By John Walker on June 4th, 2009 at 11:30 am.
I’m by far not the first to make this point, but the most extraordinary thing about being at E3 is you’ve absolutely no idea what’s going on at E3. If you want to know every announcement, every new game, every surprise revelation, then stay at home and refresh your favourite rolling news site. The last place you want to be is in the convention. The last place my feet want to be is in the convention. Once more I bring you my wholly unhelpful observations on E3. (Oh, and people demanded pictures, so included are two of the best you’ll ever see).
Standing inside it, you can only see what you’re next to. Sitting outside of it in your giant gaming throne, you receive every hand-filtered snippet for your perusal. “But what about you just using the internet while you’re there, idiotface?” I hear you so rudely remark. Oh dear, let me tell you about the internet.
Every hotel in all of LA is currently swollen with games hacks. Even this ant-infested hovel. (Coming in from writing last night’s posts I found that my sink had been taken over by a colony of teeny tiny baby ants, in their kerjillions, all trying to eat my leftover coleslaw. After a quite horrendous drowning-based genocide, I was able to go to bed only imagining about four hundred itches from the ghost ants crawling all over me). Absolutely everyone I’ve spoken to reports they’ve got all but no internet access in their hotel room, and I can only assume it’s due to the sheer volume of people in each building trying to use it.
Tonight I’m sat inside, as HOO-FLIPPING-RAY, it was cloudy and raining today. Oh, blessed lack of scorching sun, how I adored it. But I managed to find a spot on my desk where my netbook can get up to, wait for it, 5k/s downloads! Seriously, if I move the computer one inch to the left or right, it drops out. The Borderlands and Mafia II posts may not look like great feats of human endurance, but I can assure you they were.
And the internet at the show isn’t much better. If you go into the NO GREENIES media lounges, there’s occasional access to some complimentary wifi, but step outside (and therefore toward anything that’s actually happening at the show) and you’re back in a wilderness of passworded WPA logins, mocking you with their five green bars. The Los Angeles Convention Centre is without doubt the point on the planet most cut off from the gaming convention it contains.
That’s not to say the specifics aren’t great. Wow, today was good for games. I’ve a big bag full of previews to post over the next couple of weeks. PC games are going to be awesome over the next year. It’s good to know.
But wow, it’s noisy. I have a theory that everywhere needs school dinnerladies. You’ll remember in the school lunch hall that eventually the noise levels would get so high that a teacher or dinnerlady would clap their hands sharply and shout, “THAT’S QUITE ENOUGH NOW. EVERYONE QUIETEN DOWN!” It’s because as one group gets louder, the group next to them has to as well to compensate, until eventually everyone in the room is booming to be heard. I want dinnerladies in pubs, restaurants, and most of all in E3. Someone to go and tell Konami or whoever that their bass doesn’t need to be half that loud to be heard, and then perhaps the bowels of people in the neighbouring booth wouldn’t be quite as prolapsed.
It’s important for me to tell the internet that the ball of my right foot is now more blister than skin, and that I’m generally very sore. And so is everyone I encountered in the later parts of today. Breezy PR people were beginning to lag by the end of Wednesday, weighed down by the knowledge of another full day ahead of them. It’s quite remarkably tiring for everyone involved. Which meant when I found out one major publisher only had ONE game on their stands that was on PC (and that was cross platform), rather than declare indignation, I cried, “HOORAY! I’ve got a 45 minute break!” I used it to steal more of Valve’s cold drinks and hug PC Gamer’s Tim Edwards. It was time well spent.
One more day to go. I can do it! Go me! GO TEAM ME!