It’s not every day, every week or even every month that you get the chance to go to a gaming event. Unless you’re in the business then you miss out on some of the experiences unless you’re lucky enough to win a spot or just happen to know the right people. That’s why I was really looking forward to the Xtreme Gaming Alien Isolation event held at the Colchester Odeon in association with Madcatz UK and XFX.
What I love about the gaming community in Colchester is that everyone gets along, we were all there to have a good time and support our local provider of fun on a weekly basis. So off we went to the cinema where we were invited to sign our contract to be at the Iapetus Training Facility and pick up our raffle tickets. Then some Colonial Marines came out of the door and waited to escort us into the screening of Alien and then play some Alien Isolation. Ok, so before the Alien fans go ‘Hey, what were Colonial Marines doing there when they weren’t in the first film wah wah wah.’, it was part of the event, so pipe down and appreciate the guys for getting involved.
After being led to the screening and sitting down comfortably, Mr Carter and Mr Seymour advised us of what we were going to be doing (well played Sirs by the way) and that the Colonial Marines were there for our safety and to follow their instructions should an emergency situation occur. First up, the footage of the Nostromo Incident (Alien) for us to study and take notes of in preparation for our live exercise (Alien Isolation Survivor Mode). I have watched Alien countless times, but this was the first time I had seen it on a cinema screen. I wasn’t born when it came out so the film lover in me was really looking forward to the event for this reason. It wasn’t the extended cut, but that didn’t matter, it looked great on the big screen and even though I have watched it before I found myself getting chills in anticipation of what would happen next. I certainly hope everyone else enjoyed the experience as much as I did.
After the screening, Mr Seymour started picking raffle tickets out of a cup to get the volunteers for the gaming side of the evening. I don’t think I was alone in hoping my number didn’t get called. I know it’s ‘just a game’ but the fear of going up against the alien was real. The first ‘volunteer’ was a young lady. I think her reaction was the best with a simple ‘NO!’ but first up meant first to fall victim to the alien. And so it went on as one after the other, numbers were called with no one managing to complete the challenge. It was just like I thought it would be. Everyone reacting the same, shouting not to run or telling the player to crouch and all building up to that inevitable moment when the alien would get the player in some horrific way. Although myself and Kuniku weren’t picked, Brophers was called up to play and he lasted a few moments representing Darkworld Gaming in spectacular fashion.
Then after a few moments of uncertainty (but there was definitely the familiar sound of the self destruct alarm quickly looping in the background) proverbial poop started going down. The Colonial Marines made their way in alerting us to the fact that one, or possibly two of the aliens in the facility had escaped. After some shouting and blame shifting, Mr Seymour was dragged out of the cinema by those slinky black fingers and we were told to head to the exits, only to be led into the corridor where a Marine was then snatched away at the top of the stairs. We all pilled back into the cinema screen and took our seats once more. A cheeky bit of extra entertainment for us to draw the evening to a close! A well deserved round of applause for the cast, crew and then the Alien who descended the stairs.
Next was the raffle with some great prizes to be won from Madcatz UK, XFX, Creative Assembly and the Odeon. We all held on to our tickets and this time around everyone wanted their number called. I never win anything but was happy to have a Madcatz beanie to take away with me. Kuniku landed a Kunai Wireless headset, which we happen to have already but I’m sure it will come in handy in helping us ignore each other while playing PC/consoles in the same room. The generosity of the sponsors is just amazing so a big thanks to these guys for providing the prizes. After that it was photo op time and who would want to miss out on getting a selfie with the Alien?! Overall, a great night and certainly one that had a brilliant reception.
As we left, we happened to walk past the Xtreme Gaming boys and got invited in to play for a bit if we wanted while the guys had a well deserved cool down after a successful evening. So I did get to play the survivor mode but on a PC with 3 monitors and a headset. Thanks to Arthur for making me jump before I had even left the safe room but the 3 monitors was really disorientating. Amazing graphically as the middle monitor was the main with the 2 either side acting as blurred peripheral vision which added to the fear as you still couldn’t see all the way around you. On my first attempt, I didn’t even make it past the barrel as I accidentally hit it with my wrench only to draw the alien right to me. The second time, I made it up the stairs at least before getting cornered and had nowhere to hide. It was great fun but I probably would have appreciated the backseat gamers keeping me in check.
All in all, a great night. Well done to our friends at Xtreme Gaming for organizing and running it very successfully. Here’s to hoping we manage to have more nights like this. Alien Isolation is out now. I’ve got my copy and as I write this have been watching Aliens and putting off playing it while I’m alone, but daylight will soon fade and I would rather not play it in the dark….