Mak Meets Shigsy!Wow! What a day it has been. Had it not been for the buzz that you can only get by 1000's of excited gamers in a concentrated area, I'd probably be asleep by now. Let me start at the beginning...
You may have not been aware of it (especially of you're not from Europe) but Nintendo's mastermind, the driving force of (arguably) the top games company, THE most influential man in video gaming, Shigeru Miyamoto, creator of gaming Legends Mario, Zelda and Donkey Kong, decided for the first time to give the UK a visit. Some people would frown and say "damn right, it's about bloody time he showed his face in this incredibly large gaming market over here". Others (like me) would get really excited and start looking for cool things for him to sign!
The venue was Virgin Megastore on Oxford Street, London - host to loads of cool video games events, like the XBox Midnight launch party. The time, 13.00 on Friday 21st February 2003. The added incentive to come along (as if meeting Shigsy wasn't enough incentive): The first 15 people in the queue get copies of The Legend of Zelda: A Link To The Past on the GBA, signed and for free, 1 month before the official UK release. I wanted one of these.
Let me bring you up to speed. I get home from work at about 23.30 (I work at a cinema) and get to sleep at about 00.30. The alarm goes off at 5.10 giving me 40 minutes to get out of the house and to the tube station. Narrowly making the train I get to Virgin Megastore at 6.20, 3 hours and 10 minutes before they are actually due to open. At least 30 people are already standing out there. Damn them. Damn them all to Hades!! I feel a bit better when I learn that they were actually sitting there since 13.00 the previous day. But I'm still annoyed that I didn't get my Link to the Past! Never mind, I go home and get some breakfast, as I'm not going to get the freebies.
I come back at 9.00 and the queue has grown in size to at least 200 people. This thing is massive! Eventually at 9.30 they open the doors and everyone pours into the basement where the stage is set up ready with huge cardboard cut-outs of Link, Wind Waker style. The atmosphere was quite incredible. There was a buzz that you can't describe. Everyone there (well practically everyone, Mums and bored girlfriends excepted) was playing, clutching or talking about something Nintendo, or something related to the games world. And you should have seen some of the amazing stuff people brought in to get signed! One guy standing next to me had an old original Japanese Famicom system complete with Super Mario Bros 1. I saw boxed versions of just about every game Mr. Miyamoto has produced, dating back to the days of the original Game and Watch Mario Bros.
I saw one guy who looked like he had brought in the box of every Nintendo console he owned and there was even one guy (who got a lot of attention, cheers and rounds of applause from the crowd) who had a GBA SP imported from Japan. There was another guy who had a cardboard shop display for Yoshi's Story on the N64 that he got signed. You can imagine how everyone reacted when they first told us that we would not be allowed to pose with, shake hands with or ask questions to Shigeru, and then 10 minutes later they told us that everyone could only have 1 item signed.
I had brought along a Mint in the Box Legend of Zelda Game and Watch to get signed. I also had plans for my Mario Sunshine sleeve. One had to go and I chose Zelda to be signed in the end as everyone else had Mario Sunshine and I wanted to be different! So the time came (after 4 hours of queuing) to go and get my autograph! I had my camera too, and so I took the chance while the few people in front of me got their things signed to get a couple of snaps of the man himself. He signed my Zelda game and then we shook hands (YES! I KNOW! I SHOOK HANDS WITH SHIGERU MIYAMOTO!!). Unfortunately due to the no posing rule I haven't got a picture of that :(
Some of the guys I met while I queued up got signed: Zelda 1 on the NES, Mario Sunshine and the Instruction Manual for Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Very very cool. I cannot say how amazingly cool it was to be there in that atmosphere and to actually shake hands with Shigeru Miyamoto. All I can say is I'm glad I did it! It's something that I'll never forget...
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