Saturday, October 07, 2006

London Game Career Fair & Games Week

This busy few days at the end of September comprised of the inaugral Games Career Fair (which we attended at the Cafe Royale, Piccadilly), The 5th Industry Tiga Party at Soho House and numerous industry networking nights with our publishing friends, partners and wider contacts.

The Career Fair was a bit of a different thing for us to do. We have, for the last few years, always attended the publisher-developer meeting opportunities but it's fair to say that with so much work on and some great publisher relationships in place, there really was limits to what more work we could discuss at the moment. Obviously that's not a bad problem to have and really the Tiga Content Market simply came too close to the Game Connection event in Lyon, which happens in about 8-9 weeks time.

So, to the Careers Fair.. armed with materials and flyers, I met Neil South (our tech-art manager) at Wakefield Westgate just an hour or so from arriving back from Dublin, somewhat suprisingly sober, I might add! We didn't arrive at our hotel until about 10pm, opting to stay just around the corner from Piccadilly in the Shaftsbury, the twin room not having enough space to swing a kitten, let alone a cat.

We went out to the O-Bar, as is usual in games week (again, just a short hop from the hotel) and met up with the lads from One North East (that area's regional development lads). We had a good laugh before Miles, Nina, Craig and others arrived fresh (ish) from the Introversion party which had been held in the War Rooms in Westminster (nice work on Defcon, btw).

I don't think we finished particularly late or did anything too outrageous and we were on time for the event which kicked off the following morning. And boy did it kick off. We weren't sure how busy or well attended it would be, but suffice to say that myself and Neil hardly had time to pause for breath until 2pm or so, we got a little besieged by applicants and it was very positive and uplifting to help and advise people about the industry.

Things slowed down a little about 3-4pm, at which point Kilburn arrived as he was attending the following day and giving Neil some relief (steady!). We wrapped up around 5-6pm when things got very quiet and went and met Bry Reynolds and the Strawdogs lads in the Coach and Horses, which was next to Soho House (where the Tiga party was being had). After a quick (and nice) Thai meal, we headed off to the Tiga bash.

This was very well attended by pretty much most of the industry and whilst things never really hit the heights of the 2005 event which involved playful shoe-theft and a great game of article Buckaroo with one of the Falcus brothers, it was a good laugh and we met up with loads of people in there. Afterwards we went to the O-Bar (I think!) and carried things on there. At some point after that I'd gone walkabout and managed to fall over, I didn't notice until later that there was a fair bit of blood on my jeans (understatement) and Kilburn acted as a wannabe paramedic as I got it under control... suffice to say I don't really recall what went on or how I'd managed to damage myself. Looking at it now, there's a couple of dints and my knee is sore, so I presume I fell. Not something to be proud about, but I had polished a fair bit of wine off and I assume a couple of flaming Sambuca in O Bar.

The next day, we were up and at 'em again and the event wasn't nearly as well attended on the second day. So much so that at about 2pm in the afternoon we opened up a little bar area on our booth, much to the protestation of the official sponsored bar, but they couldn't do us as we were giving it away (just a few drinks to select, promising students).

(Photo Courtesy of Pat Garrett, Games
At the end of the second day, when anarchy set in, with Seb, our hired help!

We had a lot of fun with a lot of people for a couple of hours and it all got a bit chaotic, but everyone suggested it was by far the best place to be at the event :-) Some highlights include the Asian guy who resembled Ron Jeremy/Elvis and many of the industry people who'd come along to catch up. We'd played a ton of music at all times, just for a lighter mood and it'd got fairly raucous on the 2nd day, taking requests etc. I think we probably frayed the nerves of the organisers a little bit, but we didn't do too much harm. Really. We also gave away some of the concept art we'd brought down (as well as some Lemmings point of sale material, signed etc). When we wrapped up, we took one of the lads (Seb) with us for a meal and then onto a session at the O-Bar. We had a great time pretty much all of the time, with there being too many little things to laugh about and I think it was a good event and worth it for the coverage and profile benefits alone.

Food Buckaroo. Well, you know how we sometimes play this. You may also be interested to learn that Debs, Bryan Reynold's long suffering other half (!) asked me to "Look after him" on the phone...


Here are just a few pics from the 400mb of images and video I took around 5am, aided and abetted by Craig Albeck...

It was quite funny when he woke up and we DID clean everything up (honest). It's the most extreme Food Buckaroo to date and I don't think it'll get bettered for a while. It really was funny. And Debs, I did look after him really...

The next day we headed back up home and aside from social-terrorising a poor Accountant from AXA on the train, it was a pretty low key affair. I was totally knackered though, surprisingly enough and I really DO need to lie low for a little while, despite supposedly going out in Yarm on Tuesday with a bunch of developers...

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