Well, we made it, team. CES did it’s best to ruin our legs, scramble our minds, and get us lost in a labyrinth of plastic, metal, and chargers. But we made it to the other side without so much as a scratch on us (one of our pals almost kicked it thanks to a cashew, but almost doesn’t count) and with more information than our brains can comfortably hold. We had a lot of laughs, we made some new friends, we got our 10,000 steps in every day, and honestly, we cherished the hell out of the experience.
Hey so real quick I know this says written by Rocket up there at the top, and he did write that first paragraph before the CES Flu took him. So from here on out this will be Raven taking the reins, and if we can switch back to Rocket’s perspective at any point, I’ll keep you folks in the loop.
Day 3 was, by comparison to the first two, a subdued affair. Most of us didn’t even leave the AirBnb. We filmed a big group podcast episode, we ate burgers for lunch and pizza for dinner, and we all marveled at Russ’s superhero video editing skills as he stitched together our B-roll with the podcast. Actually, during his editing was the first time many of us had any chance to play on our retro handhelds since we got here, except Joey and his newfound Metal Slug addiction. We were busy enjoying the company of these people who simultaneously felt like total strangers and long-time friends. So I figured instead of re-capping the stuff we already wrote about the first two days, or summarizing the podcast episode which I’ll once again link at the end of this article for good measure, I’d just talk about the trip as a whole. All the non-industry bits, all of my personal experiences here on the trip. Give you readers a bit of personal insight into the RH team, or at least as much as I can personally provide from my own perspective. After all, Zu was awake before me like every day and I have no idea what he did with that time. Maybe he played GOTM, that’s probably a good guess.
I’m calling this Day 0 because it was technically the pre-CES travel day for everyone. I got dropped off super early for my flight, got patted down by TSA, sat at the airport bar and had a crazy overpriced drink. Meanwhile the CES group chat was lighting up with folks updating on their travel milestones. Zu made a mad dash for a bathroom during a layover, Aish had his flight totally screwed up by the airline and almost couldn’t make Vegas at all, and most of the long flyers ended up radio silent for several hours because who wants to pay the exorbitant fee for airborne Wi-Fi? I finally got on my small plane for a quick hour-long flight, and thankfully managed the whole thing without puking on anyone like I did on my last flight (that’s a story for another day). The Vegas airport was a bit more like a mall, and after many shenanigans with a tram, and speaking to baggage claims, and taking a shuttle, I finally end up in Terminal 3 with all my bags where Russ and Joey are waiting. Rob, Zu, and Stubbs were on their way back to the airport from the AirBnb to both pick us up and their CES badges, and we were all still waiting for Aish to land. Everybody shows up, all goes off without a hitch, and then we get mildly lost on the way back to the car, and mildly lost again trying to exit the parking garage.
We briefly stop off at the AirBnb to drop off our bags, and this is when we decide to shove Aish in a closet. No, really, there was a mattress but he slept in the closet. Oh and Russ and Stubbs agreed to share the King bed. The trip was going to be interesting, I was just glad to have the couch to myself. We then went to Cafe Rio to have mediocre burritos, and have some random couple almost steal a table that Rocket and his wife had painstakingly put together for our large group. After eating, we stopped off at a Target to buy Russ some pajama pants, which was closed, so we went to the Ross next door. While there, Joey, the Canadian of the group if you didn’t know, spotted an In-N-Out. So we spoiled West Coast folk got to watch Joey and Zu have their first In-N-Out burger, which in Zu’s words was “not bad.” Zu proceeded to disappear without anyone noticing, and then appeared as we were leaving the restaurant with a big case of Miller Lite. We suspect he may have robbed a 7-Eleven, so we hurried home with our fugitive in stow.
The rest of the night was just hanging out, chatting, getting comfortable with one another. Oh and the part where Zu tried to poison us all with a bottle of Malort. I saw my life flash before my eyes. We also had a modded Wii which Rocket had brought, and for some reason we played Mario Kart 64 on it instead of, y’know, the Wii version. It was a hilariously badly emulated time, as one of our races wildly whipped back and forth between about 75% emulation speed and 150% emulation speed. Imagine that, we had an Odin 2 and several Steam Decks in the house which could easily have emulated N64 properly, but nobody had brought the proper cables to hook up to a TV. People slowly disappeared to bed during this time, and then Rocket left to return to his own hotel room. I set up on the couch, and the day ended.
