Microsoft is always first. Then EA, then Ubisoft, then Sony. Like [[clockwork|Press Conference]]. Nintendo used to do it too, but now they Nintendon't.
"You don't know? Man, you're really horrible at being from the future. You're, what, at E3 right now?"\n\n"yeah, how'd you know" \n\n"Me too, duh. You replied to my E3 tweets."\n\n"oh, right"\n\n"OK, so like, this is exciting. I'm excited! I don't love *all* of these games and there are too many sequels, but there's some great stuff. BioShock Infinite looks insane!"\n\n"ends up being just another shooter, only with a weirdly racist plot that doesn't make a lot of sense. it is fun in places, though"\n\n"Oh. Well that's a letdown. Skyrim, though! We love Bethesda RPGs. This looks killer."\n\n"yeah, it turns out pretty great overall"\n\n"And you're around all these excellent people. So many opportunities for great conversations and connections. This place isn't perfect, but it is kinda magical, in its own way. Maybe not like when we read about it in EGM and thought it was Disneyland mixed with an Iron Maiden show, but you know."\n\n"i guess, yeah"\n\n"You still don't sound sold. Why not?"\n\n[[other conventions are better]]\n\n[[i'm just tired of the same thing all the time, i guess]]\n\n[[maybe being jaded is easier than getting my hopes up|it's just...]]\n\n[[send dickpic]]
THE Peter Dinklage is giving a game a halfhearted endorsement on stage. Even on autopilot, his dry wit is lifting your mood a little. It's all going rather well, but then one of the presenters makes an ill-advised rape joke. \n\nEvery E3 has at least one. You like to think that the gaming industry is slowly but surely getting better about this stuff. There are mistakes and setbacks - tons of them - but there's progress too.\n\nE3 makes it really hard to feel that way sometimes, though. [[Things so rarely ever change here.|Press Conference]]
"i wonder what heinous atrocities this ubi protagonist will fight by committing even worse atrocities"\n\nFive favorites, seven retweets.\n\nThe show [[goes on|Press Conference]].\n<<set $tweets = $tweets + 1>>\n
A man is on stage. He says things about numbers and sales, then a trailer plays on a massive screen. It's for a game you're mildly excited about, but not really. It has a man and he's shooting or stabbing something, then both at the same time with his gunsword swordgun that is also a sports car. \n\nYou feel like this has all happened before, but you can't put your finger on why. \n\nThe rest is a blur. More theaters, more men, more stages, more trailers, more numbers. More theaters, more men, more stages, more trailers, more numbers. More theaters, more men, more stages, more trailers, more numbers. More theaters, more men, more stages, more trailers, more numbers. \n\nA lot of people [[clap|Cheering in the pressbox]]. You always wonder who claps at these things.\n\nSome indie games happen, but you already played them months ago.\n\nYou realize you haven't eaten all day.\n\nYou're tempted to [[zone out]], but you should probably [[pay attention]]. <<if $tweets lt 1>>Or at least [[tweet something snarky]].<<endif>> \n\n<<if $tweets eq 1>>Well, I mean, you could always [[tweet another snarky thing]].<<endif>>\n\n<<if $tweets eq 2>>[[Tweeting solves all problems]].<<endif>>
"Heh, thanks. I know I've still got a long way to go, though. Say, what's the future like?" \n\n[[It's OK.]]\n\n[[It's really amazing!]]\n\n[[It's pretty good, except when it's really, really not.]] \n\n[[Try to explain the concept of Bitcoin.]]
"e3 is kind of a dinosaur these days. one developer we end up respecting a lot called it, 'the cocaine-and-strip-clubs side of the industry I hope we will live to see fired into the sun one day.' i don't entirely agree with him, but i don't entirely disagree, you know?"\n\n"Wow. Harsh. I kinda understand, but there's still worthwhile games here. Tons of wonderful, inspirational people, too. I mean, this is no GDC but don't you remember? You met one of your best friends in the world at an E3. This convention has changed your life. Multiple times."\n\n"[[yeah, i guess so|i don't know 2]]" \n
"I mean, you're worried and you still want to do the right thing. So just make sure to stay in control. Don't be cynical for cynicism's sake." \n\n"what if i'm too tired? what if i'm just burning out on games in general?"\n\n"Then dabble in other things. Being excited about one thing breathes new life into others."\n\n"i'm too busy with work"\n\n"Then change that."\n\n"but..."\n\n"[[Really, another 'but'|Jeez, I sure turn out to be a disappointment, huh?]]?"
"Good. Now stop staring at your phone and look up at the stage."\n\n"that... whoa, that's amazing. incredible"\n\n"Don't tell me what it is. I want to see it for myself when I get there."
