Crispy Gamer

DAY 2: LSU Tigers, Inflatable Hammers, and new levels for Fieldrunners

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The big story of the show so far? The big story is that there is no story. All the news for 2009 has been deployed. There's nothing to do between now and January except play games.

So the big story is this: It's good to be a gamer.

The show floor is at maximum capacity today. Nerds with Cheshire cat-caliber grins plastered on their faces and swag bags dangling from their fingers are crammed into every square inch of this place.

The most embarrassing thing I've seen so far: An overweight guy attempting to inflate one of the inflatable Ratchet & Clank wrenches. He huffed into it for a few seconds, then got all red-faced and started gasping. Frustrated, he jammed the uninflated hammer into his swag bag and moved on.

The feeling here is strictly casual. While hundreds wait in line for a few minutes of hands-on time with Left 4 Dead 2, hundreds of others are content to lounge on the giant pillows (which are no doubt breeding grounds for disease) scattered in the lobbies, chatting and gaming on their handhelds.

There are some people who've decided that this is an opportunity to dress up. I saw a Chun Li today, two Master Chiefs, and one Katamari Prince.

Big games of the show so far seem to be Muramas: The Demon Blade, BioShock 2, Borderlands, and Mass Effect 2.

Familiar faces I've seen on the show floor: Tim Schafer eating a tuna sandwich; Helen McWilliams and John Drake from Harmonix loitering in the Rock Band booth; and Mass Effect writer Mac Walters.

My own personal exciting moment: Talking to the guys at Subatomic and getting a glimpse of some of the new levels for my beloved Fieldrunners. (Which, by the way, is coming to multiple platforms soon, including--drumroll, please--the DSi.)

One counterpoint to everything that's going on inside the convention hall is what's going on outside the convention hall. The city is absolutely crammed with LSU Tiger fans who are in town for a football game. People covered in purple and yellow are roaming the streets, high-fiving and boo-yahing. It reminds me of the final moments of E3 this year, when the Lakers were beginning their playoff run at the Staples Center on the last day of E3. There's nothing for us nerds to do in these unfortunate circumstances but cover our heads and run through the sports-crazed masses, hoping we don't have to be the recipients of any high-fives or boo-yahs.

Victor Lucas and I were shooting and episode of Reviews on the Run down on Pike's Street Market yesterday when a rather large woman draped in purple and yellow and eating a donut approached us while the camera's were rolling.

"What y'all doing?" she asked. Munch, munch, munch.

I looked at her. "We're making a TV show," I said.

"Well, I'm from Louisiana. Where y'all from?"

Cameras are still rolling at this point. "We're from Canada," I said, barely able to contain my contempt.

She blinked. Chewed her donut.

I said: "That's a long way from Louisiana."

"Alrighty then," she said. "Go Tigers. Woooooooooooo."

Then she receded into the crowd.