Last night, Sony simulcast its E3 press conference to dozens of movie theaters across the United States, including the Regal Trussville Stadium 16, a Big Lots-facing megaplex just off of County Highway 10. That's where I watched it, along with a few dozen PlayStation faithful. Disclaimer: I am not a gamer.
I can handle myself OK through a few rounds of Tetris. Anything else I do on a video game console is an embarrassment. I'm that person who thinks that moving my whole body with the controller helps me play better. I attach the Wii strap to my arm for safety purposes ever since nearly cracking my friend's TV screen. The games I enjoy are openly targeted at middle school children (have you tried Disney Guilty Party, rated E for comic mischief? It's delightful).
Don't get me wrong, I'm really good at wasting time. I just tend to pick Pretty Little Liars over video games. So I wasn't in my element at the PlayStation E3 Experience at the Trussville, Alabama Regal 16 Cinemas. But I was incredibly curious about the people who were.
The first thing you might not know about the PlayStation E3 Experience simulcast is that it sold out in one day. Not just in Trussville, but at nearly every theater it was available (the most notable exception was in Alaska, where it was showing at 5 o'clock local time). That is, at least, a thing I didn't know, which meant that I was on the waiting list. I arrived at the theater an hour early to secure a good spot in line. It wasn't necessary. There were only 10 people there.
About 10 more people joined the wait list line after me. The crowd was mostly male, ranging in age from early 20s to mid-40s. As one of very few women there, I looked like a soccer mom who'd forgotten her minivan full of game-loving teenagers. With the age/gender gap, I didn't understand much of the conversation around me, but I learned that even PlayStation fans love Frozen. Otherwise, the mood was pretty sedate. One guy was excited about live-tweeting, but that was about it.
A lot of ticket holders must not have shown, because everyone on the wait list was let into the theater, and even then were still plenty of empty seats. One possible explanation? You had to be 17 to attend, which I assume excludes a pretty key demographic. The Trussville Regal 16 was strictly enforcing the rules, too; I saw two teens kicked out for being underage.
Eventually, the lights dimmed and people settled into their seats. And here's what happened for the next two hours: Someone from Sony would stand on stage and talk about a video game. Then, they would show a trailer for that video game. Then, someone from Sony would talk about the video game features that would be exclusive to PS4. Repeat.
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