Category Archives: White Noise

The superposition of all frequencies

Homo ludens @Gamescom 2015 – Trade Visitors Day

This year’s trade visitors’ day was noticeably less crowded than the years before. The convention was much stricter with admittance, hence less visitors.

Entering Gamescom 2015:
Gamescom 2015

Gamescom 2015

Ready to play?

Gamescom 2015

Farming Simulator (Landwirtschaftssimulator) is back! Has become a staple over the years.

Gamescom 2015

Microsoft booth:

Mega Bloks spire at the Halo 5 Guardians entrance

Gamescom 2015

Halo 5: Guardians and most other games at Microsoft were playable with the new Elite Controller. The 150$ price tag seems steep but I have to say I really like it. Has a nice heft and exceptional build quality. For shooters like Halo the trigger locks are really a plus. Less travel until the trigger switches act.

Gamescom 2015

You can see the small green switches for the trigger locks on the top of the backside.
The four green dots below are the switches for the paddles. Unfortunately I did not see the paddels anywhere on any of the games.

Gamescom 2015

For Forza 6 there is a special 10 year anniversary D-pad for the elite controller:

Gamescom 2015

These controllers have gorgeous Forza-esque paint jobs. Those are “classic” controllers, not elite ones, though:

Gamescom 2015

Gamescom 2015

Gamescom 2015

Forza 6 now has night races and rain. Played both and both really add to the experience. Car will react to puddles of water on the track. Best: everything now is 60 fps.

Gamescom 2015

Visitors playing Forza 6:

Gamescom 2015

Rise of Tomb Raider at the Microsoft booth. The game will be time exclusive on Xbox One before coming to PS4 one full year later. Usually you will then get the game with all DLC as some GotY or similar edition.

Gamescom 2015

FIFA 16 was also playable at Microsoft. usually entirely overrun on Gamescom I managed to play a match, even winning 2:1.

Gamescom 2015

Gigantic (by motiger) had a presence right in the center of the Microsoft booth. They have a marketing deal. Game will be available on Xbox One and Windows 10. Microsoft have been marketing the game as a showcase during their Windows 10 launch.
Gigantic and Fable will have cross-play and cross-buy between Xbox One and Windows 10.

Gamescom 2015

One of their ‘community coaches’ explaining the ins and outs to the players:

Gamescom 2015

Gigantic also had its own booth in Hall 8:

Gamescom 2015

The logo being too gigantic to fit the frame 😉 They used it as a projection screen. I generally liked the game design a lot and also the design of their booth.

Gamescom 2015

They have a central stage for competitive play:

Gamescom 2015

On the morning of trade visitors’ day there meren’t many visitors. That would change soon…

Gamescom 2015

Both the Xbox One and the Windows 10 version were playable.

Gamescom 2015

I had a nice talk to one of their character designers. Windows 10 and Xbox One version run off pretty much the same engine. Underneath it’s Unreal 3 with custom frameworks.

Gamescom 2015

EA have a huge presence (as usual). On the first day they will only open after lunch since they are running their press conference in the morning.

Star Wars: Battlefront was the big highlight this year. Easily recognizable by the big TIE fighter and ATAT models:

Gamescom 2015

Gamescom 2015

Gamescom 2015

Mirror’s Edge Catalyst

Catalyst is a successor to a game that won over critics more so than consumers. Happy to see a sequel.

Gamescom 2015

Gamescom 2015

Unravel seems promising. Some did comment it has a lot from Sonys’ Little Big Planet’s Sackboy character.

Gamescom 2015

Need for Speed. Another staple series with a new entry. Did not play it. As far as racing games go I am recently having more fun with the slightly more realistic variants, like Forza. Love to tune the car to shave off a few seconds. Maybe also getting old, easier to memorize a race track than an open world city.

Gamescom 2015

Gamescom 2015

This racing setup (PC) looked really nice. I consciously chose to NOT test drive it. I fear I might buy one if I did.

Gamescom 2015

Gamescom 2015

Gamescom 2015

More racing game hardware at Logitech:

Gamescom 2015

Sony booth:

Gamescom 2015

Gamescom 2015

Gamescom 2015

Horizon:Zero Dawn. Unfortunately only video, nothing playable, yet. Looks promising:

Gamescom 2015

Gamescom 2015

Gamescom 2015

Gamescom 2015

Gamescom 2015

Gamescom 2015

Star Wars: Battlefron was playable at the Sony booth. 2-player coop split screen single player in some kind of hoard mode. Liked the game a lot, feels like actually being in one of the movies. Stunning graphics. Controls a bit mushy, though. Hope this will be improved until release.

