We had some interesting bad luck at E3 this year, Joe Haygood and I. As seen in the pic above, we had a flat tire on the LA freeway. We were in the car pool lane, which is, naturally, all the way on the left. So when the flappy tire noise started, Joe had to ease his car across multiple lanes and then the first pullover spot was the V split between two sections that would each be considered bigger than my usual interstates back home.
But I'll tell you, if you have to have a flat tire on the LA freeway, this is the way to do it. Just as Joe was punching in the number for the roadside assistance that's part of his insurance, the Los Angeles Freeway Roadside Assistance tow truck pulled up in front of us. That guy put on Joe's spare and we were on our way. Total delay? Maybe ten minutes. Sheezus.
That wasn't the first piece of bad luck, just the most photogenic. My luggage was mysteriously put on a different flight in to LAX, so we had to hang out at the airport for almost two extra hours waiting for my underwear to show up.
Oh, and I bent a pin inside my DSLR's Compact Flash slot. Look, it was dark, and Compact Flash sucks, what can I say. That camera is in my office's engineering department right now awaiting repair.
Also: something is dicked with how my Movable Type install imports my Twitter feed. So 90% of my E3-related tweets did not make it to my fourhman.com MySQL database, which pisses me off. What I need to do is ditch MT and switch to WordPress.
Happily, the actual E3 stuff all went great. We got to attend the conferences for Microsoft, Ubisoft, Sony and Nintendo. And I had a great lineup of appointments that filled all three days of the show. This was my second E3, and I'm still in awe of the pageantry and hype. It's just super damn fun, being in the audience of elites who get to see famous and semi-famous people announce famous and semi-famous games.
I do wonder what's going on, however, when the audience starts loudly cheering for violence. I'm no prude; I play plenty of violent stuff. But when something absurdly violent happens, my first reaction is more along the lines of "Eeeooooo." Not "WOOOOOOOO." It's doubly odd when you consider that these press conferences are, you know, for press. When NFL coaches give a conference, do the reporters punctuate the naming of a player's game-winning play with an appreciative hearty bellow?
The answer is that, yes, there's press. But a lot of them are fanboy press. And I don't mean that to be disparaging, just that some press is legitimately and purposefully run by fans. Like, if you run a Halo fan site that's big enough to get a media invite to Microsoft's E3 show, you're probably only focused on huge-ass Halo news and you're super-excited for whatever Halo whatevers are revealed. Or you run a Sony site and when you see Kratos literally cut open an elephant-man's head and pull out his brain as a finishing move, you're somehow beside yourself with glee at how Sony has taken God of War into a bold new direction for cranial dismemberments. I guess.
I also think it would be great if these companies could talk like human beings at their conferences. Here's my take (and yes, I'm going to be a bit of a prick and leverage some of my work experience as proof I know what I'm talking about in terms of presenters).
Microsoft: The worst hosts of the entire expo. Mattrick is awful and so on-script it's fake. It was so bad that when the South Park guys came out, they made fun of the buzzword-laden scripts that dominated the conference.
Ubisoft: Aisha Tyler was a great host, the rare celeb who can both ad-lib on stage AND knows her gaming. Having her around meant Ubi could go for silly skits and patter, because she pulled it off. Ubi's big problem was acoustics; it was hard to understand the speakers in the first part of the show.
Sony: Jack Tretton is smarm personified, but he's the best corporate presenter of the big three. He can deliver marketing bullshit and sound like he actually believes it, while the Microsoft guys are still stammering on cue cards. He sounds natural, which is 90% of the job. Kaz is also great, but he was not onstage this year.
Nintendo: A mixed bag. Miyamoto is always fantastic, perhaps the only guy who actually enjoys what he's doing. And Reggie Fils-Aime, I always feel like he's leashed himself. Like, he could ad-lib if was allowed to. Instead, he just goes script-stiff, and does not have anybody to back him up who is good at being natural, because Miyamoto is never on stage for long. The poor gent who did the 3DS portion was clearly extremely nervous and incapable of patter.
You just wish some of these guys were not so incredibly painful. I get that it's a hell of a thing, presenting on a gimmick-laden stage to a crowd of miscreants hungry for blood, but man, can it get ugly.