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The Truth About Party Kings
posted by: Aaron Stanton
date posted: 09:10 AM Wed May 21st, 2003
last revision: 06:47 AM Fri Sep 23rd, 2005

What is E3? We reporters attempt to answer this question each year in articles that clog the Internet immediately after the show, all invariably titled \"My Time At E3\". Equally invariably, we fail to convey the essence of what E3 is. We tend to get caught up in enthusiastically rehashing poorly articulated stories about killing our editors in Brute Force, often involving arm flinging and imaginary jabs in the air, or our three day, systematic hunt to crush the journalists of competing game magazines in Soul Caliber II (I lost a lot this year, so that\'s the last I\'ll mention that). Disjointed collections of information about how an E3 reporter spends his time \"working\" at E3 tends to leave readers envious and desperately uninformed. No one quite hits the truth, because there is the \"truth\", and then there is the truth. There\'s more differences between the two than the cool finger quotations you get to form in the air if you\'re reading this out loud. The \"truth\", you see, is that E3 is the world\'s largest gaming convention. The truth is that E3 is just the world\'s largest attempt to prove, finally, what Revenge of the Nerds attempted to do so long ago: well financed nerds are lords of the party.

Whether it was during Smash Mouth\'s nearly private concert at the invite only NVIDIA party (played pretty well after all the shots of Jager he kept demanding we bring to the stage), or while waiting for the large security guards to find your name on their list before letting you through the police barricade shielding Nokia\'s food, game, and music riddled bash, I couldn\'t help but think back to those high school parties I didn\'t attend. I mean the parties with the kegs, populated exclusively by the guys who\'s only facial expression is that of a smirk, which they bestowed liberally in the high school hallway whenever you passed. I thought about those missed parties as I passed from one room to the other, from the break-dancers to the free open bars and fully stocked dessert, candy, and dinner tables, and in my mind, I very articulately shouted at every person who had ever turned me, or anyone else for that matter, away at the door because we weren\'t cool enough. I shouted, \"Nah nah na na na.\"

Of course, I stopped shouting when one of the models posing as human art in the lobby looked at me weird. Ultimately, the truth about parties is that they get proportionally better with the amount of money invested in them. It\'s sad that something so shallow, so simplistic, as money could be one of the driving factors behind a good party, but let\'s look at the facts from a bragging rights perspective. At least in high school (and a good portion of the college population) a party touting a keg is considered superior to the average Coke and chips movie party variety, and a DJ or live band always trumps the CD player, no matter what selection of tunes is available. Food is always an important aspect of the party, as there are few fraternity parties that aren\'t enhanced a bit by the discovery of the communal barbeque, and one knows they\'ve reached a higher level of party experience when the quality of the food is a key aspect of your tales the next morning. Location and independent entertainment is also an important factor, so a party thrown in a rented out hotel is a little cooler than the one in the neighbor\'s basement, and the best parties have a variety of game consoles, pool & air hockey tables, and video arcades rigged for unlimited free play on hand.

Once a party graduates to a live band, the question becomes one of quality and celebrity. How good is the band, and how many people outside of the dancing room will recognize their name? You know that you\'ve transcended to a new class of parties when the bands rotate during the course of the night, and it\'s a sign of substantial skill and class to have numerous stages within different rooms, each dedicated to its own style and brand of music, be it jazz, hip-hop, rock, or simply a stage full of break dancers and models wandering around in a complex weave of motion.

So what is the point? Ultimately, it\'s to suggest that the term \"nerd\" is nothing more than another way of saying \"future lord of the entertainment dance\" or \"yet to mature party king\". You see, it\'s all a matter of resources. While the keg party is considered cool, it also represents a basic level cap; one cannot transcend it without rather substantial financial backing. And who better to acquire significant financial backing than those of us hunched over the computer day and night, who\'s natural anti-social skills lend wonderfully to the creation of super-advanced AI computers to keep us company and refer to us as \"Dave\"? Who better to be the next hit musician than the fellow in his basement writing songs into the wee hours of the night instead of going to that next party? Hollywood is littered with people who know what it\'s like to buckle down for some hard work, who got where they were by transcending cool and being substantial.

So what is E3? It\'s nerds in their element; a gathering of the industry to celebrate our own coolness. It\'s the biggest bash you will ever attend. It\'s the ultimate proof that the shy fellow you pass in the hallway is the same one that\'s going to someday be able to hire a modeling agency to cater his after-show parties. So if you\'ve ever made a Star Trek joke about the Xbox being sent off into the depths of space and returning a thousand years later as the original founder of the Borg, stand tall.

We nerds are the kings of the party. We just haven\'t realized it yet.