The surreal stories are always the best ones. Whether it's how you tried to steal someone's bike whilst drunk, or had one bratwurst too many, GamesCom is a good place for all (yet pretty much true tales). Hotel-related ones are especially good.
As nice as it is to stay in the Marriot, or the Hilton, unless something happens, those hotels aren’t interesting in an off themselves – but the smaller, independent owned ones... that's where the good tales are to be found. So there I was, outside the Hotel Tempelhof, on some random street south of the Messe, just thankful to have gotten there in one piece. Going through to the rustic, yet pleasant reception I was greeted by a mildly cheerful Korean man... who didn't speak a word of English OR German, as it happens.
It was like playing a game of sherades, just with props. He would point to various things and grunt, and luckily most of what he wanted was fairly self explanatory... we had a little bit of trouble with Breakfast – took me a while to figure out he was saying it was between 8am and 10pm in the room behind us, but I got it in the end after he did a “OMNOMNOM” hand motion. I'm a firm believer that any universal language is going to be based primarily on internet memes. After that wonderful gem, I didn't have the heart to argue when he didn't bother giving me any change for when I paid for my room up front.
Monday, Tuesday and even a bit of Wednesday are given over to the GDC talks that are also on, although since that's not something we really cover there wasn't a lot for me to do the first couple of days. Still, that doesn't mean I wasn't busy – Tuesday especially was taken up with Microsoft's play day – where I played a range of games including the new Star Wars Kinect Rampaging Rancor level, and Orcs Must Die which is actually pretty interesting. Gears 3 and Halo CE Anniversary had some multiplayer set-ups going, and I was pleased to hear Just Dance 2 playing German's winning entry in last year's Eurovision song content. See? Cultural event of the Years
Age of Empires Online was there, and I was given some content codes so keep an eye out for those in an upcoming competition.
Then, I went to go visit our good friends at NCSoft, for stuff that I can't really talk about- Wait. By the time this goes live the embargo will have lifted. Guild Wars 2 was AMAZE. Seriously one of the best MMO's on the horizon right now. When RIFT came out and got in there first with dynamic content, I thought Guild Wars 2 was going to lose a bit of it's thunder, but no – Guild Wars 2 shows you how it's supposed to be done.
Wednesday is when it all kicks off. From 9 till 6, I'll be going from one appointment to the next. Sony, Kalypso Media, Ncsoft, THQ... they are all on the list that day, so expect coverage for games like Starhawk, Kalypso's new 4X space strategy game, WWE 12, Saints Row and much more...
Also keep an eye out for announcements later today relating to Paradox and NCSoft's new super-secret projects. We won't be seeing Paradox themselves until Friday, but we'll be diving into NCSoft's booth just after lunch so expect impressions early.
With any luck, I'll be able to update you on how things are going day by day – but then again I have a lot of alcohol to consume, walking to do, and I think my foot is scheduled to fall off at somepoint. Still, I try. Welcome to GamesCom 2011.
Welcome to GamesCom 2011.