I recently took a trip to Toronto, Ontario to celebrate my birthday with my twin sister (albeit a bit belatedly). We saw some of our extended family, went to a Jays game (they lost, unfortunately), and spent some time at the ROM. None of this is important (well, at least in the context of this blog), since I also spent some time in the Ontario Science Centre, and their special exhibit, Game On 2.0.
In the words of the Science Centre:
[On] Sept. 26, 1969, a radio signal over 1.5 billion light years away struck a circuit that raised the curtain at the Science Centre’s official opening. It was one of the world’s first interactive science museums. The Science Centre has since welcomed more than 46 million visitors for a range of fascinating experiences in science and technology. It is one of Ontario’s most significant cultural attractions, focused on interactivity and hands-on learning for visitors of all ages.
An exhibition about gaming seems right at home. more »
Here we are, finally at the last day of Gamescom. This entry may be way shorter than the others, partially because I’ve found a video of the Guild Wars 2 Lore Q&A, which is way more succinct than the notes I took, and partially because the day ended earlier than the others because it was the last day. A lot of it was spent standing in a crowd trying to catch swag (man, people are vicious), and while it was fun to get the swag, it doesn’t make for super interesting writing.
10:25 After waking around 9am or so, we went down to eat breakfast in the hotel lobby. Scrambled eggs and bacon, yay! We were the only ones there, so I assume everyone just woke up earlier than we did and left. We had to checkout by 11am, which was fine, seeing as we wanted to get to Gamescom by then anyway. After scouring the hotel room to make sure we didn’t accidentally leave anything behind, we hopped into the car and said goodbye to Troisdorf. All in all, I could definitely recommend that hotel, as the service was good, the room was very big, air-conditioned, and clean, and price was also doable, though we purchased it through a Dutch site that offers cheaper deals, so I’m not sure how much it would be for normal booking.
The parking situation was thankfully back to normal, so we were able to park in the same area we did on Friday, close to the East gate. It had stormed the night before, so we had to dodge a bunch of puddles on the way in, and it was terribly humid. The worst part was that everybody’s shoes were squeaking on the convention floor. It was enough to drive you crazy. So, attempting to block them out, we headed towards the NCSoft booth for the Lore Q&A for Guild Wars 2.
The diary continues! While Gamescom 2011 is over now, we’ve still got 2 days of diary posts to get through. We had a late start on Saturday because I slept in to try to catch up on some sleep. We left the hotel around 12:30 to head to the Koelnmesse. The traffic jams were horrendous, and the parking areas that were open on Thursday and Friday had completely filled on Saturday. Signs directed us to drive to the Lanxess Arena’s parking garage, where we spent 10 minutes trying to drive around and actually find a parking spot.
While checking Twitter, I saw Gamescom had tweeted that they were closing the Koelnmesse because it had reached capacity, which I have later learned is around 62,000 people. They were only letting people in when others left. Ugh. We shortly debated going back to the hotel, but I’m stubborn, so I insisted that we give it a shot anyway. After finally finding parking, we walked to the Messe.
13:30 The line was huge. We must have seen hundreds of people standing in line for the East gate. My mind was boggling. It was also incredibly hot, around 34C/93F, and probably hotter than that in the full sun. We wanted to get an idea of how insane the line was, so we kept walking until we arrived at the East gate entrance. It was there that we noticed a second line had formed going in the other direction from the East gate. It was probably a 10th of the length of the other one, so we scootched in there.
14:37 We barely missed getting in. They kept letting people in in small groups then holding off again. You could hear people cheer every time they decided to let more people inside. It was hot, crowded, and a bit nerve-wracking, as whenever another push to the doors started, people became antsy and aggressive. I was literally standing in the doorway now. A woman was separated from her husband or boyfriend or whomever she was there with. She was able to get through, but security closed off entrance while the man she was waiting for was still in the crowd. She looked to be on the verge of tears. Sometimes people would walk by inside and take a photo of the waiting crowd, then walk smugly on their way.
14:47 Finally! I’m glad we were at the very front of the crowd, so we could get out of the way quickly. After the long walk back to the the main halls, we headed to the NCSoft booth because I wanted to try to get my hands on the WildStar demo.
Late Saturday evening at Gamescom, I decided to see if I could brave the line to demo the Playstation Vita. It was nearing 19:00, so I figured the line may be more manageable at that point. Luckily, I was right, and we only ended up waiting around 15 minutes.
While we were standing in-line, someone came out to explain how the process went. The names of the games that they had offered were on cards, and we had to pull a card randomly while they were face down. They had several games I was interested in, including ModNation Racers, LittleBigPlanet, Uncharted: Golden Abyss, and the one I’m most interested in and maaaybe possibly considering getting a Vita for, Sound Shapes (I have a music game obsession, so sue me). I eagerly drew my card, turn it over and it was…
While I’ve really enjoyed writing up the Gamescom trip diaries, they take me a very long time to put together because I have to sort the photos, transcribe my notes (my handwriting is so, so bad), then actually do the writing and piece together the entry and format it and add pictures all while running on very little sleep and being distracted by the internet and gaaaah. I’d like to thoroughly thank my fellow bloggers for the help in getting the pictures for my posts together and formatting them nicely for me.
