TSA Travel Diary 2014: The Show Begins

He didn’t die, folks! Teflon made it through the night and, like a majestic phoenix, rose from the ashes of his brush with a massive heart attack or trapped lung or whatever horrendous affliction has been causing him so much chest pain over the past few days. He’s not exactly better, in the sense that he still has the pain, but at least he got a little going over by a local doctor and we’ve been assured that he’s not going to die any time soon. Well, unless some of the suicidal stunt drivers who populate the roads of Los Angeles get him.

It’s difficult to overstate just how erratic the drivers of Los Angeles are. They swerve between lanes with all the predictability of a rugby ball bouncing down a flight of concrete stairs. That would be okay if there was only one car on the road but, in Los Angeles, everyone drives everywhere and they do it in the biggest cars, vans and trucks that they can afford. And if the drivers don’t get you, the skateboarders almost certainly will. The best way to avoid these dangers is to stay inside the bar and drink margaritas. It’s basically a health and safety issue.

Sorry, I should probably say something about videogames in one of these rambling travelogues. That is why we’re here, after all. So, E3 started today. I know we all think of E3 as the bit where big game companies stand on stage and show their latest shooting and driving games but the truth is that those things all happen the day before the show opens. E3 is actually an event, held within the Los Angeles Convention Center, in which all the major games companies compete to see who has the loudest speakers and most obnoxious sound mixes.

The cacophonous soundtracks are so desperate to drown each other out that they essentially become a single, incomprehensible scream. Every corner you turn around introduces you to another glowing wall of screens too. Sometimes it’s a bank of small screens and sometimes it’s just one huge screen, showing an endlessly looping advert for a game. The novelty wears off almost immediately. Don’t think your sense of smell is any safer, either. You’re essentially stuck in a hot room with 4,000 other people, many of whom seem to think personal hygiene is none of their concern. Their aroma is more offensive than a Roy Chubby Brown gig at a primary school.

Everyone has massive bags too. Some smart but ultimately evil individual came up with the idea to put their game adverts on the side of an oversized shoulder bag that could then be used by the clawing masses to store their armfuls of swag.

There’s something quite heartbreaking about seeing a 45 year old man with a bald spot and ponytail elbow a line of people in the kidneys just to get to the utterly disinterested woman handing out t shirts that will shrink to the size of a tea bag the first time they’re washed. The “swag” at E3 (and generally) is almost universally pointless, poorly made tat that you’ll never have any genuine use for, other than to set it on a shelf as a constant reminder of that time you sacrificed your dignity for 37 pence worth of shoddily painted plastic.

Today was our first with appointments. I saw Oddworld: New n Tasty, quite briefly. Then we went up to SCEE’s room and I played Far Cry 4. I’m sorry to report that it’s about to make all other games redundant. You see, today, I got to ride an elephant off a small cliff. The bar has been raised, videogames. We played Battlefield Hardline too. I rode a motorbike and stole some cash and got shot by unseen assailants quite often. I didn’t finish last though, so that was nice. I wish I could say that Battlefield Hardline was good but unfortunately there were no elephants in it so it’s already got ground to make up. From now on I can only, with clear conscience, endorse videogames with elephants in them.

Tonight (I don’t know what time it is at all. Or what day it is, really) I got to appear as a judge at the Pocket Gamer Big Indie Pitch. There’s a lot to say about that event and I’ll write something up about it as soon as I have a chance but for now it’s worth mentioning that I saw a very nice Vita game that I’d quite like to play right now and the other judges voted me down so it didn’t even win. Don’t worry though, I’m going to do lots of shouting about it as soon as I can.

Tomorrow I’m getting my first look at Morpheus and seeing everything Nintendo has to show us. I’m hoping they give me an Amiibo figurine, those things must be worth about 37 pence.

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9 Comments

  1. I’m still in love with the tapirs of FC3, I’ve got to admit. Is there maybe a preorder reward of being able to import animals from the previous game?

  2. Elephants is the thing now then is it?

    I await the inevitable endless discussions about how the XBone can only do 900 elephants while the PS4 can do a full 1080 elephants. And wildly differing opinions over whether it’s better to have 60 elephants per second, or if it might be better to have a more constant 30 really nice looking elephants per second.

    All very well saying you’ll only endorse games with elephants in from now on, but just think of the consequences. The internet’s default reaction to anything these days is “Yes, but…”, followed by 14 years of tedious, pointless arguments.

  3. I love these diaries. They provide a humorous and light-hearted look behind the gloss of TSA and travel to the perceived glamour of E3.

  4. Oh my god, what? You rode a digital version of an elephant off an imaginary cliff? I’m appalled! I’m never coming back to this site again, I donate money to elephant charities and the mere thought of this even possible in a video game makes me sick with anger, never mind the fact you actually went ahead and did this. I’m genuinely shocked by your brutality you utter bastard. This will be my last post. Ever.

    • Bye Tony.
      Thank you for organizing the FIFA tournament, much appreciated. I’ll see you around on PSN.

      Amdphlett.

    • To make up for Peter’s actions, I’ve sent you an elephant in the mail. Hope I put enough breathing holes in the jiffy bag. Ah, well. You can always make a nice chess set from what’s left over. :-P

  5. sounds like the home sickness is kicking in?

    Brilliantly written article though I was so engaged I spilt my coco-pops all down my top and I am in the office so I am gonna smell chocolaty all day, unless I put my sweaty gym t shirt back of course! …Sorry!

    Can’t wait to play a lot of the cool stuff announced this year and I am sooooooooo getting vita tv. When my misses wants to watch Holby off I can step merrily away to play my games upstairs :) Yay!

  6. Wonderfully desriptive travelogue – i can almost taste the air of the E3 booths! ;)

  7. Great write-up again, Peter. Best thing of E3 so far. Loving the travel diaries. :-)

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