Eurogamer (2013)

Category : Blog, Events, Press

About 3 hours after I got off the plane coming back from America I went straight to Eurogamer. After getting lost for 30 minutes and paying a taxi driver £5 to drive me to Earl’s Court I arrived at the venue, the exhibition was huge and included sections for Nintendo, Sony, Microsoft, Retro games, Indie games as well as PC games such as Surgeon Simulator although I went straight to the Nintendo section.

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I had already played Legend of Zelda: Windwaker HD at Hyper Japan so instead I played the new Donkey Kong Country game which is a series I have never actually played before but would definitely consider buying when I eventually buy a Wii U. Also on show was Mario Kart 8, Pokemon X and Y as well as Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds but didn’t get to play them because if I waited in their huge lines I wouldn’t have gotten to play PS4.

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As expected the line for the PS4 was just over an hour although we were being kept entertained by videos of the awesome games we would soon be playing. When we eventually got to the front we were given 2 game tokens each of which entitled us for a specific demo level or 10 minutes of a game of our choice.

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First I played Octodad which is a game about an Octopus who has a wife and kids although no-one knows he is an octopus, throughout the demo level you have to find your tuxedo, get dressed, and give your bride her wedding ring all while trying not to smash everything to pieces and keeping your identity as an octopus a secret. The game is meant to be stupid and funny and it succeeds in both categories. While playing Octodad it was also the first time I held a PS4 controller and I liked it. While it’s true the Playstation’s controllers are almost always the same but with some ergonomic alterations the introduction of the touch pad in the centre is an interesting feature however this comes with the very minor but still annoying point of having to move the start button in a place which feels very awkward to press it as it’s too close to the action buttons.

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The second game I stood around for 30 minutes to play 10 minutes of was called Knack which is essentially an action / fantasy game with lots of magic and fighting. As you progress throughout each level you collect orbs which make you stronger and give you access to new spells to the point where you’re basically capable of destroying cities without any problem at all. Just like Octodad this game unfortunately didn’t offer touch screen support so I didn’t get to try out what it would be like but apart from that it’s a good game and definitely one I would get if I get a PS4 at launch.

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I wanted to try out the Xbox One but didn’t have time due to waiting in so many lines however I hope to try that as the first thing I do at Gadget Show Live in November. The retro gaming section was very popular and had everything from the original Gameboy with Tetris inside it to the more obscure consoles like the Vectrex. While most of the well known games like Mario Kart on SNES were being played I took this opportunity to plays games I hadn’t played like Psycho Fox although I quickly found out why I hadn’t played games like those before. They were terrible.

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Before I left I got to play The Wonderful 101 on Wii U which is just as amazing as I thought it would be. You control a miniature army of superheroes who battle through the level using their combined strength to turn in to giant fists, guns, swords and other various weapons. The game switches perspective from the TV screen to the gamepad for certain areas which really takes the advantage of the 2nd screen and interacting with how you play each section of the game. Unfortunately I didn’t have enough time to defeat the boss as Eurogamer had come to a close however I hope to continue this at Gadget Show Live and finally make my decision on which console to buy PS4, Xbox One, Wii U.


Designjunction: The Vamp (2013)

Category : Blog, Events, Press

Taking up a large section on the first floor of Designjunction was a collection of speakers ranging in size, audio quality, brand and age but they main product being showcased was not a speaker itself but a peripheral for one.

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The Vamp is a cube shape with a chunk taken out of it and when connected to a speaker via special cables it can then manipulate it wirelessly without the need for upgrading your speakers to a new bluetooth enabled one.

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 The beauty of this is not just the form of it but the fact that it makes what some might consider obsolete (at least in comparison to today’s technology) a slightly more advanced piece of equipment which is more user friendly without impacting the audio quality.


Designjunction: Re craft (2013)

Category : Blog, Events, Press

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One of the last stands I saw at Designjunction was for a group called ReCraft which helps give people simple ways to create new products from things lying around the house. Unlike other initiatives that do this ReCraft uses the minimum amount of equipment with the most extravagant tools being a drill or a glue gun although depending on what you create you can get away with basic things like paper, scissors, or string.

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It kind of reminds me of MakeDo which is aimed at kids to get them active and learning craft skills through playing although this one is more for the DIY person, eco conscious or just someone who is bored and looking for something to do at home during the weekend project.


Designjunction (2013)

Category : Blog, Events, Press

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From September 18th to 22nd Designjunction as part of the London Design Festival brought contemporary design, to the public in what used to be a postal sorting office in the 1960s, as I was going to America on 19th I spent every minute I could on 18th exploring Designjunction finding the best exhibitors and learning about the new and innovative products that were being showcased.

