The 17th this month me and Jens took a plane from Copenhagen to Moscow where we met up with Fredrick and Susana from Paradox Interactive. The whole point of the journey was to meet the Russian publisher of Penumbra, “Snowball”, and to hold a talk on Frictional Games and the production of Black Plague at a Russian game conferance called ÐšÐ Ð˜ (That’s KRI for all you non-cryllians).
Getting into Russia had been a little “adventure” in itself. Before we could travel we had to get a Visa which required a sorts of information, taking up a lot of time. We just barely got our Visas, arriving on Wednesday afternoon, less then 12 hours before we where going to Russia. Also, having read that HIV infected people cannot enter Russia I was afraid that they would start poking me with needles at the pass control…
Arriving in Russia it turns out things where not bad at all. No KGB agents paranoidly staring at you or that sorta thing, at least not visible…. my paranoia was not over yet and suspected any Russian we met at the airport. In all this stress I think I mentioned words like “bomb,”kabooom” and “terrorist” several times…. never a good idea these days….
Having checked in at the hotel we went out for some sightseeing with Fredrick from Paradox leading the way. Fredrick had been to Russia several times before and amazed me and Jens by being able to read to the strangely alien and yet familiar cryllic symbols. That did not stop him from making several wrong turns and made us travel in the subway in the wrong direction though. But apart from that and all attractions being closed the sightseeing was successful. And yeah, I thought that red square would be muuuch laaaaarger and the subway having a lot more crystal chandeliers, shame on giving false advertising Russia…
Day two it was time to attend KRI, which was held at a large hotel called Cosmos. Although it was not a huge conference it was larger than we had excepted and even had booth-babes running around (and no, there are no pictures of those…). Jens and I spent most of the day checking the booths and searching souvenir stores in the hotel. We also heard that there was this large space center just nearby but never had the time to visit 🙁
Later in the afternoon it was time for our talk. The whole presentation was a bit strange since we had to have a guy translating us. This meant that when one tried to tell something funny 99% of the audience just stared at you, not knowing what you where saying. And then hopefully you might get a reaction 2 min later during translation. Very strange indeed but a quite fun experience. At the end of the talk, it seemed like people liked it, at least the audience asked a lot of questions which might or not be a good sign.
The third final day we bought vodka, chocolates and all the other stuff that creates a pleasant evening. As we had packed our bags and ordered a cab we thought the worst dangers where over, but it seems like the worse was saved for last. Our ride to the airport was a super friendly but super crazy taxi driver who shrugged when we put on our seat belts. While driving he talked about Russia (in english! which is quite rare for a taxi driver!) and making larger hand movements. Normally it is not good when a driver is not holding the steering wheel, but it is a lot worse when he is sick-sacking between trucks at 200km/h. It turns out we survived the drive though, and arrived at the airport way ahead of time.
That was all! Hope you enjoyed reading this as much as we enjoyed visiting Russia!