Boards Of Canadaâ€™s The Campfire Headphase is keeping me sedated in the dull heat of my office. There is some wonderful noise in there, but it also reminds me of coffee tables and holiday magazines. (Its manic counterpoint is currently The Ramonesâ€™ I Wanna Be Sedated on Guitar Hero, as mastered by my part-Ninja girlfriend). Iâ€™m useless at Guitar Hero â€“ something about the continuous demand for feedback causes brain-tremors to occur. I begin to expect that I’ll be the first generation where the real effects of videogames will be felt, and that in our fifties and sixties we will be the horror of the youth as we degenerate from brand-new physical and mental ailments created by surprise side-effects of the videogame boom. So Iâ€™m intermittently composing emails and playing Beyond Good & Evil before heading off travelling again. (I vaguely wish BG&E had been a game about Nietzche going out for long walks and coming up with nihilistic aphorisms).
Iâ€™ve had a week where too much has to be done, and too little has been done. Intense typing sessions, with tens of thousands of characters hammered into word documents and fired off into the void of email address of people I have never met. Frustration sets inâ€¦ or perhaps thatâ€™s just the caffeine doing something unhelpful to my heart.
I went off on a press trip last night, which was graced with the usual incongruous venue and mixture of people both great and small-minded. I canâ€™t talk about the game, or even the event itself (probably), thanks to a piece of paper. Funny how those things work. It was interesting how far some of the people there had travelled for a few minutes of chat, a brace of ales and half an hour of mouse clicking. It wasn’t quite my ’20-minutes in Texas’ experience, but nevertheless a strange way of using time and assets. The obligatory camcorder-carrying German journalist, sweating and smiling in the heat, had travelled since 4:30AM CET. He was doggedly happy to see another game (invisible tail wagging behind him). He had his Star Wars cap. He was okay.
Anyway, having sailed through the railyards of the Midlands to return to Bath Iâ€™m acutely aware of a kind of drugging effect that this slice of the South West has on me. This hive on the Avon valley is so warm and stupefying that I feel obliged to lie down between its beige stones. A big wave of home-feeling hits when the local topography is sighted from a train window. I feel the travelling mind-set packing itself away and I meander homewards, ready for a nice sit down and a cup of tea.
I remember someone at the press event telling me off for not being creative enough. She was right to tell me off. I wonder if Iâ€™ve put too much into this games thing. Or not enough. Hmm.