London: Phasma, QuakeCon and Shakespeare

This weekend I was lucky enough to have rather jammed pack adventure in London. I attended my first big convention, held hands with a random stranger and got to meet a significant member of the First Order (One of those doesn’t feel as significant as the others but eh). All in all, a pretty crazy time.

My weekend kicked off with a rather early journey to the Printworks. I hadn’t travelled to or around London on my own before which made the experience a little more interesting though I was able to navigate my way round the Underground (Not that my journey was particularly complicated but still). Once I reached my stop, I met up with my friend and we made our way to QuakeCon, a gaming convention run by ZeniMax Media who own studios like id Software.

In all honesty, the convention was no where near as busy as I anticipated which I’m glad was the case. Bar Doom Eternal, which you had to register to play, I was able to effectively to walk straight over to a gaming set-up and play for as long as I liked (Though I think the most I managed at any one time was 40 minutes). I initially stuck with my friend, enjoying a couple of goes at DOOM Eternal and attempting to assist him in Wolfenstein: Youngblood (It’s safe to say I was a little out of my league) which was a lot of fun. However, we did split up for a bit, having different interests in terms of what we wanted to try.

I got to have a go on Fallout 76’s new Nuclear Winter mode which was a lot of fun particularly because I have recently acquired an interest in Battle Royale games. It was so enjoyable it honestly reignited my interest in playing Fallout 4, a game I haven’t played in an age due to not really gelling with it. The free stuff also helped on that front but I did have a lot of fun.

I also got to give The Elder Scrolls Online: Elsweyr a go. Having clocked a fair few hours on Skyrim (I dread to think what the actual number is…), the graphics and gameplay mechanics felt like a breath of fresh air and whilst I only really spent a tiny amount of time relative to the content available to play with, it certainly piqued my interest. I’m not really an online gamer so it was fun to get a taste of what I was missing out on. I’m not entirely sure my experience convinced me to go out and subscribe to PS+ just yet but it’s certainly a prospect I’m interested in pursuing.

Doom Eternal was the headline game of the event, hence the need for registration. Whilst we didn’t get off to a great start, finding out that, just before we were due to jump on, we were at the front of the wrong queue, it was a rather entertaining 30 minutes. I’m admittedly not the biggest fan of Doom but it was fun to try out some of the new weapons that have been included in the upcoming instalment. I have to admit, it was a little too gory for my tastes but I was anticipating it being a rather bloody affair. On the plus side, my friend, who is a huge fan of Doom, had a blast. At least I think he did, he was able to play 4 sessions of it (A testament to just how quiet the event was).

I’ll be honest, the statue was a little unnerving…

The convention also brought with it the opportunity to talk to some really interesting people. We met a guy called Jonathan who we sort of hung out with for a bit, playing Doom Eternal together and just chatting about stuff (Namely Star Wars). We also met a couple of developers from Criterion, both of whom had worked on Star Wars: Battlefront II’s Arcade modes, something I’ve enjoyed playing on a fair bit. It was also really fun to talk to the volunteers about games (Though admittedly I mostly just listened as my friend, who is far more knowledgeable on that kind of stuff, did a lot of the talking).

For my first big convention, I had a real blast just trying out new games and talking to people who are really passionate about them.

After spending around 6 hours at the convention I made my way over to the Bridge Theatre where my sister and I went to see A Midsummer Night’s Dream starring none other than Gwendoline Christie.

A wonderful venue with incredible views outside.

We had standing tickets which brought with it a lot more audience participation than I anticipated. Every 10 or so minutes members of staff would quietly move the audience around as the stages lowered and rose around us and props were brought on and off the stage. Whilst entertaining it did become a little distracting at times. That being said, it was rather immersive and it certainly kept one alert during the performance. I’m not entirely sure how on board with the grabbing my neighbours’ hands and dancing around in a circle I truly was but it was certainly a memorable finale.

I was fortunate enough to have watched A Midsummers Night’s Dream at the Globe a couple of weekends before so I knew what to expect to a certain extent. This adaptation was less traditional (Though the Globe’s was hardly traditional either), the most notable point being the role reversal of Titania and Oberon, Titania orchestrating the romantic mess that dominates the plot of the play instead of Oberon. All the performers gave their absolute all, Nick Bottom in particular proving to be absolutely hilarious and Christie doing a marvellous job as Titania in my opinion. The Beyoncé number was also unexpected and rather brilliant

Being in the standing area, my sister and I were incredibly close to the stage, within touching distance of the performers. This made the whole thing a great deal more enthralling though I did at times struggle to focus on everything that was going on. Never the less, it was an incredibly enjoyable experience.

After the performance, my sister and I made our way around to the stage door where we were incredibly fortunate enough to meet the legend herself, Gwendoline Christie. Whilst our interaction was brief, I myself a little starstruck, it will be one I will treasure for a long time.

I’m not sure which prospect was more exciting, meeting Brienne of Tarth or Captain Phasma (Scratch that, both were equally exciting)

On Sunday, we kicked off the day nice and early (My doing, my sister isn’t a particularly early riser) though we ended up having a couple of hours to kill before any of the museums opened (Poor planning or an excuse to get some fresh air?). We spent a fair chunk of that time in Hyde Park just wandering around which was rather pleasant if only a little chilly (Though I’m silly-billy who decided to not put his coat on). We stopped off at the Lido Café and Bar for a hot chocolate where we watched some rather tough individuals take a dive in the Serpentine. To that I say to each their own…

A rather nice Italian fountain

At 10 o’clock we made our way to the Natural History Museum. It was a helluva lot busier than I expected but it was admittedly the first weekend of the school summer holidays so I’m not entirely which fantasy land I was living in. We didn’t spend a great deal of time in there, spending most of said time in the Dinosaur exhibit because dinosaurs. One thing that took us by surprise was the new (Well, new to us) display in the entrance we used. It’s best to show in this case but it was basically just a huge wall depicting constellations and the planets which obviously was of immense personal interest.

This doesn’t really do the scale of the exhibit justice but it was truly spectacular

After the Natural History Museum, we grabbed some lunch. We then made our way into the Science Museum which once again was jammed pack (I had since returned from the land of quiet museums I was inhabiting). However, the upper levels weren’t too difficult to navigate and were packed with rather fascinating exhibits concerning climate change and the world of tomorrow. I did try and enjoy the Space portion of the ground floor but it was jammed with people which made it difficult to really engage with the displays. That being said, it was cool to see the Eagle lander and Sputnik 1. All in all, it was an entertaining conclusion to a wonderfully hectic weekend.

If you have any thoughts or questions drop them in the comments and I’ll do my best to respond/ answer!

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