I’m not sure it really qualifies as jet lag but my sleeping pattern seems to be playing a cruel trick on me. It’s a kind of odd half-committed situation whereby my evening schedule is perfectly well adjusted to Los Angeles time but the waking up half of my sleep pattern is resolutely sticking to UK time.
That translates to roughly 3 hours of sleep every night. Add to that the odd fact that Alex is intent on walking about forty two miles every day in a city so hot that even the shimmering heat-haze has nipped off somewhere for a nice cold glass of lemonade and a sit down in the shade, and you might begin to understand why I’m going a little bit weird. I’ve also been prevented from buying a hat thus far, which is basically akin to a human rights violation in this sunshine.
At three-forty-five in the morning, the strangest things seem like a good idea.
“I think I’ll just have a leisurely shower, get dressed and be ready to head off for Microsoft’s E3 Media Briefing nice and early” said my own mind, in a fit of self-destructive non-logic. So showered I was, with my shoes on and my hair combed, sat on the end of my hotel bed like an idiot. It was nearly four hours until the Media Briefing was set to begin but, reasoned my lunatic inner monologue, at least that was plenty of time in case Alex decides he wants to walk it.
When we eventually did make it to Microsoft’s show, we were inexplicably ushered to the front of the queue. Aside from one of the organising staff trying (spectacularly unsuccessfully) to get a few thousand bleary-eyed journalists and critics to shout and whoop about the Xbox One, it was all very smooth to get inside the Galen Center and get seated a few rows back from the front and right in the center.
The show itself was decent enough, well paced and packed with plenty of games to look at. Perhaps a little safe and definitely a little optimistic with that pricing but overall it felt like they did enough to appease their core fans. The only real problem for them was the one or two awkward moments with sound issues which led to a bit of crowd participation and an increasingly tense-looking Battlefield 4 demonstration.
EA’s show was similarly safe and predictable. A performance poet – who really loved basketball – and appearances from that guy from Breaking Bad and Drake lent the afternoon some peculiarity but it was essentially everything I’d expected. Perhaps the one big surprise would have been the return of Mirror’s Edge but that was so heavily leaked and rumoured that it lacked a bit of impact. Still, at least the rumours seem to have been way off the mark and we get to play as Faith once again. Amusingly, the music they played as we filed out after that trailer was George Michael’s Faith.
We skipped Ubisoft, instead rushing back to the media lounge at the Convention Center, where we’d left Kris with my laptop and a semi-reliable internet connection with which to try to keep up with the excellent work done by our UK team.
We didn’t hang around long, however, heading off to Sony’s little parking lot party before their stage show kicked off. That was a bit weird but nice of them to give us some free beer and a range of food trucks to eat from while we milled about amongst various press and exhibitors, all the time wondering if the heat would kill me before I ever got to see the PlayStation 4.
The queuing system to get into Sony’s show was a shambles, borderline dangerous and totally in defiance of all reason. Basically, we were kettled, for what felt like a few days, before they filtered us through gates and into the arena.
Sony’s stage show itself was a little flat in patches and could have easily been half an hour shorter but they showed some awesome new gameplay footage, talked up their relationships with self-publishers and then dropped that pricing bomb on us before a slightly messy Destiny demonstration on stage.
Afterwards, we walked another seventeen miles looking for a taxi. The five or six cabs Sony had laid on from the venue all disappeared within seconds and never seemed like they were coming back. So we walked. And walked. Eventually, perplexed at just how difficult it is to find a taxi, we basically returned to the milling crowd again. and poached one of theirs.
And now it’s after midnight here and I’m probably going to be awake in three and a half hours so I’d better rush off to sleep. After all, tomorrow is a big day: I’m going to buy a hat.