Lions and Tigers and Computers and Panzers, Oh My! and Goodbyes

It’s my last post guys. :( I’ll be covering my adventures on Thursday, the events of Friday, and the farewells of Saturday.

— Lions and Tigers and Bears ….and Apple Strudel—

But actually, I missed the lions and the tigers when I went to the Berlin Zoo on Thursday. However, I did see bears, and tons of fish and insects and amphibians and avians and animals and everything else; the Berlin Zoo is huge. After over 6 hours, we only saw about half the zoo, but then decided to leave around 5 to do other things like shop and eat.

I split off from the others with Hanna because we wanted to do some shopping in a different area from everyone else. I may have gotten her a little lost, and I feel bad for that, but we ended up getting things we wanted anyway. She wanted to go to this store and a soccer store, but me getting lost cost us too much time. Nonetheless, we eventually met up with Jacobs and some others to eat dinner at a restaurant on the eastern outskirts of the city.

We arrived about when everyone else was receiving their food. We ordered around when they all finished eating, so the time for the whole meal was a bit skewed. I got calf schnitzel, which came with some bread and some fancy butter as well as a salad. The food was great, but the schnitzel had no sauce…so it wasn’t traditional schnitzel at all, which disappointed me. However, most of us at the table had DELICIOUS apple strudel. That strudel was so good, Mmmm, it just makes me salivate at the thought of it. Also, after being in Germany for 2 weeks, I keep writing “apple” like “appel” since the German word for apple is “apfel.”

— Foundation for Games Culture and the Computerspiele Museum —

First thing on Friday, we visited the Computerspiele Museum. After being kept in the dark a little (or may I was just negligent), we met two members of the Foundation for Games Culture there. They gave a brief presentation about their philosophies and what they do. As their name indicates, they are trying to highlight the cultural impact of video games on society all around the world (or was it just Germany….I forget). They run hackathons, game jams, talks, etc. to cultivate the culture of games. Though they do not particularly do anything themselves to promote women in gaming, but they do support anything that does. It really was a brief presentation because while I learned what they do, why they do it, and how they do it, I didn’t really learn anything about the impacts they’ve had. Also, they are trying to build the largest games archive in the world, which dives into the difficulties of digital preservation. Andreas(? too many names in too short a period of time), the curator of the Computerspiele Museum, is helping in the preservation of games, and his approach to preserving them is a fairly legal one.

After the talk, we were given a short tour of the Computerspiele. To be honest, I had difficulty paying attention to Peter. It wasn’t that what he was saying wasn’t interesting, it was just that there were too many other interesting things present before me. Also, trying to see tiny things in a very tiny space is very difficult for a large group. However, I was able to pick up on his short talk about East Germany games vs West Germany games. It was very interesting how East Germany made significantly more games than West Germany since Russia was embargoed. East Germany also used games to find out what kinds of skills children had at young ages.

After the tour, we were allowed to wander around and explore the museum. I played some arcade games and watched some videos. It was nice to see game art be appreciated. Even though I’m not an artist, I’ve always been amazed by all the pretty pixels that I see.

— Wargaming —

Later in the afternoon, we went to the Wargaming. Here we met Thomas, Ingo, and Rico of the Berlin office. Here I learned about Wargaming’s 15 offices all around the globe. I also learned that only 2 of them are development offices: the Russian office and the US office. “The Dark Side” as each of them call marketing, is what the rest of the offices are for. I found out from Ingo that the German games industry has a very close-knit community. Nearly everyone knows each other and despite being competitors, they all support each other still. Ingo started a charity to help aid those in the industry with troubles in their personal lives such as dealing with cancer or accidents. Wargaming boasts an impressive 80 million players worldwide despite starting off as a tiny experiment in Belarus, and has a large profit margin, which just goes to show how successful their F2P structure is right now. I can’t go into too many details because I’ve never played World of Tanks, so I don’t know exactly what they offer as in-game purchases.

It was also cool to hear them explain the game as “Counterstrike, but for old people” because from I’ve heard about World of Tanks, it’s true. The gameplay is much slower and much more tactical, yet you’re still playing an FPS.

— Dinner —

Dinner was at a restaurant bar and all of us took up the entire back room. Despite a somewhat confusing service because of the shear size of our party, dinner was amazing. I shared a schlachteplatte, a sesame salmon appetizer, and some brownies with raspberry ice cream with Yumi. The schlacteplatte had blood sausage, pork, some other kind of sausage, mashed potatoes and sauerkraut. It was the first time I’ve ever had blood sausage and it has a very unique taste that I can’t really describe. I didn’t really like it, and I didn’t think it really fit in with the overall meal I had anyway. The rest was pretty delicious.

After the meal, we went outside for a group picture and we took a bunch….I think. One of the pictures we took was us flexing our arms like Anthony had the avatar for the BFF game for the game jam do for its idle animation. The group then split: some to party hard and some to sleep hard.

— Final Goodbyes —

Saturday was when we all split up and left. Some of us stayed in Berlin. Others went back to the US. Others to Paderborn. I stayed in Berlin for one extra night with Freddy, Elvis, and Doug (and we hung out with Oliver), but left for Hamburg on Sunday morning, which is where I am now. Saturday was a bittersweet day as we had to say goodbye to each other. It was particularly sad saying bye to my newfound German friends as I won’t see them for a long time (or until fall. COME! DO IT, YOU WILL!) I also won’t see too many of my American friends until the fall either, though some for a very long time as they’ve graduated.

So as a final farewell, I say goodbye to Franzi, Volker, Lukas, Henning, Bernd, Manuel, Martine, Sonia, Julian, Hannes, Stroemi, Bernhard, Kristin, Christian, Dennis, and all the others who I didn’t get to really know who graciously hosted us rowdy Americans here in Germany. And finally a goodbye to Jorg for making it all happen on the German end. Thank you all so very much. I learned a lot and I had a ton of fun. I hope to see many of you in the fall! :D

- Volzen ….or Bolzen if you Germans want it that way, lol

P.S. For all of you who are curious, “Volzen” is the last name of a major character in a story that I’ve been writing. I had no idea about the word, “bolzen,” until Jorg told me about it on Friday.

This entry was posted in Berlin, Computerspielemuseum, Foundation for Games Culture, Sightseeing, Wargaming. Bookmark the permalink.

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