Category Archives: Travel

Things seen and done traveling

A Weekend in Düsseldorf

While I am working in Cologne I am using the chance to pass some time with friends and family in the region. So I spent a weekend in Düsseldorf. While Cologne and Düsseldorf are neighbor cities and they are just some 40-ish km apart there is a healthy competition between their inhabitants.

We went for a walk by the media harbor:

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This area has fancy buildings to marvel:

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Prominent among them are the Gehry-Bauten by architect Frank Owen Gehry (wikipedia link)

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All these buildings are situated around a river harbor.

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Passsing the harbor downstream the Rhein river we reached downtown. Noticed the space age looking tramway.

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Apparently Düsseldorf has a more refined (aka “snobby”) image compared to Cologne where they seems to claim a more latitudinarian spirit. But to be honest I like both cities and luckily don’t have to take part in the regional rivalry.

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More modern architecture on the way back:

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Germany is famous for their sausages and an all time favourite is the Currywurst.
Along the way I stopped by restaurant “Curry” where they specialise in said product. It is not your usual fast food shack but astonishingly refined inside. Also populated by equally refined clients. There has to be a reason for the partiality the people from Cologne display maybe.

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Their sausage system is modularised where you can order your sauce/dip/salsa in normal, sweet or spicy flavour.
They also have a “sauce of the day” which they let me try by way of a free french fry:

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Decided to do away with the fancy haute cuisine and stuck to the regular build:

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The curry pictures were taken with an Olympus PEN E-P1 equipped with the very nice micro four thirds Panasonic Lumix G 1,7/20mm Pancake. I did have some reservations agains the new µFT cameras due to the missing optical viewfinder and the smallish sensor size but the Oly/Pana combo was very nice and lightweight to work with.

Homo ludens @Gamescom 2010

As i am currently in Cologne working for a client I used the chance to visit this year’s Gamescom 2010, the german CVG (that’s “Computer and Video Games”) expo formerly known as Games Convention. The former GC was held in Leipzig but the powers to be in the CVG business decided to move to the more central location of Cologne. Pity for Leipzig but in this case lucky for me.

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Staging area at the entrance. Might be confused with a LARP (Live Action Role Playing) Zergling rush.

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Nowadays one can inform themselves about most things on the web. The thing you cannot learn from online media or trailers are new hardware experiences like the recent motion controls by Sony and Microsoft. They finally seem to catch up with Nintendos’ innovativeness. Sony is more the me-too product almost identically copying the Wii controller including the “Nunchuck” side-kick controller for the left hand.

Here folks are being photographed. The photographer also took some pictures of me while I played, I wonder where they will show up (if they do at all).

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It seems that most of the early games they showed had either some kind of dancing or some kind of fighting topic. Here is an example of the swords play variant:

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Microsofts’ Kinect motion controls work without any physical hand held controller. The players are tracked via a camera array. While at Sonys’ booth I was wondering if someone standing by will accidentally be punched Microsoft had separate booths for each demo station.
I remember reading about some people throwing their Wiiimotes into their TV sets when the Wii was new. This made Nintendo send wrist straps and soft silicone sleeves to all customers.

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Microsofts’ booth was located directly next to Nintendos’.

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Nintendo brought most of their trademark IP to the show. They had a new Zelda game, Metroid: Other M and a new Kirby game amongst others.

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They were showing the new Zelda game. There were some cosplayers at the fair. They young lady in the picture was not on Nintendos payroll but a regular visitor. In case one wonders as who she dressed I took a convenient picture for your leisure:

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For basically all of the big name titles there were lines of some length. For the Zelda game the line went around the corner twice:

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Football (the one you actually play with your feet, not the other one) is huuuge over here. Konami was showing PES 2011 and had huuuge Lionel Messi posters up. The photo puts size into an interesting perspective. He seems to be looking down on us. He wouldn’t do that, would he?

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At the Deep Silver booth you could play the new F1 game which is now being developed by Codemasters. They had a really nice setup for the demo.

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In comparison this farming simulation is rather a niche game:

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New magazine “Return” brings back some memories. I did even have the same Competition Pro joystick for the C64.

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Saving the best (at least for me one of the best) for last, Portal 2. The first Portal game was pretty short but definitely an intelligently made experience. Liked both the concept and the story telling. They made a nice short story from the lab setting. Are you still there…?

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But you already learned about cake, didn’t you? It’s a lie! Please await the party escort.

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