Day 1: Kombating Fatigue with Bubba

So, yeah. This trip to E3 was always going to be different from the last, and would also differ greatly from any subsequent trips. For one, there would be no Lorna by my side to not only keep me grounded (read: prevent me from being very Scottish and telling people they’re assholes) or sit up editing until the wee sma’ hours of the morning with me, and it would be the first time I’d go on a trip as a father. Unless you count the times I travelled to London resplendent in priest attire, of course. As well as that, leaving behind an adorable, tiny, giggling three month old little girl in order to get hands-on with Borderlands 2, Dishonored, Enemy Unknown and others isn’t quite the worthy trade that most gamers would expect it to be.

That said, the job needed doing and so, with a heavy heart and an even heavier camera bag, I set off at 4am for the first leg of the trip. Fifty quid lighter, thanks to having to take the fifty-minute airport ride by cab at an ungodly hour, the first rendezvous takes place as Mark strolls up to the corner of Glasgow airport where I allowed myself to slump down in a sorry heap – a mixture of fatigue and aching shoulders. Before long, we were on our way to Terminal 5 at Heathrow where we’d meet with the rest of the E3 crew and, if luck was on our side, actually see the unscrupulous twats who would undoubtedly be rifling through all the baggage before deciding which were going home with them after their shift finished.

Ere, Dave! I fink this one's got a decent laptop in it, bring the car araaaand, oi oi pwopa norty!

At the point of writing, we’re flying at 33,000 ft, travelling at 566 mph and have 4272 miles to go, which puts us at around half way across the Atlantic Ocean if this seat-back map is anywhere close to being accurate. It’s likely way off though, if the on-board computer is being bounced around as much as my fucking seat-back screen is, thanks to the guy in front who thinks it’s fine to lunge backwards and forwards every two seconds and bounce his elevated leg at a rate of “fuck-right-off bounces per second”, causing my screen to shimmer constantly like it’s being carried by Ozzy Osbourne going cold turkey. Still, at least he doesn’t smell of shit, piss, vanilla or coconut, unlike the majority of purple-rinses from the boarding queue earlier.

Careful planning meant that we’d all pre-booked specific seats on each flight, in the hope that it’d make for a more enjoyable trip, rather than sitting next to strangers who want to discuss how their son moved to Australia several years before and has a doctorate in Social Media, yes, a doctorate in knowing how to use Facebook – true story from a previous flight. For Pete, booking the spot across the aisle from me meant that he had room to stretch his legs out and wouldn’t have to be wedged between two other people and, for me, having the opposite aisle seat meant that the worst of my bad knees would have the chance to completely stretch out if the pain got to be too much.

It wasn’t until after we’d taken our seats that we discovered the fatal flaws in our plan: I was on the wrong side of the aisle, so the better of my knees had the additional leg room while the bad one had to suffer the fate of a battery hen. Pete’s realisation was that his bad ear, which is about as useful as a chocolate oven, or a Wii, was the one closest to me and so our ensuing conversations invariably meant that I’d be squirming with discomfort while Pete turned his entire body to face me and bent his ear forward in typical Bugs-Bunny-cartoon fashion, in the hope that this new-found angle for his cartilage would somehow make all the difference. It didn’t. Instead we shout at each other across the great 16 inch divide.

Once lunch was out of the way (and I’ve never seen so many people order pasta above chicken, which suggests they all knew something in advance or had recently watched “Airplane!” and weren’t taking any chances), and the last spoonful of the sweetened pus they’d dubbed “Passion Fruit Creamy Dessert” had been consumed, Mark fired up his Alienware, resulting in both Chris and I caressing the blue-illuminated keyboard like pubescent teens fondling their first Sloggis, and it was clear that this was, as suspected, going to be a long flight.

After wrestling with the overhead compartment, trying to pry my behemoth-like rucksack from it’s gaping mouth, it did its job of reminding everyone around me how gravity worked as a 6ft tall, 17st man of forty was almost knocked to the floor under its weight as one final tug freed it from its resting place. Thankfully, it never quite reached the floor or my journey would have been cut short, as every piece of electronic equipment for my trip would have, unquestionably, been fucked. Instantly. And so, with MP3 player blasting out Dream Theater’s “A Dramatic Turn Of Events” at a volume the likes of which would have made Rev Ian Paisley wince, I start my first diary of the trip.

Across the other aisle, and several additional seats away, young Edward sits and munches through what appears to be his fifth or sixth bag of Mentos. The site of him pouching as many as possible, like some sort of rabid hamster, silhouetted against the backlight of the small window has Chris, Mark and I totally transfixed. Suddenly the stunned silence breaks as Chris muses “If we were to drop Ed off at some African village and give them all sticks, they could just keep beating him until he bursts open like a pinata”, and suddenly the world is a much more wonderful place, as my mind fills with the image of this scene acting out over and over. I’m easily amused, especially when it comes to hordes of people going at someone with chibs. Growing up in Paisley has its benefits.

