"It was magic," I say quietly, as Contra's end credits roll by for the first time. My brother nods his head in agreement. We both smile.
"It's magic," I think today, 13 years later, looking out the window at the urban landscape on the other side, where burly oil-cars are lined up by the river. A drunk strolls by in the soft light of the full moon. He stops for a moment, throws an empty bottle of vodka under a bush and walks away. It's three o'clock in the morning.
OK, enough of this. I get back in my chair, press F5 hurriedly and look around for some news. Nothing ... nothing ... ah, there's a piece on some German FPS. And, even though I haven't played an FPS in the last couple of years, I open the article and start reading it.
E3: It has to be magic. That's one of those rare beliefs I try to leave unquestioned. Fairy tales, science fiction novels, movies - all have had a place in my heart, but now they've gone somewhere deep in the vaults of the Time itself - together with unicorns, plastic soldiers and miniature Ferrari models.
"Awesome graphics ... Thirty highly designed levels ... Fully implemented RPG elements ... " Why do I still believe in all of this?
I want to. I want to see impossible things came true, no matter how trivial or unimportant they might feel to the others. It's the sensation of seeing my dreams coming true I want to experience. For quite some time, I've mourned the loss of that magic feeling that filled my soul while I was reading stories about wonderful journeys to the Moon or the center of the Earth. And, if it's possible to partially recover these feelings, I'll do my best to hold onto them.
Of course, all this endless F5'ing stems from more than just my childish obsessions. After all, if all I wanted was a dream to believe in, I might as well go on thinking Elvis and Lennon are still alive somewhere in Peru.
No, I'm way too deep into the world of videogames; and this wave of previews, news and trailers could excite me even without a three-day spectacle surrounding them. Also, it's the feeling of being somehow tangled up in the biggest event in the game industry. But I wouldn't be awake this late at night if it was just that. No, the fundament of my unhealthy obsession is the desire to believe in a miracle; believe that somewhere in this stream of graphical depravity and booth babes would emerge something incredible, something that would not only make me register it somewhere in the depths of my memory, but also get up, re-read the story a couple of times with a doubting smile and then stroll through my apartment to and fro, trying to imagine how it would look in reality.
Why, then, am I still here, in my flat, filled with books and loose-leaf paper, not there with Miyamoto, Wright and Kojima? I'm scared. Scared I might lose the innocent belief in the magic of the E3. Scared of discovering the stories aren't coming to the minds of the journalists via an astral link, but are gathered one by one in a long and dismal effort. Queues as long as several hundred meters; endless movement from morning to evening; the noise, the fights with security - sitting near the PC; it sounds like a minor effort compared to the possibility of being the first to see New Super Mario or Gothic in action. But I also know that if I were there, on the show floor, it wouldn't take long for me to turn into a fire and sulfur spitting dragon.
That's another reason I don't want E3 to come to Europe. I just wouldn't be able to refrain from paying a visit. Sometimes, it's better not to know than to become disenchanted. And you, the journalists at E3 - I really admire your effort, but, please, don't write about queues and the intolerable noise. Deep in our minds, we already know how tiresome it can be, but in that one week it's much better not to be reminded, so we can keep on believing that E3 is guided by the power of a good-natured wizard.
And now, excuse me while I check any number of websites to see if something new has been announced.
Vilis Kasims is a writer for Latvian satire magazine [I]Dadzis[/i] and a freelance videogame journalist. Currently, he is working on an upcoming online Latvian videogame magazine, Bunkurs.