My Boston 2K Release Party Experience
I struggled with whether or not I wanted to go to the Boston party or not. I live in Richmond, Virginia and I knew it would be an expensive trip to get to Boston for only 2-3 days, but August 20th was my freaking birthday and this was the game of the year. I wanted to be a part of the historical experience!
I sent Liz 2K a private message asking if I could bring my buddy Chris along because I am directionally retarded (topographical memory disorder) and pleaded that I needed him as my seeing eye dawg. She said she couldn't give him an invite unless he posted on the bulletin board. Unfortunately, my buddy is not really a gamer at all and doesn't go for bulletin boards either. (He did have some interest in Bioshock when I showed him the promo vids and the demo, but he can barely manipulate two control sticks at once, so I figured he couldn't go to the party and it wasn't really worth my going either.)
After looking over some of the costs of flights and stuff I completely gave up on the idea. I had procrastinated long enough that the costs skyrocketed and I wasn't willing to sacrifice my sanity by hoofing it alone (I get uber stressed out about the direction thing. With good reason.) However, my mother called me and told me that she'd found a flight and hotel package on Priceline for cheap and that the whole family would chip in and buy it for me. I was thrilled!
Later I find out that the hotel is in Danvers, MA, not Boston proper. I freaked out. I had imagined just hopping out of the hotel, taking the tube to my destination, wandering the streets of Boston and taking in the sights. Nope, Danvers was 20-30 minutes away and just a one-way cab ride would have cost $60 per trip! That would end up more expensive than actually getting a hotel in Boston (which is quite expensive, actually.) As much as I loved my mother for getting me the tickets, I cursed at the reservation that had me stuck out in the boonies for 3 days, August 19th-21st. I resolved myself to just sitting in the hotel and cry the whole time except for the day of the party. <-- dramatic exaggeration, of course
Chris then tells me he has quit his job and wants to drive up to Boston to meet me at the airport when I arrive. He plans on leaving at 10pm and getting there after 10+ hours. Insanity! We both tend to talk sh*t about things we want to do and then don't end up doing them in the end because we are inherently lazy, so I wasn't sure if I could count on him delivering. Still, he was sick of Richmond and seemed determined enough.
My flight from Richmond to Boston was in a puddle jumper... this is me taking the picture on the airport runway. And it wouldn't be the first time, either:
As promised, Chris met me at the airport. Thank god for that! I had a personal chauffeur for the whole adventure in a snazzy car where we could put the top down and look up at the cityscape of Boston. Chris had nearly been arrested in New York when, in the middle of the night, a toll booth operator gave him bad directions and he exited the highway straight into a police bust of a street race. Chris' car does look a bit "racey" so I can see why he got nailed, but the cop basically just grabbed his steering wheel and forced him off the road (is that legal!?) He then had to wait until all the other kids were processed before exclaiming, "I'm not even from here, I just took a wrong turn!" They let him go without even an apology.
A Picture In the Airport That Made Us Laugh - Sad Seal
The first day we drove around Boston for a bit, just taking random exits, going through random tunnels, and having a blast. Driving through China Town was just surreal and seeing a "real" city in action was truly an awe-filled pleasure. I could actually relax as Chris is an excellent driver and despite the chaos of Boston driving he managed it well. (I did keep thinking of the tunnel scene in "Live Free Die Hard", however, which was quite unsettling. Also, The Darkness demo came to mind. How those people in that tunnel don't end up crashing into each other is beyond me.)
Chris doesn't have a girlfriend at the moment, so he asked me to help him spot some "beautiful babies" (Swingers reference.) Strangely, this was a much more difficult task than you'd think. Here in Richmond I am assaulted by attractive women in just a brief walk to the corner Starbucks and back, but in Boston he was a bit non-plussed with the selection. Just an interesting factoid we discovered. A bartender did share with us "Bartender Magazine" which is basically a PG-13 playboy featuring Boston's hottest bartenders. Frankly, I already had a beautiful baby, and besides, those kind of plasticine women disgust me -- the bartendresses that worked the Release Party may have looked nice, but Cruella DeVille had a sunnier disposition than they did. (And no, dear, I said Bacardi Limon with Tonic. How did you get an Absolute Citron with Coke out of that!? Yuck. I drank it anyway - it was free.)
(...to be continued...)
keep it coming...
i had fun reading it! keep it up!
