Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s… an Xbox?

Yesterday I got to go on my first Ready Up related jolly business trip, which was attending a video game themed ‘sports day’ organised by Eidos to celebrate the launch of their new title “Summer Athletics”, which comes out on Friday.

Naturally when I found out that the event might involve me actually doing any exercise, I was terrified, and considered cancelling as quickly as possible. Cleverly though, the PR people had put the words “Free beer” into the invite so it was settled – I was there.

Amazingly, it didn’t rain on us once. And it’s summer!

The venue was Battersea Park Millennium Arena in leafy South London, which seemed an excellent place to train your body into an Adonis-like state of peak physical perfection – or in our case, to play Wii, drink beer and chuck Xboxes about a bit.

There were three main parts to the day, trying out Summer Athletics on the Wii upstairs in one of the fitness rooms, a Wii-lay race around the track and the grande finale, shotputting original Xboxes.

Summer Athletics was quite fun. I tried out several events and failed almost entirely at all of them.

Archery – I missed.
800m – I wore out my character’s stamina bar in ten seconds and then crawled round the track to finish 8th. Of eight.
Javelin – it sort of fell out of my hand and went about twenty centimetres.

The most unhealthy group of people you’ll ever see in a weight room

All in all, it was looking to be an incredibly accurate digital portrayal of my real world sports skills. It proved to be more unrealistic on the high jump and diving events though, as I seemed to be fairly decent at both.

Then it was on to the Wii-lay race, which was a relay race using Wii remotes instead of a baton. Well, actually, two of the teams had Wii remotes, and my team (the most ragtag of the lot) ended up with a lime green rubber remote cover as they were one remote short. It looked like a novelty condom – I was tempted to lick it to see if it was strawberry flavoured. I took the all important second leg of the relay, and we lined up. I was full of nonchalance (and half-full of beer) so I decided that I was just going to take it easy and enjoy it. But damn, once that baton (well, condom) got passed to me I was off. Heart pumping and wind in my hair, I ran faster than I have ever run before. I felt like a paler and fatter Ben Johnson as I sprinted my little heart out. The effect was slightly spoiled, though, by another participant (who I had just seen using an asthma inhaler) who went sailing past me as if I was standing still. Cheeky little bugger even had spare breath to shout “Seeya!” as he zoomed by. I don’t know, the youth of today…

With my less than sterling performance not helping, we managed to win the bronze medal, which would have felt like an achievement had the event had more than three teams.

This would’ve been easier with a PS2…

The final event was the big one – it was announced that there would be a Nintendo Wii up for grabs for whoever won the Xbox shotputting contest, and we all stepped up to the cage for our chance to win glory, immortality and a cheap Japanese console. Aided by tips from a professional shotputter, I gave it my all. Disastrously, the weighty Microsoft monolith slipped from my hand early, and only flew about 7m 10 before it impacted with the ground, causing rather more damage to the ground than to the machine. It was nothing like the worst throw of the day, but it wasn’t enough. The eventual winner walked off with a Nintendo Wii and a sh*t-eating grin after a great throw that sent the Xbox flying just over 10m – most impressive.

Fly my pretty – fly!

Once the event was over, we were given free reign to take out some anger and use up some testosterone by battering the crap out of the Xbox consoles. Let me tell you, modern consoles simply wouldn’t be able to take the kind of punishment these consoles took, repeated slams directly into the ground, twelve foot throws straight up into the air and landing on the corners, and they were barely damaged. I think I actually came off worse, with about six tiny cuts on my hand and a big scrape down the side of my arm. If only Microsoft had transferred some of that indestructibility into the notoriously fragile 360.

Although my smashing skills were great, it was just for fun, and as per every sports day I have ever attended, I left as a loser. Fortunately, like the old TV quiz show Blankety Blank, no-one went home empty handed, and I left with a copy of Summer Athletics and a rather fetching faux-Bronze medal for my troubles, after a really fun day.

So, Ed, when do I get to go to another event like this?

The sharp eyed of you will notice that the medal isn’t Bronze – I may have (um) borrowed a Gold to cheer me up..







2 responses to “Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s… an Xbox?”

  1. Emily avatar

    Haha, if I’d known this would involve old Xbox throwing I’d have sent mine over, it’s well and truly kaput and deserves to get dropped on the ground from a great height.

  2. Zanveth avatar

    Xbox shot put…quality!

    At least they didn’t make you dress up as gaming characters, just imagine trying to do the 800m while having a jolly great Donkey Kong costume on.

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