Bonding through queues
An Englishman loves a queue or so the stereotype goes. However leave it to the Germans to expand a simple concept of people lining single file and take it to a whole new level.
Reports of queue times exceeding 2 hours for a 10 minute hands-off demo were common and that 2 hour wait wasn’t surprising. Lines would snake around game spaces 4 bodies deep and hundreds of people long. And waiting for what? Waiting for a video that will be available online in days, displayed in glorious high definition and with crystal clear sound. Rather than on a less than perfect projected screen accompanied by sound attempting to compete with the cacophony of deafening sounds blending together from adjoining game areas.
So if you wanted to see and play the most anticipated games you had no option but endure the queues. The hot, moist and sweaty lines. Luckily the Citizen Game contingent at Cologne was, for the most, a clean, fresh and sweetly fragranced group. However the same can not be said about all attending Gamescom.
The question is what do you do while spending an unknown amount of time on your feet? Options are fairly limited. Do you listen to music, play a handheld console, read some of the literature forced into your hands at every booth? Talk to fellow gamers?
Well the glossy literature was predominately in German, none of us had the foresight to bring a Nintendo DS, listening to music is practically impossible with sound reverberating from every angle and English conversation with 90% of Gamescom attendees was limited to “Do you speak English?”.
So with most queue related options somewhat out of the question or not an option. The only viable alternative was to talk to Danny and Tamoor. Believe it or not my relationship with my Citizen Game brethren is predominately a digital one. So actually having 4 days in the company of two people whom I’d at most spent an odd evening with was a little daunting. Luckily I’m not completely lacking social skills and if all else failed there was always football and computer games to fall back upon.
It is surprising what you can talk about during 4 days of a relatively intimate existence. Life ambitions, Religion, German Fanta, Hurling, Love, Sex and Rock and Roll. You name it we probably talked about it.
The whole purpose for the Citizen Game European tour to Cologne was to play new games, absorb the atmosphere of Gamescom and mingle with thousands of people all of whom share the same passion. It didn’t occur to me that my biggest achievement would be the realization that friends whom die together on the digital battlefield may actually be better friends that you ever imagined.