Something we noticed right away is: it is amazing how much more Boston spends on advertising than Richmond -- and for good reason -- they can get many more views per person than we can. But you really feel the visceral sense of $money$ in Boston and the separation between the people and the rich, white overlords that all own boats. So many boats that even the bay has traffic jams.
The other thing we noticed is that EVERYONE, age 8 to 88, has on a Boston Red Sox jersey or cap. I wonder how long I would last if I wore something that said Boston Red Sux. (No hate meant - I actually could care less about baseball.)
This Building Has a Hole In It
Since our hotel rooms had little kitchenettes in them we went to the Stop and Shop grocery store to get some food, beer and liquor. "Yeah man," Chris says, "this ain't Richmond. They don't have ABCs!" (ABC = Alcoholic Beverage Control. They are a bunch of Richmond fascists that restrict alcohol purchases to their monopolistic grasp and are the scourge of Richmond restaurateurs everywhere.) We bought some groceries including two frozen pizzas but we couldn't find the beer aisle ANYWHERE. What the hell? We wandered back and forth and back and forth, but no beer could be seen. We had already stopped at a real bar and had a fresh Samuel Adams like Bioshock_FTW had bragged about (it was delicious!), but we wanted to go back to the rooms and just drink a few and play some dice (we play a dice game called GREED) and gin rummy.
I asked the lady that worked the front where was the beer.
She said, "You can't buy beer in Massachusetts grocery stores."
"Oh," said I, "well then where can we go?"
"New Hampshire," she said, with not a trace of irony or humor in her voice.
I laughed about that for ages. I didn't necessarily need to buy my liquor in a Stop and Shop grocery store, jeez. I just wanted some beer!
We finally found Kappy's Liquors and bought a Sam Adams variety pack and some Milagro tequila. It turned out that the kitchen didn't have an oven so the frozen pizzas were out. We had hungy man fried chicken + brownie TV dinners instead (whose claim to fame is: "**1 LB of food!**") We got very silly that night. I somehow came up with the idea of taking a tequila shot everytime we rolled over 1,000 in GREED. Then I busted out this pain killer I had, oxycodone, since I couldn't bring the reefer on the plane. I had a digital tape recorder with me and the next morning I discovered an entire hour of the most meaningless hysterical conversation you could ever witness. Anyway, we had a good time.
The next day we decided to drive to Salem so we could take the train to get to the North-something train station. That way we could book around Boston without a car. We somehow went the wrong way and ended up stopping at a gas station on Salem STREET and asking the guy how to get to Salem.
Chris: "How can we get to Salem?"
Guy: "Which city?"
Guy: "Yeah, witch city!"
Chris: (thinking) "Oh... Yeah."
Obviously it is funnier when spoken. The guy had obviously practiced this routine.
We went to the Salem Witch dungeon
In Boston, I had to stop by the Felt club to try and find the place, firstly, and to see if they were prepping it for Bioshock night, secondly. They were! The doors were covered with an art deco design and when I peeked in the door I could see a big daddy in the lobby!
Club Felt Boston
Sneaking a Peek at Big Daddy
(.. continued in Part 3..)
The area around Felt was awesome - I think it is called Washington Street**? It obviously used to be a regular street, but the people had taken over and everyone just walks down the road - no cars allowed. I was shouting Power to the People!" I really love the idea of car-less cities and this was just a little nudge in that direction, at least for a chunk of the city. There are little markets and interesting stuff going on all over the place. There were these bells that chimed Sinatra's "My Way" over and over and over again.
**I don't know because Boston doesn't give a crap about road signs. In many places the road sign is either a) not there b) bent so you can't see it from the intersection c) pointed in an arbitrary direction that makes you doubt which road it is pointing to. The road signs don't tell you what numerical block you are on either. Ah well.
Time was counting down until 7:00pm and we were still stuck in the city. I need to go back to the hotel 20 minutes away and get all dressed up like a pimp! I aimed to look hot hot hot and I was running out of time!
Did you see the website for Felt? That place is sooooooo swanky! 4 floors of deliciousness. -- Sadly, it is exactly the type of place my buddy Chris would love (he loves to pretend he has more money and style than he does) and I was dreading that he wouldn't be able to get in. Since I was denied by the Liz 2K, and she was in Jamaica at the time probably getting pelted by a hurricane, some other cat, 2K Eric, had written me about the invite and I decided to try the tactic: "if mom doesn't let you, maybe dad will?" I had written 2kEric the night before a long sob story and hoped he would get back to me before the party.
