Initial Impressions

I had arrived a little early, so I was able to sign in quickly and I didn't have to wait in any lines like some of my unfortunate counterparts. The event itself was held at the House of Blue's, directly across the street from the West Hollywood Hyatt. The House of Blue's itself was a very interesting building. On my way in, I took the time to read about the history of the structure as was displayed on one of the signs out front. The House of Blue's is actually a chain of Bars/Concert halls founded by famous Canadian Dan Aykroyd. There are chains all across the United States. This particular venue is interesting because the building is covered with the tin siding from the house where Robert Johnson supposedly sold his soul to the devil in exchange for prowess playing the guitar.

The building itself had a real old-time blues feeling to it. Everything in the building was wooden with the kind of decorations on it you normally associate with blues, funky looking skulls, smoky looking stain glass, etc… The building had one aspect to it that was absolutely amazing, but I'll get to that later. When I entered the building I met up with Johner Reihl from Midway, and two of the programmers working on Rise and Fall.

Before the event started, all of the guests and Midway staff were led into what struck me as a very strange looking room. The room was about three times as wide as it was long, with a bar at the front and section of chairs surrounded by a banister. When I entered I went up to the bar and order myself a Samuel Adam's, I was in America after all so I had better drink an American beer. I then took a seat in the front row facing the bar. Just as everyone had started hobnobbing and settling in the bar in front of us started to move. The bar itself, opened up like a door to reveal a lower level with a stage, a podium and giant monitor. I have never seen the Pyramids, or the Leaning Tower of Piza, but that moving bar easily made this building one of the coolest I had ever seen, and will probably ever see. I only wish I had taken a picture.

After the bar opened up we were led downstairs and seated in front of the stage. I had the good fortune to sit beside two friendly Mortal Kombat enthusiasts from MK Online and we got to talking about who we were, what we were here to see and so forth. I say that this was good fortune, because the gamming industry was surprisingly cliquey. Considering that everyone seemed to know everyone else and I didn't know a soul, it was fortunate that I was able to run into a few people to talk to.

Next: The Presentation
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