As far as I know, there’s currently not a single self-indulgent games journalist writing at length about their lurid, scuzzy lives. In fact, all of the games journalists I know are now too busy producing real work to write about themselves. This is a problem for me, because I liked when everyone I knew or wanted to know was blogging in a loose and personal style, instead of making games and comics and books and podcasts and being famous and successful, like they all are now.
So I guess I’ll fill in. Because I’m ashamed and uncomfortable, I’ve put all the crappy camera phone pictures of my recent trip to Denmark beneath a More button.
I flew to Copenhagen on Wednesday night so that on Thursday I could attend the LEGO World conference, see the reveal of LEGO Minecraft, and interview the game’s creator Notch and current developer Jeb.
The flight was from Heathrow Terminal 5, the best of all the world’s terminals. I spent an hour or so in Giraffe, eating a rocky road sundae and then some olives. This was the lurid part of the trip.
The flight out was in the afternoon, but we flew in to darkness, meaning half the sky was full of stars and the other half a sunset. The iPhone 3GS camera did its best, bless it.
By the time I reached my hotel, it was late, and I went pretty much straight to bed. The next morning, I head over to the Bella Center just a little outside the center of Copenhagen. I knew I was attending LEGO World, but I hadn’t really looked in to what that was like. It turns out it’s like this.
About half the halls at the convention center were just pits filled with Lego and young kids. There was also lots of fuel for your nightmares, it turns out.
The best part of the relatively small convention was the fan room, where the blocks’ most dedicated fans showed off their absurd creations. Like large, bustling towns, with working railways.
And the countryside just outside those towns.
In the morning there was a two-hour seminar on Lego’s various research projects. They’re trying to create “a seamless play experience” between the “physical and digital realms”, using augmented reality, Kinect toys, iPad apps, 3D printing and bullshit marketing terms. There was a hall where you could go play around with some of their prototypes, the best of which was a music program controlled by placing, turning and twisting cubes on top of a touchscreen table. It had very little to do with Lego, though.
The most fun to be had was just wandering around and staring at the mountains of bricks, whether they were loose on the floor, or used as part of giant construction projects.
It’s only now that I realise, hey, the building in the middle of the photo below looks like the courthouse from Back to the Future. And wait a minute, isn’t that the park in front of it and, yes! Doc and Marty and the DeLorean. And wait a minute, there’s the Ghostbusters and the Blues Brothers on the right, too.
Even the QR Codes were made out of Lego.
As was this enormous, life-sized car.
After lunch, I attended the press conference where Lego and Mojang revealed the pricing and look of the Lego Minecraft sets. They look neat, but are small and expensive. Given that Minecraft’s world is already just blocks and nature, it’s hard to create a Lego set that feels especially Minecraft-y, and not just like regular Lego.
After interviewing Mojang – who are lovely, shy people, who seem a little bewildered by their success and fame – I had a long wait before heading back to the airport. While pootling around, I found an open storage room at the back of the press room. There was a giant minifig head inside it. I hadn’t seen anyone walking around the showfloor dressed in it, and it had black smudges across its face. The dirt and perma-grin made it look insane.
So I put it on. This was the scuzzy part of the trip.
Then I flew home.