24,132 steps, 11 Kotaku readers, seven train journeys, four JB Hifis, three EBs, three video game arcades, two LAN centres, one trip to Sydney Airport and so much more. All in the name of a single, arguably pointless goal – 50 Street Pass hits in one single day. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll shake your head in a condescending manner. This is the story of one man, his 3DS, and The Last Train To Bombay.
This is part two of a two part series, for part one click here.
TEAM MEET George St. EB, 12.15 I had been frantically Street Pass searching for three hours. Three hours. And in that time I had accumulated a grand total of four measly hits. A disappointing number. To keep up this ratio would be disastrous – at this rate I’d be lucky to crack 20 let alone 50.
Regardless, it was with gusto and purpose that I strode towards EB Games on George Street. I was in the big smoke now, en route to a Kotaku meet with 11 Kotaku readers. Surely I’d get some traction at the store, and then later with the rest of the crew.
“I'll guarantee you 1 streetpass: me :D at EB george st.” read a tweet from Kirby102, a Kotaku regular in the vicinity. Instantly my burden felt lighter. I left Town Hall station with panache in my strut. ‘I can still do this,’ I thought, ‘this is going to happen’. Positive thinking was my mantra. This city, and the fine readers of Kotaku Australia, would be my salvation.
Dancing in and out of shelter, my socks soaked with rain, I entered the George St EB. A man in a tuxedo flickered eye-contact in my direction. We made the connection, as did our 3DSs. It was Kirby102, with my promised fifth Street Pass hit. Apparently the tux was for a wedding he’d be attending after the meet. A second Kotaku reader, Sir Eats-a-lot, arrived soon after and surprised us both by being female. Was I wrong to expect a morbidly obese dude in cosplay armour? It’s tough when you have nothing but a handle to go on.
Immediately we headed to the meet, and what I presumed would be a Street Pass flood of biblical proportions.
Again, I was thwarted and confronted with another dilemma. Of the 11, only one reader – Batguy, who had bought a 3DS specifically for the occasion – could provide me with a Street Pass. At this point I wondered if I could spare the time to stay put and still reach my goal. At this point I had a pathetic total of six and I was starkly aware that time was ticking.
But these were the Kotaku readers – people I had wanted to meet for months, and everyone was so nice. ‘I’ll stay for lunch,’ I thought. ‘I need a break’.
In the background people began chatting in earnest. I was having an awesome time, my motivation slowly leaking in dribs and drabs.
“Oh, wow! You’re going to Distant Worlds,” exclaimed one Kotaku reader to another, muffled in the background. The reference went straight over my head. I continued to chomp on one too many Subway cookies.
Before I knew it, the clock read 4.15pm.
I was frantic. My dream was in tatters and like a Dali-esque nightmare, time had transformed into some sort of shape-shifting monstrosity, tricking me, teasing me. I was being chased by the boogeyman. I had rushed in late for school and forgotten to put on pants.
The preceding hour had been naught but a blur. I’d walked the length of George Street, dazed by the lights, disorientated – it had been raining all day and I was soaked to my skin. My jeans felt 10 pounds heavier, my socks squelched, my hair clung scraggled atop my forehead. I managed to catch my reflection – Steve Buscemi eyes peered out from the holes in my head, completely desolate. I looked like shit and felt far worse.
In the absence of any coherent, thought out plan, I’d simply decided to walk up and down George Street aimlessly, hoping to bump into people carrying their 3DS.
“Head down to Chinatown.” The advice of my friend Jae from Australian Gamer rang dull in my ears. My last resort was stereotypes, and I was cashing it in.
In my George Street meanderings I had gone passed by at least two JB Hi-Fis – maybe more – and wandered into any game related area I could find. These were desperate times – this was the winter of my discontent.
The arcade pictured above – I wandered around this area on three different occasions. I went on the hunt for Internet cafes. Like a strangely well dressed Hobo, I hung around Event cinemas begging for Street Pass hits.
I checked my 3DS. My aimless wanderings had been moderately successful. George St had yielded painful, yet consistent results. I was now up to 20 hits – a respectable number considering the circumstances.
My feet were literally throbbing. I checked my 3DS pedometer – it read just over 18,000 steps, roughly equivalent to eight kilometers. I figured I’d make one last dash to the EB near Town Hall station and call it a night.
My phone buzzed. I was sure it was dead, but a sliver of life remained. My wife was on the other line.
“How’s it going babes?” she asked, chirpily.
“You still coming to dinner?”
“Yeah, I’m coming home early. We can drive there together.”
“Okay. See you then.”
Absent mindedly, I clicked on my Twitter app. It had been a while since I had updated. There was a tweet, directed at me - screaming at me. An injection of raw adrenaline surged through my veins.
“Dude, DistantWorlds at the Opera House,” it read. “There's thousands of people here, you'd get StreetPasses here for sure!”
Distant Worlds. Of course. An orchestra was playing songs from the Final Fantasy series at the Sydney Opera House. A Kotaku reader mentioned it off-hand during the meet, but somehow my frazzled brain hadn’t made the connection.
"Of course!" I shouted, this time out loud. "There’ll be hundreds of 3DSs there." Like an electrified Doc Brown, I was near hysterical. "What time does it start?" my brain screamed. Frantically I Googled it. The 3G signal went dead. I refreshed.
Then my phone went dead.
I had no choice now – I was two minutes away from Town Hall station. I ran headlong towards the gate, and hopped the turnstyle.
‘I can still do this’, I thought. ‘I can make it.’