"i guess google glass is one of our more traditionally future-y cyberthings"\n\n"Is it, like, unbreakable glass?"\n\n"oh no, no. it's kinda like a cell phone, only you wear it on your face and it can take really invasive pictures if you wink at it"\n\n"..."\n\n"you can search things, use facebook, and it looks like a scouter from dragon ball z!" \n\n"Huh, I kinda want one."\n\n"you think that now"\n\n"For real, though, how do you feel about the future? Or rather, your present, I guess."\n\n"[[errrrrrrrrr|i don't know]]"
"e3 hardly ever changes. the surprises are barely even surprises anymore these days. you can see one shooter or a different shooter. one formulaic open world game or a different one. the choices barely even feel like choices"\n\n"You keep mentioning how great indies are. Don't they come to E3?"\n\n"sorta, but they only get small spaces and side conferences - if even that. it's another reason the whole show is kinda upsetting"\n\n"It's not like every show can give full space to everyone, though. That's just the reality of things sometimes, I think."\n\n"[[yeah, i guess so|i don't know 2]]" \n\n\n
"i mean, there are ups and downs. we move to san francisco and get really depressed because we can't make any friends, but then we fall in love with it and also get a gig at RPS. things are really amazing for a while, as are videogames even though they're kinda fucked in terms of representing women or minorities or anyone really"\n\n"Wait, we care about that?"\n\n"yeah, i guess i forgot you sort of didn't"\n\n"I mean, I don't not care."\n\n"i know, i know. you end up caring a lot, though. that's a very good thing, but it also makes games kinda depressing sometimes. you want them to be better, but they rarely are. and e3 ends up sort of epitomizing that"\n\n"Oh."\n\n"yeah"\n\n"So it's draining, is what you're saying. And it takes a toll in the long run. How do we stop it?"\n\n"[[i don't know]]"\n\n
"more like dragon age exposition am I right?" \n\nSix favorites, four retweets.\n\nThe show [[goes on|Press Conference]].\n<<set $tweets = $tweets + 1>>
"well we have this thing called bitcoin"\n\n"What? How does that work?"\n\n"kinda like other currencies, only it's dubiously backed and you can mine for it"\n\n"What?"\n\n"yeah basically"\n\n"..."\n\n"..."\n\n"oh there's also [[google glass]]"
"it's ok I guess. we move to san francisco and really love it at first, but things level out over time. they always do. we got bored really easily. it's kinda of bad for, like, projects and relationships and stuff. maybe our ability to appreciate games, too"\n\n"I guess I've started to notice that. But the world's a gigantic place. I don't think I'll ever run out of things to do."\n\n"oh, you don't. you get so busy that you don't know what to do with yourself. on the upside, it's for RPS"\n\n"WHAT"\n\n"yeah, you live that whole dream"\n\n"So you're saying we get literally everything we wanted, but like... we get too much of it?"\n\n"i guess that's one way of putting it"\n\n"And then we stop liking it as much?" \n\n"yeah, basically"\n\n"Well that sucks. How can we stop it?"\n\n"[[i don't know]]"
"Come on, what's up? You know you can tell me anything. I'm you, so I've always got your back unless you're about to do something that will get us killed or cause a time paradox that gets me killed."\n\n"[[other conventions are better]]"\n\n"[[i'm just tired of the same thing all the time, i guess]]"\n\n"[[maybe being jaded is easier than getting my hopes up|it's just...]]"\n\n[[send dickpic]]
"for real, what if that's what i'm doing? is this responsible? or have i - at least in places, mainly regarding E3 or triple-A stuff - unknowingly hurt more than i've helped?"\n\n[[It sounds like you're already on the right track]].\n\n[[Do something about it, then.]]\n\n[[Jeez, I sure turn out to be a disappointment, huh?]]
"like, you/I end up becoming pretty good friends with this one person who wants to be in the gaming industry, and she goes to events and tweets all these exclamations of unbridled adoration. she practically worships series like assassin's creed"\n\n"Define 'worships.'"\n\n"just, she tweets things that sound like something a marketing person would say to promote a game. and my initial inclination is to go, 'ewwwwwww, gross' - not to appreciate what probably is very real passion. that frightens me"\n\n"Why?"\n\n"i've 'seen behind the curtain,' but that doesn't mean everybody has. at what point am i doing my job of spreading the truth behind games as both a cultural force and an art form versus just taking people's joy away?"\n\n"I mean, I think that's for you to figure out. You know, case-by-case"\n\n"yeah, but if my default mindset is so angry and fucked... i don't know"\n\n"You're not entirely wrong, though. E3 is kinda shit in places. It's worth pointing out - more worth it than covering games the exact same way as everybody else anyway"\n\n"yeah, you finally become sort of ok at that in a couple years"\n\n"Oh, neat."\n\n"but yeah, i guess that's why it's so hard for me to be hopeful. on top of that, part of the reason i got into the gaming industry is because i grew up thinking e3 was magic. what if i'm [[taking that away from people|flashback]]?"
