Take it away Fruit Loops!
THE MEAT We already know that Kotaku Australia has a strong community presence, but what exactly does that mean? Is it just a word we seem to fling around willy-nilly on this site?
I asked Wikipedia:
"Community is an American television commedy series created by Dan Harmon that airs on NBC. The series is about a group of students at a community college in the fictional locale of Greendale, Colorado. The series heavily uses meta-humor and pop-culture references, often parodying film and television clichés and tropes."
Obviously Wikipedia is stupid.
So I asked dictionary.com:
com•mu•ni•ty [kuh-myoo-ni-tee] –noun, plural -ties. 1. a social group of any size whose members reside in a specific locality, share government, and often have a common cultural and historical heritage. 2. a locality inhabited by such a group. 3. a social, religious, occupational, or other group sharing common characteristics or interests and perceived or perceiving itself as distinct in some respect from the larger society within which it exists (usually preceded by the ): the business community; the community of scholars.
I think #3 probably fits best.
Where am I going with this?
Well before I get into specifics of any Melbourne Meat-up, I first want to stress the importance of the fact that Kotaku AU isn't just another game related news blog, but rather a community. More so, it is a fantastic community with a diverse range of genders, races, ages, backgrounds, shape, sizes and whatever else. I don't know - blood types?
What makes Kotaku AU not just a community, but a fantastic one, is the people. The people that run it, the people that inhabit it and yes, even the people that lurk. While we have doubtlessly had the occasional visit from the not-so-friendly neighborhood Troll, those visits are still few and far in-between.
Everyone gets along, no matter what their preferences are in life or games. We aren't a group of 'gamers', we are a community of people who play games. I think it's very important to disguish ourselves between those two separate definitions of "us", of "Kotaku AU".
The Sydney community have already had several meats with great success and people forging new friendships. The same can be said of the Brisbane branch of the community, whom even opened their own houses to each other. To people they had never physically met before, but merely exchanged quips and banter on this very site and Twitter. It takes a special sort of people to be able to even consider doing such a thing, especially in this "age of fear" that we seem to live in, where most people seem to live in their own social bubbles and the people who run the country can't stress to us enough how dangerous the big wide world is.
Before I go further, into the details of the Melbourne Meat, people who might not be 'down with the speak' might be saying to themselves "why is this idiot spelling 'meet' as 'meat'?" Well it's just how we do things around these parts. It's all in the name of fun. So fear not, I have not had a minor stroke that has caused me to spell only the word 'meet' incorrectly.
So, yes, now that all of that blithering is out of the way, let's get into the juicy stuff.
THE MELBOURNE MEAT With the Mana Bar finally opening in Melbourne this past weekend, i thought now was as good a time as any to get off our lazy behinds and show those from Sydney and Brisbane that we could meat just as hard as them, if not harder.
So on went the thinking cap, which seemed not to work quite so well as I only had the final details for the meat on the day before we were due to meet for the meat. Not a good sign of things to come, is exactly what I was thinking.
I had chosen our initial meeting place to be The Provincial Hotel on the corner of Brunswick and Johnson street, a mere block or two from the newly opened Mana Bar. The problem? I'd only had a drink on the outside of the pub on an afternoon once before, so I have no idea of what to expect the place to be like on a cold Melbourne Saturday night. If the place was packed to the rafters, it would make getting to know each other insanely difficult to say the least. Bit still, it was an easy place to find, therefore a fine meeting place.
The initial plan was to have a few drinks, a yarn and then mosey on over to the Mana Bar for some bright blue cocktails and gaming goodness.
How did those plans unfold? Well, we got it half right.
I arrived at the Provincial at around 7.35, making a call to Mr. Explody whom was already getting acquainted with his first drink at the pub. He moseyed on out and spotted me using the wise skill of "look for the guy with the soul-patch". Apparently that's a good way to remember me.
To my embarrassment I walked straight past Q-bo and Klutar. Why my embarrassment? Well as anyone who knows Q-bo would realise, he has a wheelchair, which is a pretty tell-tale accessory for any person.
So why did I walk past him?
I expected him to look much older, being a father of two lovely girls. So I guess my ignorance would be somewhat of a compliment.
So we all sat at one of the old wooded tables outside whilst Mr. Explody finished off his smoke (naughty boy), which is about when Tech Knight arrived. We officially had the beginnings of a posse.
Inside we went for a few drinks and thankfully we even got a table inside for everyone to sit around. It would seem my choice of venue wasn't that bad after all.
Shortly after we were in Puppylicks sat down and joined us, and last (but not least) to arrive was syvRaen.
So the official line up was: Chuloopa (that's me!) Qumylys (pronounced Cumulus, for those playing at home - this was the cause of much conversation) Mr. Explody Tech Knight Puppylicks Klutar syvRaen
Talk about an all star line-up!
So anyway, we regaled each other with tales for quite some time and proverbially "shot the shit", for lack of a better term. TV shows and games, strangely enough, we the topic of the night. Who'da thunk it?
We discovered that Tech Knight might actually not be a robot, as he appeared human and refused to cut his arm open "Terminator 2 style" to show us his inner workings. We learnt how to pronounce q-bo's name, so we don't have to call him q-bo anymore, and most importantly I discovered that Klutar may actually be a bending unit, as he seemed to be fueled by liquor yet showed little to no effects of its influence. An impressive feat.
Our initial chat was enlightening and hell-fun, to say the least. We lost 2 hours in there as time flew by, so it came that we had to make the decision as to whether we should try to get into the Mana Bar or not.
Klutar and Puppylicks had been in earlier, after a 2 hour wait in line, only to have the entire bar ejected after 45 minutes to let the next 50 people in, so it was with a somewhat heavy heart that we all said "sod it, lets go to galactic circus".
I was a machine at air hockey, until syvRaen tore me apart in 2 successive rounds. Mr. Explody and Tech Knight scored a whopping 10 free games on House of the Dead 4, of which Explody played half of then gave his gun to Tech Knight to turn into a Duel-Wielding force of nature. He actually beat the game. Not bad at all. Qumylys whooped me good at basketball and Puppylicks seemed quite settled in on Street Fighter 4. Tech Knight and syvRaen didn't share my enthusiasm for the ball drop machine. Jokes on them, i've now got 5400 tickets, just 400 tickets shy of getting the limited edition Donkey Kong Jenga set.
We did lose each other on numerous occasions, as you do in a place so large, but used our awesome skills of "wandering around until we bump into someone we know" to find each other again.
To say we had a blast, for me, would be an understatement. These guys were not only fun, but genuinely good people. People part of our awesome community.
I had a slight cold that day, and by the time i got home at around 1.30am my throat was agonizing and every part of me ached, and still does today. But hell, it was worth it!
What about the Mana Bar? Well i think it should be safe to say that give it a couple of weeks for the hype to die down, and the crew will be assembled again, like The Avengers of Kotaku, for another shot at the glory.
Here are some pictures of the night provided by the lovely Mr. Explody. I'll have some more shortly from my phone, i just couldn't get it to connect to my computer yesterday, so for that i apologize.
It was a fantastic night and great to be able to put faces to the handles that I have for so long known. You were all far less hideous that that I had imagined you to be in my nightmares leading up to the even. In fact, I'd say we were a pretty sexy bunch of fellas!
All in all, the night was a success and I was admittedly amazed we all pulled it off so well.
But, then again, we are the most awesome gaming community on the net.