I haven’t built a Gaming PC in almost 10 years. I have only the loosest understanding of how PCs even work. Somehow, I find myself covering the PC Gaming Show. This is my story of being a stranger in a strange land, completely in over his head.
There is a woman standing next to a mascot duck in a chef hat. What have I gotten myself into???
Oh god. It hurts. The duck is pushing a brand of snack cakes.
Intro narration done in what I can only describe as a Morgan Freeman impersonation. A battle royale Joke is made. I…am afraid.
Our host, Sean, has been revealed. He is…enthusiastic. He seems harmless. The woman from the trivia contest has returned. No sign of the duck chef yet.
The first game, Satisfactory, is shown. Developed by Coffee Stain. First person perspective, has a very No Man’s Sky-style environment scan. Resource gathering and factory building seem to be the focus. 4 people are shown, so I guess there’s co-op? Vehicles are shown, in addition to rollers and conveyor belts. I am unsure what these factories are doing. There are animals, both friendly and hostile.
Oscar is here to explain. He is explaining directly to the host, oblivious to the camera pointed at his face. He avoids making eye contact with me. I feel distant from Oscar. Why won’t Oscar look at me?
I’m not sure why this is being handled like a Q&A. I feel like I’m watching two people have a conversation rather than someone being informed. A coming closed alpha is pushed.
The first indie game is announced? What does that make Satisfactory? No publisher was announced. I am confused. The game, Neo Cab, is some manner of cyberpunk-style text adventure. You are a future Uber driver. There is no applause.
The first battle royale is coming, apparently. A joke is made at its expense. That strikes me as…very bad PR for a conference? Mavericks Proving Grounds is the title. It looks like PUBG if PUBG had visual polish. Guns go bang bang, people go uuuuugh.
The audience makes some noise, making me feel bad for Neo Cab, which I thought looked more interesting than Mavericks. Again, the man brought out to give details avoids my gaze. Is he afraid? I am beginning to suspect Sean will be the only person in a suit at this show.
A closed beta is happening. You have to sign up on a website.
The Forgotten City is shown. Apparently, this game used to be or comes from a mod? I like how the buildings look. People are turning into statues. 2019.
Star Control Origins. Sean says it’s a blast from the past, despite being a brand-new game. The trailer is a camera moving around some static illustrations. Never mind, there’s a 3D model. I like the yellow alien slug, Windu. Exploring planets looks like something out of Mario Galaxy, they’re very small. Some good alien designs.
Patrick is here to talk about Star Control. Patrick looked at me, almost! His gaze doesn’t quite meet mine, but he didn’t look directly at Sean, either. Patrick promises a universe simulated at all times. Mod support is talked about, Firefly is referenced to the audience’s mild amusement. Release date of September 20, 2018.
Hunt: Showdown is on now. Men are killed via ranged weaponry. The sticky bomb is a stick of dynamite with nails sticking out of it, which I love. I have no idea what was new and what was old in this trailer.
Archangel: Hellfire is discussed. It’s a pvp mech game, I think? This developer is actually looking at the camera! Huzzah! Mechs blow up. Launches July 17.
The Sinking City is next. I am promised a Lovecraftian mystery game. Another dev refuses to look at me. I’m a sucker for a detective game, I’ll probably play this. No hand holding is promised, with tutorials clearly being for casuals. This character has a HUGE backpack. The game has a sanity mechanic, which sounds neat. Sean is excited about monsters but is quickly chided and reminded that investigation is the focus.
One hour remains. I feel…all right. My dinner will be ready soon. Warframe is going to be discussed. A launch trailer for some new content called The Sacrifice is shown. I don’t know shit about Warframe, but this looks cool. Megan is here to tell me more, but I clearly do not posses the knowledge necessary to understand. She refuses to look at me. I’m gonna pee while they finish this.
I return from the restroom just as Megan says her goodbyes. Sean said Sega! I know Sega! A joke is made that isn’t all that funny, as is E3 tradition. A multitude of Sega games are shown, including Shenmue I&II, Shining Resonance, Yakuza Kiwami, and Valkyria Chronicles 4. I am happy to know what I’m looking at. Yakuza 0 will release on PC in August.
…some upcoming things are teased before immediately cutting back to Sean? An odd choice. More jokes that aren’t landing with me or the audience. A man from Tripwire is here, talking about updates to Killing Floor 2.
Some nightmarish steampunk-style circus creeps are here, getting murdered. Is this Killing Floor 2? I’m really not sure, I think I spaced out for a minute there. YES! It is Killing Floor 2.
