The Get-Together 2004
Written by Squirminator2k
Let's Us Get Together
The idea of a Get-Together of some sort had been thrown around by most of the Team 17 Forum's more senior members for quite some time before someone stood up and decided that we should actually do something that actually happens. That person was me. Unfortunately in doing so I also volunteered to organise the damned thing. This is the story of how it was marginally successful, to an extent.
For a while the Get-Together was to happen during August. It seemed logical, really - it was Summer, no one had any educational obligations to uphold and those of us who were working full time could probably book the time off easily. Unfortunately the planning fell through and the whole thing was pushed back to November. After a good few months organising what we were going to do, where we were going to be, where we were going to meet up, and how we were all going to get there, it finally happened - on November 20th 2004 a small handful of the Team17 Forum Regulars arranged to meet up in Milton Keynes to go bowling and eat pizza. A simple plan, yes?
Firstly, at the very last minute, one of the regulars had to drop out for various reasons - distance and money being the important factors. A shame that, but no doubt we'll see him at next year's Thing. This brought the number of people who were going to attend down to 7. We were, in theory, all set for the day and we each made our way to The Point, a horrendous triangular red thing somewhere in Central Milton Keynes.
Andrew (AndrewTaylor on the forum) and Liam (a.k.a "M3ntal") were the first to show up at just before 12pm. Considering they had to travel the most distance this came a shock to pretty much everyone concerned. A mere 10 minutes later myself and my girlfriend Amy showed up. Liam mentioned that Euan (our very own Worm Mad) was running late, and that no one was able to get in touch with Alex (SargeMcCluck). I asked if anyone had heard from the other Ben (Pooka, also part of the D17 team) at all. Nope. Not a one. How odd. Anyway, we then left the Point to meet Euan at the Train Station. In hindsight it may have been worthwhile leaving someone at the Point incase Alex or Pooka turned up. Unfortunately our motly crew, consisting of a hardened cynic, a musician, a man with a Space Invaders fixation and a girl who holds a whole host of crazy records on Dr. Mario, did not consider the possibility of leaving one of us to wait at the Point incase either of the others showed up. In one respect this is a good thing, because there are two very interesting anecdotes you are about to read, which are made all the better by the entire team's presence.
A Tale of Inaccurate Maps and Comittee Planning
The 25-minute walk down to the Train Station, which turned out to be a Bus Station, was very interesting if only for the healthy discussion. Firstly, we had no idea where the Train Bus Station Thing was at all. We saw what we thought was a map, but it had turned out to be a map of an Estate Agent's territory in the South Midlands including towns such as Luton, Northhampton but, oddly enough, not Milton Keynes. I have recently considered the possibility that it was left off of the map because it doesn't actually exist. Indeed, the fact that, much like Australia, large areas of the city are whole uninhabited by anyone does help support this theory. Milton Keynes reminds me all too much of an oversized 80s version of that village from the end of the first series of "Randall & Hopkirk (Deceased)" (the remake, not the original).
Discussion led to Amy pointing out that Milton Keynes is a pre-planned city in every sense of the word. She was once told that everything right down to the colour of the flowers on the side of the road are planned by committee, leading us to believe that the city itself (which does look very 80s, I might add) was designed using Sim City 2000 and that perhaps Will Wright was part of that committee. Andrew suggested that perhaps, during the design phase of the city, they'd accidentally left Snap To Grid turned on. I'm inclined to agree. And then we saw something that not only confirmed the Committee concept, but also made us laugh so hard that I ached. It was a piece of litter - an A4 sheet of paper with the word "Rubbish" written on it.
What's The Point?
We headed back to the Point just to see if Alex or Pooka were there. We looked inside it, outside it, and around it and we didn't see a trace of either of them. So we did what anyone would do in that situation - we went to the nearest Pub (which happened to be inside of the Point) and tried to buy drinks. The fact that they did not take Student ID as a form of ID (which defies the purpose of giving it such a name) put a quick stop to that plan. Not having any other back-up plan for getting in touch with Alex or Pooka (Alex's phone was switched off and none of us had Pooka's number, although he has mine) we decided to head to the bowling place.
