Another first event means another introspective article about how things went and what I learned. This time, we’re talking about Playstation Experience. This year had a lot of firsts (E3, local press events, and game preview events), so it makes sense to close the year out with one more major conference. As a Playstation man since the PS1 era, Playstation Experience greatly appealed to me, especially with so many big games on the horizon. So after some airport misadventures (pro-tip: don’t get detained), I set off for Anaheim, the land of the formerly Mighty Ducks and probably other stuff too.
After landing, going to the famed “In N Out”, and checking out the amazing Final Fantasy Art Gallery, Will and I set off to meet up with Austin at our hotel. The Playstation Keynote was that night, so we picked up our credentials, grabbed some drinks, and headed into the auditorium to see what Sony had cooking. The keynote was a lot of fun overall, as we got to see a lot of iconic members of the game industry (Hideo Kojima, Andrew House, Mark Cerny, etc.) on-stage. Greg Miller’s interview with Shawn Layden was fascinating, as we got a lot of new, more personal information about Playstation and its plans for the future. Sure, I’m partially biased because Greg and his work at IGN were the biggest inspiration for me to enter this industry, but hey, my article, my rules.
After filming some terrible videos that will surely go live soon, we crashed in preparation for the biggest day of PSX. We had appointments with a lot of games that morning, so after a moderately nutritious hotel breakfast, we left to see what PSX had to offer. Throughout the day we played games like Way of the Passive Fist, Guacamelee! 2, Kingdom Come: Deliverance, Mulaka, and Detroit: Become Human. We talked to devs, collected PSX cards, and had an overall productive and incredibly fun day. We went to what was described as a “hipster food court”, where I had amazing sushi and got to hear a teenage band unironically play “Wonderwall”, which was obviously pure bliss. Oh and I got to watch Toonami, that was cool.
On Sunday we decided to explore a bit more, as we didn’t have many appointments. I got to try chicken and waffles, which was a fascinating and curiously delicious combo, especially when followed up with a couple cups of coffee. I tried the Shadow of the Colossus remake, checked out the Capcom Cup, played Street Fighter V Arcade Edition and Monster Hunter World, and even met Greg Miller on the showfloor (he’s an incredibly swell guy). We closed out PSX by going to Taco Bell, where an insane lady filled her garbage-packed stroller with large drinks and a number of Bibles, which according to Austin, is part of the Taco Bell experience. Truly, America is a fascinating place to a naive Canadian like me.
With PSX over, the last thing on the docket before going home was attending a Life is Strange press event, hosted by Square Enix. I’m not a huge fan of the game itself, but I was excited to give Before the Storm’s finale a try, and really, how could I turn down an invitation to see the wonderful people at Square Enix after my amazing time in Vegas? Will and I headed to Hollywood beforehand, where I got to see the Walk of Fame, the Chinese Theater, and a bootleg Thor cosplayer handing out CDs. Movie magic is real, folks. The Square Enix event was a ton of fun, and the smaller scale and less crazy pace made it a great way to close the L.A. trip. After grabbing some delicious udon and tempura with Will, we talked about this crazy industry we’re in.
It occurred to me that after all these years trying to break into the business, I was actually there. While I felt this way at E3, the fact that I had been regularly attending events since really sunk in. This whole year I’ve been building up relationships with publishers, covering every game I could get my hands on, and attending more events than I ever thought I would be able to. And it all kind of hit me then, while I was taking down a massive bowl of sweet beef udon. Maybe this rush was triggered by the weekend of working with my friends and co-workers, or maybe it came from meeting Greg after chasing his legacy for so long, or maybe I was just really tired and delusional from a hardcore weekend. Who knows.
What this trip did for me is similar to what my Vegas trip did. In Vegas, I learned about how far I still have to go in order to reach the top. This was an amazing and vital lesson, as it taught me to never get too comfortable with where I am. There will always be people with more experience than me, but that’s just more motivation to work harder than ever. It was my “Sabaody Archipelago”, in One Piece terms.
My PSX trip taught me the opposite, in a way. See, PSX showed me how far I’ve actually come. A couple of the PR reps we work with knew me on a first-name basis, I made some great new contacts, and I got to meet my primary influence in joining the gaming press industry. It felt good to be where I was, especially after all the work I’ve (happily) done to get here. It was my “Return to Sabaody”, in One Piece terms. While I obviously still have a very long way to go before I can get to the top, I got to take a moment to look back at how far I’ve come. And let me tell you, it felt amazing. I can’t wait for the next PSX, not only to get a look at the games that get delayed to then, but to see how far I’ve come by then.