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ATOM BOMBS AND FUSION FOOD IN SWEDEN

07 March 2007

So, my Sweden trip last week went really well. As you may recall, I had a press trip to Sweden to check out World in Conflict, a new real-time strategy game from the studio which created Ground Control.

And what happened was that I was pleasantly surprised by the game. What I played was a pre-alpha version, so nowhere near complete, but it was already quite nice in both gameplay and visuals. I'd be surprised if a lot of drastic changes are still pushed through now. Regardless, what I had been expecting was a rather complex and hardcore strategy title. It turned out it was actually a rather accessible game that tried to be alluring to a broad expanse of people instead of a narrow strategy-savvy crowd. This pleased me.

So I played many multiplayer rounds of the game with other journalists from everywhere in Europe, and even with a game designers themselves. After the initial advantage they had over us, we soon managed to push them back and even win. And just for the record; they didn't let us win just to humour us. Swedes are far too straightforward for that kind of manipulation (winking smily here). But it was really quite fun to play, especially when someone had accumulated the required points to nuke the enemy. And nuking is an event that completely destroys one fifth of the level. Literally. Buildings are razed, radioactive static blurs the screen and a million fluorescent particles coalesce into a swirling mushroom cloud that takes a minute to fully grow to the heavens, all the while dominating everyone's view.

I could talk for a long while more about this game, but my advice is to wait for my actual hands-on preview, which will appear in the GMR a month away or so. I don't know. I don't do the planning. I just write on digital nuclear holocausts.

Outside of the game and the, yes, actual work part, it was huge fun as well. We stayed at the Hilton, which wasn't necessarily that much better than other high quality hotels, but it's a nice thing to mention. We ate at what Guybrush Threepwood would call a 'foofy French-Hawaiian fusion restaurant', except it was a Japanese fusion restaurant. And they served amazing food in discreet, modest volumes which made me feel awesome. Huge chunks of meat weighing kilos are horrible.

So that's my adventure abroad. The rock star life of the video game journalist. All the while obviously maintaining absolute journalistic integrity and believability. Winking smily.

Roderick.