03 Jun

Like many attendees I would later talk to and befriend, I was unable to be in LA for the festivities on June 1st. Lucky then, that most of it was media rather than news I would be remiss to have let gone un-reported. Mats, Dan and Kip had already begun their vigilant news watch on Microsoft’s conference by the time my fevered packing and last minute worrying was complete. And with Ubisoft and EA’s conferences more about new trailers and developer commentaries, I split this entry into my post-E3 thoughts into part reflections on the news of the day, and part dissertation on the horrid adventures that took me from my native soil in Orange County to the Double Tree in Commerce where I have made my stay these past few days.

Firstly: Microsoft’s conference. It appears that it has been the Xbox tradition of the past few years to reserve its major announcement for something that could further slap Sony into submission in the console race. Last year the fans went rabid over Final Fantasy XIII going multi-platform, and this year one of the last of the stalwart Playstation franchises got a release on the 360. And without response from Sony, the black behemoth now appears to be the dolt polygamist boyfriend, unaware of his girlfriend’s activities in other console’s beds. While nothing beyond an expectedly vague Kojima-style trailer and a title, Metal Gear Solid: Rising, really has no expectations attached to it outside of those fostered by the franchise and its eccentric father, Hideo Kojima. With the oft-bemoaned character of Raiden heading the title, it’s safe to say that this game could take some serious leniencies with the MGS formula for a more action-oriented approach, in line with Raiden’s mech-ninja abilities.

P1030493.jpg picture by ElderGeekDotCom

The other announcement to still be lingering on the media’s tongue is that of Project Natal, the latest Peter Molyneux pet and the console’s first foray into motion control that didn’t feel like a cheap carnival attraction. From what I have seen through belated news feeds or on display, the controls are exceptionally accurate, and the interactions with the on-screen characters, such as the adorable human kid Milo, are delicate and respond extremely fluidly. But, in agreement to Shigeru Miyamoto’s comment in a later round-table discussion, technology is difficult to gauge unless shown in implementation with an IP. Microsoft’s gloves have been thrown off, though, and it has the mind and money to toss behind many projects that could present a challenge to even the all-mighty Big N. Definitely something to look out for in the future.

Microsoft debuted many games (Left 4 Dead 2, Crackdown 2 [called it!], Mass Effect 2, Forza 3, Halo ODST) with few leaping beyond expectation. The ODST trailer came with the announcement of a Halo: Reach beta, which I’m sure Microsoft had intended for a much grander effect than what was received. Mass Effect 2 showed that Commander Shepard, contrary to the game’s debut teaser trailer, was not dead, but anyone with a mind of story development knew that the main protagonist in a game series dependant on continued storylines really can’t die. The announcement of a 2-Disc special edition version of the original Bioware RPG was a nice touch. Some expected the Mass Effect sequel to come to Playstation 3, but there was never anything beyond a smidgeon of hope. The Sony fans got a little of their bile slowed with the multi-platform announcement of Crysis 2, but those uncaring for the console war batted few eyelashes.

P1030486.jpg picture by ElderGeekDotCom

Now, while this information is all fine and dandy now as I type it, it came to me in a mass of updates as I attempted to get my shite together and actually get down to my hotel. It was about half-way through my metro-link trip that the anticipation began to take hold. My mind was preoccupied with the lack of sex I would be getting when I arrived, as my fu*k buddy had called me a short while earlier telling me the battery in the car that would have taken us into the city had died. Disappointing, as fu*k buddy sex on hotel beds is a blessed, glorious event that no one that loves pleasure should ever be denied. I spent the majority of the bus ride from my apartment to the metro-link station pouting, but quickly regained an eager sensibility once I remembered where I was going.

I arrived in LA about the time Ubisoft was prepping their conference (5pm PST), and decided to once again prove my manliness by walking to my hotel instead of getting an expensive cab (I would be in plenty of those later on). It’s only 7 miles, right? Wrong, dear reader, wrong. For in Los Angeles, each mile is an obtuse and perverted eternity of stop signals, constant traffic, and worthless street signs. Didn’t help that I was working with smudged, printed driving directions from Mapquest, either. Those 7 miles took me the next 4 hours to traverse, mostly due to the fact that I was avoiding what appeared like street gangs every other street. I stopped briefly at a Burger King for a cheap bite, but trudged on to spite myself shortly afterward.

I arrived, newly blistered and chaffed, at the Double Tree, to be greeted warmly and pick-pocketed even more warmly. This hotel chain nickels and dimed my ass till it hurt. Internet is 10 bucks a day, extra hotel keys $5, losing their faith in humanity via the Hilton Empire…goddamn priceless. I took a 2 hour long shower with the AC bursting out of the vent full blast, just to spite them. They had $50 of my money as a hold on my account in case of additional costs, with my bank gleefully taking that as if I had spent that money. It will be lifted when I check out, but it’s just another example of why I’m going Holiday Inn next E3.

As I slid into the Sweet Dreams brand bed, I felt relief burst over my aching body like so many little pleasure crystals. The sweet, warm feeling my body had after not having to force itself for another step made me feel like I was carbonated, it was glorious….perhaps too glorious. I would spend the next five hours rocking from either corner of the bed, incapable of getting to sleep. As the hours ticked teasingly away on the day-glow alarm clock provided by the hotel, I groaned in displeasure. Damn fu*k buddy….damn car batteries….damn LA….

I would grab only an hour and 45 minutes of fruitless rest before the alarm rang in my ears, following five minutes later by my hotel-provided wake-up call. In a move more desperate than most sex acts I’ve performed, I dragged myself to the coffee machine and brewed myself up some Wolfgang Puck. Despite my fervent hatred for the stuff’s taste, I hastily gulped it down, praying that the energy, or at least the basic bodily awareness that came with coffee consumption, would come to me. As I gazed out of the hotel window, I saw a little taxi pull up to the hotel’s round-about entrance, somehow knowing that, though it was early, they would turn on the clock and keep it running until I got my ass dressed, cleaned, and down there as soon as possible.

I took another gulp of the sickening coffee brew, this was going to be a long week.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Gavin Greene.