Day 2: The Culinary Discombobulation

The day before E3 is, as tradition now dictates, one filled with conferences and standing around in line being burned by the Californian sun, except The Mamas And The Papas neglected to mention that aspect of the Californian Dream.  With Ed and Chris being the ones to venture into Microsoft territory, Pete, Mark and I nipped back to the convention centre to pick up Pete’s pass as we weren’t permitted to do it on his behalf, but of course Mark and I didn’t think to take our media passes out with us and so we had to watch with our faces pressed up against the glass like Oliver and The Artful Dodger as Pete hob-nobbed with the elite.  For a few moments at least.  Oh, and Pete bought access to a locker, even though we already had six of the buggers.  Seven lockers.  Maybe we could knock them through and rent it out?

With us having to pick Chris up after the MS conference, we saw no point in spending the thirty minutes driving back to the house only to come back out again after twenty minutes and so, with three empty bellies, we made the decision to capitalise on the $15 parking fee at the expo centre and head out for some much-needed grub.  At 8am.  When everything was closed.  Poor Pete looked devastated when all the lights were off in the Hooters across the road, so it was back to the trusty GPS to see if there was anything open within walking distance and the closest was a McDonald’s, twenty-six minutes away.  Ain’t gonna happen.

SO, with $15 of parking wasted, we check the car out of the car park, hit the road again, and drive that twenty-six minute walk like true Americans.  Typically, the McDonald’s was only selling their disgusting slopburgers, aka “the breakfast menu” and, not being one for galvanised powered egg, stale muffins, and burgers that are kept in drawers and cooked in a microwave, I had to abstain.  I watched as Pete tucked in to his breakfast and enjoyed the realisation hit Mark’s face that it wasn’t exactly a pleasurable experience to allow this stuff to pass your lips and enter the stomach.  Like sulphuric acid, but tastier.

Two youngsters are caught eating a McDonald's Breakfast. Suicide pact followed.

Eventually, the menus changed over to regular burgers and I allowed myself to buy a Big Mac, assuming that it would be similar to the Big King.  I was right!  It has “Big” in the title… but that’s about it.  My grey, soul-less burger lay in an apathetic heap atop limp lettuce and a “special sauce” which could only really be described as “cheap mayo that someone had spat ketchup into”.  Still, it was food, and it didn’t come from a drawer.

The rest of the afternoon was spent shopping for nibbles, including spending $4.59 on a packet of butter so either it’s really expensive in the states or the guy that owns the corner shop has somehow managed to convince the local constabulary that daylight robbery is no longer a crime, as long as you have a sign up saying “Thanks for shopping, have a great day!”.  It better be good, or I’m crackin’ skulls.

After last year’s Sony conference turned out to be a veritable feast of finger food, Chinese food, cup cakes and all manner of other edible delights, I made the very conscious decision to avoid eating and really enjoy what they’d have on offer.  The previous year we’d already eaten so by the time the conference finished and the party started, we couldn’t really eat anything else… but we tried!  A few bites was as much as we could muster though and, short of Ben and Lorna sneaking a few cupcakes out, there wasn’t much food consumed at all.  This year it was going to be different.  This year I was going in with an empty belly with a view to fill up on sliders, hot dogs, noodles, cakes and anything else they had on offer.  I watched the rest of the guys push crisps and sweets into their mouths and shook my head, knowing that I’d warned them several times not to.

The conference was, as expected, pretty cool.  There was a buzz, there was some pretty cool tech on display, and I had to snigger as they single-handedly destroyed the Wii-U by introducing the dual-screen link between the PS3 and the Vita, although obviously the Wii-U will probably still shift millions of units to the casual market so I really don’t know why I sniggered.  I marvelled at how awesome The Last of Us looked, and had my interested massively piqued by Beyond: Two Souls, but God of War Ascension just left me cold inside, as did Super Smash Bro… um… All Stars Battle Royale.

If you’d shown me Wonderbook (tee-em) last year, I’d likely have scoffed at how it was just a crass attempt and rethinking the EyePet technology and shoving yet more motion-control gimmicks at the casual market, and that games should be left to a controller and with decent gameplay rather than shoe-horned idiocy.  I didn’t have a kid last year though.  This year, instead of the bitterness, I was instead filled with excitement at the thought of sitting our little girl in front of the telly as dragons emerged in front of her, and suddenly the whole aspect of teaching her about the world became an incredible thought.  Imagine if they could produce a tie-in with Encyclopaedia Britannica?  Allowing her to learn the mysteries of the solar system by having the planets hover above her, pushing stars aside to reveal black holes as Stephen Fry explains quasars and supernovae.  I was sold.  IF they can pull it off properly and not just blow their load with licensed bullshit.

Oh, and being allowed to captain a ship in Assassin’s Creed III?  Yes please!  I’ll have a sack-load of that, thanks very much, along with that AC3: Liberation on the Vita.  Good move, Sony and Ubi.

The Last of Us ended the show in spectacular fashion and, as the lights came up in the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Area, something happened… or didn’t.  The curtains didn’t open to reveal a hidden room filled with delicious canapes, lingerie-clad dancers and a myriad of PS3 consoles rigged up with the latest games.  It just… ended.  My plan had been thwarted!  My day of abstaining from any form of sustenance, in the hopes of actually getting to enjoy the after-show wares had been in vain and we were all ushered out to the parking lot by a very timid Chris Rock who, for once, wasn’t shouting about “the man” or “niggas”.  Instead, he hoped we’d move the three feet from “position a” to “position b” for fear of being fired.

That was it.  The evening was over.  I would never get to taste those delightful little cupcakes topped with bacon, or the juicy-looking pancake rolls.  Oh whatever would we do??  Head to The Grove to stuff our faces at the Cheesecake Factory, that’s what!  It was with a certain degree of trepidation that we took our seats at our booth, as I had bummed this place up to fuck in the past and was dreading it turning out to be “that night” where everything would be shit and I’d look like an asshole for wasting their money on crap Witherspoons food.  Thankfully, it wasn’t the case, and it was as awesome last night as it had been every other time, including the molasses bread.

A couple of hours later, bellies full of gorgeous food and several dozen litres of Diet Coke refills for Pete, we headed home with a slice of cheesecake to enjoy for when we could actually manage to fit anything else into our guts.  It had been an exhausting day, trying to survive on only three hours of sleep, but I got there in the end.  So at midnight I lay my weary head on the hat-box cushion and nestle myself into the sofa, to sleep; perchance to dream.

Oh fuck off, 4am? Really??  Insomnia can go fuck itself with a Wiimote.

Last five articles by Mark R



  1. Rook says:

    Is it still insomnia if your body is still on GMT? The press confeences I have been able to watch so I look forwsrd to reading the other interview pieces and listening to any possible podcasts.

  2. Tania Tania Reid says:

    Bacon on cupcakes? :O

  3. Lorna Lorna says:

    I miss those cupcakes. I can’t believe that the damn Sony conference didn’t have an after-party this year. Cheap bastards! Still, Cheesecake Factory was probably a better bet, as trying to navigate a packed room while juggling an ice cold beer, a plate of food, and a handful of cupcakes in a napkin isn’t easy. It seems to be the general consensus this year that Sony ‘won’ – some great looking titles, not least, the Assassin’s Creed III Vita game and The Last of Us.

    Hah… you ate a Big Mac. Now you’re contaminated.

  4. Richie rich says:

    To reiterate the more Tania-y of the Reid sisters:

    BACON ON FUCKING CUPCAKES?!?!?!?!!?!?!?!? arhghghhgaheh ack! *dies*

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