The Time My Adventure Ended
Last day of the show and it was hard to believe the amount of stuff we’d seen in just two and a half days; it’s not over yet though, and I was determined to make the most of my last day. My first appointment was with UTV Ignition for a look at El Shaddai, a game which I’d wrongly called, many times, El Shaddy or, more often than not, settled with El Showaddywaddy. What a beautiful game it is though. I’ll be honest… it is hard to describe; it’s a bit like Bayonetta in the same way that it’s a great game to play, with fast, responsive combat and gameplay that is genuinely a lot of fun but, as with Bayonetta, most of your time is spent asking yourself “what the fuck is going on here?” I promise to bring you a much more in-depth preview soon.
From there, Ben and I had a meeting with 505 Games for a look at the latest rugby title, but due to some ballsed up scheduling on their part, we couldn’t get in for a look that morning and didn’t have the time later in the day. Instead, we headed back to our old stomping ground of the South Hall to meet up with Mark, Lorna and an actual celebrity, Mr Graeme Boyd (better known to his friends as AceyBongos). I’d met Acey a few times before at various events and may not have made the best first impression last year at the Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit event when I implied he was shorter than he looked on Twitter – thankfully he doesn’t hold a grudge – and what a cool guy he is. We must have stood on the corner of the Microsoft booth near the Marcus Fenix statue for the best part of an hour just chatting about the show and games in general. He really loves what he does for a living (let’s be honest, who wouldn’t) and his passion for gaming shines through; I’m not just talking about Xbox games either, he is a proper gamer. It was a pleasure to finally meet him properly and say a big thank you for everything he has helped us out with over the last year.
We waved Acey goodbye before his long flight home and continued our day. Lorna and Ben popped off to get a look at the Witcher 2 while Mark and I decided put his expensive video camera to good use and shoot individual video tours of each of the show’s big booths. That idea spontaneously turned into a full one take video tour of the whole of the South Hall with me as commentator the entire time. It was good fun; I kind of felt like the dude running around the grid before a Formula One race. In the video we spoke to one guy who had been in the Battlefield 3 line for a good hour and half, despite the fact he was still near the back. We dropped by Activision’s empty space, visited the crazy guy from Ubisoft and paid the guys at Supergiant Games another visit, which turned into an on-the-spot interview with Darren.
We then popped over to the West Hall for much of the same, showcasing the Bethesda booth, Sony’s monster of a stand and Nintendo’s white plastic palace. It was here that we visited the back of the line for a chat with the people who were waiting for a hands on with Nintendo’s Wii U – they didn’t seem too happy to talk to me (the South Hall guys were way cooler). I hope the video comes out okay and gives everyone a real sense of scale of the show floor; I was bloody knackerd after filming that. We somehow happened to find ourselves down the side of GameSpot’s booth at one point and peered through the glass to see at least thirty writers sat down, typing. Up to this point, I’ll be honest, I’d felt bad about how much writing I hadn’t done compared to the number of games I’d seen, but physically and mentally it’s just not possible, and after seeing the army GameSpot had with them I didn’t feel so bad. If anything, I was proud of what we had accomplished between the four of us and it really put it in perspective. I looked at Mark who I could see was mentally trying to work out how much a booth would cost and if we could pull one off next year.
With the video tours done, we both went for a sit down at the back of the hall for a chat and some food. Wanna hear something that’ll blow your mind? You can’t get Mars bars in America! They call them Milky Ways and what would be a Milky Way is called something completely different. I know – that’s messed up, right? I’m not sure I’ll ever get over that. Still in shock from the whole Milky Bar thing, Ben and I had just enough time for one last wander before our final appointment of the show to see the new Star Trek game. How about another bold claim? Well, this just might be the game that breaks the ‘game of a movie franchise’ crapness barrier. It was a truly stunning looking title from what we got to see and had benefited from a year and a half of production already, and with a year still left to go Star Trek really is looking very good indeed.
Some of the early looks we had at the show were just that and “early builds”, but I’d have purchased Star Trek as it was, there and then. It fitted perfectly in to the Trek universe and, in the same way the new film captured the spirit of Star Trek, the game captures that same new Trek vibe and nails it perfectly. Ben and I discuss it at length on our day 3 podcast so go have a listen to that or hold on for our full preview.
Then that was it; the show was over. We left Paramount’s meeting rooms and walked up the Saints Row corridor where just five days prior I had hidden in a bush, trying to take a photo of the banners after nearly being shot outside the West Hall. In the distance we could hear a full orchestra playing in the South Hall’s entrance lobby and I won’t lie – it was quite powerful; it framed my feelings completely as our E3 adventure drew to a close. Ben and I took one last look behind us and saw a lot of other tired looking souls headed our way. Neither of us said anything; I think we may have both been a bit choked up, so we settled for a manly fist bump before stepping outside into the Los Angeles sunlight.
The four of us took the two days after E3 to just chill out and enjoy ourselves, but for now I’m keeping those stories for myself; maybe if you’re lucky one of the others will tell you about the time we stayed in a murderer’s motel or when Mark and I got sunburned. As it stands at the moment I’m on the last leg of my journey home, sat on a B757 from Philadelphia next to Mark, Lorna and Ben, typing up this very article. We’ve had such a fucking awesome time and it is really taking some control to keep my emotions in check (I hoping they don’t notice – Mark will call me a woofter if he clocks me with a teary eye). Looks like my laptop is about out of juice, so before it dies completely I would like to say thank you to all the people who, at some point, had something to do with our adventure: people like Graeme from Microsoft, Dan and everybody at EA, the guys at Supergiant Games, Claas from Lace Mamba, THQ, 2K games, Nexon and all of the various developers and PR companies that we have dealt with recently (there are too many to mention). Thanks to my fellow GamingLives writers back home for their support and an extra special mention to our man in L.A, Adam R for some truly good times; to our followers on Facebook and Twitter, I salute you, and for the thousands of you who read the words we write every single day, you have our gratitude. Without any of you, a guy from the Midlands, a Scotsman, a girl from Kent and Welshman would never have got to visit the Holy Land of gaming that is the E3 Expo.
And of course thank you to Mark, Lorna and Ben. Without the three of you my adventure would not have been worth having.
Last five articles by Lee
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