Wednesday, February 13, 2008

I'm Leaving on a Jet Plane...

I’m finally ready to reveal just what the mysterious “Career changing event” I announced a few days ago is going to be. My travel itinerary is set and tomorrow, I’ll be heading out to California until Saturday to attend a Burnout Paradise Community Event, sponsored by EA, at their Redwood Shores studio on behalf of Talk Xbox. As you would likely expect, I’m extremely excited about this opportunity, as it is not only some random business trip. It’s the opportunity I’ve been dreaming about, one of the more glamorous perks of working in the gaming industry. I’m actually being flown out to California to play video games.

Over the past week or so, I’ve been running around, getting everything ready for my big trip. It’s amazing. Everything seemed to come together just as I needed it to. A few weeks ago, I finally got around to replacing the busted AC adapter for my laptop, which has been out of commission for months now. Unfortunately, I was delivered the incorrect model and took my time setting up the return. Once I found out about this trip, I sped things up a bit, but it was so close to the date of the trip that I was sure it wouldn’t arrive in time. Thankfully, HP unexpectedly opted for overnight shipping, meaning I had my cable within two days of sending it out. Wow. Now that’s what I call good (and convenient) customer service.

Another obstacle presented itself about a week or so ago when I misplaced my Driver’s License. One can only imagine how terrified I was, knowing I wouldn’t be allowed on the plane without it. As I pulled the car out of the garage, ready to set out to Best Buy to pick up the digital voice recorder I figured I’d need for the trip, I decided to look under the front seats for my missing license. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I found it there. “Yes!” I exclaimed in joy as I pulled it from under the seat and placed it snugly in my wallet where it belonged. With everything coming together so perfectly, the Cosmos must be on my side and someone or something up there wants me to go on this trip.

This is the first event I’ll be attending as both a member of the gaming press and as a gamer (unless you count the Nintendo Fusion Tour in 2006) and I’m making the most of it. This isn’t just an opportunity to play games in a new location…this is an opportunity to network with my peers and make connections. I may be relatively introverted in my daily life, but you can bet your bottom dollar I’ll be shaking hands with practically everyone I see at the event.

As far as the specifics of the trip go…I’ll be departing from Metro Airport around 7:15 pm, and I’m expected to arrive around 9:30 PST. That leaves me just enough time to get to the hotel, check in, unpack and go to sleep in anticipation of the next day. Friday, I’ll be up bright and early to meet everyone in the hotel lobby where we’ll be taken to breakfast, introduced and then make the short walk to EA Redwood Shores. There, we’ll have a Q&A session with lead designer Craig Sullivan, followed by a couple hours of multiplayer gaming sessions, lunch, and an additional Q&A session followed closely by more gaming in the form of single player contests and a multiplayer tournament. Finally, we head out for dinner and drinks (man I wish I was 21) and finally retire to the hotel. Saturday, I head on back home around one, arriving home once again around eight or so.

It’s a bit of a shame I won’t be able to do a bit of sightseeing while I’m there and enjoy the hotel (which is quite nice if I do say so myself) but I’m certainly not about to complain. The trip alone, with the opportunities for networking and gaming that lies therein is more than enough for me. As I’ve already said, I’m enormously excited for this trip. I plan on recording a travelogue in addition to my detailed written account of the event so keep your eyes peeled for that.

Wish me luck guys, I’m excited, but I’m also a bit nervous. I’ve never had an opportunity like this before and of course, I want to do my best to make the most of it. Who knows? If everything goes well here, I might find myself on a plane to California again later this year, en route to E3 2008.

As a side note, I’m finishing up my review of Devil May Cry 4, which I’ll be submitting to my editors later tonight.

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