As media/press goes, RPGFan is hardly the only game in town. At an event like this, we're lucky to even be in town. I had the opportunity to meet a lot of wonderful people from a variety of web and print publications. Some were new to the game entirely, some had casual experience, and others (like myself) were regular players. But we all had one thing in common: along with enjoying this event, we knew we'd be writing about it.
Tidwell bites the ".com" off of his RPGamer.com badge.
One man I spent plenty of time with was Mike Tidwell, the head honcho over at rival site RPGamer. Tidwell is a dedicated FFXI player, and he brought a lot of insight to the event. You might think that there is, in some strange territorial way, bad blood between our sites and the staff members that work for each site. Not true! Tidwell and his staff has interacted with our staff at plenty of past events (including E3 events of years past), and we always have a good time. Our sites have similar scopes in coverage, but our take on each game, and each publisher, will tend to be different.
Emily and Cody decide which French/Asian Fusion appetizers to order.
If there was anyone that sparked envy within me, it was Emily Balistrieri. Emily is a freelance writer, but she was at the Fan Fest representing The Escapist. As you may (or may not) know, The Escapist's two greatest achievements are 1) acquiring Zero Punctuation and 2) upholding the highest journalistic standards in web-based game publications. You have to be a fantastic, concise writer to get your content on The Escapist. This, of course, is something I cannot do (this article being a testament to that). Emily wasn't your average Fan Fest attendee, mainly because she was a very level-headed individual in a crowd of fanboys and fangirls. Her presence helped keep me from acting like a big dumb fanboy myself.
Cody Bye, a senior editor at the MMO-focused Ten Ton Hammer, is everyone's favorite Scandinavian game journalist. Cody's experience in the world of MMOs brought him to the Fan Fest with an eye for improvement. The nature of the MMO is evolution, releasing continual patches and content updates to better the game. MMORPGs are a saturated market, and an incredibly competitive one, so Cody was eager to see whether or not Square Enix was up to the task of keeping FFXI attractive to veterans and newcomers alike. Spending time with Cody reminded me that I tend to wear rose-colored lenses when focusing on FFXI since I have so much personal experience.
Carolyn smiles for the camera; Tyrone and Mike would rather not.
Carolyn Koh is a true veteran among freelance game journalists, and she came to the Fan Fest representing MMORPG.com. Many members of the press, from a wide range of sources, all knew and respected Carolyn. She brought a lot of strong, formulated opinions to our conversations about Final Fantasy XI, MMORPGs, and games in general. The nature of MMORPGs, the inclination toward addiction/obsession, the inability to put ratings on online interactions, are topics she seemed well-versed in.
Tyrone Rodriguez isn't a game journalist; at least, not anymore. Rodriguez has been on all sides of the PR spectrum, and he was representing Square Enix (through One PR) for this event. Tyrone was essentially the event coordinator for the press, and we had a great time going to dinner and talking about the event all weekend long. Many thanks go to Tyrone, and all Square Enix / One PR staff, for inviting us, the press, to this wonderful event!
I met at least double the amount of press-related people I described here. Fan Fest attendees could pick us out by our special green badges, but we were there to have fun as well. It was a great time, and we were happy to represent our respective publications while checking out the festivities of that December weekend.