By jonnyboy 22 Comments
My wife loves to scan old photos and she scanned some of me at ECTS, and I thought I'd share a little story.
But first some context.
I think it was in 1998, I was 16 and had been working at Electronics Boutique (what is now GAME stores in the UK) in London for quite a while. Time was drawing close to a UK video game trade show called ECTS (European Computer Trade Show). Back then all you needed for an entrance pass to the show was to fill out a small section in the back of the trade journal, I forget what it was called, and send it off. After getting quite drunk after work, we filled out the forms (obviously calling ourselves Dr Boobies and Mr Fantastic or something like that), threw them in a post box, giggled like school girls then went off home to bed.
Two weeks later, you can imagine our surprise when we opened the store to find a manila envelope containing two laminated passes allowing a 'Mr F. Fantastic' and his friend 'Dr Boobies' access to one of the biggest trade shows in Europe. My manager was less than impressed. He was however a man who could see an opportunity when it arose. He worked in one of the largest London stores and wanted to get into upper management, and thought he could get there quicker with a little initiative. We were given a disposable camera and were told we could have the day off to go to the trade show under the condition we took photos of all the top games with the most potential, so he could put the orders through to get the most copies in our store, making our sales figures the best in the region. It's a simple plan right? What could go wrong?
So we go down to Earls Court, obviously going to the pub first for a pint, phoned my boss to tell him that the passes actually worked, and to assure him we're on the case, then off to the show! Which was........rubbish. Sure I got to play a few cool games but they were not the shiny E3 style demos you get now, what we saw were a load of games that were seriously 'in development' which is another way of saying seriously 'broken'. A good example was the Resident Evil 1 port on the Gameboy Colour which I played there, It looked and played like shit. Needles to say it got canned.
Anyway, the next day we get back and give the camera back to my boss to be developed. What I post now is every picture on that camera.
(Warning: Contains graphic 90's haircuts).
As you can imagine my Boss was less than happy for multiple reasons. Firstly he had only 15 developed photos of a 24 exposure. Secondly he had 15 photos of me with Morph, photos of me getting pissed, and photos of me in various stages of sexual harassment with a number of booth babes and Page 3 girls. He never got his promotion.
The tragic end to this tale is that ultimately trade shows like ECTS ceased to be because of the fact that it was easy for dickheads like us to get in, and yet I don't think that's such a bad thing. What they gave birth to is the more consumer driven shows we have today, where developers have got to show something impressive because it's the end user that's looking at it, not the retail middle-man.
Anyway, it was laugh. Plus seeing the old photos of me makes me glad I look the way I do now, (Beard and Skinhead FTW).