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The Answer to “Don, How Was E3”? – Part 1

July 2, 2012 1 comment

I was asked quite a few times, and always tried to answer the best I could, “Don, how was E3?”. I know it is a month later, and this has become mostly irrelevant, but hey, I like to type and I’m bored. Why isn’t this going on Vagary? I waited too long, to be honest.

Attending E3 is one of the biggest achievements a gamer can unlock, only unlike XBOX Live achievements, this one is real. Outside of getting a job in games writing that pays or a job working PR for a big game company, this was the bar I set for myself a year ago. But enough rambling. Each part of this mini-series of sorts will cover a day. That gives me more time per-post to recap as much as I honestly remember and hopefully keep your attention.

Monday is when my fantastical journey in LA began, though E3 technically starts on Tuesday. After waiting at the airport for an hour and a half for my companions to show up, we took a taxi to the hotel to drop our bags off. Now, I’m from Oklahoma. The city I live in, Bartlesville, has a taxi service, but I have only seen it drive like any normal vehicle. Taxis in LA are a completely different story; they speed and hot rod like I did back when I was young and dumb. I never understood why the game Crazy Taxi played the way it did until my trip to LA.

Our first conference was EA at the Orpheum Theater. Yes we missed Microsoft and no I am not going to recap EVERYTHING. When we got there, we looked at each other in disbelief and walked to the back of a line that quite literally wrapped around the building. “There is no way all of these people are going to fit inside”, was my thought as I frowned and looked at my bar code for admission. Of course, I was wrong. That building fit all of those people and once the door opened it was actually a quick process to get to our seat. The conference was fun, though, and being there makes the spectacle that much more enjoyable. Not much was shown that had me overly excited or surprised though.

Next was Sony, and we managed to find a free(!) shuttle to their location. We still had an hour until check-in at 4pm, and we were all incredibly hungry. At this point, I had only had peanuts from the plane rides that morning to eat. Anyone that knows me will be shocked and probably reading that last sentence a few times. We decided to skip food (though I don’t recall why) and got in the long line for Sony’s conference.

In hindsight, we didn’t need to be in line. Once 4pm hit, since we had our passes, me and Kyle Baron (I never introduced my cohorts Kyle and Royel Edwards. :D) meandered into the large fenced off area Sony had outside. An open bar and vendors lining two walls had us drooling. Again, we were parched. We got to stop and chat with the guys at IGN (Greg Miller and Colin Moriarty), which was a real treat. It was more than just a handshake which made the experience a little more surreal. Doing games writing for a small site, you look up to these people to a certain degree, at least I do. So having them just chit-chat for awhile and not brush us off like the nobodies we are was nice.

I believe at the end of that two hour long pre-event party I only consumed three dishes of food and two beers. Disappointing, right? We filed into the building at 5:45 and I prepared for the one show I had to see. I will say, Sony did have one helluva show in regards to light and sound. The Wonderbook thing was cool and the only thing new that interested me, but I have to agree with the majority, it did run a little long, especially after the short amount of time devoted to the Vita. Oh, and PSOne Classics “COMING SOON”! YES. Except, a month later, and I haven’t heard anything else about it.

We got back to the hotel and met our non-Vagary roommate for the week, Justin. Justin is a freelance writer with an unusual personality. He says what he thinks, and had me laughing quite a bit. He’s actually on a crowd-funded trip across the country to visit various studios and has had to sleep on the streets a time or two, so you should not only go read his work (his writing is as entertaining as his personality) but donate to him!

Gamer-Unplugged

That wraps up the first night. We went to bed relatively early. I did not have to share a bed all week, as Justin opted to sleep on the couch. Stay tuned for part two coming in a day or two. Hope you enjoyed. If you have questions or comments, there’s a spot for you below. 🙂

<3,
Don Parsons

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Almost a Year Later..

July 1, 2012 2 comments

Tumblr fails. Just sayin’.

It’s been almost a year since I have been at Vagary.tv. I tried to open a Tumblr to mindlessly ramble about things I work on. Reading a review is a good way to gauge a game, but there’s always other things to be talked about that just don’t fit into the restraints of a review. 

