The LA Convention Centre looms before you. This is it. The electronic three. You fucking made it, bro.
After months of duking it out in the trenches of videogame comment sections you secured your press pass from the horrific reanimated corpse of Nintendo Power magazine. It was kind of like Dark Souls, but with more visual polish and tighter platforming controls. Also E3 somehow killed your girlfriend.
With help from your industry contact, a remarkable man named Carl, you've secured a top secret developer interview deep in the bowels of the convention centre. Find Carl. Get to that interview. Avenge your lover through indulging in violent power fantasy. Beat this videogame!
Your ethnicity is white. Your gender is cismale. You are heterosexual. Your girlfriend is dead. [[Enter E3 2014|entrance]].The serpentfolk guarding the entrance scrutinize you as you approach. Your press pass thrashes within your chest cavity as if trying to escape, causing your ribcage to emit an orange and teal glow that shines clear through your t shirt/blazer combination. Observing this the serpentfolk shrink backwards; their beady black eyes reflect the colours of your torso as you [[make your way to the show floor|showfloor]].
Your ethnicity is white. Your gender is cismale. You are heterosexual. Your girlfriend is dead. You feel a little bit thirsty.Hoo boy, it's a shitshow in here.
A travelling circus has accidentally wandered into the middle of the convention centre, or perhaps that is just the Ubisoft booth. In any case an elephant appears to have crushed a man's legs, and he is attempting to crawl towards the [[Rockstar Energy Lounge|juice]] before his press pass finishes eating through his diaphragm. Ezio Auditore is trying to help him.
The PlayStation booth has spread across the ceiling, which seems to have made the Microsoft booth very upset; the two are gnashing their teeth at one another, frightening the people in the bathroom line. You spot a booth babe wearing a size small tshirt that says 'Snapdragon' on it; she seems bored, but being a professional she's very good at hiding it. A man in a scruffy beard and fedora is fumbling with his Android phone in an effort to covertly photograph her ass.
To your left you see the Nintendo booth, wherein [[a giant Mario statue appears to be eating a man|mario]].
Your ethnicity is white. Your gender is cismale. You are heterosexual. Your girlfriend is dead.You feel a sudden, violent tremor beneath your feet followed by the screech of twisting steel. It shook loose some rubble from the ceiling, which appears to have fallen on a man's head; his skull is smashed open, but he's still twitching a little bit. The graphics are a 7.2 out of 10. No one on the floor seems to mind the earthquakes. These people are professionals, you remind yourself. You'd better step your game up if you hope to make it to E3 2015.
Your ethnicity is white. Your gender is cismale. You are heterosexual. You feel [[very thirsty|juice]].Inside the Nintendo booth you find a man who tells you he's been demoing Smash Bros for the last 18 hours straight. The giant Mario statue has mistaken him for a Fire Flower and is gradually swallowing him whole; thus far it has swallowed only his lower half, however, so it will probably be another 18 hours before Mario throws any fireballs. If you look closely you can see Mario masticating all over the man's midriff.
You accept a controller from the man and play as his Mii for a while, whose lower half is also missing. The gameplay is pretty solid, but you're very worried Captain Falcon won't make an appearance in the final product. You ask him on four separate occasions about the Captain, and each time he just sort of groans as if his long intestine were being slowly boiled in stomach acid. You put Captain Falcon down as a 'maybe'.
Your ethnicity is white. Your gender is cismale. You are heterosexual. You feel [[moderately thirsty|earthquake]].Carl greets you with a broad smile, waving you over. "Welcome to E3 man! You made it!" You flash him a doofy grin and try to think of something passable to say. "Yeah! I made it." Smooth.
Carl claps you on the back. "Living the dream, my friend! I just love it here. Great games, unspeakable violence; I think I saw Stephen Totilo back there. HEY, STEVE! Oops, wasn't him." Carl's self-assurance makes you feel inadequate.
"Shit is crazy out here man. But you're one of us now, hey? You know where the real E3 happens. Behind closed doors, man. In the belly of the beast! Hah. Figuratively I mean." Carl motions towards the [[ominous door|hallway]]; his smile puts you at ease. To your left you spot the [[Rockstar Energy Lounge|juice]]; a man inside looks to have grown about one quarter of one wing.Carl leads you down a long, halogen-coloured hallway that bends 90 degrees to the left every 26 paces. There is no ceiling; the walls extend upwards into blackness. You pass a pale man whom Carl greets as Hangnail; the two exchange a quick fist bump and Carl pats him on the shoulder. "Hangnail's cool," Carl explains. "He helps me out with booking sometimes. You excited for your interview?"
You feel a little apprehensive. The building tremors again, filling the air with the scent of compost. Carl doesn't seem to notice.
After the seventh bend, you become suddenly aware of how thirsty you are. Has it really been thirty minutes since your last dose? You can't remember... You lost your sense of time in this place. Your press pass is becoming agitated. It rakes the inside of your ribcage. Don't panic. You're panicking. The Rockstar Energy Lounge is too far away...
