Dead Island 2 - Santa Monica Pier

I went to E3 three times during my games journalism career: in 2011, 2012, and 2013. Since the event happens in Los Angeles, and I live in Minneapolis, I would try to make time to visit my California friends if I could. I wasn’t always able to see everyone I’d like to — E3 week is an extremely busy week for those of us in this field — but I did at least make an attempt.

One year — I want to say this was probably 2012 — I ended up spending an evening with a friend who had moved out to Santa Monica. Since he was living not far from the famous Santa Monica pier, he figured he’d give me the full tourist experience and we’d go check out the Ferris wheel.

I think it was probably Sunday night, so nothing was really open by the time we got there. But my friend started telling me this story about how when he first moved to California, someone told him to touch the Pacific ocean. When he did, he felt a magical tingle in his arm, and he knew right then that California was home.

So he insisted that, before we head back to his place, I needed to go down to the shore and dunk my hand into the Pacific Ocean. It was after dark and kind of cold (for a summer night in Southern California, I mean), but I did it anyway.

This is something I’d kind of tucked away in the back of my memory, and I hadn’t thought about it much since then. Until I played Dead Island 2, that is. See, the exact spot where I touched the Pacific Ocean is in this game. And it looks exactly how I remember it:

Dead Island 2 - Santa Monica Pier

It’s nighttime, the Ferris wheel is lit up but not in motion, and there are a few people just shambling about, minding their own business. When I saw this scene, the memory came flooding back to me. Yes, I had been in this exact spot in real life, and I’d had kind of an unusual experience there.

So how was it? Was the Pacific Ocean as magical as my friend promised it’d be?

Well, no.

It was windy and kind of cold, so by the time I got close enough to touch the water, I was soaking wet and covered in sand, shivering from the chill. For the rest of the night — well, until his roommate gave me a ride back to my hotel — I was wet and miserable, and I wanted nothing more than just to put on some warm, dry pajamas and go to bed.

If I’m being totally honest, the Pacific Ocean kind of sucks.

Dead Island 2 - Oceans
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