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Xbox Live launch event

I just came from the Xbox Live launch event, that is, the event to celebrate the launch of Xbox Live in several European countries, among which Austria. It was being held in another part of the building our office is in.

It started in a cinema, with a short movie featuring various Xbox Live players, one of whom was, of course, female (click here, scroll down). Then there were short speeches by people from Microsoft Austria, Xbox, Telekom Austria (the incumbent telecom and ADSL operator), and UPC Telekabel (a major European cable and broadband provider). Then there was a short movie featuring an annoying American dude called Matt and his no-life friends. Then there were promises of live music by musicians with actual names, and catered food, in the Xbox Live club.

So we all trudged over to level 34 of the building, which consisted of a bare floor, with some couches, and Xboxes, and drinks, and two people trying, and failing, to look like Abe from Abe's Odyssey and Master Chief from Halo, walking aimlessly around. I don't remember Master Chief having a long heavy metal hairdo.

We drank, and had some crisps, and found that most of the food and games were taken, and learned that to get to the next level, we would need two stickers on our special pass, to prove that we had played two games. So we did. Grudgingly. (Actually, it was Crimson Skies, which was not bad.) We didn't use the Xbox Live functionality. Some of us used other methods to get the stickers, but this is a family blog and I can't repeat what they did here. Others scoured the place trying to grab as much goodies and free food as possible, displaying behavior which would be considered normal in-game, but was a bit worrying in real life. How many glowing Xbox faux ice cubes does one need?

After we all had two stickers, we advanced to level 35. Instead of being the paradise we had been promised, it looked suspiciously like level 34, but with less people, and, hence, more food and more opportunities to play games without going through Xbox Live (Amped 2 and Gotham Racing 2, both of which I found very underwhelming controls-wise). But behold! one half of the floor was curtained off, and would open at 22:30. We waited with bated breath. Surely here the fun would finally start?

At 22:30 it became obvious that behind the curtains was more of the same, except with people playing loud music. Also, drinks were free until 23:00, so time was running out. My cold was starting to play up, so I decided to quit the game. I only needed to confirm my intention to quit once or twice before finally having left the building.

Admittedly, it was free, but I was not impressed by the game design.

Update: Apparently, I missed the real party where the real debaucheries went on. But then, isn't that always the case?

Update: This is what Abe and the Master Chief looked like, and this is the tamest picture from the party I can post in this family blog.