More from the land of ice and snow

EVE Online makers CCP Games have turned up the heat on its game and Mac news this week at its Fanfest in Reykjavik, Iceland, and it’s a good thing, because the weather is pretty cold. In fact, it’s been reminding me a lot of “Immigrant Song” by Led Zeppelin:

We come from the land of the ice and snow
from the midnight sun where the hot springs blow.

(In fact, Led Zeppelin front man Robert Plant confirms that this song is, indeed about Iceland.)

It’s been cold, overcast, and raining here for the last couple of days, with a sideways wind that so brutal it’s nearly blown me into the street a couple of times.

The Icelanders I’ve spoken with take it in stride—it’s not unusual for it to be like this in early November, and, in fact, many of the peaks in this area showed snow when we first arrived. It’s made those of us who aren’t acclimated to it hunker down, however. And of course, it’s going to get a lot worse before it gets better. Good thing I’m only here until Sunday.

On Thursday night, CCP led a tour to Iceland’s famed Blue Lagoon, a geothermal spa that’s fed by fresh seawater that exchanges in less than an hour. Seeing Iceland without visiting the Blue Lagoon is like seeing Paris without visiting the Eiffel Tower, I am told. But I wouldn’t know, because I didn’t go. And from what I’ve been told by those who did, I made the right choice.

Last night frozen rain was pelting down violently, driven by fierce gale-like winds. That didn’t stop an intrepid crew from CCP and the Fanfest from descending on the Blue Lagoon at about 7 p.m., or about three hours after the sun started to set. And while those that managed to stay fully submerged in the lava-heated waters managed to stay warm, I am told that even coming up for air was painful.

“It was like James Cameron was filming Titanic in Iceland,” said one survivor. Another was certain that his hair froze when he emerged from the water for a few moments.

“I’m from Iceland, and I don’t ever want to go back there again after last night,” one CCP staffer told me. She said it’s lovely in the summer when the weather is warm, but not so much when the weather turns. And it isn’t summer anymore.

I elected not to go, partly because of the weather, and partly also because I hadn’t slept in about 40 hours and desperately needed some rest. Hopefully there will be another chance before I leave, but given the weather, I’m not sure there will be.

Tour disasters aside, the Fanfest is terrific. EVE Online enthusiasts from around the globe—many from Europe and North America, some from as far away as South and Central America and Japan—have descended on a nearby sports arena to engage each other in Player Vs. Player (PVP) competitions, conferences, roundtable discussions, and presentations to discuss the past, present and future of EVE Online. And with two additional platforms to be supported within the next couple of weeks —Mac and Linux—the future does indeed look bright for this exciting multiplayer online game.

If you haven’t been exposed to EVE Online, it’s quite an adjustment. Descended from the spirit of games like Elite (or, for Mac gamers of old, Escape Velocity ), it’s a giant online world in which you pilot a spacecraft, slowly amassing skills and capabilities, improving your cargo hauling and weapons capacity, as you explore a vast universe that’s filled with planets, asteroids to mine, space stations, and more.

Friday night in downtown Reykjavik is supposed to be quite an adventure, bad weather notwithstanding, so I’m looking forward to seeing some more of my new friends and colleagues in a little while. Word around here is that because of the high price of alcohol, most Icelanders spend much of the evening at home, getting a buzz on with their store-bought supplies before making their way to bars, then tear it up from about midnight until about 6 a.m.. The good news is that after last night, I’m well-rested, and in the interest of journalistic curiosity will do my best to examine this social curiosity myself. I will report accordingly.

The EVE Online Fanfest runs through the weekend, so expect more information and details coming soon.

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