Gamescom 2015

A visitor testing Sony project morpheus VR experience:

Gamescom 2015

Street Fighter V on PS4:

Chun-Li watching Cammy battle a mere visitor:

Gamescom 2015

Gamescom 2015

Gamescom 2015

Blizzard are sharing hall 7 with Sony and have a huge booth.

Gamescom 2015

More specifically they have a whole set of booths: Heroes of the Storm, Hearthstone, Star Craft II: Legacy of the Void, World of Warcraft: Legion and Overwatch. Hope I did not forget anything.

I liked playing Overwatch quite a bit:

Gamescom 2015

Blizzard has life-sized (more or less) figures of some of the Overwatch characters:

Gamescom 2015

Gamescom 2015

Gamescom 2015

Gamescom 2015

Hearthstone booth:
Did not play it. i felt I could play enough Hearthstone on my phone while waiting to playtest another game.

Gamescom 2015

Some Murloc vs. play:

Gamescom 2015

Heroes of the Storm:

Learned right after taking this photo that I should not take any more photos, pity:

Gamescom 2015

So I took a few photos of some more life-sized figures:

Gamescom 2015

Gamescom 2015

Gamescom 2015

Hammer time!

Gamescom 2015

Gamescom 2015

Between the two giants Sony and Blizzard Guitar Hero makes a comeback. Guitar Hero and Rock Band were huge for a couple of years and then more or less disappeared from the lime light. Now they are back. The crew warming up before the visitors take over:

Gamescom 2015

PES: Another come back of a great series. They were always considered the ‘realistic’ football (I’m German, I will not call it soccer) game until they were somehow overtaken in this regard by FIFA. With the transition to PS3 and Xbox 360 PES fell behind while FIFA 08 and then especially 09 and 10 made great steps forward.

Gamescom 2015

Fallout 4:

When you go to Gamescom this year you will immediately notice those who played it. They get a blue T-shirt, in exchange for having their hair spray-painted Pipboy yellow.

Gamescom 2015

Dark Souls III is hotly anticipated by many:

Gamescom 2015

I did not play it since I never got into Demons Souls, Dark Souls I/II and Bloodborne. Due to work I cannot muster the required patience. There are so many games, I want to try them all rather than master one. This is just me probably, everybody else please enjoy Dark Souls!

Another thing I did not try was Oculus rift. This was unvoluntarily, I went to the booth too late. Will try to get a slot another day and will go there first thing in the morning.

Gamescom 2015

Gamescom 2015

Nintendo:

By contrast Nintendo have a really small booth this year:

Gamescom 2015

This is basically the entire booth. To the left were a number of Wii-U available. I played Zelda Triforce Heroes which was a lot of fun. You play with 3 players and have to cooperate to solve puzzles.

Gamescom 2015

Gamescom 2015

All in all this years trade visitors day of Gamescom was great. Had many nice conversations and could play most games and systems with little waiting time.

Homo ludens @Gamescom 2012 – Day .5

Spending 1 hour at this years Gamescom 2012 in Cologne before they close for the day. So it does not really count as a whole day. Today the fair opened for the public until Sunday. Will go tomorrow, just stopped by on the way home.

Last year it was really (too) crowded. It usually is already quite full on Thursday and the last two years it got even more crowded until Sunday. Worst time is around noon. After 3-4 pm it gets a little better.
Arrived around 7 pm-ish to use the chance to take some pictures.

Swimming against the current. A steady stream of gamers flows to the train station.

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Staging area where they hand out the bracelets. Don’t be fooled, it will not be this empty tomorrow morning.

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Main entrance. At this time rather the exit. They learned something from last year and are opening another entrance at hall 11 for those who already have a ticket. The hall 11 entrance is right next to the main entrance.

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Some gamers queuing up for Borderlands 2. Thought the first one was a surprise hit. Release date: September 21st. Might be faster to just wait than to wait in line.

P1070118

Last year the Diablo III area at Blizzard was walled of. Now post release there is nothing to hide.
A rare sight to see no lines and only a few gamers actually playing.
Again, I do not expect it to look like this before 5 pm.