Chris and I rushed back to the hotel (as much as you can when traveling by train. You know you have to wait for those things? Often quite a long time. Not like the subways that come every 2 seconds. Also, we walked so far down the train trying to find a seat that I thought we would have walked to our destination already! My lord there are too many people in Boston!)
Another thing I noticed: the children of Boston are a lot "harder" (tougher) than our Richmond sort. Actually, they scared me.
Chris fell asleep on the train.
I checked the email - no invite for Chris, no reply at all. Damn! I thought of another plan. I would take a cell phone picture of Chris making a sad face and then show it to the doorman to go for the sympathy vote. That was sure to work!
Chris making a sad face
I got all pimped out as fast as I could and then we jumped in the car and headed towards Felt. We got there a bit late, but not too bad and Chris dropped me off at the red carpet whilst he went to go park the car (a daunting feat in Boston.) The plan was, if I could get him in I would text message him with a thumbs up -- if not, he would go hang out by himself and we would meet up later.
Many of the smokers were outside the club smoking. I got that they were developers right away. There was a girl that was dressed in kind of a Rapturian style with lovely red gloves which I thought was stylish indeed. They had a spotlight overtop the door with a filter in it that broadcast the BIOSHOCK logo onto the sidewalk -- very cool.
I went up to the doorman (who was obviously pissed about having to work the door) and stated my name and showed him my ID. He put a green wristband on my right arm. Then as I was nervously trying to decide how to make my plea I just kind of stood there for a bit whilst he complained to someone else about working the door.
The next couple walked up, I think 2K Aussies, and got the green wristband as well. They went inside and shortly afterward came back out herded by a stylish gay man who was obviously large and in charge. He asked why they got the green bracelet when 2K should get the red bracelets!? The doorman said, "Nobody told me, I've been giving green bracelets all night!" He explained that 2K gets everything free which is openly declared by the red bracelet. (Strangely enough, the first time I went to the bar and offered to pay the plastic blonde robot she didn't even look at my bracelet, denied my money, and said it was on the house. This happened again and again for the umpteenth drink until I was sloshed. Maybe they threw those rules out the window...)
As the imposing figure lambasted everyone and then chatted up the smokers I found an interlude in the doorman's conversation enough to plead with him that my buddy be let in, "we came all the way from Richmond, VA, it's my birthday, etc..." He didn't seem very impressed. I said, "Who do I need to talk to?" and he pointed to Mr. In-Charge who was hob-knobbing with a large crowd of smokers and said him. When his lips stopped moving I said,
"Excuse me, sir"
And EVERYONE turned around to look at me, including him, with a glare that made me feel like I had just crawled out of a sewer. *gulp*
"My buddy and I came here all the way from Richmond, VA and I was hoping I could get him in and..."
"Who are you with?" he glowered.
"Uh.. I'm not with anyone!" (I knew he meant "What organization are you with? What hierarchy of cool? Where do you belong in the Who's Who of Boston catalog?) "Just me," I stuttered sheepishly.
"Are you on the list?" he asked intently. Everyone else enjoyed this little drama as well.
I held up my green wristband. "Yeah."
"Where's your buddy?" he asks.
"Parking the car," says I.
... and then the words I was waiting for for so long. They just floated out of his mouth.
"Let him in..." he said as an aside as he turned back to his audience.
"YES!" I tried to thank him and then sent Chris the text message... This party is cleared for takeoff!
Standing next to the big daddy
My Doh! Moment. Breaking the big daddy.
The face-cage came off in my hand and the large and Mr. In-charge, who I think was in charge of the marketing firm that put the gig together (it took him only 5 years to be worth 4 million dollars), noticed, ran over and fixed it as I was desperately holding it together. He seemed very chuffed and put out, but he always seemed like that. That was part of his charm.
(..continued in Part 4..)
The party was fantastic. There were live art-pieces standing around all over the place. "The doctor" splicer was in the lobby when we walked in and upstairs was the female spider splicer with the two hooks. (I heard her say to someone, "my god, I just passed out standing up." I guess it was hot in all that make-up.)
On the second floor were loads of 360s and PCs all set up and tons of people milling around, some playing, some talking. It wasn't hard to get a chance to play, but I couldn't bring myself to just hang around and play the game when there was so much partying going on. Plus there were no seats - you basically had to stand - and I would have to play through the levels I'd seen in the demo just to get to something new. It did look marvelous though. Every box had its own flatscreen and behind the bartenders on screens that would normally play sports or news or something it played the Bioshock promo video. (I love how in Felt's rules it states NO SPORTSWEAR OF ANY KIND! Take THAT frat boys!)
