Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Every year, Xbox Canada holds their X event in which the media and various community members get to check out the hottest unreleased games coming this holiday season. It's a chance for community members to get to meet one another, to chat with any developers on hand, and to admire cute marketing girls. What? All of you there were going it. Don't lie, I was watching you.
That's because this year, I was lucky enough to score an invite, Juxtapose's first X event, and I learned one very valuable tidbit while I was there: everyone I hadn't met before knew who I was 'cause I look exactly like my Avatar.
Anyway, we all lined up at This is London in the heart of downtown Toronto for the 4:00 pm start to the community event, admiring the fine, luscious curves of the Audi R8 on display in the parking lot, wetting our appetite for a little Forza Motorsport 3 action, and fans of the franchise weren't disappointed but more on that in a minute. Once we were carded, and those of us over 18 given our drink tickets, we were ushered inside, given our swag bag, and we entered the gaming goodness that was X'09.
Now, one thing I want to get off my chest right away is that I was quite excited to check out such epic games as BioShock 2, Mass Effect 2, and to a lesser extent, Aliens vs. Predator, save that none of these games were present, probably due to the fact that they're 2010 releases and not holiday 2009 releases. That was kind of a downer for me, but there was certainly plenty of gaming goodness to be had.
Forza Motorsport 3 was right in the front, central area in both tri-monitor set ups, and regular set ups. In front of that, Halo 3: ODST was set up on two sets of four monitors for some Firefight action, and on an actual stage on the right, The Beatles: Rock Band was jamming with a limited edition Beatles-themed Xbox 360 console on display. Left 4 Dead 2 was set up on the left, in the back DJ Hero was spinning, and behind some curtains, Modern Warefare 2 was deploying for combat.
So I have a confession to make: At this gaming event, I didn't play a single video game. Honest truth. I was going to try South Park Let's Go Tower Defence Play!, but then I got distracted by something and forgot. Quite probably the remembrance that I hadn't used my drink tickets yet, and a CC and Coke was calling me. Then I mingled. For me, the Xbox Canadian community is the best group of gamers I've ever met, and it's great to actually meet everyone in person. From the friends I've met before to those I've met for the first time, it was just an awesome time to kick back, relax, and talk games with some fun-loving, like-minded people.
So while I didn't bother playing anything myself, I watched a few things being played. I mainly watched Left 4 Dead 2. It has zombies in it, but I'm not really a fan of the franchise, so I wasn't compelled to pick up that controller or to put down my CC and Coke. Firefight was fun to watch of course, but seeing as how I own the expansion, I can play it whenever I want. I also didn't dare play the music games, as I can't keep musical time. You ever met anyone that just can't keep time and they're always tapping along to whatever the most prominent sound or vocal is? That's me. Dysmusica. I did try to sing once though. Orphans cried. Bad idea.
At 5:00 pm, Sinnix of 360 Prophecy began handing out his awesome Halo 3: ODST prints, autographed and free of charge. He had 100 on hand, and as I understand it the only 100 that will ever be made. A numbered collectors item and truly a work of art. Which all brings me to the rest of the swag. Xbox Canada really outdid themselves here, and I'm really impressed with the quality and the value of the items.
The X'09 re-usable bag (great for Torontonians with the $0.05 plastic bag charge) contained a great Halo 3: ODST t-shirt, and a 1250 Microsoft Point card. Jaken Bear was also handing out 1 GB X'09 Flash Drives that contained codes for between three to four Xbox LIVE Arcade games. I got Shadow Complex, Trials HD, and Lode Runner, and others also got Splosion Man or a different combination of these four titles. If you do the math, that's roughly $100.00 worth of swag, which is truly amazing. I also heard one lucky gamer got a Left 4 Dead 2 t-shirt in his bag, instead of a Halo 3: ODST one.
Without question, X'09 was a great event and an awesome time. It was a pleasure getting to finally meet everyone, to watch Jaken write on Rebelled's head with a marker, and to just be a part of the great energy and excitement that was everywhere. But, like all good things, X'09 came to an end, and after making my rounds, saying my goodbyes, and getting a Premium Hug from Sintacs (What d'ya mean I owe you 800 Microsoft Points!), I made my exit.
I'd like to thank Jade, Jaken Bear, Xbox Canada, and their marketing partners for once again organizing an awesome event, and a big thank you to Sinnix for the Halo 3: ODST print that will soon be framed and hanging on my wall. It was a pleasure, and I hope to check out many more events in the future.