March the 18th 2008- DiGi and i were invited by SEGA to come down to London and represent them in a large Guinness World Record attempt. The record chosen to set for future cosplayers was 'The most Games characters gathered in one place'. An easy record to beat since no such record previously existed! Hah!
What unfolded in those 24 hours was perhaps the most fun I've ever had on 48 hours insomnia. Besides… what kind of SEGA fanboy would you be if you could soundly sleep in SEGA HQ? I kept having to pinch myself and check DiGi wasn't just a hallucination brought on by the inflight meal.
From finding out Sonic hides Scottish heritage to being gatecrashed by Richard Jacques. Singing Sonic R songs badly late at night, being on TV and DiGi getting nekkid under a bridge… it was the stuff of DREAMS.
So here is the essential NiD.Com Guinness Report! Enjoy.
Forged documents. Check.
So Sunday night we were phoned by ArchangelUK making last minute checks with us about our flights, what we'd be doing etc etc. It was at that point we were informed that BBC 1's children's Newsround was also going to be in the media crowd attending. This of course made us laugh our faces off because DiGi had just had to study the show for his college course and my brother thinks Lizo is THE MAN. (Newsround is pure 90's British nostalgia). Suddenly the rumor that the famed Paul O'Grady show was going to be there seemed small in comparison to the MIGHT of NEWSROUND. C'mon! So with this in mind we continued packing our suitcases and skipped dinner entirely. Probably not the best of ideas.
That night I'd gone to bed super early… like some kid at christmas willing time to go faster. DiGi however had just signed up for a subscription on Phantasy Star Universe (AotI) and sat up to 3am hitting ugly things with sticks for money. He then came back to bed at said time to tell me i had an email. I get a lot of emails. This one however was from my pal Jess so i sat up in a drunken haze to read the thing. I returned to bed to find i couldn't get to sleep again. So for the remaining hours spent in bed i stared at the ceiling trying to think of a million witty things to say to reporters who might ask about my costume or NiGHTS. I swear i had a ton of them. Like how to promote NiGHTS in under 10 seconds using flowery words like 'unique' and 'masterpiece'. Needless to say i forgot all of them by the time 9am came around.
Up and at 'em DiGi dear!
We waited for what seemed like an eternity at Edinburgh Airport for our mysterious BA flight to appear, only to realise we were so early the self service machines wouldn't let us check in and then proceeded to malfunction. Cue some sleeping and sitting around for over an hour. There was an incident at an 'EAT' cafe where DiGi tried to explain his real name to a woman bringing us a cheese sandwhich… who i think just chickened out and saved her grace by waving instead of shouting. Pity really, the pair of us get cruel lollage from having crazy surnames to torment people with.
One bottle of caffeine later we were on our merry way! On takeoff we were treated to the most amazing view of the River Forth as the sun cast big shadows of the bridges across the water. It's an odd thing sitting on an airplane munching on a sandwich above the clouds at sunset realising that SEGA are paying for you to be a few thousand feet in the air (It's at that point you get worried lol). That sort of set the mood for the rest of the trip really, SURREAL.
Like i said. Surreal.
After much running down subway tunnels and a crazy amount of trains… no REALLY we found a train in a WALL at the airport!, we arrived at SEGA HQ. Immediately it became obvious that compared to other offices I've seen- this is a place where WORK gets done. I could tell that by the mini golf setup on the floor. Arcane scribblings on the walls, sacred Virtua Fighter plushies… A COPY OF THE HURRICANES ON THE MEGADRIVE. These folks mean business! Joking aside i was very impressed. The urge to go all-out ninja and dig for an beta of NiGHTS 8 the second Kevin turned his back was very tempting, but we were distracted by the decapitated head of Sonic on one of the desks. I then proceeded to steal Sonic's shoes for a bit… which actually didn't look too weird on me (should i be worried?).
Much talking and laughing was done, then we ended up creating something of a veritable monster of a podcast show for you folks. LIVE TO AN AUDIENCE OF ONE! Poor Echohawk… XD Anyhoo, the podcast is now available for download down at the media section on this page. It involves hilarious singing and harassing various members of the Sonic community to ask us questions via MSN. I don't think an anonymous 'WHERE IS JACKLE DAMMIT?!' to Iizuka would have went down so well a second time. So that didn't happen, but it's fun all the same.
