This year’s Gamescom was a damn busy one, despite the lack of surprises. I saw (and have subsequently covered) over twenty games, recorded two podcasts and slept a grand total of about six of the ninety something hours it took me from leaving my front door to returning to it.
So, I could talk about games, I could regale you with stories from the show floor or describe the tingling sensation I got saying ‘Hi’ to Keiji Inafune. But if you want to know about the games you can check out my previews at Play Devil (links below), instead I am going to tell you two tales from my journey home.
The first is just after myself and fellow Play Devil contributor Ian left the convention centre. On our to the conveniently close train station we were met by a host Coke Zero representatives, happily handing out their wares. Strangely they insisted on opening the can for us, which struck me as odd but I thought little of it before I arrived at the station. Here another group of Coke Zero reps greeted us, insisting we finish our drinks before entering. Small can or not, the forty second walk from Coke giving, to Coke taking away, was not long enough to finish it so I was forced to stand and drink. An expression sprang to my lips “Coke Naz…”
“Don’t mention the war!” Basil Faulty assaulted my mind with the force of a sledgehammer as I realised the procurement of the word Nazi by English and the Internet as short hand for strict and anal, may not translate in Germany. Now of my many German friends this would offend not one; in fact they would laugh about it. They would point out that the Nazi party was a political movement that was never elected to power, while we actively voted in Thatcher (actually usually they would start with the insults and I would be the one invoking the Nazi party in defence). But rightly or wrongly I felt to use the word would be… insensitive. Like the time I told my Japanese friends that Japan had a really bad flight safety record while looking at a Yokosuka D4Y3.
Skip forward a four short hours, and the Play Devil staff were back in Blighty. Living in London Ian had a simple train ride to look forward to, so I waved him off and set about securing transport to Bath… or trying to. Apparently having landed at 10:40pm my first option under £100 was at 10:40am the following day, a full eleven hours off the time on my watch. Not a huge issue for me; I function fairly well on limited sleep and had plenty of work to keep me distracted.
Despite my perky attitude I was still running on only six hours sleep in the previous eighty-six, so as I slouched in a waiting area for my bus I was not completely on the ball. Which was when something odd happened; a Japanese schoolgirl, complete with bandaged knee, rolled past me with a Hello Kitty suitcase. Every part of my mind rejected what I was seeing. Were there a class of them I may have been able to comprehend it, but this girl was in full uniform, alone, in a UK airport. I wrote her off as a hallucination/flashback.
With my coach on the way I headed out of the waiting area where I found her again, now sat struggling to work out which coach she should take. Evidently she was real, so I tried to help. In my delirious state my broken Japanese left me even more confused to our conversation. I THINK she told me she wasn’t from Japan but Singapore, but was studying in Tokyo… or maybe she was from Tokyo and studying in Singapore, I’m not sure. It also transpired that she wasn’t a schoolgirl, but a university student with a cosplay fetish. Were my head not spinning already she proceeded to pull out her camera to show me photos of herself dressed in a variety of outfits.
I had to continually pinch myself throughout this exchange. Partly this was because I was in the UK talking to a Japanese schoolgirl who kept insistently showing me (frankly) kinky pictures of her, and partly because I had a growing suspicion I was actually asleep on the verge of missing my bus. Thankfully I was conscious, and I happily crawled on to my bus as it arrived. From there the only memory I have is a vague sensation of snoring.
It was a great trip, and despite all the talk of fatigue at the current generation of games there were many exciting and fresh titles on show. Head over to Play Devil for most of my coverage, and if you read any of Future’s PlayStation publications look at their DmC coverage… that’s me too. I know there are a lot here, but if you are press for time with the Gamescom stuff may I recommend at least having a look at my Star Trek preview where I had a little more time with the developer.