We weren’t originally planning on going to the new E3. When we heard about the first round of invites going out, and where they ended up, we figured we didn’t fit the ESA’s particular bill – we weren’t a gigantic review/preview site, but we were too critical to fall under the fansite umbrella. I was pretty bummed: I’d been on a two-show streak, I don’t hate LA as much as the rest of the sentient world, and I was damn curious about this new, quiet, booth babe-free show. But I’d resolved myself to the role of a sideline reporter. And then came the second wave of invites, and surprise, surprise, my name was on the list.
And off I went on an Airbus A321 across the continent, feeling like I did at my first E3 half a decade ago. What was it gonna be like? (Similar to the previous ones, but different.) Did I have too many appointments? (Yes.) What was the deal with this Barker Hangar thing, and was it really 45 minutes away? (No, it was only 30 minutes away. This was just the tip of New E3’s bad-planning iceberg.)
New E3 actually was different from the ones before it. Most notably, my ears weren’t ringing until I made my fateful trip to the Barker Hangar. Rather than navigating the LA convention center, I had to endure the terrible hardship of strolling Ocean Avenue, the last street before you hit the Pacific Ocean, to the tune of about four miles a day. In fact, the most unpleasant encounter I had was with the LAPD, who yelled at me to stop jaywalking.
But really, the differences had little to do with games or the way they were presented. The graft was still there, even if it had a more official veneer. If anything, the invite-only aspect of the show just meant the presenters could spend more on each reporter and still save money. Aside from the legendary parties, I walked away with an iPod, a gigabyte’s worth of removable media and innumerable T-shirts and beta invites. And while that certainly won’t affect what I write about anyone, when the value of the swag goes up, so does the number of reporters who have to question their integrity.
Which brings us to the topic of this week’s issue, “Good Night and Good Luck,” wherein we turn our critical eye on the gaming press. We examine both the good and bad points of game journalism, and we try to do so honestly, which may in fact be the hardest thing to do when looking in the mirror, even if your job is to tell the truth every day. Our very own Russ Pitts takes a look at game reviews and their real effect on the landscape. Sanya “Tweety” Weathers tells her personal story, beginning in the niche press and ending up wrangling a community of 100,000. Pat Miller reviews the changes he’s seen in game journalism over his eight-year career. Ryan Shwayder speaks thoroughly on the dirty business of getting articles to print. And Troy Goodfellow tackles “future bias,” and explains how it’s so detrimental.
I certainly hope you enjoy it.