This year, Untold Entertainment will NOT be covering the Game Developers’ Conference in San Francisco. We will NOT bring you all the highlights and up-to-the-minute news, and we are NOT your best source for the latest in video game interviews and announcements.
i’ve pulled double-duty at every conference i’ve attended, being both a delegate and a member of the press for an online kids’ gaming magazine. This commitment has seen me hauling a one-man arsenal of recording equipment across gaping conference halls, eating bag lunches on the floor near electrical outlets to recharge my batteries, and experiencing everything through the limiting lens of a video camera.
i’m a nervous traveller – one of these types who has trouble juggling his passport, plane tickets and doffed shoes at airport security. i could do without having to futz with camera bags and headphone cables everywhere i go. i remember one year at E3, i was with a small group of reporters interviewing Peter Moore, then marketing manager for Microsoft’s XBox. i couldn’t take interview notes to save my life, so i’d brought along a mini-disc recorder. After playing cat’s cradle with the tangle of microphone cords, i finally wrangled the little omni-mic onto the table and started the interview. The recorder issued a “Battery Totally Dead” beep before i could slip it into my pocket and pretend that everything was okay.
One of the other journalists called my bluff. “i don’t think that thing’s recording,” he said. “Sure it is.” He looked doubtful. “How come the LED on the mic isn’t lit?” “i uh … i turned it off.”
“There’s an independant toggle switch for the power LED?” The chinks in my armour were starting to show.
The interviewee’s time was short, so we started into it. And all the while, i pretended stubbornly that the recorder was working, not fooling anyone.
Another time, i managed to get pro skater Tony Hawk to give a quick shout-out to my camera. i was ecstatic! When i reviewed the footage later, i saw one long shot of my shoes. The camera panned up to Hawk’s face. There was a cut. Then Tony Hawk disappeared into a crowd of handlers and hangers-on.
Later in the show, i was nearly murdered by a very large bodyguard who didn’t want me taking any footage of the back of Steven Spielberg’s head. i quickly calculated that my grainy footage of Spielberg’s yarmulke wasn’t worth a cracked spine, so i put the camera away. But i still used the half-second of footage i caught before chickening out in my final piece!
So this year, with my ties to the press voluntarily severed, i head off to San Francisco a free man. The Matt Cassamassinas of the world can lose their hair over live-blogging the minutiae of every keynote address. i, for one, am going to kick back and relax. i’ll meet a few people, learn a few things, and leisurely report back with my findings when it suits me.
i do, however, promise to report on which employees of your favourite Canadian media companies pick up underaged strippers and take them to night clubs that hand out free Ecstasy at the door. True. i had heard stories of the wily things men get up to when they’re away at conferences, but i thought these tales were artifacts from the 1970s.
No, friends. Male chauvinism and philandering is alive and well, and in full effect at shows like GDC. The carrying-on i witnessed at GDC 07 has helped to steer and shape my business decisions over the past year.