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One of the first stand I recognised from a previous exhibition was Outline Editions which is a gallery based in Soho that showcases the best graphic design posters usually with an interest in negative space. Other recognisable stands I saw included Mathmos, Tokyo bike and Native Union.

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I very quickly found myself at a Sodastream bar where they were showcasing just how beautiful and delicious the new Sodastream is by giving people free drinks including some alcoholic cocktails which were incredibly good but perhaps not the best thing to have while covering an event.

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I was glad to see that while the theme for this year remained the same there were many newcomers and some people who didn’t come this year but were present last year. Two of my favourite newcomers this year included paper company GF Smith who I have been meaning to visit for quite a while now as well as well as Jay Watson Design who has some very interesting lighting products I was shown by another graduate from my class Louise Philo.

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One stand I missed out on was Monotype which I only saw at the very end of the day after the people looking after went home but I did get to see some nice typography including sets of 12pt Gill Sans metal type they were selling which if I had a letterpress I would seriously buy. Another stand which was unattended was the Concrete design blog one which apparently hadn’t been used all day except for people just leaving their drinks there which is kind of sad but I checked it out anyway and it’s a pretty decent blog, not really my style but I bet some people would like it.

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While it would have been good to explore the event at a slower pace over a few days I just about had enough time before I went to America and the press office were very helpful in providing additional information to me about the people I thought were most notable throughout designjunction.


Design Council: Skyline

Category : Blog, Events

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Finally there was a tour of the skyline from the top of the Design Council building which many of us stayed for including me which was rest because even though I didn’t have a ticket they let me go on the tour anyway since I was there.

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Unfortunately it was pouring with rain so we didn’t stay outside too long but we did get to see some wonderful views of London.

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Inside design council

Category : Blog, Events

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After the speed mentoring event at the Design Council building in Angel there was a presentation about what goes on inside the Design Council so I stuck around for that.

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As I already knew the Design Council is a charity and they are only UK based however the help deliver the message of design and its benefits to industries and companies that may not have it, want it or understand it, they also help agencies with projects such as BargerOsgerby when they were designing the Olympic Torch. In their view design can help everyone and it’s surprising how many companies don’t have in-house designers or a small team to represent them when I was at Barclays they had apparently only just been starting to care about design a few years ago (2010) and hired the agency UsTwo to help with their UI / UX and interaction design.

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One project they talked about was ‘Casserole’ which looked at the problem of old or disabled people not being able to make food and the limitations that Meals in wheels provides, with Casserole you offer up your leftover food for anyone nearby that wants it at whatever price you see as being reasonable.

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I stayed around for the networking afterwards but it wasn’t as good as the speed mentoring one as the people there were strangers to me and it was kind of hit and miss as to who I talked to but with the earlier one we partially knew the people we were networking with as well as the industries they were in and what they could provide for us in terms of advice, help and opportunities.


Design Council – Speed Mentoring

Category : Blog, Events

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During the London Design Festival I went to a speed mentoring session at the Design Council building in Angel. We had 11 people with 11 mentors for four minutes each. Essentially I told each one I was with who I was and what I do then they gave me advice on what else I can do. For the most part I was doing the right things such as using social media and networking at events but I got some great unexpected advice like to take more risks, enter competitions and visit more agencies even if it’s just for 10 minutes over a cup of coffee.

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I also talked to David Irwin after the sessions who I gave my card to as well as meeting some great people that came to the session including a fellow product designer and 2 unrelated women who were soon to be doing a post graduate course.


IoT Meetup 24

Category : Blog, Events

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This was my first IoT meet up I went to beside the showcase in April and honestly it was a bit tech heavy but thankfully the organiser Alex-Deschamps Sonsino knew that and promised that future events would be more visual or demonstration based which is what I personally prefer.

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I have thought for a while if I should talk about my Crush project and am finalising a presentation I will be sending to my old tutor Jon Sawdon-Smith soon for quick thoughts on what could be improved, I will most likely pitch it to Alex at IoT Meetup 25 in October if I can RSVP on time.


Hyper Japan: Sake experience (2013)

Category : Blog, Events, Press

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The Sake Experience is perhaps the biggest part of Hyper Japan attracting everyone at the event to try different types of sake from different companies while also judging them and voting for their favourite to be crowned the winner of the Sake Experience 2013. Overall there were 9 tables each with 3-4 types of sake for you to try and I tried every single one of them whether I like them or not, I found I go more for the sparkly type that is more like champagne or the fruity ones rather than the strong or niché tasting ones.

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The first table we arrived at was the Ichinokura Ace Brewery and the pride themselves on using traditional techniques to make their sake rather than using machines to emulate them. I loved the Premium Sparkling Sake Suzune Wabi however it nor any of the other sakes won any award however it is a sake I would love to try again should I find a bottle in a Japanese store sometime in the future.

