This article originally appeared on VICE UK.
Video game publishers, developers, journalists, and apologists are gathering in Los Angeles, right now, for this year's E3 trade show, a week of big announcements that will be watched around the world by the eager gaming masses.
But before any games are played come the press conferences, available to watch on any number of streaming platforms, screens embedded in the articles of countless enthusiast websites. If watching events unfold live and unfiltered isn't your thing however, we'll be here to take you through all the action literally minutes after it happens using the archaic format of actual words.
Join us back here at 5 PM, when the action begins.
16:55: This is your five-minute warning, guys. Grab a drink, take a shit, and ready your bodies. The fun is about to begin with the first press conference of this year's E3.
16:59:55: AND HERE WE GO!
17:02: Or, not. Sorry. There's a slight delay in LA. There are rumblings that the postponement is due to rampant homophobia in the Twitch stream comments. We'd verify that but the Wi-Fi here is terrible and we can't risk losing this single bar that's powering our liveblog.
17:06: Pitbull gives way to Imagine Dragons as the pre-show music playlist enters its sixth cycle. The audience is looking restless, and we're sure this soundtrack isn't helping. It's not exactly brown-note fare, but not far from it judging by all the shifting in seats we can see from here.
17:12: AND HERE WE GO! For real, this time. The lights dim, ushering in a big-screen montage of recycled footage from games you already know about. There are some actors pretending to be gamers, talking about how much they love graphics, action, and white dudes with guns. "GAMES ARE PROPER GOOD LIKE," reads the video's emphatic closing slogan as the company's CEO strides onto the stage beaming like a man that's about to marry his daughter into money, only his daughter is video games and it's our money he intends to make his own.
17:17: Wearing a sports jacket, he gesticulates wildly as he welcomes us to E3. He's promising a great show full of surprises and "a wide variety of titles that showcase the breadth and depth of what video games can be."
17:18: This year's Annual First-Person Shooter is up first, with a gameplay footage premiere so intense it's likely to turn even the staunchest SJW a shade of murderous, mainstream-gaming red.
17:23: The game's Creative Director is walking us through the earliest mission with the best lighting effects, moving slower than any player actually would to ensure we take in the detailed but blandly designed environment. He mutters something about frames per second. This game definitely has some of those.
17:31: The screen is awash with blood and gargled death as the player stabs a bunch of dudes in the neck during a forced stealth section. This seamlessly gives way to a cutscene in which a supporting character gets uncomfortably close to the screen, presumably in the hope that we notice his magnificently rendered pores. True enough, some people in the audience are making notes. No, wait. The letters are too big for regular I'll-need-to-refer-to-this-later use.
17:34: A violent firefight breaks out. Characters are screaming obscenities over deafening gunfire as the player throws a grenade far enough away to be out of the blast radius but close enough to make sure everyone can see the death animations. The demo ends with a turret section and a dramatic cliff-hanger.
17:36: This-console-exclusive maps, weapons, pre-order bonuses, characters, storylines, and control schemes are announced, prior to the confirmation of the same release date as every other game in the series, like this is some sort of incredible news.
17:38: He exits stage left as we fade into some suspiciously impressive gameplay footage that could be from anything but is in fact from that exclusive announced at the end of last year's show. Scattered whooping from the crowd as most are left wondering whether what we saw is actually gameplay or another bloody Colonial Marines incident.
17:40: Twitter says the latter. And Twitter is angry.
17:47: The company's Head of Worldwide Number-Fluffing struts out with a remote we fear controls a graph-filled presentation.
17:47:36: It does.
17:59: We've now had over ten minutes of pie charts about subscribers, brand partnerships, and first-party sales figures. Members of the audience, several rows back, are now facing the most distant cameras in the auditorium, which we believe are feeding this footage directly into the homes of by now surely bored-to-tears viewers, and holding up their notepads. "P L E A S E K I L L M E," they read, left to right, a single capital letter on each page. Oh, very droll, and conveniently coincidental given that Colonial Marines comment of 17:38.
17:59:51: Wait, there's movement. "But these graphs aren't real reason I'm here on stage today," our fluffer begins. "Our console has been a big success. You know it, our competitors know it, and my bank balance certainly knows it. I'm here today to make an unprecedented announcement, one that spoken words alone can't do justice."
18:00: Gaggles of presumably hired goons planted throughout the theatre burst into tepid applause as he drops his trousers to reveal the words "45 MILLION UNITS SOLD" tattooed across his pubic area and "WORLdwide" scrawled along the shaft of what we can only call his penis. Had they got a bigger man along, perhaps the whole message could have been in capitals. He leaves the stage, hands raised, waddling with his pants around his ankles. That wasn't quite the kind of big reveal we were expecting.
18:05: Next up is a sizzle reel of indie games exclusive to our presenting party's platform. Dozens of titles whizz by in a matter of seconds, almost like nobody with the money here gives a single shit about them. It's tough to keep track of them all, honestly, especially given at least a couple will ultimately get dropped before a Kickstarter campaign picks them up again, only to fall short of its goal, and leave the two guys behind the game penniless, as is the fate awaiting so many an indie dev; but we did see one game that looked like a wholly clichéd Tim Burton nightmare, something all in black and white that's probably awash with symbolism, and what might have been a new Oddworld.
18:08: The co-directors of tiny indie studio Adjective Entertainment step nervously onto the stage to talk about their new game TEAR, in which you control the tears running down a child's face. They explain to the crowd that the kid is crying because her mother wants to live on the Moon but can't because she's vegan. Or something to that effect. Okay, okay—I popped away from proceedings for 30 seconds to grab a Mountain Dew, I'm sorry. It won't happen again. I did catch that TEAR is a timed exclusive, though, after which it's also coming to Ouya. So look out for that, you, the one person who bought an Ouya.
18:13: Peter Moore walks on, dumps a pile of this year's EA Sports titles on the floor and leaves. As he departs, on comes an executive sort wearing a blazer over a Bubsy T-shirt. Remember Bubsy? Nor do most of those assembled, who exchange confused glances as the chap says something about the revival of a much-cherished franchise that's been left in the shadows for too long.
18:16: Anticipation is building, but nothing of actual substance has yet spilled forth from the mouth of this guy. He talks about "visceral and emotional emergi-tech." I'd look up what that meant, but I fear wasting my life on that kind of thing will only come to depress me in later years.
18:23: Wait. The lights are dimming. A trailer is starting.
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18:24: We hear dialogue over a black screen: "The present... What is the present, anyway? The future is ours, defined by our past, our actions and our mistakes. We live, we die, and we do what we can to shape the world we live in."
18:25: A CGI figure emerges from the darkness and shuffles off toward a colorful world. A logo appears.
18:25:37: The rumors were true. VIVA PIÑATA 3 CONFIRMED!
18:30: The blazer-wearer reappears, clapping his own work, and tells us the game will be released "whenever it's fucking ready."
18:31: He leaves to further whooping as the audience prepares to head outside for five minutes of the LA sun they'll see so little of in the coming days. The CEO half-jogs back onto the stage: "That's our show, thanks everybody! Have a great week." He says something else, although perhaps it's more of a cackle, but Avicii's "The Nights" drowns him out. It's the only time in living memory anyone is happy to hear this shitty fusion of house and whatever the fuck else is going on oh god just make it stop.
18:32: And that's it! Thanks for joining us, and be sure to read our 20-odd stories recapping today's events in unnecessarily thorough detail given you can just watch the entire conference back on YouTube in... right now, actually. Twitter is calling the past hour and a half "a waste of time" and saying things like "srsly guys turn down the suck." I have no comment to add to those, save a question: where's the nearest free bar?
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