Feature: Motorstorm Apocalypse Live! (and how I won a trip to E3)

March 11, 2011


Eight days ago I posted a preview for Motorstorm Apocalypse, praising the game for its imaginative setting a fluid gameplay. But behind the story of me previewing it is a much greater story of how I entered a competition as a single gamer against the rest of the UK, hoping to win a holiday to E3. This is my story.

The way the competition worked is like this. Four magazine companies held separate heats in order to select their four best Motorstorm racers to compete in Motorstorm Apocalypse Live, a launch event held by Sony to celebrate the game’s release. These companies were Eurogamer, IGN, Games Radar and FHM. I was part of team FHM.

The heat was simple for FHM; have one of the top four race times amongst all of the contestants which visited the FHM offices. The best four times would automatically qualify to the finals, as long as you were overage. It turns out that a group of amazing seventeen year-olds which should have qualified were disqualified because of their age. Maybe next time they’ll learn to read the terms and conditions.

When I arrived at the event yesterday I was bewildered. Holding a Sony press event inside an abandoned sorting office isn’t normally to be expected but it fit the bill wonderfully. The graffiti littering the walls, the dark concrete lit up by spotlighting and the props such as oil barrels really made the room atmospheric and a wonder to be in. They also had an open bar full of Red Bull, Vodka and Beer. Sony events are awesome.

After everyone arrived, and we were briefed on how the event was to go down, we were all escorted into our VIP area where we drank our beer and waited for the first race. Firstly an editor from each magazine was to race and depending on where they placed would mean what track we would race on. Unfortunately Laurence, the FHM editor, came third out of four and he picked the “Interstate” track for team FHM to race on.

When it arrived for our turn to race, the four members of FHM entered the ring. We were inside a massive fenced off ring which contained four cages where we would fight it off to the death. For inspiration see Mad Max. We had been warned that we may be subdued to different apocalyptic distractions while we race and as we were strapped up it became apparent that electrocution may be one of them. Thankfully the distraction we had wasn’t electrocution but was in fact “bomb”. Somewhere around us must have been boxes of mud or stone or something, not exactly sure what, and they were detonated on the last lap of the race. Bits of debris flew everywhere, one massive lump landing on my foot, and in true fashion to a desert war zone, specks of dust flew and landed on and around me. Especially in my mouth, a lot landed in my mouth.

I was lucky enough to win this race so in happiness and set off to grab another beer as I waited for the other companies to finish their qualifying rounds. Before the start of the final we were briefed again and told that this time there would be three races and it would be done on a points based system. First place in a race would get you four points, second place would be three points, third place would be two points and last would be one point. On top of this, we would be hit by all of the apocalyptic distractions along with some special surprises.

After re-entering our cages, we were hooked up to the electric shock generator and were left waiting anxiously for our first race. It turned out to be “Mainline – Off The Rails”, a level which had been released on the Playstation Network the day before as a demo, which I knew like the back of my hand. This level saw me travelling through an underground railway system and then out to an overground railway system. Lots of trains and tunnels. “Easy” I thought to myself. I was right, I won the race with a clear outright victory. During this race we were subjected to flashing lights, loud noise and some dogs which were brought to our cages to bark at us. My dog was a nice dog though and just stared at me with puppy dog eyes. Bless.

The second race was on a track called “Good Herb” (cannot remember the track variation) and was set on a crumbling suspension bridge. I had seen a variation of this track in a video online, but wasn’t overly familiar with it. This was a much closer race than the first and had me driving neck and neck with the racer for Team IGN, Tom. On the final lap just seconds away from the finish line I thought I could grab the victory by doing an explosion finish (where you hold down your boost so that it overfills your gauge, blowing up your vehicle and sending your vehicle catapulting forward). Unfortunately, I was further away from the finish line than I expected and just blew myself up for no good reason. I came a close second. During this race the distractions were slightly more extreme. We had the flashing lights and loud noises from the previous round but on top of this we had people on motorbikes driving around us as well as smoke machines trying to restrict our view from the game.

At this stage in the game Tom and I were both on seven points each and this final match would decide the victor of the competition. The track was “Boardwalk – Waves of Mutilation” where a tornado destroys everything around you as you drive through a ruined beach resort. Here the developers were throwing every type of distraction at us. We had the flashing lights, loud noises and smoke machines from the previous rounds. In addition to this we had pyrotechnics setting off around us, more “bombs” from before, electric shocks (which completely contract the muscles in your hand, making you want to throw the controller in to the air), simulated gunfire and jets of cold (very cold) air being thrust upon you. As the race started I saw Tom was riding a motorbike and went out of my way to run him over. Now that was dealt with I took first place and held it considerably for the rest of the race.

It was a breathtaking moment to know that I had just won the whole competition and naturally I was ecstatic. After cheering at the camera for a while and doing other celebratory things such as having photos taken of me I returned to the bar. Knocking down a couple of beers knowing that I had won the whole competition was fantastic. I celebrated and relaxed with the three other Team FHM members and had a nice chat with the Motorstorm developers.

What a bloody fantastic day.

When I go to E3 in June be sure to keep your eyes on all the great news I will have for you, I’m sure there will be plenty.




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