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Insert Coin(s) Debut; Gaming and Alcohol Officially Mix in Sydney


Last Thursday I trudged my way from work (in Newtown) to Oxford street by myself in the dark. I had just had a fight with my girlfriend. It was kind of cold and depressing and the friend who was meant to be coming to meet me got caught in traffic. I walked past some drunk, and angry, minimum wage-looking people in Hyde park (that’s right, I judge a book by its cover). I got cash out from an ATM that seemed like it was trying to kill me of old age. Basically, I wasn’t having a great night.

But then a purple “Fuck Off” stamp was slapped down onto my wrist and I was ushered into a room filled with Arcade game machines. And things got… better!

Of course I’m referring to Insert Coin(s), the videogame/clubbing event which  debuted at Oxford Art factory last Thursday. A collaboration between gaming personality Patrick “Patch” Kolan (former IGN AU Editor) and Oxford Art Factory bossman Mark Gerber, the general premise of the event was “Retro game action, hands-on unreleased game previews, great music and good times.”

And it was awesome.

Sydney has been behind the curve as gaming events go, every since the Mana Bar opened first in Brisbane and now Melbourne (apparently nobody told them Sydney is where all the real action is at :S). And looking at the people pack in to the, admittedly small, space at Oxford Art Factory you could really see that people are craving more events like this. Even the $5.50 price tag on the beers (and I’m talking Carlton Draught, my mate paid $8 for a Corona when he finally rocked up) and the $10 cover charge didn’t stop an amazing amount of people piling just to play some arcade games, try some new games and talk to other people about games.

Let me tell you now, in case Call of Duty: Black Ops had you doubting, gamers are an amazing crowd to hang around. I literally would just walk up to anyone I wanted and start conversations with sentences like “Resistance 3? Isn’t that just like Gears of War?” (I was disabused of that notion very early on in the night) or “How did you guys hear about this place?”. There wasn’t a rude person in sight and people just seriously seemed to grooving on the music (was kind of 80’s remix) and enjoying the hell out of the 30 odd arcade games set up.

My personal highlight? I actually got to talk to Patch Kolan and he actually knew what GamePlayer was. I mean, technically, he remembered GamePlayer as it used to exist (as a Derwent Howard Media website which went under in the mid 2000’s) and not as its latest amazing revitalisation under my inexperienced finger tips (seriously, I know very little about what I'm doing), but still it was nice not to be turned away with a “what? I’ve never heard of that site… You must be noob.”

My friend’s (the irascible Henry Forman) highlight? Playing FIFA 12 and Resistance 3 before they hit the shelves. He even got multiple turns, before I told him to stop dominating people at FIFA and let the other kids have a turn.

Seriously, this was one of the best nights out I have had in a long time and for a $10 price tag I could see myself going every week. If it was on every week. Which it might be. But isn’t yet.

Patch told me that the next one should be on in around a month, and this time I’ll make sure I run an article a couple days before it’s on to give you warning (you know, instead of running one four days late to tell you what a good time I had).

But seriously, bar/internet café owners and other alcohol patrons I hope you are listening, this event really highlighted the under appreciation of Sydney’s gaming community in our choices for night life entertainment. Like, do I need to make up some campaign posters that say “We’re here, with Gears, but want to drink some beer?”.

Ok that was lame, maybe the posters needs some more work. We can all meet and draw up some designs at the next Insert Coin(s) – which, in case you couldn’t tell, I can’t wait for.

Also, they had a Milk Bar, because sometimes Arcade game machines just aren’t retro enough.


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