Day 1 started with Creed. No, seriously, with Creed, Zu put it on at high volume. I lay, dazed and confused, wondering why it had happened once the music stopped. Then I hear someone in the kitchen say “well that didn’t work.” Oh, that was an attempt to wake me up. Ok, ok, I’m up. The mornings followed a similar theme each morning, scramble to eat, scramble to clean up, scramble to get dressed, get out the door! Of course, Day 1 included anaphylaxis courtesy of a stray cashew in one of the protein bars, but I will not disclose the personal details of said person. So we had to stop and get them drugs from the gas station before they died, and then it was off to the convention center. We learned first-hand how terrible every driver in Vegas is, narrowly avoided several accidents, and parked in some dodgy side-lot for triple the price of the normal lot. Once inside, it was game on, and you know a lot of the highlights of that from the Day 1 article. First order of business though, Rocket came in like half an hour ago and now he’s nowhere to be found. I made the trek into the city of tech booths and thankfully managed to track him down a solid 8 city blocks away from us, but we were all joined together as a group. For a little while.
As time went on, and as I became distracted while Stubbs interviewed GameSir, the party slowly split up. Then at some point we’re told that lunch is happening in the West Wing. Where is the West Wing? That’s for nobody to know apparently. So Rocket and I proceeded to walk in the wrong direction multiple times before finally figuring out it was across several halls and two skybridges. It felt like we were making the trip to Mordor. And when we got there lunch had ended, but thankfully some of our buddies had saved weird cookies and a bag of chips so we wouldn’t collapse of hypoglycemic shock. Of course, being a large guy, I also bought a footlong hotdog out on the concourse, and it was delicious. Aish said as I wandered off to buy it “enjoy your glizzy” which is probably some Gen Z slang. The rest of that day in the convention center blurred by, and I even missed out on one of Zu’s hilarious antics with some former football player because I needed to sit down and rest. We then took a bus over to the Bellagio, narrowly avoided several more accidents, and went in to attend the Showstoppers party. Oh good, more walking.
Well this is a much smaller thing. Yeah, this is just like one big ballroom with much smaller booths. AND FOOD! We only had a standing table available though, my poor feet. Delicious tacos, some donuts you could load up with sweet toppings, a really amazing butternut squash ravioli dish. They also had alcohol, but my body was crying out for water water and more water. When we were finished, I slowly shuffled toward the entrance while the rest of the group waited for Stubbs to take a 15 minute bathroom break. Rumor is he was waiting for a fancy enough bathroom to destroy, but I can’t confirm that. We then took a couple of Ubers to meet up at our last destination of the night, a Barcade called Player 1.
I’m not sure what sort of inhuman stamina possessed the rest of the group at this point, because I was in power saving mode the whole time we were here. The place was super cool, though, with a bunch of video game figurines and statues everywhere. The front desk gal was dressed as Jinx from League of Legends, and the bartenders were Togepi and Pikachu. Interesting. They had all sorts of arcade, pinball, and various consoles set up around the neon-lit room. You could sit at the bar and play Mario Kart, but on a Switch and not just an oddly emulated version. Oh and we met Bill there! Cool guy. He Stubbs and Zu enjoyed drinking together while Aish and Russ played Metal Slug most of the night with Rob and Joey watching. Rocket and his wife played some TMNT and Foosball, but he has asked that I not disclose who won that game. My body continued to cry out for water, so I had a single cocktail and half a beer and then like six or seven glasses of water. Zu, Bill, and Stubbs sang their own out-of-tune rendition of Kiss From A Rose after asking the bartender to play it on the speakers. We finally headed home around midnight, where I proceeded to crash out entirely on the couch until Stubbs started throwing things at me. Then we all just chatted and hung out around the kitchen island until like 2am.
Day 1 was definitely the longest overall day, you won’t really get much more of that exhaustion in this tale. Day 2 started off pretty similarly to the first, buncha people talking in the kitchen wakes me up, breakfast, clean up, get dressed, get out. I gave most of the CES highlights of what happened when we reached the Venetian, and our exploits with MSI, Asus, and Lenovo. You can check that out in the Day 2 article. Rocket and I did get separated and lost, again, on the way to the Wynn for the Lenovo meeting, but we made it just in time. After the meeting several members of our group fancied a bit of gambling in the Wynn casino. Stubbs ran off to find a cigar and beer to celebrate the day. We proceeded to lose and find several members of the group at different intervals before all gathering back together and making our way back to the Venetian and getting in the car.