A NIGHT AT THE OPERA Sydney Opera House, 7.15pm I already had two hits. Just from the train ride. I knew this because, since my iPhone died, I had now resorted to using my 3DS to take pictures. For a second, I chuckled at the irony. I put so much focus in preparing my 3DS for the long day ahead that I had forgotten to optimise my iPhone for the precise same task.
I marched at top speed towards the Opera house. I brushed shoulders with every human being in my vicinity – social norms be damned, I quite simply did not give a shit anymore.
I wondered if the location of Distant Worlds would be difficult to find – I had been to the Opera House before and, as far as I knew, there would be loads of unrelated performances going on at the precise same time.
There was no need to worry. The very second I entered the building, I knew I had hit the motherload.
As soon as I entered the premises I knew. I just knew I was among like-minded folk. There were cosplayers, people my age, people younger. Each and every single one of them felt like gamers. I looked at my 3DS, a reassuring green glow gazed back.
I had been in the building for five minutes and I already had seven extra hits.
I cleared them out and began mingling.
Another five hits. Cleared them out.
Another three. Cleared them out.
I even ran into some friends, Kotaku contributors Tracey Lien and Ben Abraham. Mercury from Aussie-Nintendo was literally walking around the crowds waving two 3DSs at people in the crowd.
The gong rang for the performance to begin and I was frantic. I didn’t have a ticket, but I stood right next to the entrance in order to maximise my chances at making 50.
Everyone was now inside the venue, awaiting the beginning of the show. I began counting - I had 40 Street Pass hits. What now?
“Waiting for someone?” I hadn’t noticed, but a moustachioed usher had approached me in the meantime, probably concerned about this strange man with wild eyes floating around the Opera House.
“Nah,” I replied. “I’m just about to leave.”
I was conflicted. On the one hand it was a complete miracle that I had made it to 40 - but I had come so far, come so close to touching complete victory that I felt hollow. I thought about the missed opportunities, the wasted time at the airport...
“Hold on a minute,” said my temporary, moustachioed companion, talking to someone else. “You can’t go inside with that.”
A concert goer – late – had attempted to enter the concert hall, carrying a giant backpack. According to the Usher, this simply wasn’t on.
“You’ll have to take that to the cloak room.”
The cloak room. Of course. There must be loads of 3DSs in the cloak room – left in handbags, backpacks, jacket pockets. In a rare stroke of genius, I rushed down to the cloakroom, put my 3DS in my bag, and checked it in.
And I waited.
Then I went to the toilet.
And I waited some more.
“Can I have my bag back please?” I asked eagerly. The confused woman at the cloak room frowned – a reasonable response since I had only checked the bag in five minutes ago. She headed back to pick it up.
Disappointment. The woman had clearly just thrown my bag in the corner – away from the vast majority of bags and jackets, at this rate I’d be lucky to get a single hit from this endeavour.
“This is going to sound really strange,” I began. Hardly believing what I was about to ask. “But would you mind just walking my bag up all of the corridors in the cloak room?”
“Sorry?” She asked. “I don’t understand.”
“My bag,” I said again. “Could you just carry my bag up and down all the corridors in the cloak room.”
“Are you trying to get me in trouble?” she frowned.
I explained my situation. And slowly, with a confused look of concern written across her dial, she understood. She then walked up and down all the rows of bags and jackets that had been checked into the cloak room, waving my bag and my 3DS in their general direction.
Eagerly, I opened my bag - that familiar green light, then... disappointment. Only three more hits.
Crushed, defeated I stumbled out into the night. Into the rain.
THE LAST TRAIN TO BOMBAY Wynard Station, 8.45pm 43 hits. That was my grand total. My phone was dead and I had a dinner appointment to head to. ‘One Night in Bombay’ the restaurant was called. I think.
I had no idea where it was. In Crow’s Nest somewhere. What was the nearest train station? North Sydney? St Leonard’s?
I guessed St Leonard’s.
On the train, dejected, I thought about the day I’d just endured - the lengths I’d gone to. A strange feeling, a mix of disgust and pride, hung low in the pit of my stomach.
St Leonard’s station. I still had no idea where the hell I was going. I spotted a man with his girlfriend exiting the turnstyle.
“Hey mate,” I asked politely, “do you have any idea how to get to One Night in Bombay? The Indian restaurant.”
He laughed. I didn’t understand…
“You mean The Last Train to Bombay.” he said. Now I understood the laughter.
“Yeah, it’s easy,” he continued, “just take a left up that street and you can’t miss it.”
I walked away, still soaking, my 3DS heavy with the weight of 43 new Miis. Some of them I knew – people I’d met at game stores, Kotaku readers, folks I’d met at the Opera House – but most were strangers. I wondered about those people, and the little green lights flickering on their 3DSs. Would they understand or even comprehend the lengths I’d gone to - just to have their stylized little faces wander smiling into my Wii plaza?
I took a left and headed up the street – towards The Last Train to Bombay. I could still make my reservation.
To sleep mode... perchance to Street Pass.
I walked for 24,132 steps during my Street Pass quest. Thanks to Daniel, w_tse, Nick, M0k0o, Bob_Desu, consoul, Cathy, Bread-Guy, MrBS, vlvh, haku, Nic, Mercury, Gooky, DM, doyle, Jared, Rod, unreon, James, Tatum, m9el, Sun, Zar, Mon-chan, aRT, Red, Simon, remmy, ake, Kirby, lianne, Adam, bob1, Scotty, bango, hamchan, Kirby102, Mini Man, Kisara, Lizsummar, Jay-Le, and Plet. My name is Boris, and we're Street Pass buddies for life.