I learned about Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception: PLAY IT FIRST IN 3D events going on in SF, LA, NY, DC, and Dallas in promotional email from Sony. The event was three nights in each venue with a $25 admission, which gave you access to new and old trailers in 2D and 3D on the big screen, a multiplayer tournament, raffles, and meeting some of the Naughty Dogs.
I invited my friend and we each ante'd up to $60 to pre-order Uncharted 3 and have it delivered a little earlier than the release date!
I figured I was going to sink roughly that cost into any retailer's pre-order. Their pre-order bonuses are early acess to multiplayer boosters, kickbacks, or skins, but none are unique to the retailer (unlike Subway). The pre-order bonuses are things that I already have during the Subway multiplayer early access or will have soon after the game launch. So I value not having U3's story spoiled moreso than the bonuses and I have cancelled my pre-order elsewhere. :~)
While Nick Bristow of Thiftynerd.com concluded AMC’s Uncharted 3 Event Was A Disappointment, I would not agree, but I do appreciate how well he captured the event in photos. It is too bad that they didn't have 3D at his location or perhaps none of the Dogs, I would venture that was a blunder on Sony's part.
Everyone who entered the tournament was sequentially placed on a different team in order to split up people who had arrived together, making it random team assignment and fair for all. The multiplayer tournament was set up on ten two sided kiosks (20 players = 4 * 5 person teams), half of kiosks were 3D TV's with glasses. Custom deathmatch variants games of 5 minutes or 30 Kills were run on the LAN on a different map each round. We got to see the Museum for Uncharted 3 live! People were given ten seconds to pick up their controller and change their load out before the match started. Of course you can change loadouts on the fly during the match, but some people were stuck with inverted controls or sensitivities from the previous player, which was unexpected and not changable on the fly.
I won a signed poster by Naughty Dog employees of the Penny Arcade version of the U3 cover when I answered a trivia contest question. I didn't progress more than one round in the multiplayer tournament, but I did play it in 3D and I was okay with the 3D experience.
I got to talk to Lance, David, and Sam from Naughty Dog and got their signatures on my The Art of Uncharted 2 book. They were nice! Some of the things we learned were that most of the Dogs are on vacation or on press junket promotional tour right now, the remainder are working on the Uncharted 3 Multiplayer DLC.
The five player team who won the tournament will be mailed Uncharted 3 Collector's Editions and so did the person who had travelled the furthest from SF.
Other trivia and raffle prizes included: U3 PS3 cover, U3 Dualshock 3 (desert camo), and some non Uncharted Sony schwag.
We all got a simple black U3 giveway bag containing a trial month of PSN+, a Subway card for $5, the leather bound Drake's journal and wrist wrap that is part of a level two prize in the Subway Taste for Adventure contest. My friend got an unlock code for some piece of Drake's skin.
The event went from 6 to 11pm, I would say about 300 people were there. Considering sunk costs for the game I can't wait for, this was a great event!