It was dark, like the inside of a Derringer. It was raining, the kind of rain that you can't see in the dark, but you can hear it hissing on the end of your cigarette. Across the street a guy stood under a lamppost like he fell out of it. He shrugged the rain off his shoulders and touched his hat when he caught sight of me. I could see he had something in his hand, something I wanted. Something I needed.
And he knew it.
I crossed the street, puddles soaking my toes. These shoes cost five hundred dollars. I didn't care.
"What have you got there, Sam?", I said through the rain.
Houser had the grace to look a little guilty. "L.A. Noire."
"I know it is, Sam. It's raining and the sun went down hours ago. Now let me see what you've got before I call my friend."
"Who's your friend?"
"His name is Colt."
"Easy, easy." He took a half step back and banged his shoulders into the lamppost. I smoked my cigarette and waited.
"It's a game, just a game," Houser stumbled over his words as much as he did over his feet.
"Just a game?"
"Take a look, mack. You tell me..." http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5LfZq_OdU80
"That looks pretty damned good, Sam," I said, because it was true. Too true.
"I know! We reinvented facial movement, and did it so well that reading expressions can be part of the game itself, not just part of the graphics."
I read his expression. He looked pretty serious, but I wanted proof.
"Oh yeah? That's hard to believe, Sam."
"We get that a lot. Watch this and then see if you're convinced."http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oO03FXjPY3A
It was convincing, but I wasn't sold yet. Sure, the game looked like an open world extravaganza, sure it was a leap forward from GTA4 and Red Dead Redemption, but what about the story? The mechanics? I'm no easy mark.
"How do I know you're not shining me on with cinematic trailers, Sam? Let's see some gameplay."
"Hey, sure, you're no sucker. How about this?" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0aJymtKwNHs
I was sold. The rain came down out of the LA sky. I threw the cigarette in the street and reached for Sam's game. Instead, I got a face full of revolver.
"Not so fast, mack," he said over the barrel. His finger was on the trigger. I didn't move.
"Some kind of problem?" I tried to sound casual. It didn't work.
"What, you think because we showed this game as a 60 minute film at Tribeca
, you can just walk up to me on the street and take a copy?"
"You want money? I've got money."
"Forget it, mack. You're going to wait, just like the rest of the world."
I didn't want to wait and I said so. He poked me in the forehead with the revolver. Suddenly, I wanted to wait.
"You're a tease, Sam, just like they said. When can I get the game?"
"Ask me again on May 17th.
Now get out of here."
I got out of there. It was dark, and it was raining, and I had a lot of drinking to do before May.