Tuesday, September 14

LEXX was an awesome show... sort of.

The weekend I have spent in Vancouver felt much more uplifting than the first few days. I went one night to the Gaslight district which is a beautiful spot and quite cool on a Friday night. We spent the night at a tavern called The Barney Stone and were entertained by an Irish band that has been playing there for 30 years. They are fairly tight. After travelling I have come to realise that in Australia we are being robbed blind by alcohol taxes etc. In the US a six-pack will cost you about $10. Cocktails cost as much as a beer. I had a rather exciting martini consisting of Spiced Rum, Butter Ripple Liqueur and Lime. I've had the opportunity to talk at length with lots of people who work in games about all facets of the Industry. It has been educational and a little shocking, unfortunately none of them are too keen to be interviewed on film. I must admit my filming has degraded a fair bit after/during PAX. So many people have refused to give interviews I'm almost not bothering and just filming scenery here and there. I'm also a little crushed by all the things I've missed because I can't be involved whilst filming, and all the shots I've missed because I can't film while doing stuff. Despite meeting lots of good connections and contacting people in every city, my inbox is empty. It's been quite the adventure, but has it been worth a year's savings?

That may sound grim, but I'm not done with that question yet. I won't be able to answer it for another year. Then we'll see where I stand.

A trip like this is a lot of work. A lot of difficult work. Before leaving I could only plan so much; I didn't know who I would be staying with, where I would be staying or what dates I would be there. This means I end up spending about %30 of my trip planning the next few moves and booking flights/trains/coaches. Today has been one of those days, hopefully the last.

After trying to decide between extending my stay at great expense or going home unsatisfied I finally bought another ticket home (thanks to encouragement from my brother). It's $700 I didn't need to spend, made even worse by the fact that if I'd changed my return flight sooner I wouldn't have had to buy another ticket, but th stop-over in Fiji is making me dread the otherwise 15hour flight a lot less. For my money I get to cover the Portland Retro Games Convention this weekend and see my friends Kristin and Seeth again. I also get to see Austin, Texas which I'm very much looking forward to as it seems like a realistic place to find work and spend one last fortnight with Chris and Luke, who I will miss back in Australia.

Excerpts from an email to a friend (an awesome friend):
In Vancouver B.C. at 2pm on a Monday, 14,000km away from everyone I know, it is abstract indeed.

As for gamers, I'm not so surprised to find that they are for the most part all awesome people. Some year, an inconceivable distance from now, you'll have to come to the Penny Arcade Expo (PAX) as I've never felt more at home anywhere in the world. So cool!

As for travel, while it's kind of absolving, it's pretty damn scary to be truly alone. I've always enjoyed parts where I'm staying with a local more than being in a hostel because that security and trust helps a lot. I still go out by myself a lot but it's good to have someone to lean on in a pinch.

As you are no doubt aware I have been playing a slew of games as of late. PAX did nothing to abate the tide slowly drowning me however it did introduce variation in the way of board, card and dice games. They are as much fun as video games with the main differences being that you need a group of people to play them and they don't set themselves up nor pack themselves away. I recommend Zombie Dice and Citadel as quick games and Aye, Dark Overlord, Dominion, Settlers of CATAN and Arkham Asylum if you have a little more time. I do not recommend Magic: The Gathering as that game has eaten up a decent chunk of my life (although the artwork is incredible). With my new friend Mitch I've been plowing through console games before leaving his apartment; Call of Cthulu, Too Human, Shadowrun, Call of Juarez, Riddick: EfBB, Fable 2 and F.E.A.R.2. I would say that none of them really held my attention. Call of Cthulu is a cool game version of The Shadow Over Innsmouth, one of H.P.Lovecraft's best works. F.E.A.R.2 also had it's moments and the story is pretty awesome at times but the game is just a FPS with very occasional horror moments that leave a lot to be desired. Alma Wade is well creepy, particularly the ending, but I think Silent Hill is just a much better version of the same idea. Although the other night I dreamed I was at the bottom of the sea and she was trying to bring me bubbles to breath. There's some imagery laden with gamer subtext if ever I had one.

I can't wait for Halo Reach, which comes out this evening.

Mmmm Halo. I only wish I was home for the release so I could stay up all night playing it with my brother. Then play it again with my good friend Jai. When I close my eyes I can almost hear the foul mouthed 12 year olds screeching into their mics.

No comments: