In three months time, we will be off on another holiday; this time to Iceland … land famous for its many gorgeous waterfalls, geothermic pools & hot springs, a quirky city mayor and Fanfest … which is the main reason for the trip in the first place. We’ll be gone for just short of a week, but I can already tell it’s going to be super fun, with a capital ‘F’. Now you may well be wondering what in heck is Fanfest. To answer that question I will first have to introduce you to CCP.
CCP stands for ‘Crowd Control Productions’, an Icelandic online game developer and provider. The game in question is EVE Online, a massively multi-player online game set in outer-space ~~ a PC game which my boyfriend plays RELIGIOUSLY every single day, including weekends. I have no connections with said game … I just watch and listen to the daily report from R, even tho I don’t understand a word of it.
Every year CCP holds Fanfest, in Reykjavic ~ a sort of game developer convention, hosted to outline the developers’ future plans for the game. This year marks the 10th anniversary of EVE Online since it was released, and R said we are not missing it this year. He’s been wanting to attend Fanfest every year since he started playing … oh, about seven years ago (or so I am told), but travelling all the way from Melbourne to just shy of the arctic circle seemed like a bit much. Fast forward to present day, and now that we actually live in the northern hemisphere, getting to Reykjavic is easy as pie. I am told total flight time will take a mere 2hrs 18mins — haha, that’s like flying from Melbourne to Brisbane!
I was introduced to the weird and wonderful world of EVE when I met R, three years ago. I quickly discovered just how seriously players take this game, dedicating hours and hours to it on a daily basis. These days I like to refer to this game as R’s second job, coz he treats it as such. Me, well I never fancied the game, even though R has tried to cajole me into creating an online avatar many times over the years. I came close to it this year but gave up within my 21-day free trial. The game is just too mind-bogglingly complex for my liking, and I hardly think I am prepared to dedicate all my free time glued to the PC screen to get ahead in the game as he does. Then who would write the food blogs? It’s a never-ending game. It’s not like there is a final destination within its game sequence, like Diablo where you kill the big boss and it’s gameover. Oh no. This game is PvP.
Fanfest lasts about three days. During those days fans and hardcore players from around the world descend upon Reykjavic and gear up for one crazy, out-of-control ride. They’ll get to attend conferences, roundtable sessions and workshops hosted by the developers and they’ll even get to speak to them personally. A three-day all inclusive pass is to be bought prior to arrival at the venue; and this year it’s gonna be at the Harpa Convention Centre, Reykjavic. Once there the line-up of events include Fanfest PvP Tournament ~ where “pilots” gear up and go head to head with other teams, all vying to be crowned Fanfest PvP champion.
At night everyone gets to go out on a pub crawling spree with the game developers and get totally sloshed. People who have been gaming online with each other for years will finally get to meet face to face and chug down a few beers while they are at it. R is getting really excited as the time draws nearer. He’s really keen on meeting his online teammates for the first time, many of whom he only knows by their screen names.
Now, you may be wondering, ” … it sounds like he’s going to be having the time of his life with all his mates. That’s all well and good … but what is she going to do all day?” The good thing is CCP is on-the-ball and well aware of this issue and have chosen a very smart way to circumvent it. They realise that the majority of the people attending Fanfest are men, and many choose to bring their non-gamer other halves along. To keep everyone happy and entertained, CCP have set up the Sisters of EVE (Spouse Programme), aimed specifically at catering to the needs of non-EVE gamer partners such as myself. We also need to buy a ticket prior to our arrival in Reykjavic, but our ticket entitles us to a bit of outdoor fun and frolic.
As the online itinerary suggests, it’s going to be a full day of seeing the sights and sounds of beautiful, rugged Iceland with all the comforts of luxury travel. There will be glaciers, geysirs, waterfalls and a dip in a thermal pool at a local spa lined up. I can’t wait! Perhaps they intend on treating us like superstars for a day in order for us to not restrict game time of our husbands / boyfriends once we’re back home.
At the end of Fanfest, the three-day programme culminates in what they call Party at the Top of the World (and rightfully so!). It promises to be a night of madness and mayhem. And if the music of Björk Guðmundsdóttir is anything to go by, then I expect to be treated to an evening of typical Icelandic tunes … quite possibly an all out rave party. A word of caution at the bottom of the page kindly advises party-goers to “not plan their trip home on the day after the party”. Hmmm, I wonder why? *wink wink* Lucky us then, coz we are only heading home a few days after Fanfest ends; we want to see the rest of rural Iceland. For those who survive the party on the 27th, on the 28th there will be yet another gathering, albeit, a more sedate one (by Fanfest standards at least) aimed at restoring some semblance of balance and normalcy to all involved ~ this one is called the Blue Lagoon After Party. … in essance, a sort of hangover party at a thermal spa. This will involve, on average, 400 people all floating about in the famous Blue Lagoon whilst nursing their respective hangovers with the aid of poolside massages, mud facials, soothing music and more cocktails (Jeeeperz! I hope they are Bloody Marys).
So there … that’s why we’re heading north for our holidays this year. After Fanfest winds up, R and I will be renting a car to do a driving tour of the more rural areas of the island, focusing on the southern portion. We have been told that in April many of the inland roads will still be closed due to the ice and snow, so we’ll be sticking to the highway that hugs the coastline.
We would love, more than anything, to have the hire car and go around the entire island but there simply isn’t enough time to do so on our schedule. Again, if we do it we don’t want it to be rushed … so perhaps this year we will focus on the important attractions and to a bit of the south half of the island. If we return again for Fanfest 2014, then we will definitely head up north. There is a small chance that we will be able to see the Northern Lights in April, although this is a very ‘BIG’ maybe. If I see them I will feel like the luckiest person on earth to have been given the opportunity to witness something so spectacular. If not then there is always next year (or Finland’s lapland to visit).
I do hope to throw myself into Icelandic culture, and expose myself to their food (I already have a list!) and have an understanding of their lifestyle. I want to see whales, my first puffin (a live one and not one that’s on my plate), reindeer and perhaps if I am lucky, the famous Icelandic wild ponies. I am not entirely sure how cold April is going to be but I guess you’ll just have to wait until after I return for all the details.
With this I say adieu, and I do hope you return in May to read the rest of my Iceland article. I’ll probably even embed a video clip of my holiday, so stay tuned!
~ THE END ~