Today, I am… really, really tired. I’ve managed somewhere around 20 hours of sleep since Tuesday, and I’m running ragged. I need to get a full night’s sleep tonight so I can survive tomorrow. I slept in a bit late today and it was very hard for me to get out of bed because I’m just really exhausted. We need to check out of the hotel by 11am tomorrow, so I have to be able to wake for that. In addition, typing up the blog posts takes a long time, and doing so keeps Jochem half-awake. Seeing as he needs to drive us 300km tomorrow and get us home in one piece, I want to make sure we’re both rested tonight.
In short though, today involved:
- Having to wait in line for the Messe with thousands of other people
- Being afraid I was going to get trampled by the crowd around the doors
- Interviewing Carbine Studios Art Director Matthew Mocarski about WildStar Online (which will go up later this week)
- Checking out DotA2 after we finally found where it was hosted
- Taking pictures of some great casemods
- Taking more pictures in the Retro Gaming area
- Getting my hands on the PSVita
- Trying to play the Anno 2070 demo in German
- Taking a picture with a bunch of ArenaNet’s Guild Wars 2 staff
Stay tuned to the blog over the next week or so to read my full trip diary on those bullet points, and the rest of the wrapups. Due to our long trip back home on Sunday, so I likely will not get a chance to blog then either. Our other bloggers have some stuff in the pipeline though, so I’m sure they’ll keep you entertained! Apologies for not being able to post the diary tonight, but with not getting back to the hotel until 9pm and having to be awake early for checkout tomorrow, there’s just not enough time for me to do it and, y’know, not faceplant.
Remember, you can follow me on Twitter to see where I am and what I’m waiting in line for doing on the very last day of Gamescom!
Today was day 2 of Gamescom. I spent somewhere around half the time we were there today standing in line. I’m going to need a week to recover from this, I swear. After getting what definitely felt like not enough sleep, I managed to crawl out of bed sometime circa 11am or so. There weren’t any presentations that I was really dying to see at 11am, so we decided it would be better to sleep in a little later because I’d been up torturing myself blogging all night. After slowly waking up and packing our bags, we headed to the gas station across the street to grab a quick sandwich and (to my utter joy) a bottle of Mt. Dew before driving to the Koelnmesse.
Traffic was quieter than the day before because it was a little later, and we actually ended up getting a parking spot that was closer than yesterday’s, about a 5 minute walk from the eastern gate. Large gates surrounded the parking area, and we were looking around wondering where we needed to walk when I spotted a gentleman waving his hands and shouting something in German. “Messe?” we heard him shout, and after we nodded, he waved us over through a gate that had been shifted aside so people could shortcut through. The eastern gate takes you through one of the quieter areas of the convention center, Hall 10, which is filled with a random smattering of activities that range from a bouncy castle (I’m not lying, I swear) to an amateur parkour setup.
A few escalators and somewhat confusing elevation changes later, we were back in the main area. As we rode the escalator down into the crowd, we saw a group of half a dozen or so people dressed as Team Fortress 2’s RED team, but they unfortunately dissipated into the madness before we could get their picture. Then we headed towards Hall 6. Destination: EA’s stage to see the producer presentation for Star Wars: The Old Republic.
Gamescom, the world’s largest gaming trade fair, has kicked off its 2011 convention in Cologne, Germany. Stack Exchange was awesome enough to sponsor me to go Cologne in order to do coverage for the blog. They even sent me swag to give out to the fellow gamers. Join me as I check out game demos, take pictures of interesting cosplayers, drool over the display booths, and basically run around like a chicken with my head cut off in an attempt to cover as much as possible without collapsing. As this is a diary-style post, it will likely be a little on the long side. You’ve been forewarned!
We started off on journey on Wednesday morning. Cologne is about a 2.5 hour drive from where my boyfriend Jochem and I live in the Netherlands. Seeing as I don’t have a Dutch driver’s license, I can’t drive in the EU, so Jochem was my taxi. Not only that, he was also going to be my photographer for this trip, as he has a Nikon D80 which we could put to good use at Gamescom. The drive was fairly uneventful, and while we did speed up to 190km (118mph) on the Autobahn at one point, we mostly held a steady 130kph (80mph) with open windows to enjoy the weather. We decided to stay in the balladins SUPERIOR Hotel, the name of which amuses me because the decided to go super capslock for “superior.” The hotel is located in Troisdorf, a small town about 22 km (13.5 miles) from Cologne.
But you guys don’t really care about this, do you? Of course you don’t. You want games!
We crawled into bed Wednesday night, and woke up at 8am (ugh) on Thursday so we could head to the Koelnmesse, or in English, the Cologne Exhibition Center, but I’m going to call it the Koelnmesse because it’s shorter to type. I’m doing this trip diary for you guys at 3:30am Thursday night/Friday morning CEST, so any way to shorten what I have to type is awesome. So, excuse any punchiness and let’s get on our way!