Your ethnicity is white. Your gender is cismale. You are heterosexual. [[Your chest is about to explode|death]].You're on your knees, retching. You try crawling back towards the show floor, but this hallway looks the same in both directions. Someone's hand is on your shoulder, but Carl isn't here anymore. You're too nauseous to look up. You feel a sudden stabbing pain in your chest. You retch some more, only now you're coughing up blood.
Collapsing onto your back, you watch your chest heaving. Is that a bulge? No, it's gone. Wait, it's... Oh god, pain. You're in shock. Gradually a seam forms in your skin. A little blood, then a lot. Too much blood. Too much. Your press pass slides out of your chest cavity a little at a time, glowing orange and teal through the blackening crust that surrounds it. You feel cold, but you can smell burning animal flesh. You try breathing but it sounds like a clogged toilet so you stop. The press pass glides towards your face, hovering just above the bridge of your nose, beaming down at you. Is it waving goodbye? No, it's hungry, it... OH FUCK. FUCK. YOUR EYELID, IT... You can't see, your eye is... It's wrenching your skull back and forth. It pauses for a moment, then yanks hard. With a sickening crack your neck breaks; you've never seen your body from this angle before. You feel cold fluid oozing through the gaps between your vertebrae as you black out.
Your ethnicity is white. Your gender is cismale. You are heterosexual. [[You're having kind of a bad day|afterlife]].You climb to your feet, bracing yourself against the wall. Your head is lolling from your torso at the wrong angle; it feels funny. Leaning against the wall, you hoist your head back above your shoulders and jiggle it around a bit. That's better. It still doesn't sit quite right but you feel you look more presentable.
You can't see out of your right eye, but your dizziness is abating and the left one is starting to come back. All five litres of your blood coat the floor and the walls; there are big long finger streaks where you steadied yourself and the back of your blazer is now soaking wet. The specular highlights look suitably visceral, but you can tell it's not dynamic because there are no actual light fixtures in the hallway. 8.2 out of 10.
You're worried about how you're going to get around E3 without your press pass, and without any of your blood left in your body, but you'll deal with that later. There's no time to waste: [[You have an appointment!|threshold]]A bug-eyed business casual man greets you at the end of the hallway. You are very nervous. "Ah, it's you! Mister Carl told me all about you. Please, come in! We are doing amazing work down here, just exceptional."
You suspect there used to be a door up ahead, but something appears to have ripped it from its hinges. This does not seem upsetting to Business Casual Man, who ushers you through the mangled doorjamb while muttering something about obtaining transcendence through six new multiplayer modes.
On the far side you find yourself standing in a vast subterranean cavern, which you surmise to be located underneath the Convention Centre. The ground, which a curious kind of wet, slopes downward towards the centre of the room. There the developers have prepared [[a live demo of their videogame|sickness]]; it squats in a little hole, its lithe tendrils tracing invisible patterns along the cavern walls. To one side a group of naked men have lined up before [[some sort of machine|testers]].You approach the group of men, who can't seem to stop shivering. A giant man in a black blazer stands at the head of the line; he wields a thick metal rod. A giant synthetic hose hangs down from the ceiling of the cavern, which the giant man has affixed to someone's mouth. "Quality Assurance," he explains, "is most important aspect of videogame development. The company has bought your debt from Art Institute, yes? You are AAA developer now, sort of!"
The smaller man nods, making a garbled affirmative vocalization through the hose in his throat.
"You have opportunity to break into videogame industry here. All of you." The giant man holds one of his fat fingers up towards the line of naked men, sweeping it slowly across the crowd as he glares sternly into their faces. "Do not be afraid. Is nature of contract work." The man then waves at a technician across the cavern and flashes him a quick thumbs up. "Okay, Chris! Is time! [[Break him into videogame industry!|crunch]]"The technician across the room activates the pneumatic pump, and the hose in the [[tester's mouth|testers]] begins to contract. The tester lets out an uncomfortable groan, tugging uncertainly on the orifice of the hose. It will not budge, however; there is too much suction now. You hear the noises from the motor shoot up an octave; the pump has kicked into a new gear. The tester's groans become louder, and he begins thrashing about in a futile effort to remove the hose. Suddenly he lets out a shrill, belching yelp; his stomach collapses inward, making a sickening crunch sound, and a bright red streak appears on the inside of the hose.
A steady ruddy-brown flow soon follows, coating the inside of the pump on its way by. The tester goes limp, suspended upright via his attachment to the pump. His skin contracts like a vacuum sealer bag as the hose goes about sucking his blood and organs out through his throat. Eventually the flow diminishes, the tester now resembling a human raisin. "Okay," the giant man says, readying his metal rod. "Now is crunch time."
