Gas. Brake. Traffic. I thought 9:30 in the morning would be more than sufficient for clear roads. Of course, I was wrong. The usual 45 minute drive turned into an hour and a half of me cursing every congested junction I pass. I just wanted to get to E3 already!
Well, after a strenuous test of patience, I had finally arrived... to a four block trek.
Not too bad considering the beautiful weather. For someone who doesn't really know the existence of time before noon, I had quite the bit of energy. It was the E3 energy.
Dressed in my best bowtie and vest, I was ready to ham it up as Mr. Destructoid. To strut was my calling and to pose was my purpose.
Fresh out of the Nintendo press conference, I met Jesse "Tactix" Cortez, the ever great Dtoid SF community manager and most of the Dtoid team.
The burning excitement was still ever lasting from the press conference, with the Wii U announcement and other Nintendo charm in the eyes of the staff. It was really great to see that common glee for video games instead of getting blank stares.
Having some spare time before I get into some mascot hijinks, I got to tour the expo floor. Due to me being excessively ready with camera equipment, Niero asked me to tour the Nintendo booth since that is what would be the hype of the day, coming fresh out of the presser. And focus I did.
Lines galore and pretty ladies tethered with tech, the Nintendo booth and its pretty lights was a warm welcome to E3. With tons of demos and the Wii U actually playable, give or take, the booth seemed to take the attendee saturation statistic.
The wait time signs proved no hinderance to eager attendees, while some just wanted the "experience."
As the booth started to fill, the girl holding the Wii U controller I had previously talked to became surrounded by overly anxious photographers, taking awkwardly close photos of the controller near her crotch.
A look of discomfort was shot across the lurchers to me, in which all I could return was sympathy. So sorry, miss.
As I frolicked the floor, I couldn't find the urge to stop myself and just play something. I was on a roll to just get footage of everything. I was addicted to footage. Video games were a second priority and I had no idea why. It was the journalist in me branching out. I also got to give Jeff Gerstmann and Vinny Caravella of Giant Bomb greatness my business card! Alright!
But I still did manage to break away from coverage lust to play Dance Central 2. I can't express the joy I felt dancing to Montell Jordan's 'This is How We Do It.' It is just 'how we do it.' I was also really happy to find out that one of the dancers remembered me from last E3. Not one for goodbyes, I told them I'll be back... wearing a robot head.
It was time to don the mask. And a role it was.
Being silent in that head as I followed Jesse's feet around the floor, all I could think about was that Sanford and Son theme song to motivate my strut. It worked, since I heard some ladies say, "I like how the robot walks!" Success.
So I posed and strutted and apparently met quite a few people. I think I met the head of Gaijin Games. That would explain that Commander Video pin I had on me.
I danced to Glee songs that Jesse would sing. Apparently, Glee is a thing.
Ladies love cool Mr. Destructoid according to all the photos I saw after my tour of the floor. I couldn't really see any of them but hamming it up as I pointed and posed as cheesy as can be was the best part of being Mr. Dtoid.
As the first day of E3 ended, I was sweaty and fancy all over, but the night hadn't even begun. And did it ever have its lasting effects.
No, I was still unprepared. After a night of whiskey, beer and meeting people with great cheer, I decided to stay in neighboring Highland Park with my sister. I already planned to stay there for the days of the expo but under these certain circumstances, I had to make some exceptions. So for the day -1 and 0 posts, I won't have any photos or videos since I was quite unprepared and maybe hungover.
Nonetheless, I headed over to the convention center as early as I could muster for some scouting. I ended up sitting in a chair by the press registration for at least an hour and a half, somewhat falling asleep. I had my reasons but I did end up getting out of there.
I realized it was almost time for the EA press conference and it not being that far away (and also getting my parking money's worth), I decided to take my chances. Six or seven blocks later, I had arrived at the historic Orpheium Theatre with a sprawling line overflowing the sidewalks.
Well here are the press elite. Being a games journalist lurker supreme, my mind just starts name dropping all the people I see. I ran into 1UP's Jeremy Parish on the way there. I was silently giddy while trailing behind Jeff Gerstmann, Vinny Caravella, Drew Scanlon and Patrick Klepek. I spent my time over there hanging out with Sterling McGarvey and Andrew Pfster, since I had met them previously at Insomniac Games' Community Day about two months ago. I was happy they had remembered me so I didn't feel too uncomfortable being in a place where I really did not belong.
After long periods of waiting and trying my hardest to look like I belong, I had the chance to get into the conference.
"Hey there. Can I get your name?"
"Hey how's it going? My name is Kenny Redublo."
