The Best Of The Rest: Halloween Edition

Halloween

I wonder how many kids can't eat pumpkin pie due to suppressed Halloween related childhood traumas

Halloween happens to be a particularly uninteresting holiday here in the UK and passes by mainly unnoticed except for all of the Simpson Halloween specials that get aired on TV and a few laughs to be had at the expense of crazy drunk people in bizarre costumes. Trick-or-treating is non-existent as I suspect, just like I do, most people hide from any trick-or-treaters that happen by and won’t answer the door to them. It’s all very odd considering Wikipedia describes Halloween as annual holiday specifically observed in Scotland. Uh huh. Fact: The one and only time I ever had trick-or-treaters the kids asked for money instead of sweets. Little bastards.

Anyway, if that intro paragraph hasn’t completely killed your holiday spirit, happy Halloween everyone!

  • MMO Gamer Chick is enjoying the Halloween events in MMOs. I adore MMO Gamer Chick’s indomitable spirit and outlook on MMOs and her enjoyment of this year’s Halloween events is utterly contagious. I almost felt myself warming up to the idea of it all and, if I wasn’t such a Scrooge who deplores real life holidays being mirrored in MMOs, I might’ve gotten into the spirit of it myself.
  • Psynister writes a level 1 – 29 Paladin Retribution leveling guide. It’s hard to ignore this excellent guide from Psynister and hats off to the chap for the sheer amount of time and effort that went into creating the thing. It’s particularly well timed and useful for me considering I’m starting a Paladin alt in WoW to tide me over before the release of Cataclysm.
  • Spinks ponders the end of the PC retail market. When I first saw the title of Spink’s article poke its head up on my RSS reader I was shaking my head in disagreement but then later that night I found myself cancelling my pre-ordered retail box version of Cataclysm and buying a digital copy direct from Blizzard themselves. Although I think the digital future of games is going to depend heavily on download speeds, pre-downloading before launch and overal download reliability, I think Spinks is definitely on the money with this call. Kinda sad in a nostalgic sort of way, I know, but that’s progress for you.
  • Stargrace has an article on LOTRO F2P vs EQ2X. This is a great article which really sums up a lot of the issues I’ve had with the Free-2-Player version of Everquest 2 and why I think the Lord of the Rings Online’s version is far superior. It’s well timed too considering LOTRO F2P launches here in Europe on Tuesday and pretty much encapsulates why I’ll be checking it out yet am ignoring EQ2X.
  • And finally, Tipa rounds up lots of Halloween events from around the MMOverse. It’s Halloween – how could I have not included this wonderful article?

-Gordon

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18 Comments

  1. Bhagpuss says:

    I guess it depends where in the U.K. you live, Gordon! Where I live Halloween is a pretty big deal. When my step-daughter was of an age we used to take her out trick-or-treating and we virtually had to stand in line. Halloween parties are pretty much de rigeur with the people at work, too.

    We live on a main road with a lot of traffic, so we tend not to get too many trick-or-treaters. We only had one group tonight, four girls who seemed to think witches were some kind of fairy. If I lived a couple of streets back, though, I’d have been answering the door non-stop for the couple of hours after dark.

    The thing I have noticed over the last five years or so is that Halloween has really taken over from Bonfire Night. Having two big child-centred holidays in the same week seems to have proved too much for most parents and not surprisingly most seem to have offered for the one least likely to end up with a night in casualty.

    A decade ago we would have had fireworks going off literally every night from early October to the second week of November. The last few of years there’s been almost nothing until November the 5th and last year even the night itself was pretty quiet.

    The idea that Halloween is an American holiday is the same kind of lazy stand-up comedian crowd-pleasing twaddle as “Americans don’t get irony”. Halloween was solidly on the children’s holiday calendar when I was at primary school in the 1960s. I think it’s possible that trick-or-treating was imported, but that would be about all that was.

    • Gordon says:

      I’m quite surprised to hear that because I just always figured Halloween was often overlooked in the UK! I’ve lived in Edinburgh for years and almost never encountered any trick-or-treaters. Maybe it’s just because I’m in the centre of the city or maybe because I don’t have kids.

