A Personal Aside: Covering E3 2016 in the Shadow of the Horror in Orlando

A Personal Aside: Covering E3 2016 in the Shadow of the Horror in Orlando

The heartache I carry as I head to the showfloor.

We're at E3 this week, covering the year's biggest gaming event. Be sure to check out all our coverage on our E3 2016 hub!

In a few minutes I will be heading down to collect my badge and tackle E3 2016 in earnest. I will do so with Sunday's brutal attacks still weighing heavily on my mind.

As I've mentioned in the past, I'm a queer woman. Though things have changed a lot in the past 15 years or so, it's still very dangerous in many respects to be out and proud. Homophobia is still alive and well in this world. Terrifyingly so.

In that respect, the attack on the Orlando nightclub shook me to the core. Regardless of the killer's motivations, it was still a direct attack on my community. In another time and place, I might have been at that club with my partner. Reports that a heavily-armed man was going to try and attack LA Pride were just as scary. It was only a year ago that my partner of fifteen years was at LA Pride while I covered E3.

All of this has combined to create a surreal atmosphere here in LA. The excitement over new announcements from Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo is mingled with grief and horror over the tragedy in Orlando. On the streams, representatives from Bethesda and Nintendo are wearing rainbow pins in solidarity with the queer community, and I won't deny that I'm grateful for the acknowledgment. But I'll also admit that my appetite for entertainment isn't especially high at the moment. Mostly, I just want to go home and be with my girlfriend.

But the show must go on, I guess. Though it's hard to be excited for new entertainment right now, I'm nevertheless grateful for the opportunity for escapism. I'm grateful that I can dive into Madden or Star Wars and pretend for a second that our world isn't profoundly messed up. There's solace in the hustle and bustle of E3 and the work that has to be done. It lets me forget the heartache for a second.

As for the violent content that sits front and center at every E3, I'll admit to operating at something of a remove. Admittedly, one of my most anticipated games is an extremely violent World War I simulator, but that's mostly because I'm a history buff. Thankfully, gaming is much more than the violent murderfest that it's purported to be. The games I will be seeing have next to nothing to do with guns: Pro Evolution Soccer, Nier, Gundam Vs, Civilization VI. Still, I agree with Jeremy in that games can be better. I prefer for developers to lean toward the intelligent and artistic more than the violent.

Regardless of the content, this E3 2016 is particularly difficult. In the shadow of such tragedies, though, the best we can do is remember the dead and try our hardest to live. And so I carry on.

Kat Bailey

Editor in Chief

Kat Bailey is a former freelance writer and contributor to publications including 1UP, IGN, GameSpot, GamesRadar, and EGM. Her fondest memories as a journalist are at GamePro, where she hosted RolePlayer's Realm and had legal access to the term "Protip." She is USgamer's resident mecha enthusiast, Pokemon Master, and Minnesota Vikings nut (skol).

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