GDC 10 Diary: Day 3 (Part 2)

Nothing builds an appetite like humiliation, so I decided after the appointment, to head back to the Grove and see if their food was as good as their coffee. The place was packed and so I was lucky to find a miniscule table in the upstairs section to eat and check my email. I set up my netbook and tried to use their “free” WiFi, only to find that I needed a code to connect. I stopped a passing busboy and asked him how I could get the code. He looked dully at me through half-closed eyes and barked, “How much you spen’?” The look of confusion on my face must have irked him because he repeated, this time making no effort to disguise his impatience with my obvious idiocy. “HOW…MUCH…YOU…SPEN’?!”

“How much did I spend? Oh! Um…$14.”

At that he swung around and clumped Shrek-like down the stairs, leaving me to wonder if my answer was satisfactory. He came back in a couple of minutes with a printed receipt with a WiFi code on it and a time limit. Apparently, all $14 gets you at The Grove is half an hour of internet time. I knew I should’ve gone to Jollibee.

Post-lunch, I ran into one of my editors at an appointment and we cabbed it to the Sony Press Event. Waiting in the totally disorganized line to sign in, I had flashbacks of last year’s E3 where Ubisoft had us waiting outside in the sticky heat for 90 minutes to get our “invite only” badges. I was reminded even more of that event when Sony, realizing they were seconds away from start time, finally just started waving everyone in without checking anyone’s invite. I guess that’s the key to crashing any exclusive event; if you wait long enough, the staff will get overwhelmed, standards will drop, and everyone guarding the door will finally say, “Fuck it.”

By then I was looking forward to a restorative, so I made a beeline for the bar, then settled in at a rickety standing club table. Sony did their deal, promoting their new Playstation Move controller and its associated games, and when the presentation ended, waiters went around clearing tables—and I mean really clearing them. I had a half-full beer standing two inches from my hand and a waiter just snatched it away from me. San Francisco must have some kind of inexplicable food serving laws that only allowed Sony to serve in the left half of the room for so long because after swiping the beers from our hands and the peanuts from our mouths, they herded us into the right half of the room only to once again, begin serving drinks.
My impression of the PS Move controller is that it’s more accurate than the Wii controller, if much goofier looking with what looks like a light-up clown nose (honk!) stuck right on top. The games being developed for the controller are so far uncompelling, but the potential is definitely there. I’m holding out though, for the day every interface functions the way it did on Minority Report.

After the event, I grabbed a light dinner at Buca di Beppo (“light” at BdB being two bowls of pasta big enough to wallow in) with my editor and then grabbed a cab to the Presidio to the Disney Interactive Reception at the Walt Disney Family Museum. (Here was where my heart would be mildly shattered, although I didn’t know it yet.) I was beat, but pushed myself to attend the event because I’d always wanted to see the museum, and hadn’t managed to before we left San Francisco. I figured we’d be able to see the museum at the reception and was crushed when I got there and saw that while the lobby was open, the museum doors were all closed and seemingly locked down.

It was very disappointing since I’d just spent $20 on a cab to get uptown, and didn’t want to do it again right away or be rude enough to ask the Disney staff for a shuttle five minutes after arriving. I walked around looking at the many Oscars and other awards Walt Disney had won over the years, and then hid in a corner writing. Hey—as Ke$ha says, “The party don’t start till I walk in”.
At least the Disney bathroom was fun.

A couple of friends found me in my dark corner and so I actually socialized for a bit, but when it felt like I’d spent enough time at the party to avoid being rude, I jumped the first shuttle. On the shuttle, other people were complaining the way I was, that we hadn’t gotten to see the museum and it just baffled me that they’d hold the reception there, then not let people take advantage of it. My mood only got worse when the day was capped off having to listen to the slurry conversation of some drunk guy on the phone behind me.

“Courtney WHO?” (pause)
“Courtney LOVE? Courtney who?”
“Hey, are you watching Cougar Town? Don’t tell me – no spoilers of Cougar Town!”

“WHOA…we’re going through a tunnel! We’re going through an all-white tunnel! Can you hear me? It’s like Space Odyssey. Hey, do you think think the ending of that is like, a montage, or like, he’s really old and seeing himself?”

“Hey, so-and-so (??) called me and wanted to know what happened to Corey Haim? Huh, if it was high priority, I’d have been back in L.A. I mean, it’s Corey Haim, not Michael Jackson.”

“Nah, they weren’t showing any games or anything. Disney party was weird – it was like, ‘Come in and drink booze by Disney’s Oscars.’ It was weird.”

My relief upon getting out at Moscone and taking a cab back to my hotel (in a cab blaring Steely Dan’s greatest hits) cannot be exaggerated. Corey Haim…RIP little Lost Boy.

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