E3 2011: Thunderbolt touches down in LA
The flight was long, dull, monotonous. The passenger next to me quiet, except when politely ordering his gin and two tonics. The films were crappy, the quality of the screen and the entertainment system equally so.
Los Angeles is hot, noisy and busy. Six, seven, eight lanes of traffic. The sun beats relentlessly. You cower in the shade as best you can, conveniently forgetting the now ridiculous decision to bring a jumper with you (just in case).
The convention centre is cavernous and quiet. The hallways too large for the few walking along them, like the pavements outside. Banners adorn every wall, each vying to outdo the next.
Security guards, who are doing a terrible job of stopping photos being taken, almost outnumber attendees. One walks up to a woman in line, telling her not to come further without appropriate footwear. Sandals and flip-flops are forbidden.
Journalists queue, first to get their E3 badges, then to collect their press conference passes. There’s confusion as the queue begins as one, then splits into three separate lines. Mild frustration sweeps through all but those at the front.
The media centre is open already. A grey-haired gentleman stands outside, guarding the free wireless internet. A few are inside, lounging on sofas with their scruffy facial hair and thick framed glasses. Others sit at tables and stools, checking their email and writing blog posts to those back home.
The excitement is understated, but present. E3 is almost upon us. Soon, the guarded doors and empty hallways will be full. Thousands of eager souls, hurrying to and from meetings, queueing, hurrying elsewhere and queueing again. We’ll be there and we can’t wait.