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E3 09 Diary: Day One

Hello! I'm at E3. I've been doing this job for over a decade, and I've never been before this year, so I feel at once all wizened and experienced, and young and naive. I'm settling for a compromise of old and tired. Since I'm here, and trying to find moments in which to write up bits and pieces (see today's Brink and The Old Republic pieces), I figured I'd also write a bit about the whole experience. Um, I should make this pretty clear: this won't be productive.

I spent the weekend in Seattle, my newshound nose bringing you all the Left 4 Dead 2 news that was so warmly received. It really thrilled me, swelled my heart, the way our super-almost-world-exclusive (it would have been, if pesky IGN hadn't seen it too) was met with such a response of kind-hearted interest and enthusiasm. A treat.

Then Monday I arrived in LA, all set to go to the EA opening presentation, to find out all their exciting revelations. Except my plane was late, and it turns out LAX is flipping miles from city, and there was a WAR! A war between aliens and robots that was really quite a bother, traffic backed up for miles. So I sat in my hotel in my pants, and then went out for Korean BBQ with a friend who lives in town. It's this dedication that you read RPS for.

But Tuesday morning meant proper work. By morning I mean lunchtime. For some reason this year's E3 didn't start until 12pm on Tuesday, rather confusing everyone involved. This was made even more confusing by the rather officious decision to keep all non-exhibitors out of the hall before the 12pm opening, making reaching a 12 o'clock appointment something of a struggle. I have a media badge, damn it! MEDIA!

The badge thing is pretty interesting. I don't know if you know about Jane Elliott's blue eyes/brown eyes experiment, but the badges at E3 seems a pretty effective way of recreating it. The exhibitors have orange stripes on their badges, while media have black. This is accompanied by the splendid words "All Access", which lets me hold my badge out from the strap around my neck and march past disappointed security guards with my nose high in the air. It means I can go up escalators out of bounds to the green stripe people. Ew, green stripers are just awful. Thousands of them, cluttering up the place with their non-all-access permissions, acting as if they deserve to be at the same games show as my people. I know they're a simple, lesser sort, and I should give them my sympathy, but instead I barge my way past them on my way into the media ONLY hospitality area to drink my complimentary iced tea.

My first impression of the event was that it was simply too enormous. But as it turns out, it's not that bad. The big companies have their ludicrously huge stages and booths in the middle, and then all the cuddly smaller developers area scattered around the outside. My first visit of the day was the splendid High Rez Studios to see Global Agenda, which I'll tell you all about in the next couple of days. I liked that this was my first call, away from the insane noise of EA and Sega and the like, in a nice, gentle area. Of course, I didn't have to play with the dreadful green stripers, but instead was welcomed through a black door into a tiny pretend room.

Then it was pretty non-stop all day, rushing from one appointment to the next, all day long, with only enough time to steal two grapes and a Sprite from Valve's secret NO GREENS room.

Sadly the glamour of my delusional importance does not stretch outside of the Convention Center, and as I sit here on a freezing patio area thing, six metres away from my hotel room so I can at least get a whiff of internet access, my poor little legs are getting too cold. Which is better than too hot, which I was for the majority of the day. Apparently the weather is unseasonably mild for the time of year, according to the nine hundred and sixty weather bulletins on NBC this morning. If it had been one degree hotter I would have stood in the middle of the street screaming until I died.

What will Wednesday bring?!?!

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