I don't do events like this often. Maybe the reasons are the exact list of things I am about to mention, in which case my complaints will seem pitiful and naïve to a more experienced con-goer. Maybe I just got the short straw and things will pick up later in the week for the other cons. Who knows? Some of these things are admittedly through personal fault, yet they would not have existed had it not been for the combined incompetence of both me and whatever bastard dared to anger me. Grr.
Truth is, I hate people. Not in the conventional sense, I hope, of the “All people are stupid sheep!” hive-mind; no, I just hate being in crowds of them - they make me uneasy and awkward. It means they can steal my wallet, it means they are more likely to act weird whether it be through being dense or having an audience or just simple social ineptness, it means every awkward mannerism I have is plain and clear for the world to see and the more people there are, the higher the percentage of them will have fucking cameras. Going to cons means challenging this and the less there is to impress me, the more I’m going to fail my arms around and screech that life isn’t fair.
First of all, trains. I know a lot of people complain about railworks. They will stretch their arms backwards, till back their gaping maws and let forth torrent after torrent of bile and ignorance about how terrible it is that their routine has been jolted; in this case, that the train they need is out of service. I pull contemptuous faces at those people and continue mentally cutting things into wedge shapes but that doesn’t excuse the mess we had today. Every single line we needed was under repair, including the two lines that would be used more today by people making connections to get to LMCM more than any other day. Simply, travelling was a load of shite.
The queuing was like starving; long, slow and full of people unimaginatively dressed like Sepiroth. And then there are those people who walk around holding “Free Hugs” signs. The first time I saw that, 3 years ago, I actually thought it was quite a nice gesture, if a bit insipid. Done next to the right uplifting soundtrack you could pretend it wasn’t something you’d sneer at, but by the 21st sign all charm is lost, replaced with the all-consuming desire to create a “Free Vasectomy” sign instead. Once inside the packed foyer, a small child wandered into the crowd, while his clearly irresponsible father decided it was in fact my fault for psychically enticing him to walk into my knees, at which point an utterly retarded and pointless argument fumbled out that made me want to punch it (and him) in the babymaker.
All this and we’re not even inside the door. So the Ubi booth was a bit meh, showing off Far Cry 2 and yes, it has teh 50 sqr klmrtrs, and yes, it was actually okay to play in the 30 seconds I got. Here’s the thing. The booth didn’t have checkpoints. Every time you die, you have to retart the game, and every time you start the game, you get to sit through a 12 minute cutscene. This is NOT A GOOD IDEA when you are trying to demo your game to HUNDREDS AND HUNDREDS OF PEOPLE. It was a terrible, terrible demo. Prince of Persia was next and while you can forget about the game being “dumbed-down”, it isn’t the game we played four years ago. Things have changed - some good, some bad, some negligible. Unfortunately, I didn’t get much out of the demo, so I’m going to have to wait until EuroGamer next week to judge clearly.
With “Raving Rabbids”, I thought I would lay off the branding iron on this cash cow and instead sample some its milk for once. It was, unexpectedly, very fun milk, but don’t think I’m recommending it; it was just a pleasant surprise. They also had a Naruto game, whatever one of those is, but I couldn’t play that. There were just too many teenagers sweating weird adolescent fumes to maintain a healthy atmosphere.
EA had just one little demo, Dead Space. The game looked okay, but here’s the problem. The stand was a sealed box with two small rooms either side. One room contained a screen showing two trailers, the other a console to demo the game on. You queued up and were sent in four or five at a time. Of the people in my group, two of us got to play the game for a total of 90 seconds between us. So much time was spent bollocking around and the play time was so pathetic that the long wait become worthless and trying to enjoy the game was futile. The stand would have worked better had it just been four individual consoles, like everyone else.
Koei had a good stand. Plenty of units, loads of different games and modes, a little area to buy games, a nice HD screen for trailers and some nice PR people. The games on show were varying in quality, some quite interesting, some needlessly irritating. But one thing I remember, I had fun at Koei’s booth. I hated Dynasty Warriors 6 because it just looked disgusting, and this coming from someone who openly admits to not caring about graphical standards. I didn’t understand a lot of it, but frankly, I just wanted to hit stuff, and it didn’t help that a lot of the games demoed were the Japanese versions. Nice effort from Koei, but no.
But everything I’ve said so far pales in comparison with this closing gem of purest snot. There was one pleasant surprise and that was the demo of Oneechanbara or however the cock to spell it. Unfortunately, my happy little forays were unforgivingly crushed by this fucking tosser.
Look at it. Look at how stupid its big stupid head is. I want to push pins into it. I want to put lead weights in its trousers and pin its eyelids to a ceiling fan. I want to kick it twice in the back so that it pushes the flesh out the other side and makes it look like it has moobs. This squalid wanker spent at least 30 goddamn minutes playing this game while I, and about twenty other people stood patiently watching and waiting for him to let us play. On the moments that he tore his gaze from the screen, he looked round at us. Twice. He knew we were there, waiting like good, kind nerds, and yet he played belligerently through 4 bastardine levels. What a Cunt. Of course, this would have been different had there simply been another stand, but that’s not the issue.
The problem is what this napalm-on-a-childs-bits-man represents - the kind of person that goes to expos to soullessly and carelessly play games. I went today for an experience, one that would certainly involve playing games, but that would yield far more in its social and industry merits - talking to the PR people and gauging how much they know, discussing with people the game on demo, buying presents and collecting swag. Of course we go their to play games, but here’s the thing; if you’re the kind of devout gamer who will stand for an hour playing Dynasty Warriors 6, you can probably buy the damn game and play it at home, free of noise, crowds and the (apparently absent) guilt from being a selfish dick.
And if that wasn't enough for you, then listen to this delicious slice of disappointment cake; I didn't get to meet Jim today because he got in early. Poo.