This year my old school friend Gaz flew all the way from Swindon to show off games from his company, Fayju, and kindly slipped me a ticket. Gaz and I spent seven years sitting by each other on the bus to school, and when we weren't doing the homework we should have done at home we mostly talked rubbish to each other, a lot about video games. Ah, the heady days of the ZX Spectrum and the Sega Megadrive. Kids don't know how good they've got it, and Gaz was showing his Amazing Frog on the iPad and new Ouya console.
I did my part by playing the game while shouting things like "awesome!" when people walked past, then wandered the expo floor looking at what Nintendo, Sony, and others are up to. There were companies that could help you build your game, market it, make it run on five screens at once...my favourite was SpeedTree that grew you digital trees to put into your virtual world - no arboreal experience necessary.
I paid back Gaz and his co-worker Harry by giving them a tailored guided tour of San Fran. All the sights in four hours: sea lions, soup-in-a-sourdough-bowl, trolley cars, Alcatraz, etc. I had to take them into the Musee Mechanique of course, home of truly old-school arcade machines. Sadly they had to abandon the delights of California for Wiltshire, but hopefully their conference networking will lead them to massive venture capital funding and a swift move to Silicon Valley. Soon, because I didn't get to take them to In'n'Out.
The big boys were here, showing off.
I was always more of a Mario man myself.
Serious screen envy, especially when looking at Lara Croft.
Yay - viva Chile! There were a lot of country-specific displays that I passed by, but I reserved a "bueno dia" for my spiritual home.
SpeedTree, and a pleasing unreal palm.
It was all about motion capture this year. Sadly only real dancers got to don the strange suits.
UKIE co-sponsored a lot of small games makers to come out.
And here they are! Harry and Gaz generated much interest, not least due to my "awesome!"s.
Where does the city tour start? Blue Bottle Coffee, of course.
Not bad, but not Street Fighter 2 is it.
Neither of us has changed a bit in...er...25 years? Gulp.