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7:36pm on Saturday, 22nd October, 2016:



I'm at Gothenburg airport, eating a burger that cost me three times as much as it would have done in England. The Heathrow flight is the last departure, so all the shops are closing down through lack of customers. I've picked up a cold that has dealt me a sore throat so bad I had to buy some ibuprofin.

I came down for breakfast n Skövde at 8:20 this morning, knowing I had 9 hours before my train to Gothenburg. Skövde is an odd town: it has a very compact centre, maybe three football pitches in area, and almost all the buildings look new even though some have dates on from the mid-1800s. I guess this is what comes of not taking sides in World War 2. It only takes about an hour to explore, maybe two if you go into a few shops and walk down streets you know won't have anything interesting in them. I didn't know what I was going to do for 9 hours — especially as it was raining.

Fortunately, there were people from the conference also having breakfast, so we got chatting. Eventually we broke up at about 9:45, as Warren Spector had a car organised to show him round some castles. He offered to take some of us along, too, which I would have jumped at but he wasn't due back until 5pm-6pm — I risked missing my train.

At 10am, I checked out and began my exploration of central Skövde.

At 11am, I finished my exploration of central Skövde. I went to the train station to see if I could use my ticket on an earlier train and have a look round Gothenburg, Unfortunately, my ticket was valid for a particular seat in a particular carriage on a particular train run by a particular operator that only runs that one train to Gothenburg a day.

I was trapped.

I ooched around the little shopping centre, which is quite nice (I wish we had one like it in Colchester) but it wasn't all that exciting. I bought some Läkerol, in the process making the useful discovery that they cost almost exactly twice as much in Sweden as they do if I buy them in bulk from Amazon.co.uk. I was hoping I could buy presents for my daughters, but the clothes in the shops all seemed to be promising except for a dash too much frump. No way would my daughters wear anything frumpy, so that was that. I did see something I know one of them would have liked, but it was too "no daughter of mine is wearing that!" for me to invest in.

I wandered around in the rain some more then found somewhere to have lunch. It was steak and roast potatoes, and was very reasonably priced. It probably passes for fast food in Sweden, but I liked it. I shall remember Mamma Mia's should I even find myself in a similar situation in Skövde.

After that, I went to the conference hall to look around the exhibition. I'd forgotten my entry pass, but bumped into a friend, Souvik Mukherjee, who was just leaving, so he loaned me his. The Sweden Game Arena had now been opened to the public, and there were queues of Skövde children waiting patiently to try VR games. It was difficult to move at times, although the people in cosplay seemed to have a worse time of because of their props. I was quite impressed by the laptop-backpack that MSi have developed to allow people to use VR without having to cable themselves to a PC. The battery life is 90 minutes, but there are two of them so they can be hot-swapped while playing. That's assuming you're going to be playing a VR game for 90 minutes, of course.

I left after about 20 minutes, bumped into Souvik again, and we spent the next three hours chatting in the hotel. Warren Spector reappeared just as I was about to leave.

In the end, I wished I'd had more time there.

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Copyright © 2016 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).