As the games media panel at the East Coast Games Conference in Raleigh, North Carolina kicked off yesterday, moderator and Epic PR manager Wes Phillips set shot glasses in front of each of the participants. Then he filled them with bourbon. Then came the cupcakes.
In the early planning stages of the "Game Media: From Fanboys to Fanning The Flames" panel, Wes and his crack team of organisers wrangled each of the participants — The Escapist's Steve Butts, Casey Lynch from IGN, Polygon's Russ Pitts, master freelancer Chris Morris and myself — into one epic email thread, asking us to help brainstorm content for the hour-long media spectacular.
This was a mistake.
My initial suggestion, "Southern Games Journalists: Is Taller Better" was quickly overturned in favour of a more Southern topic — bourbon. Well, bourbon and cupcakes, which as it turns out is a thing.
Eventually we settled on a non-bourbon-related topic, but the corn-based whiskey was never far from our minds. We had established a theme; a theme that might have backfired on us had we not all been at the top of our game.
Informing the audience (they already knew) that game journalists don't do anything without free booze, Wes popped open a bottle of particularly smooth spirits, filled our glasses, and told us that every time we used an acronym we would be taking a shot. Then came the cupcakes.
If you look closely at the picture, you'll notice a Lego Scotsman floating in my glass. This is because I brought along an assortment of Lego minifigs and sets to assemble and play with should the conversation slip towards matters of journalistic integrity, a subject I've found spins round and round in circles, gets dizzy and falls over, leaving everyone involved with a sore bottom. There's also a LEGO Captain America barely visible behind the glass. He was originally in the glass, but the Scotsman seemed more appropriate.
For the record, if you ran into me yesterday afternoon and I seemed a little tipsy, you can lay the blame squarely on PR, FPS and RPG. A tip of the hat to my colleagues, one of which deftly sidestepped a shot by saying "Personal Computer Gaming Magazine".
And sorry you couldn't make it, Chris. Get well soon. I hear bourbon helps.