E3 for the First Time, Day 1

Here’s the first part of a mini-travelogue I’d planned to write up, since this was my first time attending E3. This would’ve been up sooner, but I ran into some technical difficulties. Enjoy. More to come.

June 6th


Up early today, considering I don’t have to get on the train to the bay area. I packed last night so I’d have time to watch Microsoft’s press conference. Truth be told, I have absolutely zero interest in what they’re doing this year, but I’m being paid to to take a free trip to do research at a conference I’ve wanted to attend since I was twelve. It would probably be a bad idea to ignore what one of our biggest competitors has in store.

The stream starts, and like clockwork, my Comcast modem decides to take a shit on itself. I don’t have time for this. I wake my phone, activate the tethering app AT&T swears they can stop me from using, and the stream starts to buffer. I sit on the couch, arms crossed, ready to be wowed but expecting disappointment.

The word is Kinect this year, apparently. Kinect Mass Effect. Kinect Fable. Kinect Bing Search. I pick up my phone and hammer out a quick email to my boss about this last one. The phone is hot from tethering. I eye the cable modem under my TV.

Connect, I tell it. Connect. The modem lights up, slave to the force of my mind. Appropriately, they’re about to demo Kinect Star Wars. I switch my laptop back to my home network, the stream buffers for a few seconds, and I watch nonplussed as some bro-looking guy jumps up and down in front of a giant TV, while a Skywalker-esque effortlessly cuts through battle droids with his light saber. I wonder if the whole game is going to be on rails, or if Kinect can translate steps into in-game movement. The connection goes out again. After a few minutes I give up on the modem and plop back down on the couch. I wake my phone and click the GameTrailers icon on the homescreen. A 42-inch screen is better than a 2-inch screen, sure, but only when it works.


Scarfing down a CBLT pizza from the CPK at SMF. Because apparently the first thing their cook thinks of when someone asks for a BLT is Canadian bacon.


I hate LA. It sucks hard, and here’s some anecdotal evidence.

I’ve never flown to LA before, so I’ve never been to LAX. So when I saw a vaguely line-shaped group of 6 or 7 people bunched around the taxi stall at the front of the airport, I didn’t realize there was actually a line forming. And of course, the guy at the front of the line – whom I deposited myself right next to, under the “wait here” sign – didn’t bother telling me there was a line until the first taxi showed up, ten minutes later, and the line was three times as long as it had been.  Apologizing, and resenting his discourtesy, I got into the back of the line, which had swollen to about 40 people by this point.

About 5 minutes after I deposited myself into the right end of the line, the 4 foot tall, Gucchi glasses wearing woman who’d been waiting quietly behind me gave me the most condescending look I’ve ever seen. She lowered her glasses.

“You know you cut me in line, right?”

“Actually, no,” I said. “I didn’t.”

“Yes, you did,” she said. “You fucking cut me in line.”

There’s no point in continuing the exchange, except to say that it went on for another 15 minutes, until I got in a cab and had to put up, not for the last time, with a cabbie berating me for not paying with cash.

LA sucks. Hard.


Hanging out at the Subway across the street from the Memorial Sports Arena, where Sony’s press conference is. My co-worker/employee/fellow traveller, who arrived the day before and has some more legit press credentials as he also writes for the SF Bay Guardian, is inside the conference, no doubt having a blast. I’m still watching press conferences on a 2 inch screen, via streams that only occasionally work.


Peter and I just got back from the hotel bar. Horrible burger + Jack Daniels + Nintendo Press Conference check-in at 7:15 tomorrow means I’m getting up at 5. Which means I’m going to bed NOW…at least, if the awkwardness of sleeping in a hotel room with my employee doesn’t keep me awake for the next several hours.

I miss DeeDee.

About The Author

Michael Burns is the Founder and Executive Editor of Invisible Gamer. Between custodianship of this site and contributing work for sites like IGN and 1UP, he spends entirely too much time thinking about video games – especially old ones. A migrant to New York City from northern California, Michael can often be found under a tree in Prospect Park, Brooklyn, thinking "big thoughts" and generally just loving life. Find him elsewhere on the web at the links below.