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BH is reporting now from the Hotel Wilshire, Room 207, graciously donated for his use by the fine folks at Wikia, who in his esteemed opinion are the greatest company on all the Internets. (If you're questioning my bias there, they did just buy me dinner... and pretty much everything else.) Been a lovely vacation so far, met great people, had a fantastic burger, had some lovely kelp and avocado scrambled eggs. Everything is going fine in the sunny city of Los Angeles - that is when the sun manages to creep through the fog. Press passes are acquired, much of the week is already planned out.
Now, the first day of E3 has come and gone. Ironically despite having spent most of the day inside the LA Convention Center, I was unable to actually see much of what went on. Other Wiki Admins and Wikia Gaming employees were able to attend those. The only event I was scheduled for today was the Sony Press Conference, taking place within a Los Angeles sports arena several miles away from the main E3 floor. So unfortunately I don't have any Nintendo news to report today. But let's review what I did see:
Stepping into the zone of Sony's Conference, one would assume that the console wars had already been won. Beer, wine, and food flowed freely as journalists, game designers, men in business suits, and random fans all gathered together for one moment, buzzing together in glee. I could imagine Kazuo Hirai suddenly locking lips with a random nurse in Times Square, having vanquished his foe, Microsoft. Every Conference must have it's own wild buzz going through the crowd, but I felt like there was something especially electric out in Sonyland today. This Conference was not going to argue the validity of the PS4, because that argument has already been made and won. Just look at the sales and you would no longer need to wonder why Sony is willing to pour Heineken into the glasses of any journalist who wants a buzz before the show starts.
Moving within the Conference, one is struck by how this is probably the most reported-upon event in the entire world. Entire arrays of laptop-bound reporters lie on each side of the arena. Dozens of websites are represented from around the globe. From the most obscure little fan blog to the mightiest of gaming journalism industry, anybody who wants a piece of the action is in this room right now, making their judgements. Tweets, facebook comments, instagrams, photos, six different streams float by, texts, and live blogging. If the loads of data being generated by the Sony conference could actually be seen by the naked eye, it would appear that a raging inferno of electromagnetic radiation had exploded in the middle of Los Angeles. The explosion then transforms into a massive spider of telecommunications reached out in all directions, spreading across the entire planet, sweeping us all in seething universe of gaming information. This report is just the smallest limb of that beast. I took the quixotic approach of leaving all my Internet devises in the hotel room, just to focus on the moment of Sony's report. But "living in the moment" is a strangely linear view of time when you're sitting in a room filled with people whose comments, messages, and snide jokes will last for all eternity on their small share of the Internet. I felt out of sorts, behind the times, with nothing more to record Sony's exploits than my own memory and a write-up to make when I got back to my temporary home.
Anyway, the actual substance of Sony's conference was more or less exactly what I expected. The only huge surprise came at the very end when Sony pulled out the rug to reveal Uncharted 4. But still, it is hard to keep up a cynical front when the world's largest LCD screen is wrapping itself around you, as huge intricately-crafted digital faces invite you on their adventures, and when you know the Metal Gear Solid 5 trailer is coming right around the corner. I found myself blown completely away by the trailer for Destiny, a game I personally had no interest in beyond curiosity. Even The Order: 1886 managed to knock me back, despite my rather certain knowledge that the game will ultimately be generic rubbish. Sony's conference began strong, with mighty trailer after might trailer.
Unfortunately, by the middle section, there was slightly too much discussion of hardware, slightly too many strange Indie titles on display. A sense of boredom seemed to fall into the crowd, which was unfortunately, as Sony's grand plan for revolutionizing games actually is rather speaking my language. This concept of PlayStation Now seems to be a brilliant step towards the world's first video game Netflix, a dream I have championed before on my blog. Microsoft sadly is the company of the AAA, and it seems to be only that brand of game. Only one tone. Sony is the company for everything, with games stretching from weird Indie magical adventures like Azbu, a gorgeous game from the makers of Journey about a girl swimming in the ocean, to No Man's Sky, a procedurally-generated work of art about spacemen flying around dinosaur planets, to what seemed like an endless series of zombie games. You have to respect a company that will throw out strange Indie titles out and center for the world to see, when that space easily could have been used for sure-fire billion dollar hits. I still want Nintendo to win the war, but with Sony doing so well and knowing exactly how to position themselves as the finest and most gamer-friendly company, it is going to be hard. How can you possibly not like the idea of DLC being available to people who haven't bought the main game, or co-op modes open to people who haven't bought anything at all yet? That is real innovation, and next year, I think Sony will be able to afford better beer for their garden party.
But if there was any moment that truly meant anything to me, it was the final collection of trailers. Yes, Far Cry 4 is awesome-looking in the Conference as it seemed online. I've never played a Far Cry game before, and if E3 is anything it is a mechanism to make you want to spend the rest of your year stuck behind a video screen just playing games. Every game. All the games. Just look how pretty they all are! But if there are games I want to play, they're: Batman: Arkham Knight and Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. In some way, the trailers are mirrors for each other, one being a strange music video concept of mood and intention, and the other being just pure gameplay action. Batman launching himself 100 miles per hour might be amazing, but in some ways I think it's matched by the raw emotional torment of Snake in his latest struggle for meaning in the world. If E3 is a way to rattle money out of consumer's pockets above all else, I'd say this year is already a huge success.
Now that was Day 1 of my E3 adventure. Tomorrow night I'll be able to bring you a closer report on the actual convention itself. Hopefully instead of merely watching games, I can play a few as well. I know for certain I'll be attending Nintendo's Smash Tournament, so big things are coming. Stay tuned, thanks for reading.