This past week I was lucky enough to do something that I have dreamed about doing for the longest time. I think for as long as I have been aware of it, I’ve wanted to be apart of E3, video game Christmas, the Mecca of video game news. It may seem like a small silly goal to you, but for this long time nerd it’s the top of the mountain for us video game nerds. Some people dream about hoisting the Stanley Cup ( or whatever the winner of your favorite sport hoists), driving a fancy sports car or traveling the world, but to me video games hold a special place in my heart. Growing up they were my my favorite source of entertainment and my main source of companionship. Growing up as a child in a divorced household, I moved around a lot and when I was in a spot for longer then a few months it was in a neighborhood with very few kids. When I was around other kids, video games ended up being how I connected with them. As I got older gaming just stuck. Instead of going to bars, I’d have Mortal Kombat parties at my apartment. When I was studying too much or working too long, video games were how I relaxed (and of course now after two kids, not only is it still how I relax, but it is something special that we can now share.) E3 was one of the main reasons I started writing on the internet (E3 of course, just opened to the public for the first time last year) so I could be a part of the world I love with the ultimate goal of going and representing my brand.
This being a smaller site and life being what it is, juggling a more than full time job and a family, the same with site co-founder Scott, It often felt like we weren’t able to give the site the attention it needed and even if we did it felt too little too late or that no one really cared. It always stings when you pour yourself into a post and it goes unnoticed. I would be lying if I said I thought often about just shutting it down in the four years it has been up. That I tied too much of my own self esteem up into how the site did, if anyone reacted to a post, or a tweet. That being ignored when you send out a request hurts too personally sometimes. Even when I did make good connections with a PR person I somehow felt unworthy, like a fraud and a phony. That any minute I was going to get an email saying that my ruse was over and I should shut it down because I was finished pretending to be a member of the games media. But here I am after four years, despite the lows and the negative feelings and I just got back from my first E3.
The week leading up to my flight I was a nervous wreck. I was filled with doubt. I felt like everything I was doing to prepare for E3 was wrong, that I didn’t know what I was doing. Even though I had gotten access to the Microsoft and Ubisoft event, it felt like it was by pure dumb luck. I thought about pulling the trigger on my flight insurance and just canceling the trip and go into work that Monday like nothing had ever happened. But I got on the plane… Saturday, I flew out from Detroit and landed at crowded LAX and drove to a friends house where I would be staying for the week. Sunday, I got up early, nervous about the day ahead and got ready to go. Thankfully I was able to met up with John and Adam from the Mega Dads parenting video game site. We had digitally know each other for two years and it was nice and calming to see familiar faces. They had been to the previous years E3 so I considered them my own personal gurus. As we waited in line it was nice to chat with two similar guys, also feeling like minnows in the ocean. We filed in and grabbed some seats and the energy and vibe was incredible, even more incredible is the fact that we got pretty amazing seats at the Xbox press event. I even ended up sitting next to someone whose career I had followed for years, and a fellow Michigan native, Jessica Chobot. I was nervous and ecstatic and she was very sweet, even accepting the business card I handed her. And to my surprise the same thing happened again on Monday at Ubisoft and Tuesday waiting for the doors to the show floor to open. People exchanging business cards with me listening to my pitch for what The Dadcade is all about, treating me like a peer. It didn’t stop with members of the media either. When I approached members of various PR firms, they said they loved our site name, that it was nice to put a face to the emails. Essentially they knew who I was and recognized The Dadcade name. I don’t even know how to describe the type of high I felt when I heard that, it is up there with some of my greatest memories. Everyone at E3 was so incredibly nice and patient that I cannot wait to go back. I boarded my flight back to Michigan Friday and even as I sit here on a Saturday night, after a full day spent back with my family, writing this down, I am filled with tremendous joy and pride for this little site. E3 has recharged my energy and confidence to keep this thing going and seeing how far it can go and to be a bigger part of the industry that I love so much.