  2. Aww, how can you be a scrooge about in-game holiday events? Just give me more time to work on you ;) Thanks for the link love.

  3. Carson says:

    Delighted to find another scrooge! I loved in-game holiday events.. five years ago. But after five solid years of every single MMO in existence implementing an event for every single real-world holiday, I’m thoroughly sick of it.

  4. Helen says:

    I’ll second Bhagpuss and say that the front doors in our street were decorated with banners, balloons and pumpkin jack o’lanterns, and we had at the very least 15 groups of children round trick or treating. Luckily the kitchen is right by the front door so I was pretty much standing behind it for an hour or so. It started off very sweetly with the neighbours’ toddlers singing little songs, and ended up with hordes of teenagers out for as much food as they could carry. At this point your brother’s nerves broke and he begged me to go outside and remove the decorations and turn off the lights, which I duly did. Still had another persistent 3 groups, until I stuck a “baby sleeping” sign over the doorbell (this is true, not a ploy). He insists that he (and presumably you) have never been trick or treating nor had anyone come to your door, and seemed rather upset by the whole idea. I suppose it goes hand in hand with apparently never having been to a Bonfire Night fireworks party (and there were fireworks last night too), a fact which I find rather pitiful, but which perhaps explains your viewpoint. Also, it’s hard to go trick or treating around flats as you can’t get to the front doors, so maybe that’s another factor. Anyway, next year you’ll have to come out and see the fun here for yourself.

    Happy Halloween!

  5. Wolfshead says:

    Before there were any faux Hallowe’en events in any MMO, I recall that some of the EverQuest volunteer guides would transform themselves into Scarecrows (with specific permission from the GMs) which had a Jack O’Lantern head and travel the lands of Norrath. Back then, we had no special items, effects or quests — just plain old role-playing. It was a good feeling to transfer and capitalize some of the celebratory feeling of the real world into the virtual world. The players appreciated it.

    The early days of EverQuest were filled with a lot of magic and wonder on a shoestring budget. Amazing days they were.

    Since that time every fantasy MMO has some kind of Hallowe’en event to capitalize on the event in the real world. I don’t mind it to be honest as long as the designers make some attempt to make it somewhat original.

    • Gordon says:

      Ha, yeah I remember those types of events in EQ :) I also remember seeing (what I now understand to be a GM but never figured it out at the time) a player roleplaying “Santah Cruz”, an Ogre who ran around giving newbies gifts at Christmas time :) Great memories.

  6. Dàchéng says:

    I’m surprised, Gordon, to hear that Hallowe’en isn’t celebrated in your part of Scotland. It is the ultimate Gaelic festival. Here in Ireland, it’s celebrated with gusto! We had every child from three bailte at our door at some time during the evening, and we lit a bonfire in the back garden. As fireworks are illegal in Ireland, no bonfire party is complete without them.

  7. Dàchéng says:

    By the way, when I was a child, the jack o’ lanterns were made with turnips (called swedes in England, and rutebaga in north America). When did pumpkins replace them on this side of the pond?

  8. Lomax says:

    I read that piece on the death of retail gaming and couldn’t disagree more, its not going to be such a big part of games selling for sure, but I think that’s run most of its course already.

    Where retail shops still have a lot of value for me is the passive advertising they give, its because of seeing the original Everquest shelves and advertising material decking out the stores once a year that I years later decided to check out EQ2. Without it I would not have found most of the games I’ve played over the past few years.

    Personally I think Blizzard are potentially shooting themselves in the foot on this one, as an advertising medium I’d value retail stores much more effective then tv adverts for example.

    • Gordon says:

      You’ve got a very good point there, Lomax. No doubt Blizzard have so much natural press now that they don’t need to market through shops and stand to gain more money through direct purchases from themselves as opposed to via a distributor. Still, I would wager though that console games out sell PC games in the retail market but a huge amount.

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