Cobra’s day at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image.
Sunday the 18th of May I set out to head into the city to check out an exhibition called Game On a celebration of all things gaming so I packed my Nintendo DS and off I went. Of course sitting on the train I remembered that I hadn’t charged my DS so that was out not even as a method of making the train ride pass by. I then realized I didn’t bring the camera didn’t matter I can just take pictures with my Phone I thought of course that ultimately never came to be due to a force I will come to refer to as the fun police but more information on that later.
Before long I was in the city and at Federation square, the location of the ACMI so queued in line to enter the exhibition payed my $15 and got my free copy of Sim City (with Spore preview). Heading into the area where Game On on is held it’s almost like an arcade not just because the early areas were dedicated to arcade machines but the whole place was wall to wall games to be played. They had a who’s who of history making games. We are talking Pong, Space invaders, Frogger, Super Mario All stars, Super Mario Kart, Prince of Persia, Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy, The Secret of Monkey Island, Tetris, Sonic the hedgehog street fighter, The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time, Final Fantasy VII, Goldeneye 007, and that’s just not even scratching the surface of what was to be found.
I explored this area for a while reading information on games and what made these games such important parts of gaming history, I had about an hour before the talk on what makes a good game which would feature panelists such as Steven O’Donnell (aka Bajo from ABC 2′s Good Game), Jason Hill (The Age) and some guy named Yahtzee Croshaw (The Escapist). I really wanted to see this talk but I quickly found a game that I had to play a game, a game that until I had finally played it I could not consider myself a true gamer, That’s right I found Portal. I figured I had 10 minutes before the talk started enough time to play couple of levels. I started a new game and started enjoying learning to “think with portals” Before long the 2pm start time had come and gone but just one more level. Anyway half an hour later I decided finally getting the orange portals and managing to create and bottomless hole to fall in was enough to drag my self away. Maybe I could catch the rest of the talk. Unfortunately the lack of signs even remotely pointing to where I could find the talk, meant I had no idea where to go and after walking from one end of the hall to the other and finding that the only sign lead to the toilets. Concluding that the talks probably weren’t held in the gents, I gave up and checked out more games.
I was now in an area dedicated to multi player games. A couple of Wii’s had Wii Sports plus Mario and Sonic at the Olympic games set up. Other stations had four 360s running 4-player Halo 3. There were some massive screens showcasing some Super Smash Bros Melee and some classic Bomberman. I saw a PC set up for Pirates of the Burning Sea, I gave it a try but didn’t get far as. All I was able be able to do was sail around the water and then somehow piss off the French. Not sure what I did to get under their skin but can’t have been firing on other ships, I hadn’t solved how that works yet. I was quickly attacked and ultimately sunk before i could work out how to return fire. So I gave up on that quickly.
I went to check out the Halo Station next this resulted in my 1st encounter with “the fun police”. The people playing the game at the time who were familiar with Halo were trying to add some spice to the game customizing the weapons appearing the the maps etc. They were quickly admonished “No altering the settings no changing the map no custom weapon sets! Attempt to do so and you will be booted off.” I myself wasn’t safe from the fun police being admonished for reasons beyond my understanding during my play of Halo, I was somehow booted out of the lobby while waiting for the game to start.
Later on I encounter a student reporter for a university newspaper who wanted to ask if I could answer some questions, I was happy to oblige. She asked things like what games I own and what games I have tried out here. I informed her of my 1/2 hour at the Portal station and subsequent missing of the days talk. Plus a few others things such as the typical my opinion on violent video games.
This time I moved on to Smash Bros, time to school some noobs I thought, especially after my woeful efforts at Halo 3 where I seemed to kill myself more than kill others. And school I did, winning with 4 of my 5 stock lives intact. Now after some Guitar hero I decided I’d need some images for this story. I took out my phone and before I had even finished setting it to be able to take pictures in the poorly lit hall “No picture.” The fun police swooped in. I returned my phone to my pocket looks like I’ll have to resort to just trying to paint a theatre of the mind using words alone. It was this point I experienced my lowest point in my gaming career not finally being beaten in Smash Bros (I maintain if young Link was unlocked and I was being pummeled by falcon punch spam from 2 directions at once I could have won). I discovered I was no longer good at Goldeneye 007. Back in the day I could beat the cradle level in my sleep shooting enemies while they were so far away as to be only dots on the screen but now I could barely get past the turrets to finish the 1st objective.
Now it was getting late in the afternoon I went round the floor once more reading up on the history of huge game series such as GTA and Pokemon, played some Katamari and watched as the fun police tell those people at the Bomberman game to actually stop having so much fun. The place was starting to wind down and it was time for me to head on home so I headed out and caught the train ride back home, To play some Sim City.