Sometime last week Major Nelson made a post
detailing a Gillette/EA even being held on Febuary 3rd at the UCF Arena (Orlando, FL). Though on short notice, I went ahead and called into work and charged the batteries for my camera. The basic concept of the even is that the best players in EA Sports titles were to face the real life athletes in the games. Decent enough concept, there was no charge for the event, and it was only a 15 minute drive from my house.
Showing up, the main room was not open yet, but everyone was nice and happy outside. Denny Hamlin had his NASCAR car outside which would be really cool if I was into NASCAR
. Local radio stations were in attendance, a big Gillette truck with a screaming lady who reminded me of PMS Clan's AthenaTwin
but not as annoying. Fairly quickly, someone from Gillette walked me inside where I got a press kit with a free razor (retail $11.99, woo!) Inside they also had setup a simulated Tiger Woods on one screen judging your screen on a Wii-like golf simulator (sans-Wiimote, you just had to do the swinging motions in the air).
Having a huge wrestling fan like my cousin present made it easy to choose whether to stand in the John Cena autograph line or the Reggie Bush line. Major Nelson popped up and introduced Cena, and signing commenced. There was a sign next to the table where Cena was seated that said "Autographs Only (1 per person) No Posed Photos".. obviously meant to keep the fairly long line moving quickly. Of course I got my autograph, shook his monstrous hand, and kept moving.
While walking around the event, seeing where the "pro-gamers" were practicing and playing each other before playing the pro sport stars, out of the corner of my eye, I caught the biggest star at the event all by his lonesome. No, not Tiger... but... parking lot security Guillermo from Jimmy Kimmel Live
!!!!!! I ran up to him yelling his name, he seemed happy to be recognized, snapped a quick photo, and then asked me "Who is here?" in a nice spanish accent ..making his confused Mexican character he is on tv all too real.
Walking back around the little arena floor, I notice people snapping photos over at Cena's table. WTF!? It said No Posed Photos! He was clearly posing. I like amusing pictures with me and wrestlers
. My cousin was more outraged than myself. Back in line we stood. Thinking of how I wanted my picture, I had the great idea to grab that "No Posed Photos" sign and take the picture of me holding it. So I popped the sign off the stand it was on and stood in front of Cena, where he grabbed the sign and goes "What is this!?" ... I was mumbling trying to explain what my idea was hoping he wasn't pissed, he then signed the sign "That's not how I do it" and gave it to me. Good times.
After that, I was all smiles, went to get some grub, and came back to some of the pro-gamers getting a quick shave in front of cameras. I couldn't believe their was a crowd for this, but hey, even I took a picture.
Major Nelson announced that the athletes would soon be taking the stage. However, before that, they would be shaving themselves. So here was round 2 of a crowd watching people getting shaved. This time with twice the amount of cameras snapping...
... and also it was on the big screen.. wtf...
Then it was onto the games. First match was Michael Loyd vs NASCAR driver Denny Hamlin
. I assure you, NASCAR is as boring in video games as it is in real life. I only took one picture, of winner Michael Loyd and his plaque. So though it is slightly boring, I am posting a video of some of the match (also so you can see the stage/screen setup in action).
Next up was a nice game of Madden with Canadian Paul Glasgow vs Reggie Bush
. I will say it was amusing to watch this, as Paul was way over confident, to the point where he picked the Detroit Lions and said he wanted to let Reggie get 7 points on the board from the start to give him a chance (note for non-Football fans, Detroit Lions had no wins this past season, NONE).
New Yorker Steffon Dunlop was up next to face a recently injured Orlando Magic player Jameer Nelson
in a game of NBA Live 09. Much like Paul from the Madden match, Steffon was quite a cocky player, saying if he had a cast on, he still would of won. Jameer then said that he could take Steffon on a real court, with his cast on. Lots of shit talking, but all in good fun.
(Hamlin present for moral support)
Mexico had representation with the form of Jose Miguel Morales Herrera playing against Derek Jeter in EA Sports Soccer. Why was Jeter playing soccer... I have no clue. All I know is Jose was amusing as all hell and Jeter seemed like he did not want to be at the event. Anytime Jose would score, he popped up out of his chair and did a pose for the audience, good times.
The final match and a big one, Steven Ward from Australia versus Tiger Woods himself in... Tiger Woods Golf. Steven was an older player, I think he was over 50, but he seemed happier than the other teen pro-gamers, which was cool. There was some Aussies in the audience that were heckling Tiger on stage (again though, all shit talking was in good fun). Steven seemed to be a better video game player than Tiger... but Tiger held his own and it was claimed as a tie.
All in all, I got a free razor, met Guillermo, and somehow managed to get my cousin a press badge, so it was well worth missing work for. Check out Spike TV on February 18th for their coverage of the event with Geoff Keighley's commentary.