The second in a growing line of ‘Lock-In’ events took place this week at Electronic Theatre’s local GAME store, Norwich, offering a new structure, some new faces and, of course, a taste of a new videogame title. Gears of War: Judgement was the hot topic this time around, and ‘hot’ is most definitely the most appropriate word.
Last month’s Dead Space 3 proved popular amongst registered gamers and passers-by, but this time around the store was pushed right up to its limit. Approximately forty people were present at the time of opening with more arriving as the evening progressed. This figure was suggested to have not only surpassed the attendance for the previous Lock-In, but doubled it. With those increased figures comes a greater call for organisation, and thanks to the direct involvement of Microsoft Studios this was the case from the moment the doors opened.
Dead Space 3’s Lock-In was treated as a social event, inviting gamers along and asking them to play a new videogame, have some food and enjoy the camaraderie of a bunch of like-minded individuals. Gears of War: Judgment’s Lock-In was about playing the videogame, direct and simple. There was food and drink provided, ample amounts of both sweet and savoury, but this was an aside, the strict format of queuing for your turn took precedence over all else, and so sadly the opportunity to mingle was considerably more limited. There was clearly gamers from all walks of life present – young and old, male and female, groups of friends and loners – but unless they were standing next to you in the queue it was unlikely you caught an honest opinion, even less so a name.
For those who dared to void their place in line in favour of a little social interaction GAME Norwich proved to be a likeable host once again. The friendly staff, now with some late-night event experience under their belts – were keen to enthuse their personal opinions and experiences, as well as their professional knowledge, while newly appointed store manager Karl Howlett, was ready to take on board criticism of the event – both positive and negative commentary – but more than this, he was willing to listen for fresh ideas. Hopes are high that this will feed into future events, such as the upcoming God of War: Ascension and Tomb Raider Lock-Ins (details to follow).
With the doors swinging open at 6pm GMT and gameplay beginning fairly prompt, there was plenty of time for the attendees to get a few matches in, playing as both Locust and Cog as they battled it out in the new Overrun gameplay mode. Electronic Theatre will bring you a hands-on preview of this next week, and of course keep you updated with all the latest details on the GAME Lock-Ins programme.