With around six and a half hours before we land, I hear the words “Liu Kaaaang” echo in my brain, and so I settle down to some Mortal Kombat on the Vita, where I can pretend that my opponent is actually The Sacred Ed-Pinata and the gore is nothing more than twenty years of gorging on Haribo and Mentos, with near-undiluted cordial as blood. Fatality!

After repeatedly thumbing through the myriad of in-flight movies on offer (none of which were from Vivid or Digital Playground, sadly, and therefore defeated the purpose of the on-screen privacy filter if you ask me), I settle down to watch the odd-yet-enjoyable Chronicle and the edgy Contraband which, thanks to constant interruptions from Captain Bunton, who I’m convinced used to be in Spice Girls, ended up playing for much longer than expected, resulting in some panic as we start to make our descent with a considerable amount of plot to go.  At this point, I’d like to thank the idiot who jumped ahead of our 747 as we came in for our landing, forcing Captain Bunton to pull off a rapid ascent (Mark’s knuckles went white at this point) and circle for another twenty minutes or so, as it meant that I got to see the end of Contraband and find out if [spoiler].

Joy of joys, every single bag arrived exactly on schedule, nobody got turned away at customs, I didn’t get shot by the angry Immigration Officer for handing over a boarding card instead of my “itinerary” (read: email confirmation from British Airways which, if you ask me, is about 1% official compared to a 100% official fucking boarding card) and so we headed down to Alamo, stole a fucking huge silver SUV and spent ages not knowing where we were going, until I reached the “fuck it, we’re going to be really late” stage and succumbed to using my valuable roaming data to turn my ‘phone into a GPS to take us to the convention centre.  Passes picked up – check;  Ed being over-enthusiastic about giant posters – check; Mark not being over-enthusiastic about anything much really – check; Chris near blowing his load purely because “we’re here” – check.  We arrive at GLHQLA for the second year running and everything begins.

Our first appointment is at the house – Claas from Lace Mamba arrives to show me just how far Lucius has come since Gamescom (I can’t not use an uppercase “G”, sorry Ben!) as well as the other sexy-as-hell titles and, after musing for perhaps longer than we should, we all head out to Santa Monica pier to eat copious amounts of shellfish at Bubba Gump’s.  It’s been a good day, if exhausting, and the floor of the utility room somehow looks much comfier at 1am than it did when I first lay my bed roll down hours beforehand, and so I head off to sleep after being awake for some thirty-two hours.

Fuck you, 4am.  Fuck you, uncomfortable bed roll, not allowing me to sleep any more than three hours!  I’m 100% awake, and I go through to find Chris already sitting in the War Room (clothed, thankfully) and so begins another day in Los Angeles.  Editing needs done, so I’m cutting this short here.  Tonight, I sleep!

Last five articles by Mark R



  1. Chris Chris says:

    If I’m not the first one in that War Room every morning I’m not doing it right!

  2. Rook says:

    Couldn’t you and Pete just have swapped seats? Maybe make the steward(ess) know. Enjoy E3. Hope you have fun through all the work.

  3. Lorna Lorna says:

    I was wondering the same as Rook… why the fuck didn’t you and Pete swap seats! And the Ed pinata thing made me nearly spit my tea out. I can’t believe that he took a stack of Mentos with him… I swear that they are like a life support system… without them his body would go into shock and die.

    I miss not being sat, bleary-eyed, at the GLHQLA table typing shit up before raiding the local store for Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. Zero reminds me of Oz from Buffy… he says very little, but what he does come out with is cool. SOunds like you’re having an awesome trip so far… at least until E3 fatigue sets in and you’d trade the whole show for 12 hours straight sleep ;)

  4. Keegan Keegan says:

    This sounds mental :D Hope you guys are having a blast!

  5. Mark R MarkuzR says:

    Because… if we’d swapped seats then…

    a) I’d have been sitting next to two vegans, and I have no idea what the outcome from that would have been
    b) Pete would, quite honestly, have died from being squished by Captain Bouncy in front of me
    c) If the plane had crashed, they’d have got us mixed up and may have been in the wrong grave for eternity… do you know what sort of stigma that can generate in the afterlife??

    I slept four hours last night, and then got a few cat-naps afterwards but gave up at 5am. Am just about to write my day two piece. Poor Ed seemed quite worried when he read the pinata stuff last night; I think he jumped to the conclusion that it was giving me ideas for how I could entertain myself while we’re here. Lorna should be here.

    Thanks for the comments, guys – hopefully today will go well :)

  6. Tania Tania Reid says:

    Awesome read! LOVE the image of Ed as a Pinata! Bring on the next entry. :D

  7. Richie richie says:


    But yeah, swap seats. Fuck the afterlife. Besides I’m pretty sure the coffin sizes would be a give away.

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