By John Walker on June 6th, 2011 at 5:14 pm.
I’m in America. Have you heard of America? It’s a big country in the Atlantic where the locals ride electronic horses in streets lined with sidewalks. And this week America has turned over all its resources to running the fourth annual E3 County Fair. All the residents are mucking in, helping set up a booth, hand out a leaflet, or wallpaper the side of a skyscraper with an advert for Tekken 2. It’s all go here.
Monday 5th June, 9am:
The show doesn’t start for proper until Tuesday at 12pm PST. But stuff really gets going today, with various conferences from the console owners and a few of the larger publishers. At 12.30pm today (that’s 8pm in RPS Central Time) EA’s conference begins, and I’ll be in there, telling you what’s happening via the complexity of a liveblog. If it works. And let’s face it, it probably won’t. But I’m going to try just so hard. Also, it’s hard to forget to turn up to, since EA just sent an email containing the same paragraph reminder, and I am not making this up, repeated 131 times. I think they’re quite keen that we’re there.
While you may have seen that some spent Sunday being flown around in helicopters to make them like a game, I spent the day in telecom stores having my time wasted at such a rate that the day lasted over 56 hours. One of the things you need if you run a website is internet access. But if you’re from the Old Country the locals really don’t want you getting at it. It’s theirs, and leave off. Which is all the more understandable when you realise that America is covered in a thick blanket of 4G – mobile internet speeds the likes of which you can only dream of. In the UK 3G is a rare treat saved for special occasions, like visiting dignitaries who wish to check on the popularity of their sex tapes. In American 3G is some quaint thing the cowboys used to use. “Aw, three geeeeee,” they said. But it’s theirs, and it’s precious, and they don’t want invading forces getting their hands on it.
The problem is, no one’s told the telecommunication companies. I spent a grand total of two hours standing in a Sprint and a Verizon store, being confidently told they could absolutely sell me a 4G mifi hotspot to allow this week to be possible. They can’t. If you work in a Verizon or Sprint store, please understand that you can’t. Yes, I know, you think you can. But you can’t. What you will do if you’re Sprint is have never heard of selling one without a contract and then make you wait while they try to fix an error when they typed in your date of birth and find out they can’t sell you one without a social security number anyway. I did have the excellent entertainment of someone on the phone trying to run a credit check on me based on my hotel details. There were a LOT of former residents at my address.
Verizon guy laughed when I told him about Sprint and says he does it all the time, before confidently running the mifi through the register, taking $260 of RPS’s hard-earned money, and then discovered that he couldn’t sell me a sim without a social security number. And then discovered that he couldn’t give me a refund, because… because of the mumble mumble something thing. A colleague scolded him in whispers for how he’d put it through the till incorrectly, before I was informed that their refund network was down. Huh? But I can get the money back if I “send you assistant back tomorrow.” My assistant! RPS is doing better, but not quite that well. No amount of explaining that I don’t have time to come back worked, and I’m still waiting for a call to confirm that the sale was voided. Hey, Verizon – good work!
In the end friend of RPS, Ellen, like some sort of superhero saved the day at the very last second by getting a Virgin Mifi from Best Buy, which requires no complex contract avoidance or ridiculous fees. It’s but 3G, but that’s what we Brits are allowed, and so RPS says: get your internet dongle solutions from Virgin and Best Buy. They’re the best buy. And virgins.
Now if the bloody thing doesn’t work this week I will scream so loudly that every window in the Americas shatters, as I transform into a 300ft monster that destroys every city. It’s the only reasonable response at this point. Also, wedding clothes: I bought one shirt. Utter failure. This September I’m getting married in a shirt. and nothing else.
What, Gamespot are running a live stream of the entire E3 with correspondents and exclusives, interviews and free gold for every viewer? Well I’m writing to tell you that my feet hurt and there’s a spot on the inside of my leg that is making walking already awful. THAT IS WHY YOUR READ RPS.
Tune in at 12pm (8pm RCT) for what should be the beginnings of my EA liveblog, or at least an apology from Jim and the sound of downtown LA being smashed to bits by a monster wearing a Phillies cap.