After a few dazed moments of not being entirely sure where we were, we eventually found the bowling place and - as luck would have it - there was one lane available. For one game only. A clever person, a person with more intelligence than the average furniture salesperson, may very well have called the Bowling place to book ahead. Unfortunately this wasn't a possibility, me having only discovered where the bowling place was the day before we actually went. Ho hum.
And the games began.
I will admit to not being the greatest bowling personage in the entire Universe. In fact, when it comes right down to it, I am probably the worst bowler in the History of the world. This was evident when, after letting go of my ball, I fell over. This happened at least once, probably twice. I was also not the happiest man when it came to missing the pins, but I did score two strikes. Unfortunately they were my only good points.
Now when it comes right down to it, Euan knows exactly what he's doing when he bowls. Where I tend to grab the ball and run screaming towards the lane before I twist the thing out of my hand and watch it curve slowly but surely down to the gutter, he stands on the line and preps himself before he commits to a shot. It was a successful tactic - he came second.
Liam was the clear winner though, being the only one of us able to get a three-figure score, and Andrew came third proving that, once again, he's Better Than Me. Amy did a bit better than I did but then again she will also confess to being a sub-standard bowler (infact she will usually tell you that she bowls better when she's been drinking. What that says about us as a couple, I have no idea). In any case the scores are here for all to see. The initials are our Forum usernames, which I entered into the system in full but which the system decided to abbreviate. The second A is Amy, or "Amlaur" as I'd put into the system.
So What Now?
Last time Amy and I were in Milton Keynes we'd tried unsuccessfully to find a videogame stall. After the group decided to have a look we failed once again, deciding to go to GameStation and GAME instead while Amy very quickly dashed off to get herself a new top. It is worth mentioning that the GameStation in Milton Keynes hosts a veritable feast of retro-gaming paraphernalia including tons of old consoles (some of which I didn't even know about, nor could I pronounce) and, be it a sign or whatever, this. In GAME, Liam and Andrew took the oppertunity to buy Worms Forts: Under Siege, cheating Dream17 out of £40. How nice of them. Still, it was my suggestion that they buy it there and then, so...
Me? Oh, I would've purchased it. But I'm broke. Maybe you should considering clicking that Paypal button on the Index page once in a while.
How To Make Yourself Look Really Good At Roping In Worms Armageddon
It's a question that a small sub-breed of Worms players are constantly asking - how can I improve my Roping Skills? Liam has the answer, in the form of a custom Worms Armageddon build that allows the player to use all of the speed up/slow down features from recent patches, as well as a few other nifty features such as displaying the trajectory that the worm will take whilst jumping or in freefall, as well as how the rope will shoot and where it will come into contact with the landscape. He showed us a couple of recorded games that looked pretty damned amazing to watch.
Oh, I didn't mention - Liam's laptop has a duff battery, so it has to be plugged in. Where did we plug it in? Well it was briefly plugged in to a wall socket at the Bowling place while we were waiting for our lane to become free for use, but the main pluggage was in the shopping centre itself using a wall socket that looked as though it would normally need a key to be able to operate. In case anyone from "the centre:mk" staff is reading this, that key thing obviously doesn't work.
That's pretty much it. Liam and Andrew left by way of bus to get to their coach, and Amy and I walked Euan down to the Train Station before walking back to get the bus home. It was an interesting day, definitely fun and most certainly educational, or experimental to say the least. Next year I won't be organising it - that burden will fall onto somebody else...
Various suggestions were made as to the fate of Alex and Pooka. It was suggested that perhaps they were stood outside the Joint in Kilton Meynes wondering where the Hell everyone else was. It was also implied that I (or, possibly, the Milton Keynes Planning Committee) killed them for No Particular Reason (or, in the case of the Planning Committe, perhaps they were wearing the wrong coloured clothing). I'd also like to point out that any evidence they find suggesting the latter is purely circumstantial.
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