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Maggie Shiels

Free swag and break dancing at CES

  • Maggie Shiels
  • 12 Jan 09, 09:51 GMT

Regulars attending CES, the world's biggest consumer electronics show said that in order to survive the whole week of events, you had to pace yourself.

Naturally loose clothing (this comment is not at all influenced by the fact the Adult Entertainment Expo was in town at the same time as CES), comfortable shoes and plenty of water were a must for wandering the three different halls housing 2,700 exhibits.

matt_segway203.jpgBut if you were really smart like Matt, you would have brought your own personal Segway to help transport you up and down the 1.7m net square feet that the expo took up.

Matt admitted it was a boon because of a slightly dicky back, but also said it was a great conversation starter.

"While it's handy to get around, I am amazed at the number of people who have stopped me to talk about it. It's been an interesting way to make friends," he told me.

While CES was all about the world of electronics and plugging a product, entertainment was not very far away.

Hey - it is Vegas, after all - and everyone likes to put on a show. Even if you have to make it yourself.

Over at the HP stand, that was just what was expected.

Conference-goers were required to become movie makers and were given the chance to create five frames of a stop motion movie by moving the little stick man.

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The event was a partnership between HP and MTV's Engine Room series, where 16 kids from around the world live in a New York loft and showcase their creativity.

"We wanted to show off the creative side of HP and kind of get people to roll up their sleeves and get dirty with it," said Pete Conolly.

Those looking for a more energetic way to express themselves were given inspiration over at the Avid stage.

There Mark and Brett from the Rock Steady Crew, which was at the forefront of hip hop, were helping sell DJ products by gettin' down with some heavy moves.

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Alas, no takers from the CES crowd.

If you were looking for some light relief, every other exhibitor seemed to be staging some kind of Ultimate Rock Band/Guitar Hero event or mock "Jeopardy!" show - much, I am sure, to the horror of the real presenter Alex Trebek who was at the Sony booth.

In one version of the primetime quiz, the contestants were dressed up as Harry Potter, Amy Winehouse and, er, I haven't a clue.

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The focus was ridicule and fun at the same time. The hit question of the day seemed to be what would the competitors say to hostess Natasha to chat her up.

One guy had to go ask his friend in the audience... and readers, I cannot repeat his line because I think you would be offended by it. Needless to say, it was pretty base and involved bodily functions passing as humour.

Meanwhile the Harry Potter guy, who looked like he'd magicked himself out of school, was still more risqué with his one-liner concerning his magic wand. Again, I will leave it all to your own imagination.

One of the more enthusiastic crowds I stumbled across was hanging out to see "Fatal1ity", a twelve-time world champion in five different games.

Johnathan Wendel was there to sell his own line of products from headsets to mouse mats. But he was also there to show how great a master of the shoot-'em-up gaming world he is.

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Anyone who scored just one frag (or kill) against Fatal1ty (or Johnathan) won a bunch of expensive gaming software.

But even when he played with a handicap, like having his computer screen covered up save for a 3x3inch cut-out or having one hand behind his back, Johnathan's opponents never knew what hit them.

First up for humiliation were Anesh and Rod who were beaten into negative territory, and that set the mood for the session.

Not one person got a kill against Fatal1ty who was hyped as one of the big celebrities of CES, along with a host of sports stars, Tom Hanks, Usher, Stevie Wonder and Will.I.am. Exalted company indeed.

Of course there was the obligatory massage to be had to help winkle out the knots and stresses of jostling with an estimated 150,000 people, or being humiliated at the hands of Fatal1ty.

Free booze and food were par for the course, as well as a load of useless free swag.

I blagged a plastic easter egg with putty inside it; Rory got a USB drive and my editor Mark takes top place with a pair of white socks that you can stick together so that you don't lose them in the wash!

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