They had parts of the rooms that they made seem like it was underwater through light filters - a nice touch.
This was not your typical club scene. You could tell there was that extra dollop of nerd thrown in to the crowd, but it suited me just fine.
Some waitresses would bring around little kabobs and treats that were pretty darn good. Some of them looked sad because most people said, "no thankyou" or ignored them, so they started to learn pretty quick that I was a yesman. They'd all bring me treats.
There were also girls that would come around and say, "Would you like a shot of ADAM?" These were hypodermic syringes (obviously fake ones) with some sort of delicious alcoholic shot in them. For hygienic reasons you just opened your mouth and they squirted it in there for you. The poor girls got very familiar with the inside of my mouth that night.
I didn't feel right mingling with anyone so Chris and I kind of kept to ourselves. I did try and find Bioshock_FTW (our mod + boston resident), but to no avail. At one point I even hand made a sign that said "BIOSHOCK_FTW?" and walked around with it. Some dude gave me a description and said he'd seen him downstairs, but he was gone when i got there.
So Chris and I go to see what's on the third floor and in the stairwell are a bunch of 2K people talking. Someone is saying, "Now obviously Ken and everyone took time away from their families to be here and blah blah blah..." The girl in the conversation was dressed very nicely and as soon as she laughed I knew it was Liz 2K. I made a mental note to go talk to her when she wasn't busy.
I did find her eventually and introduced myself as, "Brooke, ... uh... I mean FreshLaundry." And she feigned happiness at seeing me like someone smuggling a lemon, like I was a grandmother with a mustache that wanted to give her a sloppy wet kiss (I wasn't.) Anyway, she hadn't seen BIOSHOCK_FTW either and didn't even know he was there. (She perked up to hear his name with less disingenuous interest... "That's one of our mods, isn't it?") By my behavior on the boards she has every reason not to like me. It just turns out that I'm a condescending d*ck on the internet when spurned, but a really super nice guy in real life. Ah well.
Upstairs Chris and I played pool and ordered more drinks. One of the traveling waitresses became our friend fast and I put the following picture on her drink tray and asked her to leave it there facing outward as she served drinks. She did:
The mysterious cat and mouse picture
For some reason (reason: I'm strange) before coming to Boston I made about 10 color photocopies of this random sticker and put them in my sport coat pocket. It just makes me so happy every time I look at it. I hoped it would make other people happy too.
I actually placed one in front of 2k Liz's spot at a table when she walked away, I put one right in front of Ken Levine (I never did go up and talk to him. Figured he was sick of fanboys.), I threw one off the 3rd floor, and I hid them in other various places throughout the evening.
Hey, I shook Paul Hellquist's hand and didn't even introduce myself! I was just thinking mad respect, my homie and he was just gracious and shook back - probably thinking, "should I know that dude? who the hell is that?" and smiling.
Anyway, that's it. I got drunk. We played a bunch of pool. Saw some nerd celebs. Tried a little bioshock. It was a great time.
On the way out the door for the evening (man, nerds leave a party early!) Mr. In-Charge said, "I guess you guys want a bag?"
"Bag? Uh... yeah!"
The bag contained:
* 1 Bioshock Faceplate (to die for, says "Launch Party" on it)
* 1 METAL PC Mousepad (says "Launch Party" on it)
* 1 Bioshock pen
* 1 blue shirt with "Welcome to Rapture" on the front and Big daddy on the back in light blue. I'm wearing it right now.
"What size are you?" he asked. "Well I'm extra large right here (belly area), but large right here (above that." "Well get rid of THAT and take this!" he said.
I liked that dude.
The last day before we left we drove around the coast of Massachusetts. I have never seen scenery so beautiful. Our map claimed there was a ferry and we really just went to ride a ferry, but there was no ferry (we asked about ten people, seven of which were crazy.) It didn't matter. Driving by the water with the top down and the music playing - it was incredible.
We also had to try lobster and ended up going to LEGAL SEAFOOD dressed like slobs (well, I was.) The hostess gave us the stink-eye because we obviously didn't meet her standards, but then we plunked down $100+ for the meal in cash so she can bite me.
