Cautious Optimism and Killing People With Your Eyes

Totally not Photoshopped sky

A big part of E3, aside from the show and the writing, is the journey getting here, both figuratively and literally. Figuratively, I am filled with a steady sense of cautious optimism, riding on a wave of hope and intrigue. Literally, it was like listening to the latest Pitbull album on repeat while getting smashed round the head with a frozen pack of mince.

Getting to London was the semi-eventful stroll it always is: wake up, curse the heat that deprived me of my sleep, get ready, leave, inevitably forget something (this year it was booking any travel insurance) and head to Heathrow. The high point of my day came at lunchtime, when my girlfriend and I stopped at the Ostrich Pub in Colnbrook. The food was delicious and affordable, but with the highlight of my day occurring four hours before an eleven hour flight, it was never going to end well for me.

Moving through Heathrow was painless; the first time in twenty-eight years and countless flights that I’ve ever navigated an airport alone, still maintaining my one-hundred-percent record for not getting awkwardly felt-up by the security staff who looked so deranged that they were probably on the cusp of a psychotic break.

After avoiding the anal cavity search I finally met Pete and Ed, who were chilling outside Harrods like a couple of chalk-white child snatchers. I quickly whisked them away (the two nerds, not the kids) as Ed’s new ‘beard’ was making security nervous and we soon found Mark before heading to the plane. I’ve intentionally skipped over the delightful story of being inside W H Smiths and inserting my five pound note into a gap for unwanted receipts, and the public embarrassment of having to request help to retrieve my wayward tender.

Aboard the plane we waited forty-five extra minutes for take-off as two other planes were trying to take off at the same time. It’s almost like the M25 mentality had spread to surrounding areas, so we sat patiently while Heathrow control tower tried to solve the enigma that was ‘three planes one runway’.


Once in the air, I settled down in the ‘jam them in like sardines’ section, where the Hades-like temperature had us all perspiring like a coven of Microsoft Executives after a Sony Conference. Mark lamented the lack of porn, Ed started popping Mentos, and Pete had luckily placed the two irritatingly-loud American girls on his deaf side. The rest of us were not so fortunate. Thankfully, the row in front all reclined their seats within the first hour and kept them that way ’til landing, meaning our newest concern was getting glare burns from the TV monitors rammed under our chins.

Eager to make the most of this experience I stuck on Gravity, some kind of disaster film that revolves around crashing to Earth. It may not be a plane, but what’s a couple of thousand miles between friends? Disaster struck me, rather than the film, when during an attempting to pause and rehydrate my frail body, I inadvertently skipped the film towards the end. Spoiler alert: it was all a dream.

The next ten hours can best be described as a smattering of disappointment, which involved watching the new Robocop, trying to eat the in-flight food, and playing some of the games. BioBot (a British Airways exclusive, perhaps), was a very poor platformer that boasted some forgettable power ups and a lame story. Nolan North voiced all forty-seven characters. Lorna would have given it three out of ten ‘Tim Currys’.

As the plane began its ascent, we noticed one of the cabin crew was having a serious case of eye-bulging. Cue Scanners references and a variety of funny accents with Mark shouting “I’ll kill you with my eyes“. I’m not sure if it was a pressure issue or if he was just coming on to Ed, but it sure as fuck was weird. We landed and all declined the apparently optional customs forms, to quickly start the British art of queueing .

I’m a pretty patient person when it comes to queueing, as it’s just a means to an end. However, approaching the point of being awake for twenty-four hours and passing on the ‘snack’ by BA, I wanted this over with quickly. Remember that ‘optional’ customs form? Turns out we needed those to ensure a speedy exit and without them, everything came to a grinding halt. Fuck’s sake.

An hour later, we left the airport and went to pick up the car. Jesus Christ, if I knew I could get away with it, I’d take a flame-thrower to that place. Two fucking hours. TWO. Just to queue to get a car that we’d already booked. It was the sort of place where souls go to die, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the next American shooting took place there, just to buck the trend.

At the end of our journey, some twenty-four hours after starting, we arrived at our destination. We were hungry and tired, but we had made it.

And what, figuratively, of my journey here? It’s interesting returning to this place. A little older, a little wiser, but has the set-up really changed that much? I think the industry is still very similar in tone and design, but it has new tools to utilise. New hardware, new software and an even greater need to impress and entertain. Video gaming is a more crowded frontier than ever, but I’m cautiously optimistic that it will still have the goods to impress.

Last five articles by Chris


One Comment

  1. Victor Victor Anfu says:

    Glad you made it in one piece. Without being felt up or crashing down to earth. Like a geek Icarus. Enjoy E3

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