#1146 – the england post (part 4 of 7)


i had read in one of my travel guides that it was possible to take tours of the bbc, so the first thing that i did was head to oxford circus and walked the few blocks to the bbc headquarters and poked around in the shop there, before wandering up to the guard and telling him about what i had heard. he told me that it was actually at the television studios which happened to be almost across town ^_^; i took the tube there, but then i discovered that you had to phone ahead for tickets, so i decided just to forget it. ^_^;;

i found my way then to the barbican where they were showing an exhibit called “game on about the history and culture of video games and how they can be considered to be art. the first thing that i saw when i entered the barbican (the barbican is HUGE) was a display advertising the “game on” exhibit, and right next to the sign for it was a police 911 machine, and right next to that was a ddr machine, er, “dancing stage” as it’s apparently called in europe. i played a few games on that and showed people passing by who had never seen it how they were supposed to play ^_^ then i found my way to the “game on” exhibit.

in the “game on” exhibit they had lots of video games set up all over the place so you could play (for FREE!!! well, the price of admission to the exhibit, anyways)… everything from the original “pong” on a giant projection screen on the wall, to metal gear solid 2 on a ps2, and everything in between. they talked about how video games started with mostly guys in bars, then moved on to attract girls and moved into homes and drew families to play them.

they talked about the marketing of games and how they now do all sorts of merchandise tie-ins. it even went on to talk about how first video games seemed to be like “the music industry’s little brother”, but now the video game industry is influencing the music industry with people making remixes of classic video game songs and original songs for use in video games, and also how video games are now influencing the motion picture industry as well (apparently they’re also showing movies that were influenced by video games right now there). and they had more video games to play.

they also had information about creating video game characters (about both character sketches and also about choosing what sort of character would appeal to people). in this part they had both original character sketches from the final fantasy series, and sketches done especially for the exhibit by the creator of mario, hehe. and even more video games to play too.

moving on from there they had information about game culture in the us / europe / japan, a screening room where they showed a documentary done a few years ago on british tv about the development of video games, and even showed future technologies that may be used for interacting with video games (like using a camera to interact with your console). did i mention the video games they had to play with? hehe

after going through the exhibit i played a few more games of ddr – once with two guys who had it at home. after they left and i played another game or two, two girls (both rather cute) who had never played (well, one had played once) came by, so i showed them how to play and told them that they didn’t want to select paranoia as their first song, lol. when they finished their songs on beginner they watched me play on intermediate and were amazed at my l33t ddr skillz, hehe ^_^

i ate lunch at the cafeteria at the barbican, then i went to see st. paul’s cathedral. they were just starting services there as well, so i looked “>around the building since i wasn’t able to really get a look around the inside except for the ground floor, but at least i didn’t have to pay to get in as apparently you have to do when services aren’t occuring.

then i decided to take a look at piccadilly circus since it was getting late in the day. piccadilly circus is like london’s version of times square – lots of neon signs, and lots of theaters. i took a walk around that area before heading back to reading.


bbc headquarters

st paul’s 1

st paul’s 2

st paul’s 3

odd sculpture / fountain

piccadilly circus