6:30 am, and an obnoxious cacophony dragged me from my pleasant slumber. The resentment of the early hour did not last, for the day began to brighten when I recalled the momentous occasion to take place.
Escapism. The Meet-Up.
While preparing, my features were in a constant grin, which broadened further yet once the correct train was boarded. I was on my way, bowler hat, camera and Opeth shirt attached. The true joy in this kind of thing was playing Spot-The-Escapist around Sydney Central.
Jim was the first to find me, while breakfast was being sought at one of Central's cheap cafes. It was the massive grin which gave him away, rather than the quite fetching pinstripe Fedora he'd donned for the occasion. True to his word, he also had a Sonic Screwdriver in his possession, which lead to more amusement for all. The next person discovered was Fire Daemon, closely followed by Gems.
I Can Haz Hat.
As soon as we had five (a friend of mine had also come) the wheels of conversation really got to turning. Copious mention was made of those who were not there, and several jokes and light-hearted insults flicked their way as well. I must confess to enquiring as to what had been happening in my absence from our home Cyber-turf. More jokes, some truly atrocious puns from Gems (he rivals Nuke for that) and we slaughtered time until more arrived.
Indigo decided to be both crafty and a little too subtle for success. Upon purchasing a gaming magazine, he perched next to a vividly oblivious but thriving Escapism in the hope one would spot him and notice that he was here for us. We didn't, too engrossed in our own witticisms for outward observation, and he eventually revealed himself in a great flourish, and there were more jokes all around.
Some time later, Xhumed and Illithya chose to grace us with their Goth presence. A quite jovial bunch all up, the Escapism band moved out to find Galaxy arcade for the first order of business of the day. While travelling to the arcade, Jim managed to spot Gerald being kept hostage by a storekeeper, and gained custody of the crab for our own devious plans.
For myself the first game was House Of The Dead 4 with Xhumed. Uzis in hand we ploughed through legions of hell-spawned zombies, some quite reminiscent of those found in a newly released game with considerable popularity. Manic laughter ran through the halls of Galaxy. Various games of air hockey were enjoyed, and all pride was lost on a drum machine simulator. It seemed as though this particular means of humiliating the player hadn't bothered to put any decent music in, but we still laughed at the people having a go. Doki, the first to put his neck out, failed miserably, though those to come after had more success. Poor old man.
Then we found it. Let's Go Jungle.
Xhumed: The goggles! They do nothing!
Imagine for a moment that your first thought of a game is both sceptical and "what the fuck". Doki convinced me to have a go at this safari game, which I expected to be lame beyond belief. Probably taking pictures of the cute little animals. Being the first in that back-seat of terror, enormous grins about our faces and stunned laughter escaping us at every turn, we desperately tried to kill the masses of advancing giant spiders with AK-47s. Other horrible beasts of the wild came for us, including killer wasps, enormous wetas, slugs, frogs and slaters grown to proportions that no insect ever should. The real kicker came when we realised that there was a match-making component in the overall game as well. At the end of each level, the players (whose characters were one male, one female) received a compatibility score. Hilarity ensued, as Doki and my first score was 43%. Sorry, baby, but I just don't think our hats were made to love each other. The happy couple of Illithyia and Xhumed scored 84%, roughly equal to what Indigo and myself achieved later. More laughs for all.
Another game we discovered involved a kind of strength tester with two players shoving handles against each other to move characters from left to right across the screen and dodge obstacles or collect coins and such. The various mini-games involved were quite fun to watch, and more fun to play.
Illithyia likes seafood.
Onwards, Escapism trekked, this time to the food court for refreshment. Gerald decided to procure some Bento while we were there, and being generous
captors keepers we allowed this to happen. Discussion turned nerdy pretty fast with talk of science-fiction shows coming quick to mention. Then twilight arose, as did irritation with the sop.
We left both depressing wannabe literature and the building to continue our Sydney stroll. The first net cafe located just did not work for what we wanted, and so we toiled on to find another. A boot shop was discovered en route, so Illithyia, Xhumed and myself went inside to oggle some truly gorgeous footwear. We spent several minutes leering at the merchandise but alas, time rolled on, as did we to find our afternoon occupation.
In the basement of an office block we located our Zion. The computers were sleek, black with blue neons, and some even had webcams set up.
Xhumed put together a LAN of Left 4 Dead while the rest of us settled in. I got to setting up a connection with the outside world, in order to broadcast updates of the day's happening. Unfortunately not everyone we wished to converse with was online, but no matter. Once the webcam and conversation was going, Indigo, Gems, Daemon and Doki all toddled over to get involved. Even Xhumed poked his head in, grinning wickedly. It was roughly 4pm when we finally left the Net cafe, though our resident Goths had already departed for other social callings.
Indigo Dingo vs Gerald
And with dwindling numbers, the meet-up continued. We lost Gems somewhere in the chaos, and so Doki, Daemon, Indigo and myself went to the Queen Victoria Building for curiosity's sake. There we found shiny knives, gelato, and a games shop. Truly Utopic. Jokes were made of 50 Cent's travesty against the screen, and at Doki's Guitar Hero addiction (he was also in High School Musica-.. Oh, hi Jim.)
Hyde park came next where Gerald rode the Fedora like a flying saucer into a Gothic church*. A recap of the day's splendor brought smiles to all faces, and already we had started planning for the next great event. The idea of a more games-themed meeting was tossed around, rather than the wander-about-smirking day we'd had. We even admired some nude Greek sculptures for a time, with more smirks passed around. Alas, though, for our time was almost up.
A leisurely stroll brought us back to Central Station, and having come full circle we sat to chatter for a time. Indigo had long since left us, then Daemon and I said mournful farewells to Doki and went to hop on our returning train.
1:20am, and the rustle of paper is sweet music to my ears as I recount our awesome day. So much fun was had, and I would advise anyone and everyone to try and make it to one of these, even if it's small. Worth risking life and limb to meet weird people off The Internets. I had a blast, and evidence would suggest the same of others too. At the next, may many more of you contrive to turn up, for the sheer Win of such an event will surely be multiplied if others do.
Sleep calls. I depart.
The crab! It's everywhere.
*No crabs were harmed in the making of this shot.