Origen - Day 3

Sunday 20.11

The Zero Hour event will start today! I sleep till 10 or so and miss the "free" breakfast, so I shrug the slight hangover and get a heavy breakfast, with bacon, eggs & sausages eggs, to get things rolling. We're set to go at 1pm, so I get some rest after the breakfast (I'm going to need it)
There's a crew from G4 Videogame TV making a short document about the journey of the European winners journey to Zero Hour. Some of the winners are interviewed, but not me. I recommend you to check the humorous video from G4 website if you haven't already, and there is also other coverage of the event and Xbox 360 stuff at the site.

At 1pm we gather up, and after short info of things to come, we're good to go (well, after 45 minutes of more waiting :) We get into our limos again, and make it to Santa Monica airport, where three private jets are waiting to take us to Palmdale.

Private Jets at Santa Monica Airport

The flight is a short and pleasant, but gives excellent views over sunny LA. At Palmdale we get back into some more limos and head to the Oxford Inn hotel. When we arrive the other Zero Hour goers (including the hex168 winners) have gathered up to see which celebrities are coming in the limos. For their disappointment and for our amusement: "It's the Origen winners!" :) Check in to the hotel goes smoothly, and we head to our rooms to prepare for the event (only couple of hours to go). Props for our Norwegian winner for getting the room 360!

Coming to Zero Hour

Once again, we gather up, get into our oh-so-luxurious and stretched Hummers and head towards Plant 42. Origen will soon be revealed to us (anticipation and excitement takes over people, including me). Near the location, I spot the green lights on the two hangars and make a mental note to not go ballistic but make it cool :)

Security check at Zero Hour

The event is set to start at 7pm, and we arrive to our private, VIP back entrance well before that. The security is tight, but our 50 or so get through the gates relatively fast. We are given the Zero Hour hooded tops and XBox 360 48Mb memory units (where ones gamertag could be migrated to record the achievements during the event). There were also unique gamertag pictures given to players just at this event, so that's also great.

It's close to 7 now, and the drums go off. XBox and Hex168 pictures are projected to the hangar walls and finally the Origen Tree shows up, followed by XBox 360 logo. Peter Moore and J Allard pump up the crowd and after the short speech they shout out (drums going): "Welcome to XBOX 360!".

Peter Moore & J Allard were happy after the opening

The doors start to open - for a short moment, a beam of green light between the huge doors makes the whole thing look awesome. The hangar doors pull apart revealing the interior of the hangar and the huge XBOX 360 banner hanging at the front announcing the XBox slogan "Join in". (There is a video of the opening in msxbox-world if you want to see this yourself)

Welcome to Zero Hour!

Most rush in as soon as they're allowed, but our Origen crew takes it easy (after all, there's two dedicated VIP areas for us (and hex winners + staff members).

Zero Hour Main Hangar Panorama

The hangar is huge, there's hundreds of 360s spread around the area, Origen tree with chill-out zone around it, big main stage at the back and the whole place is lit up with "Xbox green" lights to set the mood right. I zoom around the area, taking some pictures, before heading to check out one of the VIP areas. There are plenty of snacks, water and soda available at all times, comfy sofas and more than plenty of XBox 360s ready to go. There are bigger TVs and better sound systems set for 10 or so 360s per VIP area, so we get bit more out of the games than the others at the event (not that the games would look bad in small HDTV’s). (There is a video of the interior in msxbox-world with other coverage as well)

The Origen Tree at Zero Hour

If I remember correctly, I start the 29 hour event by checking out Project Gotham Racing 3, and yes, it looks so damn beautiful as all the screenshots and hype promised. And the game play is no worse. As first impressions, the 360 controller is very good; it fits right into hands, its very light and the new shoulder buttons replacing for the white and black buttons of the old Xbox controller are excellent. For the event, the controllers were not wireless (for obvious reasons), but at least the wired one met my expectations and even topped them.

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