After all that talking we were pretty parched so took a magical trip to the SEGA kitchen. Yes a kitchen… but not just ANY kitchen… this kitchen has GEORGE FOREMAN GRILLS. TWO OF THEM. DiGi instantly flew into a fit of jealousy as see, his life ambition is to own such a wonderful piece of kitchen godmodery. Also, SEGA seems big on recycling, in every room, kuedos SEGA, save those trees!
Water aplenty we returned to the main office to get DiGi suited up as a test run of the Sonic mascot costume so he wouldn't fall over his own two feet the next day. I seriously couldn't stop laughing… as a kid i had a raging phobia of cartoon/mascot/furry costumes so this was like… the universe folding in on itself. My future husband being eaten by Sonic T. Hedgehog!
Needless to say we got our moneys worth of amusing photos. This only served to renew my appreciation of the blue guy. Poor sonic XD…
OMGZ! Fan oncemore!
Anyway, just before DiGi and i tried to catch 40winks i had a highly amusing run in with one of the latenight cleaners in the mens bathroom (who i felt obliged to say HELLO to since i was probably the only woman in the entire building, with red hair, in a trenchcoat, lol). As i skuttled to my chair for the night i suddenly became paranoid that the office was haunted since A- it was so cold and B- The radio in the main office had turned itself on for no reason. But spooky thoughts were quickly replaced in my brain by the LARGE LOOMING MEDIA EVENT that was taking place in under 6 hours. Now i know that girls get all frumpy and self conscious at the best of times but try dressing up as a gender bending purple demon in public infront of newspaper cameras and TV people. I sure picked a great way to rid myself of insecurities haha. Err…
I started getting dressed at about 4:30am just to be on the safe side as knowing my luck my costume would explode/burst into flames/stop fitting me after 24 hours. Unfortunately i was ready about 3 hours too soon so we sat watching the World Ping Pong Championship on the big plasma TV at the end of the room. SEGA have a thing for pingpong i swear. It was in these bizarre early hours of the morning while half asleep i decided one day I'd work here come hell or high water as it was such a nice place. With a George Foreman Grill. I could totally man the kitchen.
I could also totally clear them out of cool shoes and merch.
I had only just started to nod off when the first manager type person walked in the door. The sight of the three of us drooling in our sleep, a decapitated Sonic, suitcases all over the floor and NiGHTS with what looked like a hangover probably woke him up pretty fast. He was a nice guy, pleased to see we were helping out and quick to tell us the big boss was due in in the afternoon. Needless to say getting to say hello to Mike Hayes whilst dressed as NiGHTS, representing you guys, would have made me look like a fruitcake with a slice of lemon on the side, so luckily we left the office a little bit earlier than we should haha. It was really funny walking down SEGA's corridor to the lift dressed as NiGHTS, i got some priceless looks. But everyone seemed really laid back and nice. Sort of what i imagined the offices at STC Fleetway to be like when i was 12 and didn't realise what offices were actually like. Pfft.
A lot of subliminal marketing to the confused general public of London, walking and trying to keep my balance later, we found a Taxi and were whisked off into a chilly Tuesday morning.
Our enthusiasm knew no bounds. We got there over an hour early! Sonic (bagged and tagged) took up all of the room in the taxi so i was happy to get out and walk again. Even if it WAS freezing and windy and right beside the River Thames. I'll be honest, standing outside of the Tate Modern gallery it looked bleak… we were the only ones there. The situation was becoming funnier as tourists walked past waiting to get into the art gallery behind us. I'm walking art baby! But i figured the more confused people got the more they'd remember NiGHTS, so it was all good. At one point it became so windy we used Sonic's bodybag as a windbreaker, it didn't do much, so i gave up and put my hat on. Rendering myself deaf but toasty.
