Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Bat Cave – the geek haven

Currently, my sojourn in Pretoria has me staying at possibly the most awesome gaming sanctuary in South Africa. From the outside, it looks like the average two-man digs. Stepping through the threshold, however, reveals a warren of gaming consoles, dual-screen PCs, geek paraphenelia and beanbag chairs all interconnected by a network of fly leads, USB cables and iron chains made of raw awesome. They call this place the Bat Cave.

The wardrobes are full of gaming T-shirts earned at launch events. On the coffee table lies a copy of GPU Gems 2 , the Exalted game guide and other gaming-related literature. A large cupboard in the living room serves as a home for the largest Xbox game collection I have ever seen outside an actual store. Oh, and for some reason, these people have two bloody huge Gears of War 2 promo banners just standing about in one corner. I've yet to ask how they got their hands on these.

They're real. I've touched them.

These people are no ordinary gamers, however. They're two of South Africa's top game development evangelists with their own company, a thriving game development community and a Top-20 finalist in Microsoft's international DreamBuildPlay competition which they lovingly named SpaceHack. They have their submission video up on YouTube.

I recommend hopping to 1:10 for the juicy action shots

I'm also pleased to say that these kind and gentle folk have a pretty nice couch for me to sleep on. Being something of a self-styled “couch connoisseur”, I take it upon myself to rate every couchlike object that I sleep on in the same way that a sommelier judges a fine wine.

My couch. My throne. My art.

This particular couch is long, reasonably soft and the arms are fairly low, making it possible to rest against a cushion or pillow on the edge without taking too much strain in the neck. It is situated perfectly in front of the living room television and the smell is nothing to complain about (it turns out that these geeks are the reasonably clean kind). You can also fall asleep within view of the aformentioned Gears of Awesomeness posters.

The only drawback is the chafing of the couch material at times, which can get rather uncomfortable when turning or moving in one's sleep – particularly during those summer nights. Still, I give this couch a sleep rating of 8/10 overall. Congratulations, gentlemen: you possess a fine resting spot for the weary vagabond.

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