The first weekend of Game City 7 is now officially over (well, the day events anyway.) For the past 2 days (including Friday evening), I have devoted much of my time to volunteering at Game City 7 and I could not be more glad that I did. I have had one of the most interesting and entertaining weekends since I have been back at university… well, at university period.. (let’s face it, last year was not all that great.) There were lots of games here that I had not heard of before, which is not all that surprising to be honest. We did have some big games on both days, like Minecraft. Most, if not all, of the kinks were worked out after the first day, when they realised the tutorial was taking people in excess of an hour to complete. The server was pretty nice from what I saw but it took next to no time for griefers to start hacking away at the system. The second day (ie today) ran much more smoothly from what I saw in the morning/early afternoon, although that might have something to do with the lack of people due to the fact it was Sunday morning…. and it was foggy… and bloody cold.
I shall avoid discussing Friday night as the festival itself had not actually started at that point, it was mainly just hoovering and other preparation for the following morning. Hoovering and preparing a giant tent was definitely how I envisioned spending my Friday night… the slightly depressing thing is that I probably had more fun helping out than I would have done doing whatever else. Says something about my social life at present. I has no friends *sad face*. Not any who want to spend time with me on a Friday night anyway.
Saturday was a very early start.. I mean… an ungodly hour for someone like me. 8am is not a good time to have to start working on a Saturday morning. I have not had to be awake at 7am on a Saturday for a long time. My body is not used to the shock of it. This extremely early start was made up for by the fact that I got a promotion first thing in the morning. I like to pretend it gives me more authority but in reality this is not the case but I do get to refer to myself as a head steward instead of just a steward. It is good fun.
On Saturday I started off trying to help out on the Flerb stand (will link to the game website later) as it was a strangely addictive and very frustrating game, given that possibly the hardest level in the game was a few levels in and this made it extremely difficult to complete the game. I would like to point out that I was in the one party that actually completed the game. Aww yeah. To be fair though, one of the guys who made the game was playing too but he did keep trying to troll everyone at one point. As I was just getting myself ready to help out at the stand… I was dragged (not literally) over to a stall for a game I had never heard of, let alone played. This also turned out to be an extremely addictive and bloomin’ difficult game. Super Hexagon. At one point, a small group of guys ended up lingering around the stand just playing it on and off for about 3 hours. The leader board I drew up on one of the massive blackboard dividers started off with very short times but it did not take long for it to be very difficult to get back onto the leaderboard. Fortunately, I have photographic evidence that I was up there at least for a moment. My excuse for not doing better was mainly that I barely played it. By the end of the day however, I had hexagons on the brain and had to take a break due to the pounding in my head from staring at the rotating, pulsing, colourful screen for hours on end. If any of you have played it, you will know what I mean. At that point…. I went back to the Flerb guys… I think they appreciate my contribution. The Flerb revolution… It has begun!
Let’s see… Hmm… I have Flerbs on the brain and it is making it hard to think of what else I played on Saturday. I had a brief go at a game which I have absolutely no idea of the name of it. It was pretty good actually although generally speaking I find games with moral messages dull or slightly annoying. I could forgive this one for being like that as I genuinely enjoyed it. Transformations and challenges… it made up for it. That and I completed it… It is good stuff. I also had a go on Tanuki Forest. It was an adorable game. They were asking for a name for the hero. My personal favourite suggestion on the list, which happened to be at the top, was Reginald. I don’t think the developer of the app agreed with me though, although I did just keep saying ‘Reginald’ at him.
I mainly wanted to talk about today. I knew about the Lego: Lord of the Rings premier today but there was another surprise in store. A friend quite recently (quite recently in my mind could, in fact, be anything up to 2 months ago) sent me the trailer for the Studio Ghibli game that is going to be released at some point next year. I want to say January but I could be wrong. It was not on the schedule for Game City as far as I am aware but this morning in the steward briefing we were told about it and practically told to guard the game with our lives as many jobs depended on it. The game was amazing! Just going to put that out there. I love love love the Studio Ghibli films and when I saw the trailer for the game I had a full blown nerd happy moment. Today I had another one and playing the game made me much happier than I can say. I am only disappointed that I didn’t get to play Lego Lord of the Rings. I would have fought off the small children for the controller but aside from being kicked out of Game City I am pretty sure I would have been arrested. I wanted an exclusive Lego figure for playing. Silly children being young and stuff and my physical age (my mental age clearly has not caught up yet.)
