I’d really love to be able to embed a YouTube video at the top of this post that charts the swift unbalancing of our estimable editor from his seat atop a robotic bovine but unfortunately, he has no sense of adventure [After travelling for twenty hours, who does? – Ed.]. Blair wouldn’t ride the mechanical bull.
Saddle Ranch on Sunset Boulevard is a fantastic bar in the achingly urbane area of West Hollywood. It has a rodeo theme, with cowboy hats and week rock music. It’s great if you’re hungry too, serving all sorts of lumps of various types of animal. The real highlight though, is the mechanical bull and the procession of idiots who risk their dignity by sitting astride it.
Bull riders seem to consist of two types of person: the ultra competitive man who has refined his technique, flexed his biceps and must now prove his masculine worth to the room or the giggling woman who is wearing wholly inappropriate clothing for the purposes of bull riding. The former is swiftly ejected from his seat while the latter is usually more teasingly jiggled and jolted by the operator as a crowd of men leer at her undulating flesh and the female onlookers judge her and make assumptions about her promiscuity.
What I wanted, of course, was to see him violently faceplant into the soft flooring after a spinning, bucking few seconds in which his dinner made a rapid and forceful reappearance. But Blair wouldn’t ride the bull. I’m sorry, he just doesn’t love you as much as I do. I don’t know how he sleeps at night. Actually, I do because he was asleep almost immediately when we got in and he didn’t wake up for seven hours. Teflon and I both got about five hours of regularly broken sleep before just accepting that continued attempts were futile and getting ready for the Microsoft press briefing.
If all of this sounds like bullying then please understand that he got his own back. After 27 hours awake, an evening of premium tequila and a large dinner, I was finally settling into a nice deep sleep – in spite of his gentle snoring from the bed on the other side of the room – when he let out a cacophonous fart that jolted me out of my sleep. I don’t know how it didn’t wake him up. All of the birds in Southern Los Angeles took simultaneous flight. I’m pretty sure it set off several car alarms outside.
After some tedious queuing and the application of a strange rubber wristband, we took our seats and settled down to watch a relatively impressive show from Microsoft that I thought peaked with the Sunset Overdrive trailer. They made good on their promise to make it all about the games, even if four of them were those Halo games everyone has already played.
From there, Teflon went to watch the EA conference while Blair and I returned to the Convention Center. Blair went to try and stream the show and help with news while I waited for a meeting and talked to a nutcase. He’d driven seven hours to arrive at E3 with no method of gaining entry to the show, other than offering his services as a security guard or manual labourer. When the security team asked him to leave the property, he decided to offer TSA his services as a cameraman and scriptwriter. Unfortunately, we had no openings.
With no invitations to the Ubisoft press conference, we had time to nip over to Target and do a spot of electronics shopping before getting ready for Sony’s pre-show party in the car park outside their venue. This is an odd mix of press, developers and business types, standing around a dreadful DJ, eating mini food from tents pitched all around the periphery. It is also held in the ridiculous heat of LA so I got sunburned while drinking beer with a wedge of orange in it.
Sony’s show had a few high points like the No Man’s Sky trailer and the announcement of LittleBigPlanet 3, even if the demo was a bit of a mess. Generally, though, it felt a little bit flat. The situation was not helped by the fact that we managed to get seats directly in front of a group of whooping buffoons who loudly celebrated every minor announcement and quite obviously didn’t know what they were talking about.
Our hotel isn’t in such a seedy area this year, we can actually walk around outside without the dread of an impending stabbing [At least before 11pm – Ed.]. That’s a good thing, primarily because it means that we feel relatively safe making regular excursions to sample one of the fast food places around us. There is every kind of fast food place you can think of within easy walking distance and it feels rude not to have a good go at trying them all. This evening, we ate at a place called Carl’s Jr that was basically like McDonalds but they put bacon on your fries and the serving staff don’t even try to feign enthusiasm.
It seems to have finally pushed Teflon over the edge. He’s had a pain in his chest since the day we flew out and the liberal application of Advil seems to be having little effect so, as I write this, he’s gone off into the night with Blair to seek medical assistance and make sure he’s not going to expire imminently. Don’t worry though, he’s got travel insurance that covers up to $10 million in healthcare. Thanks, Obama!
And that was day 1 of our E3 experience. We’ll be back soon with another instalment, and to let you know Teflon’s prognosis.