DON’T… Booze heavily on the Monday night, as tempting as it seems. The early Nintendo conference is, erm, early. And very, very loud.
DO… Treat calorie-free Vitamin Water with caution. It’s probably very bad for your insides. But it’s the only known cure for Saddle Ranch Sambuca.
DO… Try to resist Saddle Ranch. It is a place of twisted minds and blackened souls; of malevolent intentions and pearl-toothed Americans on mechanical bulls. Your attendance will be coaxed. You must try to resist. See you at the bar.
UK PR Manager
DO… Try to sleep on the flight out to combat the dreaded jetlag.
DON’T… Lose your credit card. Or phone. Or show pass.
DO… Make sure to pack a box of Compeed (magic blister plasters) as you will get blisters from all the running around at the show. Emergency flip-flops are also a must.
DON’T… Leave your diary back home.
DO… Take as many mobile numbers
as you can as you will definitely need to chase and/or find people to arrange evening plans.
DON’T… Pack anything warm – you really won’t need it!
DO… Head to the Saddle Ranch when at a loss for what to do in the evenings
DON’T… Turn up to see a game behind closed doors without making a prior appointment. It makes it so hard for us PRs to guarantee you a place.
DO… Eat as much as you can for breakfast at your hotel as you probably won’t have time for lunch. And if you are lucky enough to have a bite, the food at the conference centre really isn’t nice.
DO… Pack a head torch or strap other light-emitting devices to your wrists. Most conference halls are dark, which makes live-blogging or typing up notes rather difficult if you don’t have a keyboard with back-lit buttons.
DON’T… Forsake lunch. Finding time to eat can be difficult and you’ll quickly run out of energy. Fill your pockets with crisps (potato chips), chocolate bars (candy) and any other snacks you can get your hands on.
DO… Take a healthy stock of Pro-Plus. These come in particularly handy come the last day of the expo. They were the only reason I survived last year (and I barely did).
DO… Consider the alternatives to walking between halls – it can take an eternity. If you don’t mind looking like a prat, taking a micro-scooter, skateboard or segway can be helpful. I’ve seen a few people (who looked like prats) doing this.
DO… Plan, plan, plan. If you want to avoid getting blisters the size of ping-pong balls, make sure you book all your meetings in one hall on one day and cover the other hall the next, otherwise you’ll end up covering more miles than a marathon runner legging it between them.
DO… Get to the press conferences early – otherwise you’ll end up wedged between a pair of sweaty bloggers in the back row of some hot, stuffy theatre.
DO… Wind down after the show by sampling the wide range of whiskeys and shooting pool at downtown’s Seven Grand bar.
DO… Leave enough time between appointments or book them in close proximity (where possible). It’s all well and good to book in devs for hands-on or interviews, but bear in mind that the show floor is huge. So you could be speaking to someone at one end of the expo floor, then you realise that your next appointment takes place in ten minutes all the way at the other end.
DON’T… Avoid shelling out for Wi-Fi access. It may be slow and unreliable, but you’ll need it if you get a scoop.
DO… Always carry a city map. If you rely on Google Maps on your iPhone and don’t turn off your data roaming, you’re going to rack up a massive bill.
DON’T… Listen to your drunken inner voice telling
you that having a go on the rodeo at the Saddle Ranch is
a good idea.
DO… Eat at Mel’s Diner on Sunset as you’re coming back from a night of tipping G&T onto the arid desert that is your insides. One of their burgers will restore life to you like that bit in Wrath of Khan when the Genesis machine mends the planet.
DON’T… Expect to get anything out of a roundtable interview with a Japanese developer. By the time the first, ludicrously multi-part, barely coherent question from a Euro hack has been translated, you’ll be lucky to get a “we are very much hoping all users of the game enjoy it”.
DO… Try to ask smart, engaging questions. It’s 2011, people. Will it have DLC? Yawn, son, everything has DLC.
DON’T… Buy a T-shirt from Urban Outfitters. There will be at least two dozen other trailblazing style hounds wearing it at the Microsoft conference. Sat in the same row as you. Like you’re a band together.
DO… Glare furiously at your rivals as you pass them on the concourse between the South and West Hall. You’re not here to make new friends, soldier. You are here to kill.
DON’T… Bother with the Convention Center’s
Wi-Fi. You’d have more chance sending back information by having an ex-member of the CIA’s ‘remote viewing’ program follow you about.
DO… Make up rumours and then see who reports them. “Man, could you believe Hideo Kojima and Jack Tretton throwing down c-notes in the Body Shop last night? Animals! That’s MGS5 exclusivity sorted though…”
DON’T… Ask anyone if they’re ‘having a good show?’ I’d rather you just spat in my eye. The correct greeting is a wistful smile and a shake of the head, followed by muttering the name of a software publisher of your choice sadly.
DO… Buy me a gin and tonic.
DON’T… Be surprised if the developer demoing to you looks like a haunted ‘Nam vet. You try being peppy having been stuck in the same airless sweatbox for nine hours, parroting the usual “and the thing is you can play it any way you like, stealthy or gung-ho” nonsense to disinterested bloggers. Instead, try offering them a Snickers. There’s more chance of securing an exclusive with a little love than there is talking to anyone in US PR.
DO… Check and double-check your gear. Dictaphone, laptop, charging cables, plug adaptors, pen, batteries, another pen, sunscreen, notepad, lucky monkey’s paw, phone, bowie knife, and tissues. For the tears.
DO… Have two glasses of wine and one Nytol tablet, to get through the horrific flight in economy. Enjoy the first ten minutes of a film and wake up at LAX/LHR.
DO… Remember the booth babes really don’t fancy you.
DO… Use the courtesy bus at your hotel if you want to avoid huge taxi expenses.
DO… Get your bearings early. Find your LACC hall landmarks on day one, navigate from these. Hang a left at the T. Rex, etc.
DON’T… Encumber yourself by picking up too many freebies. Think to yourself: how many tote bags and lanyards and oversized t-shirts, do I really need?
DO… Save your tired feet. Try to find the exhibitors with the softest booth carpets and play only their games.
Or wear comfortable shoes, I don’t know.
DO… Consider the 24-hour iHop on South Flower when you are trapped downtown at 3am and also need pancakes.