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I was also impressed both with the taste and the attention to detail that went into the Dassai making process from Asahi Shuzo. While they do use some machines in the process they also use traditional techniques to make their sake as well as ‘rice polishing’ in which they use soft water to remove the rice powder and let the rice absorb the water thus creating an elegant aroma.

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By the 6th table we had consumed approximately 18 shots of sake and were starting to feel the affect of it although Hyper Japan knew this and provided each table with cheese and edamame for customer to munch on while they drink as both are great for absorbing alcohol although I do not like edamame so I had to pick at the little amount of cheese there was left at each table.


Hyper Japan (2013)

Category : Blog, Events, Press

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I went to Hyper Japan recently with a few friends although I was also going as part of the press to report on the event see what it had to offer. The first thing I noticed was a massive Nintendo section that had a Mario Kart 7 tournament, Wii U game demos of Pikmin 3 and New Super Luigi, Animal crossing demos as well as other 3DS demos of games which hadn’t been released yet including a football based RPG!

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I had never played Pikmin before so I finally got to see what the fuss was about and I liked it. I was slightly disappointed as the demo I did didn’t have the Wii U game pad being used so I was just using Wii controls but it was still a great game which I would consider buying. While I was waiting for a friend to get money out of the ATM I went up to the Inamo stand to see the E table they were showcasing, essentially it is an interactive table which provides a new experience for people eating at a restaurant by having you use a trackpad to order food, call your waiter and manage the bill at the end of the meal. I wrote a more detailed article about it here – Inamo E table.

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While the event does have quite a few people in cosplay and is similar to MCM it is more to do with Japanese culture than Movies, Comics and Media. There were a lot of food stand where we tried many things we haven’t had before like Takoyaki as well as Karaage and of course sushi, sake and tea.

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Before we did the Sake experience we did a smaller sake experience at a stand where we got to try either an aged sake, a natural sake or a strong sake. We went with the 20 year aged sake and were taught exactly how to hold the cups as well as the etiquette that goes in to something as simple as drinking sake. Women had to cup their hands underneath the cup and then drink from it while men held the cup with their thumbs and index fingers while their hands formed almost a diamond shape.

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The tea experience was very fast as there were only 4 types to try all of which I liked except for 1 which was served cold, the green tea was perhaps my favourite although I am not much of a tea drinker. One thing I wish we had time for was the sushi experience as that was apparently on par with the sake experience but we were full from Japanese snacks and the event was going to close soon so we didn’t end up trying it. We did however have time to play some games imported from Japan including the lesser known Ghouls and Ghosts which lives up to the rest of the series it’s in and is one of the most difficult games of the 8-bit era.

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I got a fan with a personalised message in Japanese on it (it’s a secret) as a souvenir of the day as I didn’t have enough money for the expensive sake they were selling inside the sake experience. Despite the venue being quite a bit small than MCM in Excel it was packed with a lot of activities and things to try for a whole day, I could’ve gone again on the Sunday to finish up the rest of what I didn’t get to see but that happened to be very little apart from the sushi experience so I skipped it as I had covered the majority of the event on Saturday.

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The sake, sushi, tea, games, snacks, art, technology, culture, live demonstrations and many more activities made Hyper Japan well worth going to, although a warning to people who don’t have pre booked tickets, press passes or VIP passes you may have to wait a long time to get it if you don’t arrive before 11am. It’s worth the wait though.


Barber Osgerby

Category : Blog, Events

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Edward Barber of Barber Osgerby came to Ravensbourne to give a talk about the studio as well as two projects they have worked on. The first of which was a chair called Tip Ton that encourages people to sit in an upright position while working and laid back when relaxing. The second project they talked about was the Olympic torch, I believe that needs no introduction

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After the talk we were surprised to see Edward Barber pull out a newly made torch for us to see and pass around the room so of course everyone had to get a picture with it


Speed dating at the Science museum lates

Category : Blog, Events

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I have known about the Science Museum Lates as well as the speed dating event for quite a while as I usually work at the museum during the lates. I knew the speed dating was incredibly popular and always gets sold out really quickly although I had no idea until I researched further in to it about that they are popular enough to appear in the number 2 spot in Google when you search ‘speed dating’ (At least it was but now it’s 33! What happened?). The number 1 slot goes to speeddater.com as it is a larger community that organises speed dating events at differant venues and has members which are part of an online community which the Science Museum does not have

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The idea of speed dating is pretty simple, the men and women get seperated in to groups. One group sits down behind tables while the other group goes from table to table

With the Science Museum speed dating you have 2 ½ minutes with each person which is a suprisingly short amount of time when you take in to account having to introduce yourself, writing notes on the previous person and talking time. How anyone can gauge if they like someone that quickly is beyong my understanding. An interesting experience though


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