It had been a turbulent week, to be sure, but I had an air of self-determination. I had gotten myself to this point and I was going to make damn sure I had a good time. You see, while Mecca might be half way around the world, mine was in Southern California over the next three days.
All my life I had read about it, soaking in every detail about my favorite hobby and all the news pouring out of the LA Convention center. I suppose my fascination with the Electronic Entertainment Expo (or E3, gaming’s biggest industry convention) started in July of 1997. I was 9 years old and my mom and I were at the grocery store, picking up supplies for a long week of house boating. The check out stand approached us and my eyes glanced a copy of Nintendo Power magazine. I was an avid reader of the magazine at the library were new and old copies mixed in a box like clothing in the wash, and each issue felt the wear of the countless readers they had every day. I had never owned my own, until that day.
On the cover was a game I had never heard of before, but couldn’t wait to learn more about. Star Fox 64 made a small impression at first, but has now become one of my favorite games of all time. Maybe its humble beginnings have brought it to such status, but I digress.
Inside that issue, wrinkled, folded, and read 1000 times over, there were details of something else I had never heard of. To my 9 year old brain, nothing could be cooler than a huge exhibition of video games, new ones, that no one had ever played before. How could I be there? How could I take part in that? I wondered to myself, told everyone I knew, and waited patiently for the next year’s E3, and its mountains of news and previews about video games people had never heard of before.
About a year ago, I would have been reluctant to believe you if you told me that I would be attending E3 2009. Time makes fools of us all and I am no exception. I began contributing a weekly column on video games to a blog in the late fall of 2008. When media registration began for E3 in the spring, I sulked and squandered any possibilities, “You write for peanuts! A volunteer column does not a freelance journalist make.”
Looking back, I don’t know why I told myself not to try, because once I did, I found the entire process much easier than I could have ever imagined. I’ve had this dream of being a member of the enthusiast press for some time now. I can’t imagine anything better than playing and writing about video games for a living. Nothing made me feel surer of myself than stepping on to the floor of the LA Convention Center for the first time.
Mecca did exist. There were so many lights, sounds, and games to take in. People were walking, watching, playing, talking, and I couldn’t possibly take in everything at once, but God knows I tried.
Three days later, my feet were tired, my legs were tired, and even my thumbs were tired. The 9 year old inside me died and went to heaven.