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Neither will the SC2 part of Blizzards’ booth be so idle:

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Nor the WoW expansion part – Mists of Pandaria:

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RaiderZ across the isle:

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This one gives an impression of how empty the halls are in the evening.

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Public transport simulations:

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EA manages to retain visitors’ attention even at closing time. Isles are already empty. But do not be fooled, there are really a lot of visitors around, slowly moving to the exits.

P1070128

EA brought some cars along for NfS Most Wanted

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FIFA ## never fails to attract fans

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Apart from the fenced-off part the area was empty. Not really sure about their motivation to wait in line for … what?

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More NfS hardware

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Of all sports title I had actually not seen a handball game before. Might try this tomorrow.

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If you squint you can read “My Body Coach 3” on the glass

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Body Coach 3 in action

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Have your picture taken – in defiance

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The “case king” or “caseking” (see above) ruling supreme over some contest.

P1070151

It.is.back!!! In 2010 I raised my brow ().
In 2011 Landwirtschafts-Simulator 2012 made it’s way to the 3DS.
Now it is not only back:

P1070155

They built a controller for it!!!

P1070157

This puts Steel Battalion to shame

P1070160

Strictly speaking you need to have one of those age indicating bracelets to play any game not rated “0” at Gamescom. They should be handed out here I was told at the info stand. But someone already had left his/her post. It was almost closing time so this is understandable. Would have saved the time picking one up tomorrow, one queue less.

P1070161

Nintendo and Microsoft are notably absent this year. But Sony is still around, wich is a good thing.
2010 and 2011 Sony had put up the best showing I thought. Many games, most could be played with reasonable queuing time.

P1070162

Also like the visual style of their (huge) booth.
Little Big Planet Karting:

P1070163

P1070164

Many beanie bags with PS Vitas to play around

P1070166

The move based games were popular. Some do not like move. It just does not make the gaming experience better for most “classic” games. When there are games where the concept fits, I actually prefer it to the controller-free Kinect. But I think I can count my move and Kinect games on one hand.

P1070182

Ubisoft and Konami booths. PES has a similar attraction level as FIFA.

P1070169

PES 2013

P1070171

Hitman: Absolution and Sleeping Dogs murals. Would like to play both tomorrow. But need to find out if there are playable demos or just video trailers before standing in line.

P1070173

More Ubisoft. I would really like Splinter Cell Blacklist to be good.

P1070175

Farcry 3

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Konami promising Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance.

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But I did not see it at their booth. Walked around it once. They do have their own broadcast studio, though.

P1070180

World of tanks seems to be getting some media attention lately. The booth was already closed apart from the large video wall:

P1070182

Next door: End of Nations

P1070185

Across: FireFall. Will try to play it tomorrow, both was already being shut down for the day.

P1070189

League of Legends was a huge hit last year. This year they moved to hall 8.

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Unobstructed view over some competition seats.

Spending 1 hour at this years Gamescom 2012 in Cologne before they close for the day. So it does not really count as a whole day. Today the fair opened for the public until Sunday. Will go tomorrow, just stopped by on the way home.

Last year it was really (too) crowded. It usually is already quite full on Thursday and the last two years it got even more crowded until Sunday. Worst time is around noon. After 3-4 pm it gets a little better.
Arrived around 7 pm-ish to use the chance to take some pictures.

Swimming against the current. A steady stream of gamers flows to the train station.

P1070103

Staging area where they hand out the bracelets. Don’t be fooled, it will not be this empty tomorrow morning.

P1070106

Main entrance. At this time rather the exit. They learned something from last year and are opening another entrance at hall 11 for those who already have a ticket. The hall 11 entrance is right next to the main entrance.

P1070206

Some gamers queuing up for Borderlands 2. Thought the first one was a surprise hit. Release date: September 21st. Might be faster to just wait than to wait in line.

P1070118

Last year the Diablo III area at Blizzard was walled of. Now post release there is nothing to hide.
A rare sight to see no lines and only a few gamers actually playing.
Again, I do not expect it to look like this before 5 pm.

P1070120

Neither will the SC2 part of Blizzards’ booth be so idle:

P1070121

Nor the WoW expansion part – Mists of Pandaria:

P1070127

RaiderZ across the isle:

P1070119

This one gives an impression of how empty the halls are in the evening.

P1070123

Public transport simulations:

P1070125

EA manages to retain visitors’ attention even at closing time. Isles are already empty. But do not be fooled, there are really a lot of visitors around, slowly moving to the exits.

