I sat on the curb, nowhere to go. I could have run but I had been partially paralyzed by whatever it was I had been drinking. The police cruiser arrived and an officer politely asked me to watch my head as he put me in the back of his car.
Even though my eyesight wasn't that good I recognized a familiar face was there. I must have dozed off because the next thing I remember seeing was Ken Levine, the creator of BioShock, talking to the police and gesturing in the direction of the police car in which I was seated. I couldn't guess at what they were talking about, but I saw Ken slip the officer something and they shook hands. The officer then unlocked the door and instructed Ken to take me back to my hotel.
Mystified, I waved happily to the LAPD as they drove off, perhaps the nicest police department in the world. Ken sat down beside me and offered me a drink from a brown paper sack and we watched Felicia Day get into a limo with Green Day and Mike Tyson. I accepted his offer and we sat there in silence until he asked if I wanted to go to the real after-party at his friend's place in the Valley.
In the cab, he told me about his own experience with the VGAs. I wasn't the only one to run "afowl" of douchebaggary at Spike's award ceremony. He also laughed about headbutting journalists. He said there were a few he'd like to knock out as well; we made a list but I'm afraid that list is much too long to publish here.
We arrived at the after-party which turned out to be in a subbasement of his recently-unemployed friend's apartment. The basement was filled with EA's laid-off game designers and scruffy freelance journalists all gathered around the television watching the after-party for the VGAs at an upscale LA club. The scene on the TV bordered on sad, but I kept chuckling to myself as I watched Cliffy B. holding a Gears of War Lancer in one hand and a beer in the other all while Alyssa Milano tried to ignore his advances.
Someone suggested that we turn it off and have our own contest, but it was clear none of us were going to win an award for Best Dressed Gamer or have our pictures on posted celebrity blogs. That's why we play games in the first place, right?
Later, an impromptu Street Fighter II (Turbo) tournament broke out and I lost about 40 dollars to the ex-president of Pandemic, Josh Resnick. I probably could have beaten him but I suspected he needed the money more than me.
All in all, I had a great time in LA, and so I would like to present my own awards. Obviously, Ken Levine wins The Hero Award for his role in making sure I didn't spend the night in jail. And an honorable mention to whoever spiked my drink, which was probably me.
That's what best friends are for.
Marion Cox apologizes to his editor for referring to the Video Game Awards as "The VAGs." Repeatedly.