Venue is law!
So, the first question on my mind as I stumbled out of the train station was just what the venue would look like. Had Omega Sektor Director, Adrian Le Mans, learned anything from the failure of other LAN centres years before, or was I just going to spend the day sat in a compost heap again?
Well, my impressions of the centre were actually rising before I even got to the Sektor itself. Myself and about twenty other journalists were picked up from Birmingham New Street station by a fleet of stretched, custom-painted Hummers and were ferried in by a handful of Omega Sektor booth babes. The Hummers themselves were long, grey monstrosities plastered with the Omega Sektor name and logo and darkened windows.
Each car looked like a silver brick, but a beautiful silver brick with a leather-lined interior, multiple sound systems and a set of disco lasers that descended from the ceiling and shone directly into my eyes for the rest of the trip. It was all I could do to fumble blindly as a PR assistant pushed a glass of champagne into my hand and told me that this was just the beginning. He then asked me if I wanted to play anything on the PlayStation 2, but I had to decline for fear of enjoyment overload.
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When we arrived at the event after a rather pointless tour of the city, I have to admit I was initially disappointed. After travelling in a custom Hummer of that quality, I was expecting the Omega Sektor itself to be some sort of palace but I instead found a concrete building that sat on a busy corner in central Birmingham and didn’t have any visible windows.
I was helped out of the brick-mobile by a new pair of Omega Girls who stopped me from falling on my face in front of the throngs of on-lookers who had gathered around the cars under the illusion that they contained high-level celebrities.
Shoved through into the main building, I took a moment to orientate myself and have a look around. Walking past the main desk, where canapés were being swallowed whole by those who hadn’t eaten in the car, I was greeted by the main entrance hall. Twin turnstiles led into a presentation area with about twenty PCs on either side of a main stage.
Each PC looked adorably clean and well-kitted out, with 19” Viewsonic monitors and Razer peripherals on the desks for each unit. Razer
is a big sponsor of Omega Sektor and competitive gaming as a whole and had kitted each PC out with a black Razer Tarantula keyboard
and custom DeathAdder mice
which pulsed the Omega Sektor logo hypnotically.
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Oh, and every PC had a high-backed leather chair. Nice!
Already there were about ten gamers sitting on each side, ploughing away at all manner of games. Omega Sektor has over a hundred games pre-installed on the PC network for gamers to play, including Battlefield 2
, Quake 4
and Colin McRae DiRT
. There are games from every genre though and I was especially pleased to see that there were some older games on the list – Serious Sam 2
and Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory
being notable inclusions.
I also noticed that Omega Sektor was signed up to the Steam Cyber Cafe scheme, which gives it access to a whole of host of Steam games. Unfortunately, CS:S
wasn’t available to play on the day for technical reasons, but I was assured that it would be running again soon.
I was also surprised at the number of singleplayer games and children’s games, such as Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones
and Harry Potter and The Order of The Phoenix
Hell, even Crazy Frog
was on there.