P1070128

EA brought some cars along for NfS Most Wanted

P1070130

FIFA ## never fails to attract fans

P1070131

Apart from the fenced-off part the area was empty. Not really sure about their motivation to wait in line for … what?

P1070133

More NfS hardware

P1070137

Of all sports title I had actually not seen a handball game before. Might try this tomorrow.

P1070140

If you squint you can read “My Body Coach 3” on the glass

P1070143

Body Coach 3 in action

P1070145

Have your picture taken – in defiance

P1070144

The “case king” or “caseking” (see above) ruling supreme over some contest.

P1070151

It.is.back!!! In 2010 I raised my brow ().
In 2011 Landwirtschafts-Simulator 2012 made it’s way to the 3DS.
Now it is not only back:

P1070155

They built a controller for it!!!

P1070157

This puts Steel Battalion to shame

P1070160

Strictly speaking you need to have one of those age indicating bracelets to play any game not rated “0” at Gamescom. They should be handed out here I was told at the info stand. But someone already had left his/her post. It was almost closing time so this is understandable. Would have saved the time picking one up tomorrow, one queue less.

P1070161

Nintendo and Microsoft are notably absent this year. But Sony is still around, wich is a good thing.
2010 and 2011 Sony had put up the best showing I thought. Many games, most could be played with reasonable queuing time.

P1070162

Also like the visual style of their (huge) booth.
Little Big Planet Karting:

P1070163

P1070164

Many beanie bags with PS Vitas to play around

P1070166

The move based games were popular. Some do not like move. It just does not make the gaming experience better for most “classic” games. When there are games where the concept fits, I actually prefer it to the controller-free Kinect. But I think I can count my move and Kinect games on one hand.

P1070182

Ubisoft and Konami booths. PES has a similar attraction level as FIFA.

P1070169

PES 2013

P1070171

Hitman: Absolution and Sleeping Dogs murals. Would like to play both tomorrow. But need to find out if there are playable demos or just video trailers before standing in line.

P1070173

More Ubisoft. I would really like Splinter Cell Blacklist to be good.

P1070175

Farcry 3

P1070176

Konami promising Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance.

P1070178

But I did not see it at their booth. Walked around it once. They do have their own broadcast studio, though.

P1070180

World of tanks seems to be getting some media attention lately. The booth was already closed apart from the large video wall:

P1070182

Next door: End of Nations

P1070185

Across: FireFall. Will try to play it tomorrow, both was already being shut down for the day.

P1070189

League of Legends was a huge hit last year. This year they moved to hall 8.

P1070192

LoL tournament theater. 15 minutes before closing time.

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Directly next to the LoL theatre the SC2 high level play still pulls a crowd

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So to sum up 1 hour of Gamescom 2012:
Refreshingly calm in the evening. Still a few lines for the big titles. For theaters: Still unclear most of the time if there is a playable demo or just some video reel. Which I could watch from my smartphone – waiting in line somewhere else. Where there IS a playable demo.

Riding into the Cologne sun set until tomorrow.

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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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Pop Life Hamburg

After starting at London Modern Tate the Pop Life exhibition is being shown at Hamburg Kunsthalle from Feb. 12 through May 9 2010.

As word has it the exhibits range from gaudy over saucy up to raunchy.

You can find more information at Hamburger Kunsthalle and some news reporting at Spiegel Online and even FTD.

Need to go and visit! For starters Flickr has some creative commons licensed imagery to take a peak at the work of featured artist Takashi Murakami.

Photo of his sculpture “Hiropon” (1997) from the London Modern Tate exhibition by Jim Linwood:
Magical Princess Sculpture, Pop Life Exhibition, Tate Modern, London.

Takashi Murakami’s works look like cartoons or anime where something just went utterly wrong or maybe shows some ‘after dark’ scenery where the figures behave quite differently from one would expect.

He is quite successful and among other works he supplied the visual art for some records/videos from Kanye West as evidenced in this photo from Jim Linwood:
Kanye Bear, Pop Life Exhibition, Tate Modern, London.

This looks like Teletubbies’ nightmare, photo by Stefan Andrej Shambora:
Kaikai & Kiki by Takashi Murakami

Update: Some (Koharu) current (Danny Choo) attention (boingboing) seems to be paid to a video from the very same Pop Life exibition. Made by Takashi Murakami and hollywood director McG (wikipedia) and starring Kirsten Dunst as ‘magical princess’ character.