The guy today who was behind the Lord of the Rings game was hilarious. Two of his three boys played the game for the most part and there were some hilarious moments. Anybody who has played a Lego game on any console will know you can break other characters following you around. At one point, one of his boys killed off Boromir as the other child kept blowing the horn of Gondor repeatedly, much to the amusement of the audience. “Oh, you killed off Boromir… story’s over, the end.” It was wonderful. I cannot do the moment justice but this game.. I just cannot wait for it to be out. A lot of the Lego games do not have voices for the characters but in the cut scenes, this does actually use the voices from the film, the scene itself is just made out of Lego obviously. With a traditional Lego game touch, there is much more humour in this game than in a really serious game. I do have two videos from part of the talk today. Unfortunately I could not capture the whole thing as it went on for a long time. I managed to capture about 16 minutes of it though. I would upload them to here but at about 1.7GB that is almost my entire space allowance on WordPress in one pop. I may upload them to Youtube for people’s amusement although the lighting means that it is a little hard to see what is on the screen, which is a shame. The public often offer some unexpected humour into a situation. Take the cave troll scene earlier. Instead of helping the guy who was actually fighting the troll, he just decided to start looking for money (or lego bits technically.) ‘Cave troll?’ … ‘No, I think I will look for shiny bits actually. Don’t mind me.” To be fair… that would be me too. Fight? Nah, I’m good ta.
One last thing I got a chance to do today (and I think I was the only person pulled out to do it) was to play Capsule capsule. The game is called Capsule and because it is in essentially a capsule it is given the name. It was… an experience, to be sure. It was very strange and I was just a little crap at it. The game experience started well before you actually got to play the game. This is one of the weirder experiences that Game City has to offer and I highly recommend that anybody who has the chance to book a session does so. Unless you have an issue with the dark… or enclosed spaces… or not being able to hear. You essentially start out at Old Market Square in the normal Game City Tent and you are given an mp3 player with the audio you need to listen to. The walk to the actual location took about 10 minutes or so but I didn’t really note that as I was listening to the training brief. The creepy counting was pretty horrible. It made me think of horror movies and such. In the week, people will actually have to wear the uniforms but I didn’t get a chance to today because they just wanted to see timings and such. I won’t lie… bit disappointed there. I want a space uniform. The capsule is really well done. It is simple but effective. The game lasts for 16 minutes. I guess you could complete it in that time but I just kept running out of oxygen before I got a chance to finish as I forgot you could send out a pulse to look for fuel/oxygen and such nearby. I always died right near a space station though which was just annoying as hell. It also took me a strangely long time to get to grips with how to actually play the game which might account for how badly I did.
I don’t want to write anymore given that this is already 1800 words long (or something) and I might start to waffle. Instead I will leave you with a brief description (probably pulled from the game website) for the games I mentioned.
Oh… and I ended up having to give an interview to Trent TV (or some random people with cameras perhaps) about Super Hexagon.. It was bad… Cameras hate me… videos hate me more. I am dreading it if it actually gets shown anywhere.
~Seeing Sauron ride a goat is possibly the best moment of my life so far~
Flerbs:- Flerbs is a game!
Flerbs are also the really cute jellies that smile no matter what…even falling to their deaths! When not jumping off the screen and running into fire (etc) instead – a corpse is normally left on the map where your Flerb died. You can now use this corpse (or multiple) to help complete the level. The overall aim of each level is to navigate from the starting flag to the end flag, from the green chequered flag to the black chequered flag. http://devsoc.co.uk/projects/flerbs/
Super Hexagon:- This is a simple game by Terry Cavanagh involving the dodging of lines. It has possibly one of the catchiest soundtracks of a game in the whole wide world ever. Simple but awesome. Dancing happened a lot over the course of Saturday. http://superhexagon.com/
Ni No Kuni:- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ni_no_Kuni