Considering that this week would have been the week of E3 2007 had the grand event not been scaled down to the new "business summit" format, it seemed only appropriate to share the story of the game I bought to play during my week in Los Angeles back in 2005. You see, as a child it was a family custom that my parents buy me a new Game Boy game to play while riding in the backseat on our family road trip vacations. Each year while tagging along with my parents while they bought vacation supplies I was allowed to pick out the game of my choice to enjoy during those long stretches of endless interstate highway. The practice came to an end when I became old enough to drive and, appropriately, didn't have the opportunity to save the princess while taking the wheel myself. For our final family road trip in 1999 I didn't even bother to bring the Game Boy. It seemed that the traveling game tradition was dead.
That changed when I acquired a Nintendo DS, my first portable game system since that original Game Boy. When the long flight to California for E3 came up I knew I'd have plenty of time to kill on the plane, so it seemed as good a time as any to revive the old practice. Seeing as how I was catching up on some of the Game Boy Advance games that I'd missed over the years, I went in search of something from my wish list: Mario and Luigi: Superstar Saga. It took some doing to track down a new copy of the game in the weeks approaching May 2005, but I finally found one lone sealed and dusty copy at a forgotten Circuit City near my home. I packed the game box away in my carry-on backpack, respecting the tradition by promising myself that I wouldn't crack the seal and play the game until the journey had begun.
While waiting in the airport to board the flight to Los Angeles, I decided that I was officially traveling, eagerly slid the game pak into my DS, and fired it up, headphones kept at half volume so I could hear boarding announcements. I then proceeded the play the game for just about the entire five hour flight across the country to the befuddlement of the people around me. At the time a Nintendo DS was still a most unusual sight. "Is that Game Boy DS?" one woman asked (at least, I believe that's what she asked; I was engrossed in exploring the Beanbean Kingdom at the time). Then the plane landed in California, the DS went back into the backpack, and it was time to join the AMN staff at the hotel and get to work on covering the event.
Of course, if things had worked out that way, this would be a short story. I wound up playing plenty of Superstar while on the E3 show floor. Walking back and forth across such a massive place as the Los Angeles Convention Center is a very tiring affair, so it wasn't unusual for me to take a break between trekking from booth to booth. Two or three times a day I'd pull over from the rush of people to a fairly empty hallway adjacent to the Nintendo booth, sit myself down near the flow of air conditioning, and pull my DS out of my pocket to play a little before getting back to my assignment list. It was refreshing to spend the week playing such a lengthy and rewarding game, as by the time I returned home I still hadn't finished the adventure and the game hadn't become a chore like so many games do near the end.
In 2006 I chose Metroid: Zero Mission for my "week of E3" game and wound up finishing the whole damn thing on the flight to Los Angeles, but that's another story...