London at a Distance

This was it, we’re back in the States and reflecting back onto the trip in London. It still feels surreal being on the opposite side of the world for only a week and then coming back just as you’re about to get used to it. It makes the world feel smaller, where distant places are just a flight away. I think I can now get a grasp of how a life in London would feel like. I would not mind living in such a place either. It definitely feels much more chaotic and busy but so are all the big cities.
To me, London did not seem to be as different as I had imagined. There were a few minor cultural differences but it still made sense, it was graspable. I remember on the last day, Caitlin and I headed off to the zoo. The closest tube stop was across the park and quite a large park to walk through. For once, it felt like it was calm. It reminded me of the walks I like to take on campus when I get overwhelmed with school work. It is really interesting how I have conditioned myself to distress whenever I take such a walk. Caitlin had this very stressed gloom on her face trying to contemplate if we were going to be late or where the next tube station was, or should we take to bus instead. No offense but at the time I really couldn’t care less. That was just one of the particular scenes that I strongly had a home-like connection to London.

Somerset Game Fest (Now Play This)

Traveling through on the last day being in London was quite the adventure. This time around, we had the whole day to ourselves so of course, we spent it looking at everything we can get to. The main journey that I had planned was the Somerset House, and they had an event called Now Play. It features an interesting array of games which focused on the medium in which it was being played on.

On of the most technically interesting exhibit was the “Restless Spirit Projector”. The game consists of a projector, an opaque crystal ball, and a jar. The crystal ball captures the ghosts being projected by the projector and puts it in the jar. Each ghost has their own story and to appease the lonely ghosts, the player would have to pair up the ghosts according to their riddles. To actually select the ghosts, the player would use a mirror to reflect the light representing the ghosts from the projector onto the crystal ball. With some technical magic, they were able to not only detect that there is a light shining onto the crystal ball, but they can also differentiate which ghost is being selected simply using a mirror. This was the only exhibit that I did not understand how they could have implemented it. I am still quite amazed at the magic trick it possesses.

Most of the other exhibits use special tricks to convey the game to the players. One such game was based on an ASCII graphics engine. The game “10000 Years” is a small storytelling game which puts the user in a foreign environment to explore. The environment itself, however, is being displayed using nothing but letters, numbers, and punctuations on a keyboard. It is similar to old rogue-like games where the screen can only display text but also produce pictures from those texts. This case, it was a 3D world being explored in a first person perspective, all depicted in the form of ASCII characters.

There were a few more exhibits that peaked my interests. If you want to know more, come talk to me, I promise I won’t bite.