Follow by email:

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Stranger in a Strange Land


I spent eight hours on Friday at the EB Games Expo – as a non gamer, I saw it with quite different eyes to the majority of the crowd. Like any traveller, I think it’s good to explore other cultures with an open mind. There I witnessed the good, the bad and the ugly – but not probably as I’d expected.

THE GOOD
While not a gamer, and totally ignorant of most things techy, I am a distant cousin, the ‘comic book guy’. So the highlight of the expo for me, were the cosplayers, who had gone to amazing effort and the standard of most was exceptional. For those even less in the know than this old lady, cosplay is the term for those that dress up, or costume play. The amateurs had better costumes on the whole than the professionals sent out by the expo.

I love that there is a part of the culture that still has that enthusiasm and passion to throw themselves whole heartedly into a character, regardless of their age. There were Jedi, Dr Eggmen, Pikachus, Luigis – you name it, someone went as it.


THE BAD
The queues were horrendous. I have been to Game On and Game Masters and I think the EB Games Expo organisers need to learn from them. The Black Ops queue was three hours, Halo was two hours and Nintendo Land was over 90 minutes. I will credit gamers as the nicest and most patient group of people on the planet. Most people didn’t seem to mind, people patiently waited their turn without argument. My son said of the Halo line “Oh, it was ok because people around me were talking about Halo, so it didn’t seem that long”. It was us non-gaming chaperones that complained loudest. It made me more grateful for the fantastic cosplayers, as that gave us entertainment while in line. In fact, instead of the VIP passes being for sale, the expo should reward the effort of those dressed up by letting them ‘express pass’ the lines.


THE UGLY
While waiting for my son to exit a gamecube, I watched a promotional film on a big cinema style screen. I didn’t recognise the game but it was a war type one. On second loop, I realised it was a promotional video for the Australian Navy, with a recruitment desk at the foot of the screen. Before I continue,  I need to clarify, I mean no disrespect to the Service men and women of Australia, nor to the Navy itself. I do, however, have an issue with the frankly horrifyingly underhand and in my opinion,  unethical recruitment tactic being used. Even my 11 year old thought it seemed ‘sneaky’ that they didn’t say it was for the Navy. They used terms such as “Combat Console Careers” and “online global game of hide and seek”. “Challenge friends” using state of the art technology (showing a missile “targeting”), top secret missions and the tag line was “The Globe is your Gameboard”. The armed forces, Navy or otherwise, is not actually a game. Advertise and recruit by all means, but don’t pretend it’s a game.
The US Military spends over $20 million a year on game development for recruitment and training, so these tactics obviously work. As this campaign is aimed at young teens, I think parents need to be aware that this is going on. Explain it carefully to your children, so they aren’t being duped or taken advantage of. Going into the Navy is a fine career choice, as long as you actually are making that choice, and not thinking you’re playing Xbox.

Exhausted, but with twenty minutes to go, we headed to the chill out area. The kids merrily fought over Pacman and Frogger while I played Pinball.  It’s old, but it’s still good! And at least with Pinball, I know where I stand.


14 comments:

  1. Wow, you are so much more patient than me. You boy is very lucky. I would love to go along to something like that just once. What a different world it would be. Rachel xx

    #TeamIBOT was here x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't think I was very patient, but when in Rome (complain to anyone who'll listen...)

      Delete
  2. I am with you on that Navy advertising. I had no idea such expos existed, yes I must live under a rock and in a cave. You are a good mummy for taking him down there.

    Fairy wishes and butterfly kisses #teamIBOT

    ReplyDelete
  3. Will remind them next time they tell me I'm mean...;)

    ReplyDelete
  4. gosh! I couldnt wait that long in lines for things like that although I am a gamer..


    I am concerned over the navy advert though..
    not good!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There you go, my son assured me that if I was a gamer I would think that expo was better than Game Masters, that had no queues but older games (8 year old agrees it was an 'epic fail')

      And that marketing technique has really disturbed me...so I'm glad it's not just me!

      Delete
  5. What a loser! you mean...I paid $40 a head to stand in line. ;)

    ReplyDelete
  6. My husband would have sold his grandma to go along to this.
    Mumabulous

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's on every year, so he can start writing his ebay listing if keen...(warn him about the lines though)

      Delete
  7. I would have spent the whole time looking for the cast of the Big Bang Theory! You are definitely an awesome mum for doing that. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And you probably would have seen them! I was too distracted by the more extreme elements (when not complaining to anyone who'd listen)

      Delete
  8. Good on you for being a patient mum! I find the idea of war and the world being a game absolutely repulsive, that's a VERY ugly attitude to have.

    ReplyDelete
  9. It's a little deceptive, or alarming. When my eldest friends refer to "teams" in war/battle, I'm very quick to correct - same with friendly fire (and you don't just get back up like you do in the video game).

    ReplyDelete