Another man from Tripwire is here to talk about Tripwire’s entry into publishing. He refuses to look at me. Why will no one meet my gaze? Is it obvious that I am a stranger here?
An exclusive reveal is coming. A lovely amusement park is shown. But things don’t seem to be as pleasant as they look. Sharks are killing man and beast alike. Players will control the shark in Maneater. I am unclear how this game meshes with my intense fear of sharks. A campaign and shark skill tree are promised, I may actually be on board.
…was that sex joke? The audience seems uneasy. My dinner has arrived!
My sandwich consumed, I return in time to discuss a Jeff Goldblum-narrated trailer for Jurassic World: Evolution. Nothing in-between seemed to grab my interest in way worth recounting. Insomniac is making an open-world VR game.
Robots killing robots seems to be Stormland’s theme. No gameplay to be seen as of yet. Nevermind, the gameplay begins with some climbing and gliding before the robot massacre resumes. This game is like if Wall-E was violent…and I don’t know if that’s good or bad. Confirmed for Oculus.
Chad from Insomniac is here, but I tire of writing about people that refuse to speak to me instead of Sean. Sean doesn’t deserve their attention. I am the one who loves them.
Another game about a Parisian cabbie is shown and given the “indie” distinction. I feel like that word has lost some of its meaning during this show. The cabbie game is called Night Call and looks a lot like Neo Cab, but with a black & white filter.
Sable is on my screen. I really dig the way this game is handling outlines. The trailer has a focus on exploration, which I’m into. The devs are brought on stage and REFUSE TO LOOK AT MEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!1!!
As the PC Gaming Show advances past the hour mark, I begin to wonder if I exist. Am I real? Is that why they won’t look at me? Was that one gaze a mistake? Did he know? Sean sees me. This is his doing. He introduces Star Citizen with a smug look that says he could free me from this limbo but will not.
Star Citizen looks like…Star Citizen. That was exactly what I expected, a very pretty space game. Alpha 3.2 is described as coming soon. Star Citizen may be trapped in the same plane between planes as I am.
My nightmares become reality as we enter the hardware portion of the presentation. I understand few of the words used to describe a monitor. This isn’t limbo, this is hell. Sean has placed me here to suffer for my console peasantry.
A $9000 laptop has been talked about and has apparently sold out. This is insane to me.
A space game with a procedurally-generated universe and the promise of splicing the genes of your crew is displayed, but I cannot focus on it. Why has Frankie, the woman from the preshow, been give all the worst lines? Is this sexism? The patriar- THE DUCK HAS RETURNED, AND MY WORLD IS IN FLAMES
Why is this duck the mascot for snack cakes? You aren’t supposed to give ducks bread products, right? Frankie and the hell duck have fist bumped. Now I understand. Frankie is being punished, just as I am. What has she done to deserve such infernal company?
Don’t Starve is still a thing and is getting some new content I think. A delightful pig village is displayed, complete with a pig mugger. Can anything be truly innocent in this realm of torment? Oh my god it’s called Hamlet and that’s amazing.
Just Cause 4 is here, but I’ve seen it 3 times already this E3. This presentation seems to be focusing on the new engine, the Apex Engine. Of course, this show is focusing on the engine. I, a filthy pleb, can only clap my hands and squeal with delight at explosions. A bridge is blown up to appease me, to keep me from becoming a bored child. WHY WON’T THEY LOOK AT ME??
Frankie introduces The Walking Dead. I feel a sympathetic camaraderie with her now. We are both victims.
Overkill’s The Walking Dead sure is a zombie game. I can’t tell if there’s base building or not. It launches November 6 or 8, depending on where you live.
Now they’re talking about Telltale’s The Walking Dead: The Final Season. The voice of Clementine is on stage, but again will only look at Sean. This feels like more of a betrayal than when the other guests have refused to look my way.
The PC Gaming Show approaches the end of the promised 90-minute runtime. Can I function out there, with the eyes of the world upon me?
Frankie makes another bad joke. I weep softly for her as a 2D wizard goes on a pixelated quest in Noita.
Two Point Hospital is up. I get to hear the genuine panic of men in the sound booth as the stethoscopes of the fake doctors on stage interfere with microphones. Sean embraces one of the doctor and instructs him to speak into his tie and stare at the floor. I knew Sean was behind everyone ignoring me.
Mere minutes remain in the PC Gaming Show, but I will be a prisoner no longer. I have constructed a makeshift shovel out of my dinner plate and will soon make my escape. The only thought I have is revenge. Revenge for myself and revenge for Frankie. Sean. Will. Pay.
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