Skip to main content

Gears of War 3 Launch Party [Event]

Over the last little while Microsoft has been running a competition of the ARG (Alternate Reality Game) type with the final round granting those who had completed the challenges and opportunity to attend a Gears 3 launch party at one of two Canadian locations. The challenges involved puzzle solving, location hunting, meat-gathering and all sorts of other non-sense that lead to a location of a barge docked in the harbour at the north end of Main Street (for us Vancouverites anyways). Alternatively, you could have just cheated, found out about the party from Twitter or one of the various forums and just showed up.

Doesn't seem fair at first, but those that did things all 'legit' like wound up with some additional swag, and VIP access (separate line into the event) along with first crack at the game.

Having been to a couple of launch events now, generally speaking it's not much more than a couple of people trying to keep you interested in waiting in line for hours on end while pumping their own personal brand of poopy-music through crappy portable speakers. Of course with the launch of Gears 3 and the branding of Microsoft behind it, last night wound up being a little more.

The entire thing was themed up like a military base. Tents covering various sections of the grounds while 'squad-leaders' in full army gear lead you around in groups of five to each of the various stations before allowing you to go hands-on with the game's Horde mode.

At the start of the experience (for the VIP members of the event) you were treated to a free Gears of War 3 t-shirt and bandana. The gear is actually pretty slick, and a nice little thank-you to the people that wound up running around the city to collect the pieces of the ARG puzzle in order to be first in-line for the event.

After we got decked out in our new Gears Swag it was up and round the corner to series of tents where they treated us to all manner of nonsensical awesomeness.

Our first stop was at "COG Ink" a "tattoo parlour" they'd set up on the grounds. - Interesting bit of trivia thrown at us as we approached: Apparently the COG logo is the number one gamer tattoo in North America (impressive) - Our tattoos weren't more than spray-ons, but still the theming of the booth was pretty slick, and the ink turned out well (not to mention added on nicely to the whole 'gang' look our crew was starting to rock now with matching bandanas and shirts).

Next was the make-shift 'mess hall' where we actually got to try some prepared 'locust meat.' Part of the challenge that those in the VIP category had to go through was obtaining one of these during the challenge in order to turn in for a VIP ticket and advance access to the event. It really wasn't more than a couple cubes of steak, but c'mon free food is always welcome and it's nifty that they went the extra mile. - In speaking of 'going the extra mile' they had a bit of "desert" prepared for us as well: real locust that had been dusted with various flavourings, offered up with choice of dip. Seriously... they had prepared real (I want to say live, but they were definitely dead) locust with flavour like Ranch and Bacon and Cheddar. I'm willing to admit I'm lame and didn't bother with that...

Once we'd gotten our grub on, we moved over to see where a local (I say local, but he'd actually come up from Victoria) wood-worker was building a series of COG themed wooden sculptures, carving them of course with a chainsaw. I know, I was a little disappointed they didn't find him a working Lancer as well. On the plus side though, all that attended had the option of supplying their contact information (along with the answer to a 'skill-testing-question') in order to win one at the end of the night.

Finally, we were guided across a smoke-covered platform out onto the floating barge where the main event took place: Gears of War 3's upgraded Horde mode. - It was a blast getting to hang out with a bunch of new friends while slaying some locust.

Then as a little 'bonus' we were provided a memento of our time with Gears. They had set up a green-screen and provided a couple variants of the lancer to hold so you could get epic pictures taken and then be thrown into one of the pre-made Gears' backgrounds. Of course, I opted for the dual-wield bad-assness.

It's definitely nice to see Microsoft providing a little more of an experience than a iTunes playlist and some guy shouting out trivia through a bull-horn, so here's the hope that moving forwards we get a little more of this kind of action in the Vancouver area!

[Gallery to be added shortly!]