We got back to the hotel, headed to our rooms to drop off our goodies and headed back to the hotel bar for some drinks, olives, and some weird little crackers that were mighty tasty. A little while later our hosts came by and got us rallied to go to dinner. I forgot the place’s name already, but that’s probably a good thing, as the owner was very disrespectful to us. It was a fancy place, and while we weren’t bothering anyone (and we had an incredible waitress that rolled with the humor from all of the ridiculous people at this table) they didn’t seem to like that we all had this money to spend there, and of course, that we were all in t-shirts and jeans, for the most part.
As for the meal, it was ridiculous. Just check out the menu (if you even can. Damn my blurry pictures!).
I had a Caesar Salad, Filet Mignon, and the best brownie I’ve ever eaten. All this and incredible appetizers a whole bunch of double jack and cokes. You don’t even want to know what the bill looked like.
The food was fantastic, as were the drinks, of which many were drank. Many, many, many drinks.
After cabbing it back to the hotel bar for even more drinks, most of the guys went upstairs to crash for their flights home tomorrow, but some wanted a little more action than looking at the boring, elderly posh people that lined the hotel.
I was getting along great with the rest of the guys, who asked me if I wanted to come out with them. They were stunned when I replied that I’d never been to San Francisco before, and neither had Jack from AICN. We joined together that night and made a pledge that we’d get each other back to the hotel room at some point. The Texan and the New Yorker, we were an unstoppable force… who says the sites don’t get along? We soon escaped the hotel (purposefully leaving the ear-piece wearing piece of shit behind) and headed out for adventures, now that work was done.
Andrew, Ben, Jack and I ended up meeting with a couple of the Destructoid guys, Jino from EA and Craig at a very hipster-ish club, the kind of which I hate back home, and did so even more here. Walking through the streets the other guys had more things to make fun of me for, because I kept jaywalking (“This isn’t New York!”) and bitching about how everything closed down at 2:00 AM.
The place wasn’t that bad, actually, and despite being surrounded by poseurs, I had a blast. Besides, how could you not laugh when you look around and see a scene like this?
I spent most of the time talking to Craig, who I found out I had a lot in common with, as far as our upbringing. He didn’t understand what the hell was going on with all of these kids, and I tried to explain that these were the people who had come to the big city and were relying on checks from their parents to get along, that they didn’t really understand anything about the world. It’s the same in every big city, I assume, the people that come to it and want to fit in immediately even though it’s impossible, and not necessary anyway. We really clicked that night, and it was awesome to find out that the designer of one of my most favorite recent games is a really friendly, down to earth and cool guy, who wouldn’t even let me buy him a pint! He kept grabbing my shoulder and telling me that I had to get into making games. I would in a heartbeat, man. Trust me.
The night had a bunch more fun twists and turns along the way, but let’s just say it ended up with all of us sitting on a rooftop, drinking beers and looking out at the stunning San Franciscan skyline. Ben turned to me at one point and said how I’m probably not too impressed, being from NY, but he couldn’t be more wrong. Every city’s got its own look, and with its hills San Francisco definitely has a unique and beautiful one. A perfect end to a perfect night, and I got back to my hotel regretting that I wouldn’t see these guys again for a long time. They’re definitely the kind of people I’d hang out with on the regular if we lived closer.
Getting to bed, I realized that this was going down as one of the most fun trips of my life. I’ve met some great people, played some great games, and had a helluva time.
As I write this on board an airplane 39,000 feet above Illinois, it still all feels like a dream. This time, I’ve got the whole row to myself instead of sitting crammed in between two people, which is great, because I’m a little notoriously type-shy. Martian Child is playing on the glitchy United Airlines TVs, and I’m ignoring it, because after I finish this I’ve got another Val Lewton classic to watch.
I’d like to thank Andrew Green and Ben Swanson for setting this up and being such cool people. Much respect to Craig Sullivan for schlepping his way over here to show off his game. Also Ben, thanks for opening your home to me and showing me around the city. Too cool, bro. And of course huge respect goes to EA for sponsoring the event.