And then LO! From out of nowhere a nice young chap sat beside us and started to get changed into a costume. SCORE 1 FOR TRiPPY. I'd been trying to advertise this event in any way i knew how… so this guy was like finding the golden fleece. We all turned our attention to the Millennium bridge, keeping an eye out for anyone in large dayglow costumes. Often mistaking members of the public for cosplayers who were just wearing mad coats. One by one our little group got bigger (and more hyperactive). We were then bestowed with the presence of Mr Gordon Freeman complete with crowbar in a bag. Then it all sort of got VERY busy in the space of 15 minutes with cosplayers turning up left right and center! It's amazing how friendly cosplayers are, nobody seemed to feel left out or awkward, everyone was just having so much fun!
At around 11am Guinness turned up along with various members of the press. But… the Sun bus was nowhere to be seen. DiGi started to look positively mortified. There was no way he could get changed into the Sonic costume inside the Tate Modern… so we had to be RESOURCEFUL. I think the resourceful came from Arch' as it involved DiGi getting his kit off a few feet away under the Millennium Bridge XD; Sonic really IS the fastest thing alive when its a breezy day in London and he's wearing boxers. Fastest costume change EVER. As soon as we walked back to the cosplayer crowd he was instantly mobbed by fans wanting photos. I had to guide him around while trying to not make it look like NiGHTS and him were uh… 'special' friends. Which was quite a task considering we nearly kept knocking each other out with sheer head girth. Fishing NiGHTS out of the Thames would have cheered up the Coastguard at least.
The next few hours were a colorful blur of posing for photos, being interviewed by magazines and nearly having my chest gemstone snatched by overcurious Final Fantasy cosplayers. Shiny is hypnotic.
When my fellow cosplayer Orihime turned up dressed in her infamously cute Amy costume i skipped over to say hi… completely OBLIVIOUS to the fact I'd left mute DiGi standing with Mr musical manlegend Richard Jacques. Well it's not every day Richard Jacques teleports out of nowhere to say hello. I recognised him instantly but because i was so tired i think my brain was telling me he was something of an illusion along with the 80something game characters jumping about.
Top bloke, really friendly and not snobby like a lot of famous people i could mention. Considering the night before we'd been sitting in the office howling along to 'Super Sonic Racing' i found it a little hard to not giggle as we were being photographed with the man who created that very song. I think we were all a little star struck. At which point i looked around expecting UK:R to jump out of a bush.
Eventually it turned out the Sun's bus was actually THERE… just parked very far away from the Tate Modern. So after being subjected to a media PIT while being squashed on the millennium bridge i had to guide DiGi through some backstreets to the big red bus. Our costumes meant we couldn't actually FIT on the bus, so we got to stand at the front, which worked out better in the end. Although the very cute (and scary) Mario Army decided to ask Sonic some very personal questions while we were supposed to be posing for the press. One kid even tried to start a fight with him, ahaha.
That's a look of FEAR.
Tails however fared a little better. I swear down, Vger was the best Tails EVER. EPIC TAILS. He was completely crazy (all cosplayers should be like him!) From bizarre dance routines to accidentally forgetting to take his Hawaiian shirt off, he was gold. When i look through these photos i still can't stop laughing.
As things wound down after lunchtime people started to head home while we hung around for a little bit longer to get DiGi out of the costume. As soon as the giant head was off he finally got the chance to say hello to Richard and shake his hand. Smiles all around and the promise of breakfast DiGi, Arch, Sonic and I fell into the nearest taxi and returned to SEGA HQ. After packing all our luggage back up we were introduced to the best sandwich shop ever with a mighty selection of cakes. We said our sad goodbyes to Arch' and set off in an ever so emotastic way to catch our plane.
Our journey back to Edinburgh involved missing an airport train to gatwick and getting lost in the underground, so it was all a bit hectic. But seriously, one of the best days of my life. Being able to represent NiGHTS and SEGA to the media and public was fantastic and I'd do it all again at the drop of a hat… most probably not my own hat though as it got a little bit squashed in my suitcase thanks to the BA luggage people. Which i suppose is an excuse to start working on a Journey of Dreams cosplay at some point… hmmm…
24 HOURS OF AWESOME
Video and Press links
|BBC1 Children's Newsround
Photographs taken on the day (50 total)
Thanks to: MCM Expo forums, Amecon forums, Sonic Stadium, Cosplay.Com, SEGA and everyone who turned up on Tuesday!