".....ummm. I don't see your name on the list. Did you get an invite?"
"Hmmm. That's weird. I did get an invite but I guess I'm not on the list. I talked to one of your staff members earlier and he said I would be fine."
"Well, I'll see what we can do. Just wait on the side. Sorry."
Yes, I lied. I'm no one in this industry, but that just gives me more opportunity to exploit that fact. If I'm no one, I can be anyone.
Well, this time was not a success. I hung out with some other press members that were cool enough to let me just tag along.
And tag along I did. After EA was a bust, Ubisoft was just down the street. We had heard it was a first come, first served conference so our chances seemed much more hopeful.
Conferences are pretty damn hopeless. Especially for me.
We waited in the "without conformation" line until we got inside of the Los Angeles Theatre.
"What's your name?"
"I don't see your name on the list."
"Oh that's weird. Well I'm with him."
*point towards one of the guys I've been hanging out with*
"Well do you have a business card?"
"Aw actually I left them back at the hotel."
"You don't have a business card."
(She knew it was all malarky)
(She had to)
Denied again. I was playing a losing game to begin with but it was still worth a try. At least the other guys I was with didn't get in either. We had a defeated pizza lunch at the place next door before we said our goodbyes.
And so, I left. I smelled like beer from the night before due to Hamza Aziz spilling on me from the pre-E3 party and needed a shower. So I went home.
AND DESIGNED SOME EFFIN BUSINESS CARDS.
This took five hours of drawing, scanning and procrastinating.
I wrangled my (borrowed) cameras, my (borrowed) microphones, clothes, bike, vest, bowtie. This time I was ready. First day of the expo was tomorrow. It was time for business (cards).
My original plan for E3 this year has been a bit modified. I was going to go as press for the Student Voice, but through unexplained circumstances other than laziness, I forgot to turn in my press credentials. I was out this year and I was fine with that. I actually wasn't. As the expo inched closer, I started to go into business mode. Every E3 contest I saw, I entered. I tried. Oh, did I try.
My sleepless nights were riddled with ideas for entries. Videos of conversations, casual eating, the chugging of gallons of milk. Anything and everything came to mind when it came down to the wire. What I learned most from this new found inspiration is that I can be motivated. Motivated to write, to film, to talk. And it has paid off.
With this burning motivation, I found myself getting into the communities of Giant Bomb and Destructoid. I managed to set up a SoCal Giant Bombers E3 meet up and got some response, but that response was overwhelmingly great! I always strayed away from message boards and forums since I never thought I was being heard. When my ideas and interests are shared, there is no other gratifying feeling than that. With hopes of the E3 meet up actually pulling through, I was getting the comfortable feeling of not lurking alone.
As for the E3 contests I joined, my efforts with the 1UP.com contest were fruitless, but the Destructoid contest gave me a mention. It was no E3 pass but I was glad my sleep-deprived ideas were appreciated. Feedback was the real prize I won and it is gratifying.
Well, in my grogginess of wake after a night of more E3 planning, I gathered word of the Destructoid pre-E3 party. I always wanted to go to an E3 party but I was never of age or work had to conflict. It was Sunday. Nothing to do. Nothing planned. Until now. Drinking is always more fun when you've got something to talk about and with the shared interest of video games, there is drunk fun to be had. The party also gave me the chance to inquire about another E3 desperation attempt. Destructoid had an open call to LA locals who own nice suits to become Mr. Destructoid, their mascot whose swagger scours the expo floor. When I saw that open call, I was game. I like wearing nice clothes and I think I can strut it out, especially wearing a robot head.
Seven Grand was the venue and whiskey were the drinks. It was my kind of place. Dim, lots of wood paneling, on a second floor of a classic downtown LA building. It was classy. But video games. The first thing on my mind wasn't just to schmooze with game journalist elites. I like to meet people. Naturally. So, over drinks, pool and smoking lounges, I got to meet people. Fun people. People who actually introduced me to the heads of Destructoid and founder Yaniero Gonzalez was kind enough to be Mr. Destructoid. As much as I wanted to talk shop, we were at a bar, for a party! Business can wait and wait it did, for the night went on with more genuine conversation (well, as genuine as it can get with alcohol) about what we all love, video games. And California burritos.
My only regret is that I didn't make business cards in time for the party. I would get a business card then as they waited for a similar exchange, all I could give was an excuse. "I forgot?" "I'm just a fan." "I don't work for the industry." Each excuse I gave made me feel like such a kid. Very professional, Kenny.
Well, after meeting assorted game journalists like Leigh Alexander, Phillip Kollar and most of Destructoid, I'm motivated. Eyes up, business cards ready. Bring it.