This was so much food it almost made me sick. And GRIT in the muscles, yuck! They gave us "wash" to wash the seafood in, but it came pre-dirty, which was weird.
I took the plane home where my baby had taken my Gamestop card and picked up Bioshock LE for me. (And MADE SURE my big daddy wasn't broken!) Chris ended up hanging out in New York for a few days and eating a REAL pizza under the Brooklyn Bridge.
I came back with a cold and cough that I still haven't shaken. Did I mention the weather? A cool 50 and 60 degrees all the time.
Thank you 2K. For everything.
And thank you large and in-charge gay man. You're my hero.
She passed out ON my girlfriend. True story.
Originally Posted by FreshLaundryX
I really enjoyed that, you remind me of my old friend Andy who I haven't seen in years.
Recently he launched a successful campaign to "Bring back the WISPA"
*pictured left, on stage at glastonbury.
nice story, sounds like a good time
haha, yea, right next to me. I was like "wtf, who do I tell?" I couldn't tell who was and wasn't staff. Thankfully she got up.
Originally Posted by Bioshock_FTW!
I'm sorry I didn't get to meet you guys, seriously.
We should have scheduled something.
My boy and I had no one to talk to, really. We just hung out and absorbed the atmosphere.
Sounds like it was quite an adventure, thanks for the story!
Just picture Ken coming back and seeing the sticker...."wth?"
Sweet, thanks for posting this. I wanted to know what it was like because I didn't get an invite.
You must have had quite a journey and a lot of fun and it was really nice to read about it too. I wish there had been a special party here in London too so I could have attended it.
Fun read, sounded like an awesome party. And that sticker with the cat and mouse is Awesome! You should have kept one to be signed by Ken and the rest of the crew. lol.
Originally Posted by FreshLaundryX
LOL you were hellbent on finding me huh? I have no idea how we didn't cross paths, or why Lotkrotan didn't introduce us after you two met up. Most of the night I was shmoozing on the top floor with a bunch of the devs, Ken, and Liz.
Originally Posted by FreshLaundryX
At one point, while Liz was playing pool, I was sitting in her spot (I saw the sticker by the way, it wins), and she sat this guy next to myself and my gf, who was this little guy Liz asked us to "take care of him for me" as she went and got him some ice water. He must have almost fell over or something. I can't think of who he reminded me of, but he turned out to be Chris Remo from ShackNews. He was freakin hammered. We had a good conversation though, about gaming news, how much Kotaku sucks in comparison, etc. Nice guy.
So yeah, if you'd looked around on the 3rd floor there's no way you could've missed me.
BTW - Ken was extremely nice and kind to all of us. It was so weird when Newbeing was like "he'll be over in a minute" and i was like O_O WTF R U SERIOUS?!?! except I didn't say that out loud (but i was screaming internally). He had been wrapped up in interviews all night, I didn't want to take up more of his time.
So he just came over and kinda had to yell in my ear (totally awkward convo ftw), since the music was BLARING (horrible DJ, no?), just basically expressing his true appreciation for the fanbase and had no idea it was going to turn out to be what it did. We took pictures with him and all that, he didn't mind at all. I think he likes feeling like a celebrity.
He floated around and mingled a bit, he was very approachable, believe it or not. I got him to sign my 360 faceplate (btw, mine doesn't say anything about the launch party on it, i dunno why yours does), as well as a coaster. In all honesty, I was shocked that he was as appreciative as he was. I figured he would be a PR type who has to meet and see everyone at his party, etc. But he wasn't, he was a genuinely friendly dude who was a pleasure to talk to.
I must've seen you at some point, we probably even made eye contact and didn't think twice about it. Internets > RL (I knew I should've wore a t-shirt that said BioShock_FTW!, lol)
Yeah, you and liz were about the only two names I remembered.
(Oh. I guess my faceplate doesn't say Launch Party. At first I thought the mouse pad was a bioshock side panel for the 360, but it turned out to be a metal mouse pad. Even better.)
Well I'm sorry I wasn't more approachable. I still had a great time, but yeah, you guys would have been my IN to actually talking to real human beings who work the jobs that I envy. Man, I stink.
wait I meet up with him? Either way...
that's newbeing, FTW, Ken, Myself, and FTW's girlfriend.
if you want more pics, check out my photobucket http://s4.photobucket.com/albums/y127/teh_rawkerz/
I did grab some of the coasters, I didn't see the stir sticks though. Neat.
Well you bastards, you should have come found me.
2K knew I was there.