Last Wednesday, Kill Screen nightlife correspondents Drew Millard and Yannick LeJacq attened the launch party for NBA 2K13 at Jay-Z's 40/40 club in Manhattan's Flatiron neighborhood. After a night of celebrity-spotting, game-playing, beer-drinking, and head-nodding, the two convened on Gchat to consider what they had just witnessed.
7:19 PM Yannick: OK IM HERE
Drew: OKAY IM HERE TOO
Yannick: oh ok
Yannick: anyways let's start talking about Jay Z
since that's what struck me the most about this whole thing
Drew: the "aura of jay-z" that surrounded the event?
but never /truly/ materialized?
and, ultimately, this is jay-z's week in new york
7:23 PM Yannick: well maybe its an obvious thing to say that PR stunts are created to create an aura of spectatorship
but videogames don't really have a cult of celebrity the way other types of entertainment do
I mean at PAX East the closest thing I saw was Ken Levine walking by a long line of cosplay nerds
7:25 PM and they starting whispering 'THAT'S KEN LEVINE'
I dont think you could even get that close to Jay Z to start whispering about him
you're forgetting the two other things that had to do with videogames
that happened that night
Drew: we saw a guy from rockstar
and we actually played the game
I guess those too
7:27 PM I was going to say
1) the DJ shouted "NBA 2K13"
and then 2) Meek Mill said it right at the end of his set
7:28 PM the way he said it made me think that they told him he was only gonna get paid if he said "NBA 2K13"
7:30 PM Drew: i could see that
he killed it though
7:32 PM it was just very odd
like a rap concert and also a commercial
well i guess all concerts are commercials for other things
7:33 PM Yannick: yeah
7:34 PM no I meant that he just sorta started to walk off
and then was like
"oh shit…NBA 2K13!"
"there goes my dinner"
Drew: to be fair, i would be surprised if meek mill cared about videogames at all
Yannick: but yeah he was also performing in front of that giant screen showing the videogames
so thats another video game type thing
7:35 PM Drew: yeah
Yannick: also Ronnie was approximately five feet from us
Drew: and the cocktail napkins all said "nba 2k13"
ronnie is a human videogame character
Yannick: and he's basically the real-life equivalent of the Gunzerker from Borderlands 2
Drew: he will be the first human to have their skin replaced with pixels
i played as ronnie/gunzerker actually
it was unhelpful
7:36 PM Yannick: to preserve its magnificent sheen
seeing Ronnie was also what made me sad
Drew: what do you mean?
Yannick: that and Kris Humphries
Drew: i never thought i would be in the same building as kris humphries
and then be reminded of it by having a dj yell, "KRIS HUMPHRIES IN THE BUILDING"
7:37 PM Yannick: Jay Z was the only real famous person that was there besides Meek Mill
Drew: to be fair, nas was there too
Yannick: and I'm pretty sure Jay Z just showed up and then walked out the back
he stayed for the entirety of meek mill
Yannick: where was he
Drew: he was in the VIP section that we weren't allowed up to
7:38 PM does Nas say anything about videogames?
Drew: i think nas' presence there says something about his friendship with jay-z
but i could see nas getting faded and playing call of duty for 12 hours straight
Yannick: I wish 50 Cent had been there
7:39 PM that man understands the craft of virtual entertainment
Drew: oh yeah
7:40 PM if 50 cent had executive produced that game it would have been nba jam
7:41 PM but what I was going to say before was just that Ronnie and the Jersey Shore's presence along with Kris Humphries just made it seem like 2K had probably paid Jay Z a shit ton of money to be the "executive producer" on a game
just so they could throw a party at his club
and then no famous people showed up
7:43 PM Drew: that's fair
i mean it felt hollow, ultimately
7:44 PM on the other hand there was free beer so that was cool
Yannick: I mean doesn't the videogame industry makes more money than any other part of the entertainment industry at this point?
or its worth more
7:45 PM either way, the companies have a lot of money and aren't really sure how to take the next step to be culturally relevant/respected
Drew: yeah, that makes a lot of sense to me
Yannick: HOLY SHIT
Drew: hit me
Yannick: its just like
you know how Jay Z is like
7:46 PM the only rapper that's transitioned successfully into a super classy and ridiculously successful entertainment mogul/business man?
Yannick: THAT's what video game devs need
i completely agree
but it is also fairly different
7:47 PM Yannick: but right now theres just a bunch of people running around with too much money and a bunch of silly ideas
Drew: because jay-z basically said, "yeah, i am the epitome of everything mainstream culture hates, but also you have to accept me
and videogames are not driven by that same type of personality
Yannick: "let's put a subwoofer in the floor, that'll be so badass!"
7:48 PM what did Jay Z do that mainstream culture hates
besides being an incredible successful and talented black man
he sold crack
7:49 PM Yannick: ah
that'll do it
well isn't that the whole problem though
I mean everybody always says that games need a stronger cult of personality
7:50 PM but I started playing videogames because I didn't really care about those kinds of things
Drew: is that true though? like if there were a super mainstream phil fish or something?
7:51 PM i started playing videogames because i was 9 years old
Yannick: that too
7:52 PM my parents didnt really let me play videogames
or my mom didnt
Drew: well now we're just getting dark
Yannick: Isn't that what Cliff Bleszinski is
or Jon Blow
they were both profiled in the atlantic and the new yorker
those are pretty mainstream
7:53 PM Drew: eh, not really
usa today is mainstream
atlantic and nyer are mainstream mags that kind of deal with higher level ideas than most people enjoy dealing with
Yannick: so we need game developers driving off cliffs with prostitutes and stuff?
we need gamedevelopers that sell crack
Yannick: Cliff Bleszinski checking into rehab
7:54 PM Drew: okay speaking of which i'm going to see jay-z tonight and i gotta run