Wednesday, 22 October 2008

[54] Little Big Planet in Covent Garden

The London Games Festival starts today, and one of the events is an ongoing publicity exhibition for Little Big Planet, which is in a store space in Thomas Neal's Centre, in Covent Garden.

I decided to go down there this afternoon, to check it out (unlike most of LGF's other events, it's free!). Here are some pics, comments and ramblings.

The exhibition is on two floors, with lots of PS3s and beanbags for people to come in and have a casual play. I went with the girlfriend, and we were greeted by a peppy PR type who, whilst quite nice and friendly (it's what she is paid for, I suppose), didn't seem to be able to talk positively and eloquently about the game. Luckily I've been subject to the avalanche of gaming news, previews, reviews and content around the net about the game, so I was able to plug the holes between her vague comments ('Sackboy, he's your guy... and you've got to put stickers on things...'). However, I can't really see how the PR team would be able to successfully 'sell' LBP to fresh punters (the rep in question actually said to the girlfriend, after she said she really enjoyed the game - 'yeah, but it gets harder and very frustrating after a while').

The exhibition is based around two concepts at the core of Little Big Planet itself: Play and Create. Upstairs you have a chance to get to grips with the main gameplay itself, but downstairs you can create your own levels, as well as design your own Sack-People with crayons and other arts-and-crafts accessories. It was a shame, I was looking forward to having a look at the level creator, which seems to be the real focus and genius of the game; however, the other peppy PR type (a guy this time) seemed to be more than occupied with the one other person who had wandered in. Nevertheless, we had to go, so it was no big loss.

The lineup of events and workshops that the exhibition has is quite impressive: Sundays feature either family days (featuring face-painting and balloon animals) or 'chillout days' (with local DJs performing). Equally, there are knitting days, t-shirt design days and live illustrations. Maybe the ropey performance by the reps was something to do with us visiting on a down-note. I'm sure these events will do really well in exciting the children and intriguing the parents. Little Big Planet needs to tap into that cross-over appeal that seems so simple for less well-designed, less inspired games to capture.

However, for me, there is no greater or more stirring promotion for Little Big Planet than sitting down and playing it. My girlfriend and I played co-op, over a few early stages, and it was one of those really fun, genius and, sadly, rare gaming experiences. The art design is flawless - combining the best of so many different traditions, yet staying completely original. My interest, already teased by all the preview content online, is now well and truly piqued. If I had the money, I would seriously consider purchasing a PS3 just for this game. Sadly, I'll have to spectate from the sidelines. It's my loss.

The exibition continues until 15th November. For more details check or The London Games Festival Website.

1 comment:

Phil Turner said...

I took my nephew to this event having read about it in the Metro. I'd like to firstly say I completely disagree with your negative comments about the staff. They were nothing but friendly, fun and well informed. We spent ages with them taking full advantage of the FREE activities they offered. The guys and girls there made us feel welcome and comfortable. Having said this I completely agree with you about the game, it's fantastic and I can't wait to get my hands on a copy!!! Graphics are amazing and the creating element of the game means you're only limited by your imagination. Good stuff.