"it's the best! we live in san francisco and indie games make the industry super interesting again and we travel all the time and there's this weird cult of personality that's formed around our hair and Chris Avellone is just, like, our friend and journalism begins to die a slow death but that only challenges us to work harder even though we're terrified that everything we care about could slip out from under us at any second like ragged rug over a spike pit"\n\n"Then why do you seem so jaded?"\n\n"oh, [[uhhhhhhhh|i don't know]]"
Flaaaaaaaaaaashbaaaaaaack whooooooooooooooooorrrrrrrp:\n\nThe scene: a date at a ramen shop with a really cool girl you just met. You get on to talking about games, and she begins exclaming her adoration for BioShock Infinite. \n\nIt's almost reflexive, the way you list off the game's faults at this point. You haven't even reached the really egregious stuff - the racist undertones, etc - when she replies:\n\n"Well jeez, I feel kinda bad for having liked it now." \n\nYou [[don't feel good about that|taking that away from people]].
"So I lose all faith in myself and maybe let people down in my coverage of E3 as a result of it? That's what I have to look forward to? Great."\n\n"..."\n\n"I don't want to become you if this is what you are."\n\n"i'm really not, i promise. this is just a bad time"\n\n"Then turn it around. Remember a really great game you played, or shit, whip out your ultra-high-powered future laptop--"\n\n"microsoft surface pro *studio audience laughs*"\n\n"Huh? ...Whatever. Play something cool on it. Revel in it, be inspired by it, lose yourself in it. Never lose sight of why you do this job. You love games. You love journalism. Do them right." \n\n"...yeah. yeah ok."\n\n"[[Good|Put down your phone.]]."
There's rarely anything you deem worth clapping for, and you're press. A "professional," some seem to believe. Clapping like a delighted child is kind of a strange thing for someone in your line of work to do. \n\nIt used to irk you a lot, but you don't mind it so much these days. At E3 especially, it's just kinda [[the way things are|Press Conference]].
"if I start learning to code right now, do you think i could finish Mirror's Edge 2 and BG&E 2 before EA and Ubi do?"\n\nNine favorites, twelve retweets.\n\nYou wonder if your old tweets from years and years ago were any good. You scroll way, way, way back to many E3s ago. \n\nThe tweets are not great, but they're not as bad as you thought they were going to be. \n\n"you know you're not so bad after all, Past Me," you tweet at yourself. \n\n[[He tweets back]].
<<silently>>\n<<set $tweets = 0>>\n<<endsilently>>\n\nThere are so many voices that you can practically see the soundwaves thundering off the walls. You've just taken your seat in a packed theater. Other journalists abound, as do business types in suits of worth greater than you can possibly imagine. No wait, you just imagined the biggest number ever. Never mind. You can imagine what these suits cost. Sorry, my bad. \n\nThe lights are dim and a press conference is about to start. You are Nathan Grayson, and it's day zero of E3. [[Again]].
"WHAT THE FUCK"\n\n"another future thing i forgot to tell you about. the concept of dickpics really catches on. there's even a tumblr dedicated to critiquing them"\n\n"This is really weird. You just made this really weird."\n\n"whatever, it's yours too. and anyway, we stop being so uptight about bodily stuff as time goes on. though to be honest this is the first dickpic i've ever sent"\n\n"I'm... honored? Nope, still just weirded out."\n\n"[[you'll get used to it|i don't know 2]]" \n
"maybe being jaded is easier than getting my hopes up"\n\n"I don't understand."\n\n"having all these high hopes come crashing down year after year is exhausting. sometimes it's easier to detach. stop caring"\n\n"But that doesn't help anybody. If you stop hoping for games to be better, then why are you even doing this job?"\n\n"i mean, i don't feel that way about all games. just, you know, a lot of them. it's a sentiment shared by a lot of journalists, though, i think. we sit around and have these cynical sparring matches. 'i hate everything more! no, i do!'"\n\n"Huh."\n\n"yeah, and it just sort of [[becomes the default]]."\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n
Probably not Nathan Grayson
You remember that one night before you flew out to E3. You always remember that one night. It was years ago. You were still living at home, in Dallas, Texas. You just graduated, and you thought you knew everything but you really, really, really didn't. \n\nIt was nice. \n\nYou were scared, sitting in that cavernous living room, passing around that bottle of awful champagne. Anxious. You were gonna have to leave home for an entire week, leave behind the wonderful people you'd gathered in this room. Two of your best friends, the girl you loved at the time. \n\nIt was odd, being so attached to a place and a circumstance that you were afraid to leave it behind for even a week. Or maybe you knew, deep down, that you'd eventually leave it forever--that this job would be the thing to make you do it.\n\nYou took another swig of terrible champange. "We should all go for a swim." And you did. It was great. \n\nThings are still pretty good, you figure. Just different, except when they're [[not at all|Press Conference]].\n\nBut you're scared again, these days. You're afraid to lose things again, just different things. And maybe you're even more afraid than ever before, because you've seen what it's possible to lose.
"When we don't like things, we try to change them, remember? I figured I'd only get better at that as time went on."\n\n"some stuff happened"\n\n"[[Clearly|taking that away from people]]."