Thursday, September 21, 2006

Silly buddha's...

Well, I'm back from the trip to Sweden, which involved a visit to Nordic Game; a kind of Game-Development conference for Scandinavian based companies. Myself and JD gave a presentation and we caught up with many familiar faces and industry people as well as old friends and colleagues.

We travelled out there on Monday along with Craig from Game Republic (elllluuuu!). We had an early start, getting the train from Dewsbury over to Manchester airport eventually arriving 45mins late into Copenhagen at about 1pm, although we were very worried we'd never make it, such was the incredible queue for security checks once you had checked in. Fortunately there'd been a delay with our flight so we managed to get through and get on the plane.

The conference was in Malmo, so it was a short train journey across the straights (and a huge bridge) and it wasn't long until we were in the town and checking into our hotel. About 4pm and after a brisk walk around the city, we met up with Andreas, Rico, Sten and Hannes and had a bite to eat and a few drinks.

Later that evening we went on a long walk to a shit bar that Sten had recommended, we stayed for one beer before moving on and getting back to the place we'd started and then on to "The Bishops Finger" or something where the speakers of the event were getting together to meet each other. We didn't rate this pub so much, although there was a high point when a middle-aged woman fell over and slapped her face on the hard floor.
We tried (although obviously not well enough) not to have a late one, but you the score... JD packed in early, fearful about his presentation ability if hampered by booze. As was generally predictable, I had a late one with Andreas, Rico and Hannes, although I don't think it was particularly crazy despite some story about me winding up some guy in a hot-dog queue at about 3am, not that I recall it whatsoever. As is usual, I was wide-eyed and bushy-tailed at 8am, ready to take on the event.

We arrived at the event location at around 9.15am; MalmoMassen - a huge converted Saab factory (!) which essentially had been given a lick of paint and some dividers in order to give it the illusion of a conference centre. First thing was listening to Andy Walker at THQ give a talk on "What's in a publisher's mind" and despite reservations before hand (after working with many publishers over the years!) Andy's talk was very good and very thorough, having the capacity to over-run his 45minute slot by several hours.
Our talk, straight after Andy's was "The Pitchwriter's guide to the Galaxy" based on several years and many pitches to various world leading publishers. We also offered advice and general anecdotes based on our experiences and had a brief Q&A. It seemed to go down well, our talks are always positively charged and a little bit lighter in terms.

After our talk and questions, I did a bit of PR for various magazines and met many of the leading Swedish/Danish developers; Starbreeze, Remedy, IO etc as well as chat to the guys we're working with out in that region. At about 4pm we left to drop our stuff back at the hotel and get some food prior to the event party which was to be held that evening. We missed the event dinner, but never mind we had a good laugh recounting stories and shouting "Hesbolaa!"

At about 9pm and all fairly loose after a couple of bottles of wine, we went to "Little Buddha" a club/restaurant where the party was. However, it was apparent after a few minutes that this empty club was not the Buddha place we were seeking; there was another Buddha club (called "Buddha Lounge") and the owner of this place looked dismayed when he found out that 200-300 people weren't coming to his club after all.

Queue lots of puns using Buddha ("Let's buddha off", "buddha me, it's the wrong bloody club" and even "Buddha Holly & The Crickets" complete with Indian-style singing of "That'll be the day"). Given a Buddha statue is meant to represent Joy and Luck, the irony wasn't lost on us.

The party itself was pretty good, a 2-3 level club which resembled somewhat of a rabbit warren - I'd had a bit of fun with Sten too, since I'd informed him that I was going back to the hotel and felt too tired to attend, which he'd got pretty down about - he was so pleased to see us that he bit me - the "silly buddha".
The rest of the other natives (and various east european imports) were a very and occasionally somewhat over-friendly(!) bunch and we had a top time at the place before moving on to another club at about 2am. Whereby there were even more friendly locals to fend off (after drinking the Absolut they bought us) before returning back to our hotel and cracking out CroonFM on my ibook and getting a bite to eat from Room Service at 4ish.
We were up and at 'em at 9am again, returning to the conference for a couple of hours to catch up with the various people we'd met - and to thank our hosts. Spent a while talking with the Housemarque guys too. We left around 11am, ordering a taxi for Mr Bojangles (or was it Dr.Jones, I can't recall) and went back to our favourite bar in the Lilla Torg (little square) whereby we proceeded to entertain the various bar staff, take the piss out of a movable Falcon on the bar and get our rocks off to a brilliant Motown compilation (as well as get some Chianti down our necks) and the Supremes "Keep me hanging on" as well as "Stone Love" will last long in the memory.
We eventually left around 3pm, after failing to steal the chef's hat (and getting chucked out of the kitchen) - although we didn't really want to leave and had been invited bowling (!) by the very-friendly bar-staff who needed medals to put up with us and our Borat impressions (as well as shouting Hesbolaaaa! every 15mins). JD had made his own way to Copenhagen and we caught up with him in the airport, we'd got fast-tracked and were at check-in just 15mins before we were due to leave, but a delay to the flight meant we just made it through security in time.
The flight home took an hour longer than it should have, getting fixed in a holding pattern around Manchester and then our train failed to stop at Dewsbury and went on to Leeds, meaning it seemed to take forever to get home - and I was totally shot when we did. I'm looking forward to lying low for a while now and have been knackered and quite rough since I got back :(

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