So yesterday I went on a pilgrimage to London (for the second time in four days), to attend the Rock, Paper, Shotgun Thinkosium, a gathering of minds so vast and intellectual they could only be held for a few hours in the cellar of a dingy London Pub. The pub in question was disturbing enough, with the upstairs walls littered with pictures of cartoon female bits and glaring eyes, and charging as much as £5.40 for a shot of whiskey. It didn’t bloody taste like £5.40. It tasted like JD. Maybe that was just the coke.
Of course there was the failed attempt to get into the Eurogamer Expo I discussed here. However after that we met up with various members of the elite and hyper intelligent group of chaps from the RPS Chatroom, the likes of whom I’d never seen before. Except in a few photos. It was slightly odd, but we soon fell into a nice comforting level of awkwardness that was manageable if not slightly enjoyable. I’ll try not to make this a blow by blow account, but obviously we next went to the Alphabet bar where the event was being held.
As I’ve said, this was possibly the dingiest bar I’ve ever been in, and we’d been in Dirty Dick’s pub earlier in the day. There were perhaps only three lights in the entirety of the cellar, two of which were red, so there was an almost tangible level of seediness there, which I suppose is definitely the RPS way. The writers were all very friendly, happy to have a quick chat if you could catch them between having quick chats with other fawning fans. However, it was the actual event that was definitely the most interesting.
There was a panel made up of Ste Curran (Ex-Edge, host of the One Life Left podcast and Zoe Mode’s creative Director), Mark Morris (Introversion, makers of Darwinia and Multiwinia), Ed Stern (Splash Damage, makers of Enemy Territory: Quake Wars) and Jim Rossingol (RPS writer and freelance Journalist). Kieron Gillen asked the questions and Alec Meer watched out for and ‘trigger’ words, because, you see, this wasn’t a normally Q & A session. Whenever anyone said a word like ‘gameplay’, ‘piracy’, ‘DRM’ or ‘Peggle’, everyone had to drink. So you had a rather serious discussion interrupted by people firstly trying to avoid saying the obvious words, and then people drinking when they couldn’t.
The discussion was actually surprisingly interesting. It wasn’t that I was expecting it to be utterly silly (which I was a little bit), it’s that those assembled were rather frank about the whole state of things. They didn’t bother mincing their words or trying to keep to the PR line, and I was impressed by that. They stated how they saw PC Gaming, and where they thought it was going to go, and what it would have to do. Now I’m not saying that they’re right, and although some of the points they brought up were very concise, it only served to really highlight that there isn’t really one answer, and Gaming is going to have to do a very wide spectrum of things, particularly on PC, to avoid becoming an entirely brain dead platform. I say brain dead, but I really mean stagnant. The AAA titles of the day are becoming rather mind numbing, with titles like World of Goo (the most name-checked game of the night) shining all the more for it. Yet it’s made by independants. So perhaps publishers are the problem. I don’t know.
So yes, it was a thoroughly good night, and it was lovely to see all the RPS lot. Here is a picture of a pair of them looking forlornly at one another, their eyes glazing slightly as they are just consumed with love. Ta Ra.