It’s been a sort of West End/East End week for me over the past few days. There have been many exciting adventures, some of which the world is not yet ready for. You’ll have to forgive the “edited highlights” nature of today’s entry, I fear.
On Wednesday, I found myself in an unusual environment, namely the Ivy. Now, I know what you’re thinking – how does scum like me get invited to the Ivy? Well, this is what we might term a blog crossover event, because it’s thanks entirely to Shoinan that I ended up there. Shoinan’s girlfriend was some distance away in one of those non-London places, and so he found himself with a spare ticket to a party held by Activision to promote whatever it is they do.
Ah, Wikipedia tells me that they produce games except – and this is the clever thing – the games are played using a computer especially designed for playing such games. The complexity of these electronic devices is such that games more advanced than even Cluedo can be played upon them, utilising a television set. I don’t understand this myself, but I have no doubt that these “con souls” will soon become commonplace.
The evening began in Leicester Square, where my choice of footwear caused me to reflect that there are few worse sensations in life than cold, wet feet. I also discovered that the soles of those boots were so very smooth that I considered selling them to NASA to see if they might be used on the outside of spacecraft. Shoinan and I had dinner and a couple of drinks in a rather indifferent South Indian restaurant (my suggestion, I’m afraid) – if you want a good curry, go to Tooting or Southall. Then, after some attempts to remember where the Ivy actually was, we headed to the party.
On the way, Shoinan explained the basics of Activision to me. They were responsible for the Guitar Hero series (I understand Steam Calliope Hero comes out in the autumn), various Star Wars games and something featuring quite a lot of Spider-Man. Apparently among gamers they are regarded as somewhat moneygrabbing - I am told their CEO has gone on record as saying that he doesn’t much like gamers. Shoinan compared attendance at this event to “partying on the Death Star.” But for free beer, frankly I’d not only party on the Death Star, I’d be part of the group of drunks blowing up a planet just for the hell of it. Spiking Darth Vader’s drinks. If he noticed, I’d be all, “Ah, the Force is strong in this vodka and Coke.”
Contrary to popular belief, and I say this as a total outsider to the scene, professional gaming types are not the total social outcasts you’d think from hanging out on the Internet. All the ones I’ve met have been delightful, friendly people with a good sense of humour. Sure, there are people who conform to the stereotype, but you’ll get that in any subculture. Speaking as someone who’s into London, cartooning and railways, I can confirm this to be so. The only person I found unlikeable at this event was a young lady who, like me, appeared to have been invited almost by accident – one of these “Well of course I’m far too cool for all this” types. I always think if you’re not going to go with the flow, of course you’re not going to have a terrible time.