Writing a weekly page about video games, one quickly becomes desensitised to the dark underbelly of society. So a few million portly teens choose to spend their spend time fighting elves in Azeroth rather than knock a ball around or read a book.
It certainly beats swigging cheap cider in the park. Of course some gamers can take it too far. I was once asked at a launch party about my favourite game by a Nintendo devotee dressed as Princess Peach.
The fact it was a man in his mid forties sporting a full beard and wonky teeth didn’t seem to bother the other attendees.
Why some gamers insist on dressing as their favourite characters baffles me. It’s called cos-playing and takes a similar form to Star Wars fans dressing up as Vader or comic book fans dress up as The Flash. Most of the time, I can take it.
But this was not the case last week when I ventured beyond the usual wigs and tights and into the dark heart of Mordor.
I was travelling 6,000 miles to San Diego, the home of Comic-con - Mecca to gaming’s fundamentalists and home of the uber geek.
What started as a festival for comic enthusiasts has grown into a highly commercial showcase for not only print but films, TV and, more recently, games. The festival now offers a catchall, driven by the increasing cross-over of the mediums.
An open mind, I told myself, was essential. This was quickly put to the test when I found myself in the ticket queue behind a woman dressed as Lieutenant Wharf. And this wasn’t just a bit of face paint, but the full hit, with a full costume and head moulds. When asked to show her pass, she replied in what I can only assume was Klingon. This was going to be a long couple of days.
My Ghostbusters appointment, the reason for the trip, had been cancelled the previous night. Now it was up to me to find some news.
Fortunately, there was plenty of games on offer, but two stood out. First was Midway’s Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe, a classic MK offering for the next gen machines with the addition of characters from the DC comics. Each character had a special move, with Superman giving it the full red beam from the eyes.
The next title of note was Saint’s Row 2, a real nasty piece of gaming from THQ boasting a completely revamped game engine. Like the original, the action takes place in a fictional Chicago gangland, with all the guns, cars and police chases of the previous instalment. What’s more, you can now use people as human shields, as well as maim with chainsaws, sledgehammers, flamethrowers and stun guns.
By mid afternoon, the costumes were starting to get me down. I had been forced to share a table at lunch with a man dressed as one of the Nazgûl.
Perhaps a bathroom break would provide respite from the hordes of Jokers, Jedis, Ewoks and Hobbits bustling around the main hall. Unfortunately this was not the case.
At the urinal I was flanked by two men dressed as The Borg. As I did up my fly one leaned over and whispered in my ear “You have been assimilated”.
Five minutes later I was in a taxi heading back to the hotel.
Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe is due in the shops in November, while Saint’s Row 2 should be available in October.
i saw it in a newspaper today, copied word for word.