E3's a lot like a box of a chocolates. Well, actually, it's more like one of those spin happy rides at the carnival; with a little alcohol in you, it's the best damn thing you've ever ridden, outside of another person, but drink too much and you better get ready to meet your lunch all over again. There's a lesson in there somewhere, and I think it involves choosing drunken sex over the carnival, but I'm not really sure.
In any case, there are similar lessons to be learned at E3 as well. You might be thinking to yourself, "to hell with you, ya hoser! E3's all about the games, not some twisted schoolhouse of the damned.' And you'd be right, but you'd also be wrong - oh so very wrong, young padawan. Last year's learning experience was three fold, and went a little something like this:
- Cross country road trips, while only seeming ever so slightly (read: fucking incredibly) insane on the surface, are best left to the criminally insane and their hostages.
- One Man Army are quite possibly the coolest punk band ever, especially live. Plus, Jack Dalrymple has a pretty damn sexy voice, and that never hurts, unless being turned on by another guy's raspy voice makes you a little uncomfortable.
- Excess drinking leads to Very Bad Things™. What kind of bad things, you ask? That whole getting reacquainted with your food ordeal, hotel rooms that aren't your own, coupled with hazy memory (arguably good or bad, depending on whose room you end up waking up in), and flights almost taking off without you on them.
This year's pilgrimage out to the gaming house o' love served up a whole new set of lessons; and thankfully Very Bad Things™ weren't on the menu this time around. Mild drunkenness - as opposed to the 'where the hell am I and what's this puddle I'm laying in' variety - has a special way of making just about anything a whole hell of a lot more entertaining. Case in point, stale acting and the groan worthy play between a young stalker in training and senator nipplage herself magically becomes amusing interludes to grand Star Wars action sequences with a Smirnoff Ice or two in your belly. Similarly, a silly flashing pen gains the power to hold your attention for what seems like hours on end, as though it was a grand fireworks display you can stash in your pants. "Is that a pen in your pocket or are you just happy to se... oooh, pretty... *drools and zones out*"
Another lesson involved the mixologically impaired bartender at the Wild Tangent booth. While actually having ID's a sure fire way to get free alcohol on the show floor, slipping the bartender a 'tip' to cover your friend tends to loosen up just about anybody - except those annoying bastards with integrity or the ones that just like messing with you to make up for their own failed lives. Cameron did just that and his lack of ID mysteriously ceased to be an issue as long as I vouched for the fact that he was of age, and as far as I know, he is. Well, he would be if LA was in Canada, where the alcohol's strong and the beavers run free, so this here Canuck claims ignorance to the whole sordid affair. Besides, since when is a cosmopolitan made with rum? Yeah, that's what I thought. If you can't do your job right one way or another, you've got no business carding anyone anyway.
Oh, and story time aside, there was a lot of blissful gaming to be had this year too. From Bioware's Neverwinter Nights game cave, filled with enough Northern Bounty to make any maple leaf waving hoser proud, to Shinobi's illustrious return on the PS2, there was too much worth seeing to catch everything, let alone get much game time in on much of anything. My heart stopped working altogether when I saw a reel of LucasArts footage showcasing all their old graphic adventure games. Fighting the urge to make sweet love to the massive set of monitors right then and there was only made possible through the realization that the montage was more of a recap on their past than a promise of what's to come. Even so, with Full Throttle II on the way, and the promise of a continued dedication to their classic franchises, including Monkey Island, as well as a renewed focus on original content, like Gladius, on top of the usual Star Wars flood makes me one happy cymbal monkey. Jump. Clap. Huzah!
All the free magazines snatched from the show floor, in combination with anything else that wasn't nailed down, certainly made for some ridiculous reads back at the hotel, but the best mag of all didn't even come from the show. I never knew Abercrombie & Fitch made a softcore XXX catalogue, but apparently they do; their philosophy seems to be people and clothes don't mix, so they really need to be separated in a catalogue. Good philosophy, that is.
In the end, this E3 was a terrific ride thanks to the incredibly cool people I get to work with here. Meeting some new faces this year and hanging with old friends from last E3 was great fun. My only regret? Not getting both Cameron and Nicole in bed on either side of me at any point... but alas, I've said too much.
RPGs To Drool For:
- Neverwinter Nights. It's not just about the Northern Bounty either.
- Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. I crash thee, but I love thee.
- Gladius. I wanna have LucasArts' love child.
When I Think About You I Touch Myself:
- Full Throttle II. It was only a trailer, you say? LucasArts' love child, says me!
- Shinobi. That foam shuriken was great for winging at people to boot. Best. Annoyed. Reactions. Ever.
- Psychonauts. From the twisted mind of Tim Schafer, ex-LucasArts graphic adventure guru, responsible for classics like DOTT and Grim Fandango, turned Double Fine Productions founder, action adventure oddity is sure to flow.
Best Of Show:
- Hanging with friends. A damn shame it happens so rarely.
- Free flowing alcohol. Smirnoff Ice to Long Island Iced Tea, it's all good as long as you get a buzz.
- J-town convenience stores with novelty sexual aid section. Convenient indeed.
Worst Of Show:
- Lugging around a 12 pack of Canadian Smirnoff Ice on my back from one end of LAX to the other while shunning the airport shuttle bus. Pain.
- No Spiderman. Though Eric drove me to the airport the next morning, so I love him still. Waking up that early just to make life easy on your friends is très cool in my book.
- No staff orgies. And no, simulated orgies and unsolicited hot hands just don't count.