who were definitely probably NFL players. There were also streamers like Lachlan, Muselk, and possibly Ninja. You know, the kind of people who made more money playing video games online this year than I will make in my entire life.
At some point in the night, the arrival of some Soundcloud rappers was heralded by a cloud of weed smoke and excited muttering from the younger members of the audience.
The Video Game Themed Food And Drinks Of Your Teenage Dreams
All the food stands were straight out of Fortnite, and the food itself straight off the wishlist of their most popular age bracket: children.
There was a chicken nugget stand, tacos, pizza, movie candy, Shake Shack burgers, phallic frozen chocolate-dipped bananas, a variety of goth ice cream (black cones, black or dark purple soft serve, served with sprinkles, nuts or Oreos), pretzel bites, and popcorn that had either been popped with crunched up M&Ms or sprinkles, and was pure genius.
There were mixed drinks for days, and frozen blue juice — with or without vodka. All of it was free. I ate as much as I could and am almost entirely comprised of regret.
It was all pretty standard at this point — fancy people, kid’s party food. And then…there was the magic shows. There were two delightfully lame 10-minute magic shows hosted in small theatres, because of course there were. Tricks included setting a book on fire, making broken thread whole again, and some mediocre sleight of hand involving blue discs.
Okay WTF Is This Puppet Show Doing Here And Why
Tomato Head and Beef Boss are mortal enemies, forced to share a market stall due to an admin error. Tomato Head just wanted to sell pizzas, while Beef Boss had burgers to push (which, incidentally, brings up some questions of morality and cannibalism). But it was Beef Boss’s faux pas of decapitating Tomato Head’s family heirloom — a whacky waving, arm flailing, inflatable tube man — that set them off on a fight to the death.
These two figures were each controlled by three people in ski masks and black skivvies, presumably because they were interrupted on their way to a bank robbery. The show was narrated by a woman who clearly did a lot of improv, and kept pausing the show to ask if we wanted to squad-up to play Fortnite with her, before she was brutally hit over the head with a bat by Tomato Head.
It was truly Shakespearean.
The Live Music Acts Were Mostly…Look, They Were A Lot
DJ Mike — dressed like an accountant — played a set that was an eclectic mix of Metallica, the Jurassic Park theme, and aggressive dubstep.
Oliver Tree was what you’d get if Sharon from Kath & Kim was a rapper/professional scooter rider, wearing everything people regret owning in the 90s. He had the kind of talent that makes you wonder how his parents made all their money. His singing style was akin to that of a 14-year-old belligerently singing along to the radio at a sleepover. He is about to turn 26.
The crowd was notably excited for Phantagram, a truly excellent electronic rock band with an awesome vocalist. They chose to perform a DJ set of songs they were influenced by. I learned that sometimes, great music can be inspired by less great songs.
The headline act, The Free Nationals and multi-instrumentalist Anderson Paak blew everyone’s mind and had people putting their hands in the air like they really, really cared. Paak is an insane drummer, who manages to maintain a beautiful singing voice and melodic flow of rap while casually knocking out some complicated beats and fills on the drums, before getting up and dancing around the stage with a tonne of energy.
The band also had a second drummer, a pretty epic hype man, and a trumpet player. All playing to a relatively intimate crowd in a massive car park.
I Danced With A Bush
There were tonnes of people in costume as Fortnite characters, doing the beloved dances. I flossed with a chicken and boogied with a bush. It may be Pride Month, but that’s not a euphemism, I swear.
Ever Watched Fireworks Go Off In A Car Park? Legally?
Throughout all the performances there were the occasional bursts of pyrotechnics, just to remind us we were alive and put gunpowder in our drinks. But the final fireworks show was on par with that of a regional New Year’s Eve event.
The sky was lit up in greens, reds, and yellows, while the smoke machines below went ape, and the lighting designer tried to put the final nail in the coffin of epileptics with some intense strobe lighting.
This capped off what can only be described as a massive flex of wealth and influence. It’s a dream fulfilled: hosting a massive party with friends and strangers from around the world, and putting on a really weird puppet show.
Correction: A previous version of this article referred to the band Phantagram as “Phantogasm”. We blame the blue slurpees.
Alice Clarke is a freelance journalist, game reviewer, producer, presenter, script writer, TV lover, PAX Aus Diversity Lounge co-curator, & frozen pea fan. She tweets at @alicedkc