We went back to the AirBnb, we all ordered sushi for dinner, and we hung out. I don’t actually remember most of what we did besides relaxing and chatting, I don’t think we ended up playing games or anything. I remember Stubbs setting up the gear for the podcast the next day. Oh and Zu’s story about the moth at the therapist. We talked about the stuff we had experienced that day at CES. I think everyone was just exhausted from a long couple of days, because it seems like this was the day everyone got to sleep the earliest. Everyone slowly dwindled off to their bedrooms until it was just Stubbs doing something on his laptop until the wee hours of the morning, being serenaded by my snoring on the couch.
Day 3, the beginning of the end of CES. We woke up to film the podcast. Shoes or no shoes? Well, your feet are in the shot, so wear some shoes. Should we show brand labels of our drinks in the shot? Well, we’re not sponsored, but everyone knows that’s a Coke so who cares? We recorded the podcast, had some fun, didn’t mention a certain group of historically disenfranchised individuals at Zu’s insistence, and then Aish and Rob were gone. Rob had to pick his wife up at the airport, and Aish had a flight only a bit later, so after the podcast they said their goodbyes and left. We ordered lunch from Shake Shack. Russ donned some noise cancelling headphones and began editing the podcast, at which point we found out our primary mic hadn’t recorded AT ALL and we only had the audio from the secondary mic to work with. Russ is brilliant though, he made it work. He also poked his head out the door to interrupt a phone call Zu was on to make sure he was cool with the unsolicited crotch shot in the podcast.
We hung out, played video games, watched Youtube. Someone tracked down the nearest pizza place with gluten free options and we ordered dinner from there. Finally the premiere of the CES podcast was ready to go, and we tuned in on the TV while joining the Live Chat on the phone. We got a good kick out of the B-roll Russ had selected over certain sections, and Stubbs fell out of his chair laughing at the crotch zoom for Zipper Quest. We had a good laugh, we spent forever exchanging a flash drive to group up all of our footage and videos onto one device so that it could be uploaded to a Google Drive for us to share amongst ourselves. We had our fun, shared some beers, and at the end of the night said goodbye to Joey and Zu who would have flights in the middle of the night, as well as Rocket who would not be returning to the AirBnb. I laid my head down to rest, preparing myself mentally for the day of travel that would follow.
Day 4 is the quietest day. The only people who remain in the AirBnb are me, Russ, and Stubbs, after Joey and Zu left in the middle of the night to catch their flights. We have a quiet breakfast, we pack up all of our stuff, and it’s off in an Uber to the airport. We stop at Terminal 3 first, Stubbs and Russ get out, and the party is over. I get dropped off at Terminal 1, have a quick solo lunch at the Chili’s across from my gate, board my plane, and go home. It’s not sad, I’m still gonna be chatting with these folks again, but it’s weird. For a little while we were hanging out together and now we go back to the way life always has been. Our time together was fun, and I’m sure everyone is excited for the next opportunity to do something similar. Well I’m mostly sure, maybe some of them couldn’t stand sharing a house with a bunch of other rambunctious and noisy dudes.
Hey everyone, it’s Rocket again. I just wanted to throw a small paragraph in here giving my thanks to everyone who was at CES.
When I started on my drive to Vegas, i was excited. I went back and forth between that and nervousness over the course of 5 hours. But meeting everyone was a delight, and from there on out, I had a blast. The RH crew, Rob, Joey, and of course Russ were all inviting, helpful, and funny as hell. Getting to see the offerings at CES was a treat, but the real upside to me was the bonding we all did as a group. I appreciate everything we all went through together, and hope I’m lucky enough to hang out with everyone again. Plus, what a handsome group of guys, am I right?
Big thanks to Stubbs for allowing me to join the crew exactly a year ago. CES felt like a culmination of all our hard work, and each and every one of us deserved to have a good time, and we absolutely did!
Raven one more time.
So that’s it, that’s the end of my long re-telling of the highlights of the CES trip. I hope you’ve enjoyed the tale, we certainly enjoyed living it. Thank you anyone who read this, and anyone who continues to support our goal of building this wonderful community. Take care of yourselves, take care of your handhelds, and stay hydrated.
Here’s the podcast I promised:
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