He begins flogging the tester's corpse with the rod, cracking its ribs, its hip, its tibia. The flow gets a bit stronger as residual blood makes its way out of the skin sack. The giant man looks bored, as if he has done this every day for years. He must be a senior producer. He saves the tester's skull for last, smashing it in from behind with one good swing to ensure the hose gets the rest of the brain out. Then the pump powers down, and he flings the dessicated skin sack onto a pile of the tester's predecessors. "Sorry friend," he explains to the skin pile, wiping down the hose's nozzle with an unsanitary-looking rag. "Company is letting you go."
"Okay!" the producer then exclaims, turning towards the crowd of frightened men: "WHO WANTS TO TEST ICE LEVEL?"
Your ethnicity is white. Your gender is cismale. You are heterosexual. You don't want to test ice level. The pump mechanism leads [[towards the centre of the room|sickness]], where it appears to feed into something resembling a fire truck.You approach the videogame in the centre of the room apprehensively. It looks pretty rough for an E3 demo; its crafting system hangs limply from one side, oozing an sickly yellow fluid from blisters in the skin. The developers have parked some sort of post-apocalyptic fire truck down here with treads instead of wheels and rusted iron plating all along the near side. A colourful sign reading "Fun Juice Gun Juice!" has been bolted across the windshield, though its vibrant greens and purples appear dull beneath a layer of grime. Its firehoses emit not water but some sort of [[ruddy-brown slurry|crunch]]; this must be what they call the 'fun juice'. Some game developers are using it to rinse out the blisters.
The game is sick, but not in a good way. Its flesh is pale and scabby. Its mechanics look malnourished; they flail restlessly about, making the developers nervous. Its centre is curiously empty, like a black hole. Pieces of the game's body plummet in there now and then as its gravity well peels them from the underside of the structure. Though the fun juice congeals on contact into new layers of skin to replace that which has fallen into the abyss, the hole only ever gets bigger.
A strange being in a grey suit observes the proceedings through the Kinect sensor grafted onto its shoulders. Its underlings, a group of goblin-like creatures, are busy poking at the videogame with some sort of electric branding iron that bears a big 'X' on the business end. At least twenty charred 'X' marks have already been burned into the game's skin, but the Kinect Man remains unsatisfied. It orders the underlings towards the game's title screen, a bulbous orange appendage that quivers fearfully as they approach. One developer abandons his post at the fun hose, running up to the Kinect Man in protest. It pushes him down, exhibiting superhuman strength, and begins repeatedly kicking him in the mouth. The underlings approach the title screen gingerly, holding forth their branding iron. The moment it makes contact, [[things get out of hand|finale]].The videogame lets out an ear-splitting shriek loud enough to make your ears bleed. Its achievement system lashes out at the underlings, cutting one of them in half; the rest it grabs in its tentacles and crushes like empty soda cans. Its six new multiplayer modes each open wide and columns of blinding white light burst through them, one vaporizing the Strange Man instantaneously. The developers flee for the safety of the fun juice truck, stumbling over one another. Only one makes it inside before the game's physics engine seizes the truck in its mandibles and lifts the vehicle high above the ground. It shakes the truck violently until the lone developer tumbles out from inside; he falls thirty feet and lands hard on his back, but you suspect he was dead already.
The game hurls the fire truck into a support column near the cavern wall, triggering a series of massive tremors. The ceiling begins to crumble; rubble is falling everywhere, kicking up an impenetrable dust cloud. You think you see the game crawling out from its nest and along the far ceiling, but you lose sight of it when a fleeing QA tester knocks you from your feet. The Convention Centre is collapsing on top of you; E3 is burying you alive. You try to scramble upright, choking on the dust, but you find your legs have become stuck under rubble. Through the ringing in your ears you can make out screams, and the screech of twisting metal. You spot Mario still swallowing the demo booth man, who reaches longingly for his lost controller. You think about Carl; you wish he were here with you, but you can't figure out where he went. As one final piece of rubble squashes your brain you wonder what the face of God looks like. You hope the graphics are a 9.2 out of 10.
Your ethnicity is white. Your gender is cismale. You are heterosexual. You died alone at E3 2014.The Rockstar Energy Lounge resembles a triage centre. Perhaps twenty groaning men lay on stretchers clutching at their chests; each glows orange and teal, though some more desperately than others. One man lies dead with his abdomen burst open, but everyone is too busy to bother covering him in a sheet. The booth has run out of Rockstar, it would appear, and so all the convention's press passes have become restless. Without its cool, energizing flavour the passes have no source of caffeine. And without caffeine, they've been known to cannibalize their hosts. You feel rather thirsty yourself, come to think of it, but you remind yourself you've got a job to do.
One man, in desperation, appears to have tried feeding his pass Red Bull, a classic rookie mistake. He now resembles Sephiroth at the end of Final Fantasy VII, all half-formed wings and blood-soaked feathers.
Your ethnicity is white. Your gender is cismale. You are heterosexual. The [[show floor|showfloor]] calls out to you, but you think you see [[your friend Carl|ominous]] over by that ominous steel door.