So, ummmm, yes, it is very difficult to get into E3. It's also a little difficult to get into the Penny Arcade Expo in Seattle. Sh** gets bought up pretty fast and then there are no more passes, so what's a gamer left to do? QuakeCon is a little too exclusively Bethesda/iD/PC for you?
I guess you could go to the GameStop EXPO, an extension of their annual employee-only gaming convention that opens the floor to all comers. EXPO runs August 29th, from 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM. That's it….
In that time, you'll be able to "see more than 200,000 square feet of this year's hottest video games from the industry's top publishers, such as Microsoft, Nintendo, Sony, Activision, EA and dozens more!" I honestly don't see how you can pack in even three of those publishers with only 5 hours time, but who knows. Maybe you're only interested in playing one unreleased game.
The EXPO takes place in San Antonio, Texas and General Admission runs $35. VIP Admission runs $100 and comes with a bunch of bull sh**, like "an exclusive GameStop bag to fill with swag!"
Now, I'll come down off my high horse and say that any opportunity a die-hard gamer has to see stuff before its released is going to be enticing, but I frankly feel like this is disrespectful to the most dedicated consumers out there. And honestly, that's not far from the typically GameStop attitude towards customers anyway, so it shouldn't be surprising.