As I prepare for the excitement and madness of E3 2014, I reflect back to E3 2006, my first E3 was also the first public stop on a journey that would take me to the first internet television network at Pseudo.com, then across the country to start the first 24-7 video game TV channel G4. It would eventually take me inside the worlds first professional gaming league, the 25 million dollar Championship Gaming Series. Each stop on the journey would teach me about business, life, and the highs and lows of being an entrepreneur and working in startups.
It's 10:30 at night and we've got hundreds of black and white photocopied pages strewn all over the floor. My girlfriend is collating the pages, while our best friends place stickers on the front of the multi-colored back to school folders that we're using as "Press Kits" for my first website, allgames.com.
Inside the folder is a Press Release with all the early buzzwords of the internet. Cyberspace, real audio, and games. The press release was important because it told the story of a revolutionary "internet radio show" about video games and the people that play them. I had over 30 of these makeshift press kits and a "Realistic" branded radio shack microphone that I would plug into a microcassette recorder. The only thing missing was that cool square that sits around the microphones seen by reporters on TV. I would later learn that these are called "mic flags" and you can't just get a branded mic flag over night. I decided the best thing to do was to get a piece of styrofoam, cut it to the approximate size, core it by stabbing it repeatedly with a steak knife, and then wrap it with a piece of laminted paper. "Game Time!" it said on all four sides. It looked ridiculous but also ambitious and it really didn't matter because all I cared about was getting to interview the companies making the latest and greatest electronic entertainment in the world.
It was just a few hours before I would have to get on a plane and fly to California for the first time in my life. I was going alone and I was on a mission to collect hours of audio interviews to be sprinkled into a year of radio shows I would upload to my website over a 9600 baud modem from my 386 x33 computer. As I looked over my checklist of items, my girlfriend handed me a black baseball cap. On the front professionally embroidered was All Games Network and it was beautiful. For six months, she watched as I turned our tiny NY apartment into a video game radio studio complete with mini posters and giant PC game boxes littering the shelves. Instead of cutting and running when I said I wanted to create the first video game network, she spent her entire christmas bonus on a new computer for me so I could play all the games and digitize my 30 minute talk show in under two hours.
There was no Google, no YouTube, not a Reddit or a Friendster, but there was a community of gamers and geeks and we met each other on Bulletin Boards (BBS) Usenet and even Compuserve. The language was HTML 1.0 and no matter how much money you had, or how big your brand was, you couldn't really produce anything more advanced than a person who has a passion for a topic and a lot of free time. I spent my days reading NET-GUIDE and playing any games I could get my hands on. I had just quit my job working at Relix Magazine and quit Brooklyn College when my "internet" professor didn't know how to make a web page. If I wanted to develop my website I was going to have to spend more time playing around with HTML 1.0 and less time learning about Gopher, WAIS, and AOL.
It's been 4 months of telephone interviews with game developers, product managers, CEO's and PR reps. I have already uploaded 80 episodes of Game Time! the world's first daily show about games, and I have listeners from over 40 countries. I was ready to go to Los Angeles and meet the industry I had spent my entire life supporting. It was the ultimate adventure and it would be better than I imagined. Next week I'll tell you about the highlight of my first E3 and how it changed my life forever.
This blog will feature thoughts on my 19 years covering video games, the games I still play, and the technology fueling the latest gadgets. I'll also chronicle my current project building NITROPOD, the worlds first interactive liquid nitrogen ice cream truck. From this truck we'll do live streaming, game competitions, interviews, and performances by musicians, artists, and comedians. Leave a comment or ask a question and I'll include some of them in future updates.