The past year has been a crazy rollercoaster ride. Luckily, my wife has fully supported every step I have made with Vagary and I am very thankful for that. She also has this way of picking me up when I’m down, and keeps me motivated to make that next step.

So what has happened over the past year, you ask? Well, last time I posted here it was about the opportunity ahead. I took that opportunity and ran with it. I was basically given free reign to do my own PR work. After some grooming from one Mr. Greg Hutto, the site owner Ryan Kenward and our current Editor in Chief Kyle Baron, I found great success with my communications with PR firms and publishers. I may not be the most eloquent writer who uses big words to dazzle people, but I am quite savvy at the keyboard and I know how to butter people up. 

The VERY first game I got was Disgaea 4 for PS3. Over the course of the following four months, I received dozens of games and gained a good reputation for myself by handling multiple games at once and still having the reviews done before most people could handle a single review. 

Being overworked is exhausting, I will fully admit that. I also can’t complain much because I do it to myself. Not sure what will actually come in (I get about 80% of what I request), I sometimes book multiple reviews just so I am guaranteed some work. People warned me about burning myself out, some insisting it was bound to happen; a year later, and I beg to differ. 🙂

Back on point though, I was making quite a name for myself both internally and to my contacts (more on the latter later). I suggested to Ryan that I do everyone’s PR work, as I didn’t mind doing it and to be honest, it was my favorite part of the job. He agreed and I started getting our writers material to work with. It’s a rewarding feeling when someone gets excited because I got them a review copy to work with. Of course, excitement varies from person to person. Generally though, everyone is appreciative of what I do and show it in different ways.

I started doing a release list, which went through a few revisions before I settled on what I have now. You can see an example here with last week’s list. I started doing a regular editorial that publishers seem to love, detailing the progression systems in newly released online shooters. I organized a “Release Radar” that is a HUGE hit. The current one for Q3 has only been up for three days, and is already the third most-read article in the past 30 days.

Before I wrap this up, I wanted to touch on E3. I met some great people, including people I had been emailing for the past eight months. The coolest part was when they recognized me by name, hell, one of them actually recognized me before my brain registered who it was. That was easily my highlight of the show.

Stay tuned, and I’ll do my best to throw together some half-assed pieces on things I am working on. I love Vagary a lot, but am very hopeful and happy to resurrect Gameciety for any length of time I can. This pet-project was what got me where I am today, mind you.

With love and stuff,

~~~ Don Parsons

Moving Forward

August 11, 2011 Leave a comment

Vagary.TV

It’s been official for over a week now. I had been seeking out a “job” at another site, a much bigger site mind you, for a little over a month, and I finally approached them a week ago. The owner was impressed (to what level, I have no idea), and set me up with accounts at his site. What does that mean for Gameciety?

Gameciety goes on indefinite hold. Vagary.tv is the next step for me, as a writer and journalist, and while I don’t have the free-reign I love and adore about working my own blog, I still have enough to designate my own workload. I take my position there very serious, and value the opportunity Ryan has given me.

I have my first review up; Mortal Kombat for the PS3. I have some in line to be getting review copies from as well; Bodycount by Codemasters sounds promising at the end of this month, and I am on the review list for both Resistance 3 and Dead Island.

I was also offered to do news pieces today, my first one being on the new 3DS color. I am very excited to be a part of this team. They have some excellent writers there, and I am going to have to step my game up to play on the same level.

You can also follow my MyIGN account here. My Twitter account is the same, @Sobaer, as it was.

I would like to first thank Chris for bringing the site to my attention. And all the people I have worked with since I started taking the industry much more serious; Chris & Colin from Retrocore (previously Gamingcore with me), my wife who has supported my nerdiness from Gamingcore to Gameciety and now supports me 100% at Vagary.TV, and Connor who helped me manage podcasting duties at Gameciety. Special thanks to Michelle for her editing expertise on an article, and her bugging me for that Mortal Kombat review. 🙂 And of course, thanks to Ryan for the opportunity at Vagary.TV, I hope I don’t let you down, and the rest of the staff I have been bugging the past week for advice. Thank you all. 🙂

And with that, this chapter in my games journalism “career” is over. Cheers to the next chapter.

[Editors note: No, I did not proofread this. 😉 ]

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