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In 2000 or thereabouts, I was working at a website (running an e-zine, posting news, etc) that covered and supported part of the modding community for Star Wars games (back in the day we were NICHE). We modded, we wrote about modding (we called it ‘editing’), we made fun of other sites that did the same thing. Our color scheme was ghastly (though to this day whenever I’ve got to customize my armor or pick team colors, they’re there as accents). It was a solid community (maybe a little too hostile towards outsiders, looking back). I still talk to a lot of those guys today.
That year some of the guys had been putting together a loose network of gaming sites and had managed to score some ad support. As I remember it, all the ads were for ad network itself – at the time, it didn’t exactly seem like a business plan, but, you know, dotcom boom.
So this company, who is still around today (I wouldn’t have taken that bet), but at the time was supporting a network of banner ads that no one appeared to want to buy, provided several of their news affiliates with tickets to attend E3 that year. I, being in my senior year of high school (CLASS OF 2000!) and having no money, was unable to go. I was bummed.
Over the next near-decade, my interest in games waned. When they announced that E3 2006 would be the last for the show, I wasn’t too concerned. At some point it had changed from being an event I wanted to attend but couldn’t to one I could attend but didn’t want to.
Even in late 2008, when E3 was back and I had started getting into games more intently than I ever had before, I still had little interest in attending E3. A day’s pass, a friend’s floor, cheap flights, and two vacation days that I had to take by the end of June 2009 changed that.
I flew out of Pittsburgh on Tuesday night at 6PM EST, stayed out eating kickass Mexican food with friends until 1AM PST, slept on a floor, walked around the convention center (and to Chinatown, which my guide insisted was not very far away but, in fact, was), and then eventually caught a red-eye out of John Wayne back to Pittsburgh. Total time spent out of the city: 36 hours.
Having only a day and no press connections whatsoever, I knew my chances of seeing anything I really wanted to see were slim to none. I could have hit up the indie games, but jet lag and four hours of floor-sleep didn’t exactly help my social anxiety. Conversation was out. That left observation – and so photography it was.
I wanted to do something different than your usual cosplayers and booth babes and product photos. I wanted to capture the feeling of the convention itself – the things going on around the screens rather than on the screens. If I snapped a picture of you and you’re unhappy with it, I’m sorry. If you’re the guy in the one photo who is scowling at me, thanks for not punching me in the face.
My only costume photo, a red dragon .
This post is just highlights – full slideshow’s available here.
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