Saturday January 19th 2019 was a cold day, a REALLY cold day! Walking through the Trafford Centre in Manchester where I was spending the weekend I found that GAME has an interesting new attraction!
I was given an hours worth of "Belong Time" by a friend which gives me a totally OP computer set up for 60 minutes to play, well, pretty much anything I want!
With so much choice I decided I couldn't "stick with the day job" and moved away from placing blocks and tried out some very non-Avomance genres, and I had a ball!
I was flanked by rows of gamers playing a wide range of games including Roblox, Fortnite, Call of Duty, Garry's mod and of course Minecraft. These hardcore gaming Mancunians had no doubts about what they were doing as their fingers danced across the glowing keys, quick fire instructions being given left and right through the high spec gaming headsets.
With commands like "Strafe right, I am behind you" and "sniper at 260... wheel round and I'll ramp up" echoing around the dark room, glowing with multicoloured LEDs from the PC Towers I sat in my extremely comfortable gaming chair and loaded up..... CS:GO
Yes... I know!! CS:GO! Thats PVP!
I proved my worth on that battlefield by providing lots of cover fire until rendered unsupportive, which is a euphemism for randomly shooting in the general direction of the opposition until they took me out.
I could do that, couldn't do much else, but I COULD do that!
So I moved on... to Fortnite!
Now I have played Fortnite before and I am not a total beginner, but I haven't played for months! Where did all this ice come from?? What happened to the Map?? Clearly things had moved on for me and my 99 Solo combatants!
So I landed on the far right of the map, with the Battle Bus passing northwards across the left hand side. I figured there would be less people at Lonely Lodge, and I was right! However, when poking my head out of Wailing Wood making a run for the circle which was MILES away, a lone, and clearly very skilled, sniper found me, and my head, and that was that... 15th place with 3 scalps to my name!
I had a quick foret into StarCraft II which is a game genre I am pretty familiar with having played Age of Empires, Dune and Command and Conquer a LOT in my past. It was then that I saw out of the corner of my eye a group of lads playing Overwatch. I have never played this game but it is billed as one of the best "wind down shooty but not gruesome" games out there, and the cartoon style appealed to me greatly so, with 40 minutes left I loaded it up and ran through the tutorial!
Seemed simple enough... point, click left for shoot, click right for special ability thingy, forward, backwards, run jump... yep, my kind of easy so I moved past the training rooms and into a competitive team match.
IT WAS BRILLIANT
I have no idea of the name of the character I was playing, but I was a total tank! Twice as many hit points as anyone else it seemed and my special ability was a rocket that pulled the enemy back to where it landed to allow you a clearer shot. I was all over it!
Those last 40 minutes went in an absolute blink with several games completed and not a single defeat to our team. Obviously that was as a result of my totally off the charts abilities (ahem).
My 60 minutes up (I may have held on for 70... but I'll never admit it) I moved reluctantly away from the gaming set up I now wanted to buy for myself and walked down the stairs thinking "I wonder if anyone would mind if I just had another 60 minutes?"
Belong Gaming Arenas can apparently be found around the country, (well the UK anyway, I don't know about other countries), and its a fantastic way to expose people to a high quality gaming set up, especially if they don't have access to that kind of thing at home!
I will always have my first love in blocks, but its nice to be reminded every now and then that there are other digital worlds out there that have lots to offer and there is truly something for every enthusiast which is now available for a really reasonable price!